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Houston Kiltmakers Official Kilt Ettiquette Guide 2013 ©

KILT ETIQUETTE GUIDE
Midnight Bute Tartan

Kilts can be a tricky business, especially if you have never worn Highland wear before! There are various styles of Highland wear which can be worn for dress, day or casual wear. To make sure you get everything just right read our kilt ettiquette guide for information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it.

Who is entitled to wear a kilt?

Ancient Bute Heather Tartan

 

One question we constantly get asked is: who is entitled to wear a kilt? Is it only for Scots or people with Scottish ancestors?

Answer: Anybody can wear a kilt!

Almost every country in the world has got some sort of tartan link. In England you have Cornish, Northumberland and Manx (Isle of Man) tartans. The Irish tartans consist of county tartans such as Ulster, Co. Mayo, Galway and Kildare and the Irish national tartan. We also have lots of Welsh tartans.

Over the past 400 years Scots have travelled the world reaching every corner of the globe. They have fulfilled a rich diversity of trades and professions including traders, missionaries, engineers, doctors, teachers, naturalists and inventors to name only a few. Within Europe many French, Spanish, Italian and German families have Celtic roots and are often of Scottish decent; whilst further afield there is a strong Scottish connection within America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Russia. We export to every country in the world from the United States to the Falkland Isles.

 

Tartan

What Tartan can I wear?

Most customers will choose a clan tartan based on a family name. This could be either a person’s own surname or that of a parent or grandparent. However; you can wear any tartan for any occasion. Traditionally hunting, ancient and weathered tartans were worn with tweeds and day jackets for outdoor functions, hunting and highland games. Dress and modern tartans were worn with formal functions and black tie dinners. Nowadays people tend to choose tartan for its aesthetic value, a family or clan connection; or to coordinate with wedding colours.

 

Modern Bute HeatherMidnight Bute Tartan

 

If you do not have family or clan tartan to choose from you can choose a tartan that anyone can wear. You can choose from a range of national tartan such as Scottish National or American National. Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right, in any legal sense, exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste (quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton). Nowadays people tend to choose a tartan to coordinate with wedding or colours or purely for its aesthetic value. Greys in particular are currently in vogue and very popular amongst kilt buyers. Pictured above are examples of Houston’s own Bute Heather Tartan Designs which are predominantly woven in greys, purples and blues. There are only a few hundred tartans that are privately owned and require permission to be worn.

 

Weight of Tartans

19 oz kilts are generally for regimental wear but are available in around six tartans.

16 oz/17oz kilts are the largest range available with a choice of around 14,000 tartans. Heavy weight kilts are the best as the kilt sits and swings better. Heavy weight tartans can also be Teflon coated making them stain proof. Contrary to popular belief, heavy weight kilts are not any warmer than medium or lightweight kilts. It is in fact the top half of your outfit such as your jacket and waistcoat that generate heat. The majority of jackets are heavy weight however; Houston’s have perfected their own super light weight jacket which has a great cut and comfortable fit.

13oz Medium weight kilts are normally produced for Irish and Welsh national tartans. Medium weight kilts come in a choice of around 1000 tartans.

11oz light weight cloth would normally be woven for ladies skirts, gents’ trousers and waistcoats, children’s kilts, children’s trousers and ties. Kilts do not have a hem around the bottom of the garment however; children’s kilts can be cut for growth. A hem of around 2 to 3 inches will be added, and can then be let down when the child grows a bit taller.

8 oz fabric is used to make coordinating ties or bow ties and also ladies dresses.

Wool, like the 11oz lightweight cloth can be used for ladies and gents’ trousers and waistcoats.

Silk is available in 80 tartans and can be used to make ties, bow ties, waistcoats and ladies dresses.

Cotton and Poly Cotton can used to make napkins and shirts.

 

Teflon Coating

Stain Proof

 

At Houston’s we were the first to Teflon coat/stain proof all our tartans, which makes our kilts and jackets fully protected from rain and stains. The fabric is even beer proof! The wool has the same handle and is fully breathable, making them safe to wear to rugby and football matches. We calculate that over the life span of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260, not having to get your kilt dry cleaned as often. This also helps the environment. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleans.

 

Samples and Swatches

If you would like a sample or swatch of tartan we offer these free of charge to customers. If you live locally there will be no charge for postage. If you live overseas there will be a charge of £5.00 GBP for postage as we ship thousands overseas. If you proceed to order from Houston’s this amount will be deducted from your final cost. We would also suggest that if a colour has already been chosen for the theme of a wedding e.g. if the colour pink has been chosen for the bridesmaids dresses it is helpful to bring a sample of the fabric into the store when inquiring about hiring or buying for the event. This allows Houston’s to show you the best coordinating tartans and furthermore, give you the option to have ties made to coordinate with your chosen colours.

