As September draws to a close we are sharing some of our Highlights from the busy summer we have had as well as a message from our very busy Social Media Manager.
About our jackets:
All of our Houston’s Own Range Black Jackets are Super-Lightweight. Jackets, Waistcoats and Trews can all be customized with different button, pocket and fabric options.
Tweed Jackets are hugely popular, matching well with a Highland wear outfit while also having the flexibility to be worn separately. We supply every tweed from all Scottish & English mills.
Click on the images below to learn more about our Tweed Jacket range or learn about our wide variety of other Jackets available.
A Shoulder Plaid can be worn at formal occasions when you are looking to stand out from the crowd. Often the Groom will add one to his Highland Outfit to make himself known on his special day! Plaids are also worn by Piper’s and members of Pipe bands.
What is a Tartan Shoulder Plaid?
A Shoulder Plaid is a piece of cloth draped over the wearers shoulder which can add a flash of grandeur to your Highland Outfit.
The Shoulder Plaid is a modern ‘tip of the hat’ back to the traditional ‘Great Kilt’ and the ‘Féileadh Mòr’. Historically the Great Kilt was a large piece of cloth that wrapped around the whole body and draped over the shoulder of the wearer.
As the modern Kilt was developed, the cloth over the shoulder was lost. A Fly Plaid brings back this traditional look, while providing a more comfortable experience for the wearer.
Tartan Shoulder Plaids are usually made in the matching tartan to the wearers Kilt and most popular with Groom’s to make themselves stand out on their special day!
How a Shoulder Plaid is made
To start the Shoulder Plaid a piece of cloth is cut in a square or rectangle. The size and shape depends on the type of Plaid and how it will be worn.
In this instance the edges of the Shoulder Plaid are fringed. By carefully pulling at the threads with a sharp object the threads are easily pulled around the edges creating a frayed effect. This is done for all four sides in this case.
The cloth is then marked out at one corner that will be stitched to create the part of the Plaid that will sit through the Epaulette when worn. This stitching is added to hold the shape of the Plaid when it is worn.
The finished Shoulder Plaid is given a final press and is ready to be worn!
How a Shoulder Plaid should be Worn
The Shoulder Plaid is easy to wear. The stitched edge should pass through the left shoulder epaulette of the wearers jacket. This end can be fastened to the front of the jacket with a Plaid Brooch or a Simple Pin – making sure that the Brooch only goes through the Jacket, and not the underlying waistcoat or shirt.
Extra Tip: A hidden safety pin can also be used to give the Plaid a better shape by pinning some of the cloth to the back of the jacket, just below the top of the shoulder.
Plaid Brooches come in a variety of styles and designs, much like Kilt Pins. Different finishes are available to match up with the rest of the silverware of your outfit.
The Plaid can serve other functions after wearing. Once photos have been taken wearing the Plaid it can be taken off and used as a table runner, table cover etc. to add a tartan touch to your surroundings.
Houston’s offer a range of Shoulder Plaids to match with Hire outfits and also provide Made to Measure Shoulder Plaids. These can be made in any tartan of your choosing.
View our Shoulder Plaids here!
We also stock a wide range of Plaid Brooches, from Clan Crested Brooches to Solid Silver Plaid Brooches.
With all Made to Measure Bespoke Items there is often need for a little fine tuning to achieve the perfect fit. A Jacket may be passed down through a family or the wearers weight may change – minor alterations can keep the Jacket fitting perfectly. If needed, these small adjustments are quick and easy to complete allowing you to look your best in our Jackets! From a Tweed Braemar to a Prince Charlie Jacket – all can be altered so you look your best!
Who can do these Alterations?
If any minor alterations are needed to your Jacket, we recommended taking it to a local tailor, seamstress or someone with sewing experience. It would be helpful for them if you could pin the parts of the jacket you wish to have altered and mark the areas with chalk.
In the case of your Jacket Sleeves being too long, our Jacket Sleeves can be easily shortened. Simply pin and chalk the area that needs shortened – buttons can be reattached in a new position if needed.
The Shoulders of our Jackets can also be chipped if needed, creating a chiselled fit around your shoulders. Firstly mark off what needs to be reduced and pin the fabric to the new position. The tailor will then be able to clearly see what needs to be done.
