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Sporrans – How to Wear Correctly and What are Sporrans for?

Traditional Leather Pouch Sporrans
Leather Sporrans in Old Traditional Styles, Note the Pouch like Shapes

Sporrans come in many different styles and designs, varied for every occasion. This weeks post will cover a history of the Sporran, why it is worn, the different types of Sporrans and look at the range that Houston Kiltmakers stock, from Plain Leather Day Sporrans to Clan Crested Specialist Dress Sporrans.

History of the Sporran

The word Sporran is the Scottish Gaelic word for purse. Most Kilts did not (and still don’t) have pockets cut into the material. This left the wearer with no place to store small items they were carrying – this could have been money, lead musket shot in times of war or perhaps even small quantities of food. The Sporran became a handy pouch that could be worn with a Kilt to give the wearer somewhere to store these items. In modern times these pouches store items such as mobile phones, wallets – even a small hip flask can be concealed inside!

Types of Sporrans

Traditional Sporrans were usually no more than a simple leather pouch. Modern Sporrans come in many different varieties. There are 3 main Sporran Types: Day, Dress and Semi-Dress.

Day Sporrans most resemble traditional Sporrans and are used at less formal event (the name suggests it is for day to day wear). They are often made of all leather with no metal cantle.

Clan Crest Engraved on Leather Day Sporran
A Leather Day Sporran with a Clan Crest Engraved

Dress Sporrans are the most formal style of Sporrans, worn at events such as Weddings and other events where you will be looking your best. Usually made in a wide range of Animal Furs, Dress Sporrans usually can be customized with different cantle style and a choice of a Shiny or Antique finish.

Dress Sporran with Antique Cantle in Light Racoon Fur
A Light Brown Racoon Dress Sporran with Antique Cantle

Semi-Dress Sporrans combine elements from both the Dress and Day Sporrans, often animal fur for the body and leather for the Sporran flap. These are sporrans that can be worn for all occasions when you want to look that little bit sharp. Think of it as a smart but casual sporran!

Black Rabbit Sporran, Semi Dress with Clan Crest
A Clan Crested Black Rabbit Semi Dress Sporran

In addition to these variations of Sporrans there are also Specialist Sporrans, which come in many styles and can often be customized with different cantles, clan crests etc. Horse Hair Sporrans are most commonly associated with Pipe Bands and have long strands of horse hair hanging down from the front.

Pipers Horse Hair Sporran
A Horse Hair Sporran, typically worn by a Piper

How to wear your Sporran Correctly

The Sporran, after the Kilt, is one of the most important pieces of your Highland Outfit, so making sure that it is worn correctly is vital. You should be able to draw a straight line down the front of your outfit and your waistcoat buttons, tie, sporran, buckle and Kilt centre line. (See Picture Below) The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner, the Sporran can be moved to the side in this case to prevent damaging the ladies dress.

Sporran should be approx. 3 finger widths below Belt Buckle
Your Kilt Outfit should all be Worn Inline, with the Sporran Hanging Approx. 3 Finger Widths Below

The top of the sporran should hang down approximately 4 or 5 inches from the top of the Kilt – around 3 finger widths below the top of the Belt Buckle (See Above).

 

Follow this link to see the full range of Houston’s Sporrans, many of which can be customized with different Cantles, Furs and some can be engraved with Clan Crests!