 

The Reputable Mills

At Houston’s we tailor our kilts from pure wool tartans woven by Scotland’s top quality, reputable mills. We have all mass produced tartans by Lochcarron, House of Edgar, Strathmore, Bute Mill, Martin Mills, Batley & Dalgleish in 250 swatch book forms available to view in store.

 

Kilt Yardage

The traditional 8 yard kilt is the standard measure of gents’ kilts. The kilt sits high on the waist, a couple of inches above the hip bone. This would be worn for formal occasions, and it is recommended that the 8 yard kilt be woven in a 17oz heavy weight fabric as this sits and swings better when worn. Some men’s kilts are still woven in 6 yards of cloth however 8 yards is the standard measurement for gents. 6 yard kilts are now more commonly made for women’s kilts.

Jackets

Prince Charlie Jacket

 

Prince Charlie jackets are worn to dress occasion such as black tie dinners, balls, graduations and weddings. It is traditionally worn with a 3 button waistcoat with a black bow tie and a white standard or wing collar pleat front shirt. Alternatively it can be worn with a plain black or white front shirt, with double cuff and cufflinks.

The Prince Charlie jacket traditionally comes with shiny buttons and the silver wear to match however; antique buttons and silver wear have of late become more popular.

The jacket is more popularly worn with a spread bat wing shirt or a standard collar, plain front shirt in white or black with a plain or tartan ruche cravat. It can be worn with either a 3 or a 5 button waistcoat however; we recommend a 3 button waistcoat with tartan ruches. Prince Charlie jackets must be worn with dress sporrans and black or off white kilt hose or tartan hose. We strongly recommend you wear a belt and buckle as if you take your waist coast and jacket off for dancing you will not be properly dressed without a belt and buckle. Therefore we offer this as an option. A ruche tie should NOT be worn with a small wing collar shirt as the wings are too small. Please Note: We do have some dark navy jackets with shiny buttons that look best with modern, dark, navy tartans to be worn with navy or off white kilt hose.

ARGYLL OR BRAEMARS

Braemar Jacket

 

The Argyll or Braemar are general jackets for any occasion, with shiny, antique or black button options. They are suitable for weddings, dinners, balls, graduations, christenings, burns suppers, highland games, ceildhies, garden parties, funerals and general day wear. Both can be worn with a plain tie or tartan tie (with or without a waist coat) or for evening wear with a bow tie (with or without a waist coat). With a ruche cravat a five button waist coat must be worn.

Argyll or Braemar can be worn with a black or white plain front shirt with a double cuff and cufflinks, with ruches or long ties. Bow ties must be worn with a pleat, front wing or standard collar shirt depending on the occasion. Ruche cravats worn with plain, standard or spread wing shirts must be worn with a waistcoat. Dress or semi dress sporrans can be worn or alternatively for a day event a leather sporran can be worn. Either black, off white, tartan or coordinating colour hose should be worn with your outfit.

TWEED BRAEMAR

Tweed Braemar

 

 

These jackets are for day/casual events, weddings, highland games, funerals, etc. Jackets should be worn with plain, tweed or tartan ties or ruche cravats, with optional five button waistcoat. For some weddings spread bat wing shirts can be worn with a ruche cravat. We recommend you wear a semi dress, day or dress sporran depending on your shirt and tie option. When choosing your hose you must pick a colour similar to that of your jacket for example you may choose grey or black if your shirt and sporran are black. Off white hose must NEVER be worn with a tweed jacket.

SHERRIFMUIRS, REGULATION doublets, MONTROSE, KENMORE doublets

Sherriffmuir

 

These should be worn for the same occasions as Prince Charlie jackets and a jabot shirt and cuffs, or a tunic granddad collar shirt or alternatively a spread bat wing and ruche cravat.

JACOBITE

Jacobite

 

Jacobite jackets and waistcoats can only be worn with Jacobite shirts. These are considered to be casual outfits.

SPORRANS

Sporrans

For general dress occasions a semi dress or dress sporran should be worn for day wear either a day or semi dress sporran. Your sporran should always be centered on the front of the kilt. The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner. The sporran should then be worn to the side upon the hip so not to damage a ladies dress.

SGIAN DUBH

Sgian Dubh

 

 

Sgian dubhs are to be placed in outside of right sock, showing only one inch of the sgian dubh. When entering company, raise the sgian dubh to about two inches above the top of the sock. This is to show that you are still partly armed when everyone sees you. There after you should once again conceal your sgian dubh so only one inch is visible.