Here you can see the Shoulder of a Tweed Jacket Pinned and Chalked to be Altered
Back Seam Alterations
The centre seam down the back of your Jacket is another area that can be altered. This seam can be taken in, creating a better fit around your back if needed. Sometimes the back seam will also contain some extra cloth, allowing for the back of the jacket to be widened slightly. Again, chalk and pin the cloth to the correct fit for the tailor to see.
Here you can see the Back Seam of a Tweed Jacket Pinned and Chalked to be Taken In
Side Seam Alterations
At either side of your jackets, under the arms, are side seams. These can be taken in if there is too much space on the side of the jacket, giving a more fitted finish to the jacket. Marking out the area that needs worked on is just the same as with the back of the jacket. The stitching is simply unpicked and the cloth of the jacket folded in to the desired fit and restitched.
We hope that this alteration guide allows you to look your best while increasing the life of your Jacket! If you need any more advice regarding Jacket alterations or anything else relating to your Highland Outfit you can contact the shop, where we will be more than happy to help!
If you have ever seen someone dressed in a Kilt or Highland Outfit you might have noticed, peeking out the top of one of the wearers hose, a hilt of a small knife. This little detail on the Highland Outfit is the topic of today’s post, the Sgian Dubh.
History of the Sgian Dubh
There are many origin stories of the Sgian Dubh (pronounced ‘ski-en doo’), but the most common tale is that it had its beginnings as a dagger held under the armpit as a hidden blade. When entering a house a visitor would hand over his weapons and reveal any hidden blades as an act of trust. This hidden blade would be displayed at the top of the sock or stocking for the host to see. This is the position where the Sgian Dubh is worn today.
In the early days these small knives would have been used as a hunters knife to skin animals.
In the modern Highland Outfit the Sgian Dubh has taken a more aesthetic than practical role, adding some decoration to the Kilt Hose.
How to Wear a Sgian Dubh
A Sgian Dubh should be worn down the sock on the same side as your dominant hand (Left sock if left-handed, right sock if you are right-handed.) It should be positioned with only the hilt (handle) protruding from the top of your hose. (See image)
Types of Sgian Dubh
In the same way that there are different types of Sporrans for different occasions, Sgian Dubh have variations for when you are wearing them. There are 2 main types of Sgian Dubh.
Day Sgian Dubh
Simlarly to the Day Sporran, these Sgian Dubhs are made for less formal events. The handles can produced in many different materials from Stag Horn to Oak and everything in between!
Dress Sgian Dubh
Again, much like the Dress Sporran, these Sgian Dubhs are suited to formal events (Weddings, Black Tie events etc.). These also come in many variations, often with the option of customization with a clan crest. They come in many different materials, usually with some metal plating. They can also be made in solid silver for those very special functions! Many variations have a decorative gemstone at the base of the hilt, which can be changed.
Safety Sgian Dubh
This replica Sgian Dubh looks just like the real thing, however the sheath does not contain a blade. This is a great safe option for kids (and adults!) to prevent themselves getting cut on the blade. A Safety Sgian Dubh can also be worn in situations where it isn’t possible to carry a blade – traveling overseas to some destinations for instance.
As you can see there are Sgian Dubh’s for every occasion. All are worn the same, but can give your outfit a different look depending on the event you are wearing your Highland Outfit too!
Houston’s offer a wide range of both Dress and Day Sgian Dubh’s, some with the option of having Clan Crests attached, customizable Gemstone colours and a variety of finishes.
You can see our range of Sgian Dubh’s here.
The Kilt Pin is a small but key part of a Kilt Outfit. Often its function is misinterpreted and it is commonly used incorrectly. This short guide will tell you everything you need to know about the wearing of a Kilt Pin and some of the different styles of Pin available from Houston Kiltmakers.
The Kilt Pin is attached to the outer apron on the fringed side of your Kilt, around 2 inches from the bottom of the Kilt and around 1.5 inches in from the fringed edge. The Kilt Pin ONLY goes through the outer apron, it does NOT pin together the outer and inner aprons, as is often mistaken. The function of the Kilt Pin is not to attach the two Kilt aprons to one another.
The purpose of the Kilt Pin is to weight down the outer apron of the Kilt to prevent it from blowing up in windy situations – possibly embarrassing both the wearer and passers by! For this reason the majority of Kilt Pins are made from metal to give them the weight to hold the outer Kilt apron in place.
