How to Wear a Full Formal Kilt Outfit with All Accessories
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How to Wear a Full Formal Kilt Outfit with All Accessories

August 20, 2019

(Text on screen): How to Wear Traditional Highland Dress, by Dr. Nick Fiddes, Governor, Scottish Tartans Authority Dr. Nick Fiddes: Welcome to Scotweb’s guide to wearing traditional Highland dress. In the next few minutes, I’ll show you how to put on this full formal Prince Charlie outfit with a few personal tips and tricks as we go along. We’ll do it in this order, which I find works best. Dr. Nick Fiddes: So, without further ado, let’s get your socks on, or, as we call them with a kilt, your hose. I find it most convenient to get my footwear on before my kilt. So, pull on your hose. We’ll adjust them after we’ve put on the flashes next. Fitting the flashes now, means that your hose will be sitting just perfectly when you’re lacing up your brogues. And here’s a tip, by the way, keep tartan flashes with the kilt they match. As well as adding an attractive dash of color, flashes are basically a form of garter, so if yours arrive separately, just thread the garters through the loops, two to each side and the sewn edges inward. Now, clip each garter around your calf, a few inches from the top of the hose. You’ll be folding the sock top over, leaving about half the flashes showing. You can wear them facing to the front, as I prefer to, or on the outside, like our model here. Either is fine. Then just smooth it all down with the flashes pointing downwards, and we’re done. So, now you’re ready to put on your ghillie brogues. Lacing up ghillie brogues is much simpler than it may first look; in fact there are several ways to tie ghillies, so I’m going to show you three of the most popular. First, the one I normally recommend: the high front tie. Firstly, pull your shoelaces tight to check they’re the same length. Insert half a knot for tension, then immediately twist laces, one, two, three times. Then pull them tight. Now take them behind, just above the ankle bone and back to the front to cross in the middle. Moving up the calf, cross behind again and up to the front, and, here, some people will put in a bow, but I think all you need is a simple reef, or granny, knot to fasten it off, and, finally, make any last minute adjustments, just to make sure that the knots and the crosses are nice and central and the laces are hanging straight downwards, and then you’re done. The side-tie is very similar, but knotted on the outside of the calf. The first few stages here are the same. It’s only when you come to tie the final knot that you’ll do it at the side, rather than the front, and, this time, you probably will want to tie a shoelace bow, so that you can ensure the tassels hang to the same length. Again, a few final adjustments to ensure everything is neat and straight, and we’re done. And last but not least, I’m going to show you the low-tie, and this one, again, starts exactly the same: Draw up your shoes and twist the laces three times, but this time cross the laces behind, just above the ankle bone, then bring them round to the front again, and then just a fraction higher, again, round to the back and back to the front, and, here, I would recommend a standard shoelace bow, making sure the tassels are hanging straight downwards evenly, and, if you like to double-knot your bows, that’s absolutely fine. So that’s the low-tie. Now you have three choices of how to tie your ghillie brogues. That’s the tricky bit done, now on to the main event, your kilt. First, notice the extra-long four-clip hanger that Scotweb’s designed for the purpose, and we recommend and include with all our kilt outfits. There’s really no better way of storing your kilt. First, just give it a wee shake to release any creases. Now, open the kilt fully behind you with the lining towards you. Then, take the strap in your right hand over to your left hip where you’ll find a small slit in the lining for the strap to go through. Now, pull this strap through from the outside and fasten it to the buckle you’ll find there. Select a hole on the strap that is tight enough to take the whole weight of the kilt on your body, but still loose enough for you to breathe comfortably. Check you can easily get a couple of thumbs inside the waistband, and make sure the length is as you’ve measured. It should hang no lower than about mid-knee. Now we’ll do the straps on your right hand hip. You’ll want to do the top strap first, as this, again, is taking some of the weight