HOSE

Kilt Hose

 

When choosing hose you are best to select a colour that complements and coordinates with the tartan or jacket. Traditional colours are off white, black or navy. Grey should be worn with a grey tweed jacket.

GARTER FLASHES

Garter Flashes

Garter flashes are used to keep your socks up. However; in olden days showing your tie or flash symbolised a single status letting ladies know you were available. Flashes that were tucked away were symbolic of married men and men who were courting.

PLAIDS

Shoulder Plaids

 

Shoulder plaids can be worn with dress jackets for weddings. They can be worn for photos then removed and put on top of the top table or cake table for decoration. Piper plaids must only be worn with Montrose or piper doublets.

DRESS CODE

Midnight Bute Tartan

Suggested dress code by De Bretts should be included on the bottom of invitations, as both ladies and gentleman will want to dress in accordance with your suggested dress code. This will often be dependent on the wedding venue. It should be noted on the invitation if you wish ladies to wear a hat. Below is a description of men’s dress.

Highlandwear: either; day, day/tweed, dress, black tie/evening wear or white tie.

OR

Morning Wear: We suggest not mixing morning wear with highland wear. Therefore; if you wear morning wear you should incorporate a tartan tie, ruche or hanky to pull together your outfit and coordinate it with the other guests wearing highland wear.

OR

Lounge Suits

OR

Black Tie, is either Highland Wear or Black Evening Suits

OR

Smart Casual

BEST MAN DUTIES

Best man duties include looking after the groom before, during and after the wedding. Duties also include organizing the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc.

FURTHER HELP AND INFO

Ken and Ewan MacDonald

Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and it is well maintained due proper care and storage. For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

Categories
Burn's Night Burn's Supper Christmas Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Robert Burns Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions Wedding Kilts

Hiring vs Buying… Making an informed decision!

Bute Heather Tartan Kilt Collection
Bute Heather Tartan Kilts

There’s always an occasion to wear a kilt to. We have Burn’s Supper in January and then for the old romantics maybe a Valentine’s Day Wedding in February. Christenings, funerals, parties, through to May when Communion ceremonies start and then wedding season begins! Whether it’s your own event or that of friends or family there are sure to be many events to keep your social calender full at the weekends right through to the festive period and Hogmanay, then your back to January getting your kilt ready for Burn’s Supper again!

A kilt is a garment that last a lifetime and one that will never go out of fashion. However; with so many choices of tartan the fashion concious customers may opt to hire for each individual event and try a new tartan every time! Other may choose to buy their family tartan or a couple may decide to merge their clan tartans to create a new family tartan and have it specially woven for their wedding. It can be hard to decide whether to hire or buy but here is a quick breakdown to help you make an informed decision.

Hiring

As previously mentioned hiring may be ideal for the fashion concious kilt wearer. You can pick a different tartan each time you hire. This can often be a good option if you are one of the grooms men and need your kilt to coordinate with the bridesmaids dresses. If the grooms men plan to hire for a wedding always remember to ask your kilt maker if they provide a group hire option as this can be very cost effective! Houston’s offer a group hire option where if 5 men hire kilt outfits the groom will get his for free!

With a choice of 130 tartans Houston’s is the place to go as most hire shops have a choice of between 6 an 16.

Always ask how much you need to pay and whether or not it is refundable due to cancellation, you never know what might happen and you don’t want it to cost you!

Make sure your hire outfit includes everything you will need, you don’t want to discover on your wedding day that you are minus one shirt!

Buying

Often men will hire as buying a full kilt pack can be very costly. However; Houston’s are one of the few who provide a hire and buy option where if you buy your kilt we will provide the rest of the outfit for hire free of charge. We also have a kilt sale on and are offering 20% off made to measure kilts until the 28th February 2013 so there is no better time to buy! Using this option you can build up your kilt pack over time.

If you choose to buy a kilt it truly is a garment that will last a lifetime. So, many will choose their family tartan for its sentimental value. This made to measure garment can be cut for growth so it can be let out if you lose weight or alternatively it can be let out if you gain. That way the garment could also be passed on to the next generation of the family. Also if you buy your kilt for your wedding day, in the same way your wife keeps her dress you will have your kilt as a wonderful reminder of the best day of your life, difference being you can wear yours again!

If you are buying your kilt for a specific occasion make sure you allow 6 – 8 weeks for the production process.

Hiring is a great option for local customers as they can visit the shop easily however; for customers purchasing overseas buying is your only option unless you will be staying in Scotland for your event.

This is a short pro’s and con’s list to give you a better idea of what your options are. We hope this helps! Please feel free to ask us any questions we will try and help you in any way we can!

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and Twitter: @Houstonkilts