Our ‘Top Tips on Wearing a Kilt’ guide offers more details on the positioning of a Kilt Pin and other useful information to make sure you look a million dollars in your Kilt outfit!
We offer a wide variety of Kilt Pins to suit all style and budgets ranging from palladium plated to solid silver. Different finishes are available, either Shiny or Antique. Customizable Kilt Pin’s are also available with any Clan Crest incorporated into the design. Designs for Kilt Pins vary, but the most popular style is that of a Claymore (Two Handed Sword).
See our full range of Kilt Pins HERE.
Houston Kiltmakers have the largest and best range for of Kilts for hire in the West of Scotland, with over 130 tartans, 20 styles of super lightweight jackets with three different button options and over 120 ruche tie colour. We also Hire Kilts overseas for special occasions.
(Click on the Photos to Enlarge!)
Many of our customers come to us with the problem,
”We are getting married in England/Europe/Overseas, but we still want to have the Wedding party kitted out in Kilts, can you help?’
The answer is Yes!
Houston Kiltmakers provide hires all over the world for Wedding parties and can ship full kilt hires ready for your big day abroad! Don’t worry if the full party can’t get into the shop to get measured, we have a handy Self-Measurement form that lets you know all the sizes we need and how to get the correct measurements. Once you have these sizes simply send them to us by phone or email and our experienced expert team will check and double check everything matches up!
We have some flexibility on the Length of Hires and return dates if you are taking them abroad, so relax and enjoy your special day!
Another question we are often asked is,
‘Our Wedding is going to be in a warm place with the sun shining, what weight of Kilt would you recommend as the coolest, and what about the jacket?’
In a Kilt outfit the heat is generated by the Jacket, not the weight of a Kilt. We would always recommend 16oz Heavyweight Kilts. These are not any warmer than 11oz or 13oz Kilts and the weight helps them to sit and swing better, making you look your best for your big day!
As it is the Jacket that generates the heat, all our Jackets are Super Lightweight and have been custom designed over many years to create the best fit. They are made from high quality lightweight Barathea wool, meaning they are the coolest jackets around! We are the only Hire company in Scotland that provides these Super Lightweight jackets and as you will be wearing the jacket for most of the day, you’ll want the Jacket that will keep you the coolest!
Houston’s have spent 20 years getting the cut and block of our jackets just right so they sit perfectly on the wearer. Our jackets are also Stain-Proof (and Beer-Proof!), increasing the lifespan of them dramatically!
And remember, we love to see photos from your Wedding with our Kilts on show, so if you want to email us or post on our Facebook page some snaps from your special day we’d love to have a look! You can check out pictures past customers have sent us here!
Kilts and tartan were not always prosperous in Scotland and sometimes their development was restricted. 1746 saw the implementation of the Dress Act 1746, which put the future of Highland wear, the Kilt and Tartan into jeopardy.
The end of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century was filled with political and religious turmoil around Scotland. Jacobitism was gaining popularity in Scotland in a stand against the Union. From 1688 to 1745 several uprisings from the Jacobite loyal against the British Government. The most famous Jacobite rising from this time are the Risings of 1715 and 1745. (The 1745 Rising was led by the ‘Young Pretender’, Bonnie Prince Charlie, who lends his name to the Prince Charlie style of jacket.)
After the failed 1745 uprising support for Jacobitism began to decline. They drew a large amount of their support from the Highland Clans, and in 1746 the government brought in the Dress Act to dampen their support.
The Dress Act 1746 restricted the wearing of Highland Dress, Kilts and Tartan. It states:
‘…no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats…’
This Act several restricted the wearing of Kilts and Tartan outfits. The banning of Tartan cut off a way in which communities and families associated themselves with each other and the banning of Kilts suppressed the dress associated with the Jacobite Uprisings.
The ban would stay in place for almost 40 years, finally being repelled in 1782. The Kilt and Tartan had fallen on hard times, but its popularity would return in the 1800’s through King George IV’s visit to Scotland and Queen Victoria’s efforts to revive the Scottish Icons. Find Part 4 of this series HERE!
Your wedding day is thought to be the biggest day of your life and we understand that can be a very daunting process! With weddings now costing an average of £20,000 in the UK there is a lot to think about when planning the big day! GASP! Not to fear Houston’s are here and we have comprised a wedding checklist with useful hints and tips to keep on top of your plans and stress free!