of the kilt on your body, so loose enough to be comfortable, but tight enough to be secure. Wait, before the bottom strap, which is mostly decorative, give yourself a final adjustment, just to make sure everything is sitting comfortably, and now you can do the bottom strap. Tighten it just enough that the apron is falling nice and straight, neither too loose nor too tight. Then, take a good final look over how it’s all sitting. Check that the apron is lying flat, and you’ve got a good A-shape to it. If you need to, you can rotate the kilt a little, to ensure the set of the tartan’s lines are central and symmetrical as your kilt-maker intended. And, there you have it, a perfectly hanging kilt to be proud of. So, it’s on to the finishing touches, starting with the sporran. As we’re wearing formal dress today, with a Prince Charlie jacket and vest, we’ll choose an impressive full-dress sporran. If your chain strap isn’t already attached to the sporran, just clip it through these little hoops in the back. Now, there are a couple of ways of putting a sporran on, and I’m mostly going to show you the easy way. Stretch the chain strap behind, so that the sporran sits over your abdomen. Then swivel the whole thing around to bring the buckle to the front. That makes it much easier to do up. And, remember to tuck the end of the strap into the little leather loop. Then you just bring your sporran back round to the front and, hey, presto, it should be perfectly positioned. And here’s a wee tip: hooking the chain strap over the buckle can be a wee bit more comfortable. And, finally, here’s probably the proper way, but I’m not really sure it matters, there should be a couple of fabric belt loops on the back of the kilt that you can put the ends of the chain straps through before fastening. With an expert kilt-maker, these fabric loops may, in fact, be quite hard at first to spot. They’ll be so well camouflaged against the tartan set beneath. This probably keeps the sporran in place slightly better, but it’s easiest if you’re either very dexterous or perhaps have somebody to help you. So, either way, now you have your sporran on, and we’re nearly there. Your favourite kilt pin is the next touch. Kilt pins are available in a huge variety of styles, including clan crest, emblem, and contemporary designs. Here, I’m choosing a simple thistle emblem. This complements the thistle of the cantle of the sporran we chose earlier. You should pin your kilt pin through the front apron only to prevent stresses and tears. Pin it, perhaps, four inches up from the bottom hem, and about two inches in from the side, and don’t forget to turn the little retainer clip after you’ve pinned it in position. As well as being decorative, the kilt pin’s weight helps prevent the kilt apron from flapping and will help preserve your modesty when you sit down. The last main piece of this formal evening outfit is the Prince Charlie jacket and matching waistcoat, or vest.
I’m sure you can manage this part without needing help from me, but remember there should be a strap on the back of the vest to adjust if it’s a little too loose or too tight. There, now just pull it down in front and back, to make sure it’s sitting perfectly, and add the jacket. This formal eveningwear Prince Charlie jacket, by the way, is always worn with a matching vest. When you wear a less formal outfit, such as that based on the argyle jacket, for example, then the waistcoat would be optional and purely a matter of taste, but when buying a Prince Charlie, get the vest as a pair, to ensure the barathea will match perfectly. So, one final wee check, and we’re almost ready. But, wait, there’s one final finishing touch. Don’t forget your sgian dubh. This little knife goes in your right sock, if you’re right-handed, and, again, I’ve chosen a thistle design to match my other accessories. So, push it down just enough to leave the handle showing. And then we’re done, dressed to impress in a perfectly fitting Prince Charlie Highland dress outfit. Have a great night. (Text on screen): More videos at, more ‘how to wear’ demos, measuring guides, outfits for men and women. Add, remove, or change items in any outfit. We’ll produce the perfect package for you. The first firm to market kilts online, in 1995. Trust Scotweb’s unrivalled expertise & experience. Choose from over 6000 tartans! Scotweb is proud to offer: Manley Richardson, prestige kilts of distinction; Balmoral Kilts, Scotland’s leading authentic kiltmaker; Top Value Range, quality kiltmaking in budget fabrics. Visit us today!

