Three men playing tug of war at the highland games, in traditional highland dress, sash, kilts, socks.

Kilts are often worn instead of a black tie and suit at formal occasions such as weddings. The kilt is a really flexible outfit and can be formal or informal and traditional or modern. The pattern of the kilt and the choice of jacket, shoes and socks can make a real fashion statement.

Some typical events when you might see people wearing a kilt are St Andrew's Day, Robert Burns' Night and Hogmanay (New Year's Eve). Occasions when people wear kilts can range from weddings to ceilidhs and football and rugby matches.

The pattern of a tartan is often linked with a Scottish surname but tartans have been designed for cities and businesses too. Some surnames have more than one pattern linked with them in different colours.

If you don't have a connection with a Scottish name then don't worry, there are no rules stopping you wearing whichever tartan you like.

Take a look at the outfit options below to get some ideas for creating your own style.

Tips for wearing a kilt for the first time

  1. Try to practice sitting, standing up and even getting in and out of a car
  2. When you sit down make sure the front of your kilt falls between your legs to avoid embarrassment for anyone facing you
  3. When you stand up sweep your hand over the back of your kilt to make sure the pleats are flat
  4. It is a good idea to make sure your sporran is weighted down
  5. Most importantly have fun and enjoy all the attention you will get!

Bonnie Prince Charlie

You might choose this outfit for any formal occasion including weddings and black tie dinners. At Scottish weddings it is very popular for the groom and all the male guests to wear a kilt. The Bonnie Prince Charlie is also often worn at graduation ceremonies for Scottish universities.

Day Wear Tweed

The Tweed jacket and kilt with matching colours is increasingly popular. The colours on this outfit are usually blues and greens perfectly matching the colours of the Scottish countryside. You don't need to have a formal occasion to attend when deciding to wear a kilt.

Casual and Fashion

There are loads of great kilt designs that have taken a modern twist on the kilt. The popularity of the kilt has increased as celebrities and fashion icons have been seen wearing kilts made in a variety of patterns and materials such as leather and cotton. This is a funky way to show your individuality!

Does your clan have its own tartan?

Find out on Ancestral Scotland

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