An easy way to incorporate all plans for a wedding is think of the 5 F’s! Family, Friends, Food, Fashion and most importantly FUNDING!
Family and Friends
Announcing to your family and friends that you are getting married is some of the most exciting news you can deliver so lap it up and enjoy every second of it! Family and friends are also guaranteed to be the most honest so they are often a good lot to take along when it comes to picking the brides dress, colour schemes, tartan if the groom is wearing a kilt on top of many other considerations. Siblings, parents and pals are bound to be the most reliable candidates in an event this big so don’t be afraid to ask for help leading up to and on the big day. We’re sure they would be delighted to play a part in the wedding!
One of the biggest responsibilities you can bestow upon friends is family is picking the best man maid of honour and bridesmaids!
The role of best man is a great honour, and you will forever be remembered as a part of the biggest day in the grooms life; no pressure there then! Many men playing the role of best man don’t know exactly what the job entails. That’s where we come in! Of course every wedding is different and the role of best man may be more prominent in some weddings than others but you want to pick someone who is reliable, who is guaranteed to keep the groom calm on the big day and of course he has to produce a killer best man speech! Oh and not forgetting his involvement with the stag do but we’ll get back to that… lets not stress the bride out too much just yet!
The Maid of Hounour and bridesmaids will accompany the bride down the aisle. The normal selection would be siblings, family or best friends. These are the ideal candidates to bring wedding dress shopping they guaranteed to be the most honest and helpful ladies for the job! Naturally they will all be involved in the brides hen party too so have them thinking up ideas for that whilst you plan the big day!
Food is a memorable part of the day so you want to make sure you get something that will appeal to the masses! Scottish wedding have been known to serve some of the fanciest entrees whilst some people serve good old fish and chips from the chip shop and others have a buffet! So you will always have a variety of options to choose from. Often your venue will also cater for you so before you select your venue ask if you can see a sample of their menu, many venues will accommodate a taste session for you, a try before you buy if you will! Another big aspect of the food is your wedding cake. Cakes are getting increasingly expensive so its always best to shop around. Is there a friend or family member on yours or the grooms side that bakes for a hobby? Its often a good idea to find someone who doesn’t bake professionally as you could potentially get a cake for a lot cheaper: now that’s food for thought!
The bride wants the perfect dress so its advised to start looking right away give yourself an idea of different styles and of course the cost! If a lot of your dream dresses are looking too pricey you can now hire dresses from a lot of bridal boutiques for a fraction of the cost! Take friends and family with you when trying dresses to get an honest opinion it will help choosing that little bit easier when your mum insists you have to rule a few options out!
As soon as the groom has bestowed the honoured title of best man upon you, you need to start thinking about a kilt to hire or buy as soon as possible. This is one of the most important best man duties! When the groom has chosen his tartan it is important that the best man organizes the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc. Traditionally, the groomsmen will wear the same tartan as the groom.
Here at Houston’s we know that women normally take charge when it comes to wedding planning and the groom may not even have a say in the cake, flowers, table plans or the venue. In fact; one of the grooms’ only tasks may be to find his chosen tartan and arrange his kilt; if this is one of the grooms few wedding tasks he simply has to get it right! The bride will often stress so here is a top tip for scoring some best man points; ask the brides opinion on tartan! The groom may have chosen a family or clan tartan for his wedding however many grooms nowadays will pick a tartan to coordinate with wedding colours. The best man should ask the bride for a sample of fabric from the bridesmaids’ dresses so that the groom can consider every option when choosing his tartan. This is a sure fire way to keep every best man in the brides good books!
Now unlike the beautiful bride who wears her dress once then either sells it on ebay or stores it in the attic, as a Groom if you choose to buy your kilt instead of hiring you are making a lifetime purchase. Start by using the Houston Kiltmakers Tartan Finder to ensure you are wearing the right Scottish tartan kilt, we have EVERY tartan in the world on display in our showroom so are spoiled for choice! In the interest of sticking to a budget Houstons give grooms a hire and buy option that allows you to buy your kilt and receive a free hire of the rest of your kilt pack which lets you build it up over time! Alternatively, if you wish to hire we offer a hire 5 and the 6th for the groom (the most expensive outfit) goes free!