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  1. @Penfold8 Scots men come in all sizes. Attend a Scottish Gathering anywhere around the world, trust me, they do come in all sizes. If you've got a bit of size, be assured, your not the only one.

  2. @TartanKiltsByScotweb That's true; I have Scottish ancestry, but my husband is Mexican/Spanish descent. After coming to a Highland Games w/ me, he became fascinated w/ Scottish culture, and wanted a kilt in my family tartan, which he has actually worn out on several occasions!

  3. I have a question. I am going to a wedding this weekend where the grooms family is Scottish and the brides family is English. The wedding is in wales and My father gave me the option to wear a kilt if there is one available. I am English but my mothers side is Scottish. I am part of the brides family, (Nephew), and I was wondering if it would be okay to wear one? would it be offensive to anyone?

  4. i wear the kilt a lot and never wore underwear but today i was at a wedding and when i was going out of the car a guy took a few pictures of underneath. i want to know what underwear should i wear underneath or should i wear underwear a t all.

  5. Hi, I am a student from China. May I have two questions: 1. Is it necessary to prepare a pair of brogues to wear a kilt? Can I use a pair of common one? 2. I don't know if it is legal to have a Sgian Dubh in China because it looks so like a dagger, is it necessary to have it attached in socks? If not, I will not consider to buy one because I might have troubles when passing the Chinese custom. Could you give me some suggestion. Thank you vey much.

  6. Strictly speaking, the kilt was originally an OVER-garment which doubled as the Highlander's bedding so what it went on top of was not UNDERwear. Around 1580 when the early form of kilt was invented, the Highlander would have been wearing mid-thigh shorts ("femoralia simplicissima") and that's what the kilt went on top of.
    Might be better if the demonstrator tucked in his shirt-tails.

  7. I play in a pipe band and am getting fitted with a kilt, but I was just wanted to know one thing. I know a kilt has be be mid knee length wise, but how far above your waist should a kilt sit?

  8. Wear what you think is cooler man, my Father is a Bruce but I wear my mothers tartan as she is descended from the Gunn clan which I over all prefer the look of, I couldn’t really pick based on history as both have extremely rich history.

  9. If you want to wear one wear one man, I’m Scottish so I will always wear one with pride, If I was born in America I would do the same as should you, if you so which It.

  10. I'm attending a wedding in Florida and I was wondering if this outfit gets hot in the Florida weather. Also is the knife required because we're flying there.

  11. My husband is of Spanish descent, and he enjoys wearing his kilt which is in my family tartan! Not everyday, but for Highland Games and on Tartan Day! Plus there are a number of tartans not associated w/ a specific clan that anyone could wear. 🙂

  12. The height of the kilt is optional. Most people prefer it to be level with your bottom ribs so you'll still see the kilt if you wave your arms whilst dancing. Traditionally, the hem sits 2-3 inches above the kneecap, but it's alo acceptable for it to be just above the knee, on the top of the knee or mid-knee. The bottom of the knee is the LOWEST of the LOW…NO LOWER THAN THAT!
    If you want to be a true Scot, however *heh!*. Let's just say it doesn't matter if your k-nix get lost or stolen. ;D

  13. You may've already attended said wedding, but if not, here goes. As a Florida resident and a kilt wearer, I can say that every outfit will get hot during the day. That's just the way it is. It's very humid down here. However, it's also fairly breezy most of the year and the wear of a kilt is very comfortable and in my opinion cooler (temp-wise) than pants. Enjoy the wedding and your trip.

  14. This is quite a production. I appreciate the posting of this video. My daughter's wedding is tomorrow and this is quite helpful.

  15. This is a wonderful video for a formal kilt outfit, but what about other videos that show people pleating yards of tartan to form their own kilts? When would those kilts be worn?

  16. Do you sell the wood kilthangers as in the video? Trying to find one is like looking for a unicorn. Any help would be appreciated.

