5 Important Things to Keep in Mind When Wearing a Kilt

Kilts, the national dress of Scotland, are a symbol of Scottish pride and are worn with deep respect. When most of us think of kilts we think of one thing, what does a Scot wear under his kilt? However, there is a lot more to wearing a kilt than knowing what goes underneath. How you wear a kilt will change depending on the formality of your event and the time of day. And then you need to know how to put it on correctly. And you can’t forget the rest of the highland dress to round out your outfit. Our guide will answer the five most important things you need to know when wearing a Kilt.

When To Wear A Scottish Kilt

Today most Scottish people will wear kilts primarily as part of formal dress, to events such as weddings. There are still some people who will wear a kilt daily, but this is not common. Kilts are associated with Scottish national pride and are commonly worn to traditional Scottish events such as the highland games and pipe band championships.

Kilts are also common at Scottish sporting events, where members of the tartan army will wear kilts along with a Scottish Jersey to rugby or football matches. Kilts are also common at Scottish country dances and ceilidhs.

You may be wondering if you need to be Scottish to wear a kilt. Generally, anyone can wear a kilt regardless of nationality.

What To Wear With A Scottish Kilt

For semi-formal events, kilts are usually worn with a dress shirt and a Prince Charlie or Argyll jacket. Formal events require white tie attire including a regulation doublet. A doublet is a jacket that is part of the traditional highland dress. For informal events a Ghillie or Jacobean shirt is worn.

A Sporran is a pouch that serves the same function as pockets on because kilts are pocketless. The sporran is made of either leather or fur, leather sporrans are for daytime events and fur are for evening events.

Kilts are worn with kilt hose. These are the long thick woolen socks that accompany a kilt.

The Sgian-Dubh

One of the most interesting elements of Scottish highland dress is a small knife called a sgian-dubh.  Today the sgian-dubh is worn for ornamental purposes but the tradition dates back to when the knife was used for eating and preparing food. The knife was also used for other general day-to-day uses such as cutting materials and protection.

When you wear a kilt the sgian-dubh is tucked into the kilt hose on the same side as the dominant hand. It is legal to wear the knife in Great Britain but on certain occasions, wooden or plastic alternatives are worn when it is not allowed, such as in an airport.

How to Wear A Kilt

The most important thing you need to know before putting on a kilt is how to wear it. To properly wear a kilt, the pleats should be in the back. And it should have the sporran on the front.

Also, make sure you are wearing the correct kilt. Men’s kilts are made out of heavy fabric and will come to the middle of the knee. The kilt is worn higher, sitting at the belly button.

What Do You Wear Under A Kilt?

Traditionally men wore nothing under their Scottish kilts. The kilt is made of thick wool which is more than enough to keep everything warm.

Today men are a little more modest with 55% of men saying they wear underwear. However, 38% of men still go commando. 7% will wear tights or shorts. At the end of the day what you wear under the kilt is unimportant and entirely your choice. However, you should know that most women polled by the Scottish government think nothing should be worn underneath.

Wearing A Kilt

Wearing a kilt can be an awesome cultural experience. Odds are if you are thinking about wearing a kilt it is because you are attending a Scottish event such as a wedding. The best advice we can give you is to embrace the kilt and have a great time. Now you have all you need to know about wearing a kilt it should be a breeze.

If you liked our guide to wearing a kilt check out the rest of our lifestyle blog.


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