The best thing to do before you start making your wedding plans is figure your budget so that you don’t over spend! Make a checklist of everything you need so you can prioritize your spending.
Venue, food, cake, brides outfit (dress, shoes, veil, jewellery), rings for the bride and groom, grooms outfit (highland wear/suit), bridesmaids dresses, grooms mens outfits, flowers, cars, band/DJ, invitations and wedding favors.
Subscribe to wedding blogs to keep up to date with ideas! Do your research and shop around for prices. Ask friends for advice and who they used for their wedding. Sign up to mailing lists to make sure you are in the loop for offers. Do this for hairdressers, florists, venues, etc. Some hotels can offer wedding packages for great prices but as an alternative option in Scotland you can get married almost anywhere such as a church, a beach or a mountain! So consider all your options!
Probably the most famous best man duty is the stag do! This is likely to be the highlight of the groom’s entire wedding experience (apart from the actual wedding day of course!). Top Tip: If there is one thing the Hangover movies taught us it is NEVER have the stag do the night before the wedding! The last thing the bride wants is a hung over hubby! Plan ahead and give you and your friends a few weeks to recover. It is popular to go abroad but don’t forget that Scotland is full of great outdoor spots and city nightlife! Don’t forget, kilts aren’t just for weddings! Why not organize a group hire for you and your friends for the stag do?Kilts make you stand out from the crowd and are a great conversation starter, especially if you are going abroad! Us Scots manage to make friends anywhere we go!!
Ladies can also wear tartan mini kilts so keep that in mind for the hen do! Again top tips would include doing this a few weeks before the big event! Get your bridesmaids and maid of honour involved to help plan a night you will never forget!
One of the days big finales is the speeches! This is the part when the men are under the spotlight. Best man: If you are nervous keep it short and sweet but remember to say how gorgeous the bride and her bridesmaids are and try not to embarrass the groom too much!
We always love to hear how you got on with the stag, the wedding…the whole wedding experience! So be sure to post any wedding pics on our Facebook page or tweet us and if you need help on how to wear your kilt then check out our video clips
To view our full range of products see www.kiltmakers.com and for hire wear go to www.kiltsforhire.com. For helpful guides on how to wear, transporting your kilt and kilt maintenance email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The most important thing to remember is to try and not get too stressed. Truly enjoy the happiest day of your life and all the planning that goes with it!
We hope this has been helpful! Feel free to comment with any questions!
Its prom season in Scotland! High school and University student are finishing their exams, completing their final submissions and counting down to party time! We are rushed off our feet with numerous prom and graduation Highland wear bookings. The majority of young men wear a kilt to the prom or grad ball. Well lets face it, a guy wearing a kilt in Scotland is hardly out of the ordinary! We were however STUNNED to hear that a young man was banned by his school board from wearing a kilt to his prom!
In an article posted online by Huffington Post, it was reported that a senior high school student in southwestern Illinois had his request to wear a traditional Scottish kilt to prom denied after the Principle supposedly said men should ‘dress like men at their senior prom’. A comment the principle later denied making.
The pupil had bought a kilt in his family clan tartan and hope to wear the outfit in honour of his Scottish and Irish roots. The student made his initial request to the principle which was denied. He then took his case forward to the school board who stated that the kilt did not comply with the district dress code.
First of all, we find it bizarre that a pupil needed to ask permission to wear a traditional form of dress, especially when that outfit consists of smart shoes, jacket, waistcoat shirt and either a tie or bow tie. The only issue appears to be with the kilt which is made of very expensive fabric. Highland wear is by no means informal. Tartan itself has consistently stayed in the height of fashion for centuries! Highland wear is of the highest quality garments in both its worth and its aesthetic value, why else would all the Scots be wearing it to weddings?!
This article was posted last year however; we wondered if this school still felt the same way. The story comes as a surprise, particularly as there are many Scottish and Irish families residing in the United States and thousands more who descend from the Scots!
All we know is we wear our kilts with pride an would urge others to do the same! If you are of Scottish descent you should count yourself lucky to have descended from such a smashing bunch of people! Some people may not like kilts and so, each to their own. However; we love our national dress and don’t agree with the idea that when requesting to wear a kilt the young man was told he must ‘dress like a man’ at his prom!
REAL MEN WEAR KILTS!
Article sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/w earing-a-kilt-to-prom-il_n_1389612.html