  17. Found it. Fantastic. I'll be placing an order soon. Another question if you don't mind….The Kilt Roll…How does that affect the pleating if the kilt is rolled up for an extended period of time? The kilt featured in the Kuxury Deerskin Kilt Roll is exactly as my own: Hunting MacIntosh, yes? My blood pressure thanks you for the pointer 😉

  18. Not everyone in Scotland (or elsewhere) agrees with the sentiment that anybody can and should be free to wear any kilt of their choosing. Using the Cowboy analogy of denim isn't particularly appropriate since people never wore Family denims, or had denims designed and worn for Clan or family name. To some, it feels like an outsider putting on your family clothes. My point is merely, there are no absolutes concerning Kilt etiquette, you take it as you find it but don't assume everyone agrees.

  19. I absolutely understand/respect your reading of Kilt etiquette, I certainly don't force my own interpretation on others. I am somewhere in between on the question. I have a problem with the crass commercialization of Tartan and I do think something is lost if we just give it away to all and sundry without respect to inherent traditions. Tartan should be worn with more reverence than denim, it is sacred stuff and culturally specific. The world is a cultural McDonalds, Tartan means more to some.

  20. I see you didn't allow my previous response to your last, a shame. We might have had an intelligent discussion on the subject giving voice to both sides of the argument. I'll say it more simply this time then. I have no problem with Septs/people of Scottish heritage wearing Tartan. The crass commercialization of Tartan with no respect to culture and tradition is the problem – there any many who should know better and do more to protect it from a fate worse than a McDonalds in every high st.

  21. Respectfully, the traditions of individual cultures, belong to those cultures, not anybody who drops by. Aboriginal culture belongs to Aboriginals, as do the traditions of the Native Americans. The living culture of Tartan belongs to the people of that culture – not just anybody who wants to wear it. That is where we differ. I respect your views however and I do enjoy your channel immensely.

  22. excellent video – you probably have answered this but what tartan is this? (looks like royal Macdonald). I wear Macdonald and Black Watch (family connections) BUT in response to some comments, ANYONE can wear a kilt – Stewart tartan can be worn by all (check out military pipers tartan if you want to see it).

  23. great video. Love the comment that an aussie is trying to tell a scotsman about tartan. I was led to believe that a lot for the tartan myth was created by Victorian Englishmen. I own two kilts of different tartans and wear them whenever I want/can. There is always a great deal of interest (especially from ladies of a certain age). I am english & have welsh and irish ancestory and my father was in the Argyll's. I was named after his friend. I say thanks for the kilt, wear with pride

  24. great video. Love the comment that an aussie is trying to tell a scotsman about tartan. I was led to believe that a lot of the tartan myth was created by Victorian Englishmen. I own two kilts of different tartans and wear them whenever I want/can. There is always a great deal of interest (especially from ladies of a certain age). I am english & have welsh and irish ancestory and my father was in the Argyll's. I was named after his friend. I say thanks for the kilt, wear with pride

  25. Okay about the sporran when getting a dress sporran do you want to match it with your socks like you would a belt in other dress wear? Or is it personal preference?

  26. I thank ye for posting this! I am seriously considering a purchase of Highland wear. Though I will probably have to purchase a bit at a time. What would be the estimated cost for a full set?

  27. I own a kilt and am quite happy with it; but there is one problem. I have a disability in fine-motor coordination so the ghillie brogues would be quite a problem. Is there any alternative for footwear?

  28. I live in the states my mothers maiden name is Buchanan, and I have been sporting the ancient Buchanan tartan for a while now. My father is loosely connected to clan Muir, and I can imagine I will sport that Tartan once I have the funds to do so. In my case my mothers side of the family is all most purely descended of Scottish ancestry (with dabbles of Scandinavian). Where as my dads side has a mix of Scottish, Welsh, and Anglo ancestry. So I delved into the side i was more interested in.

  29. Hello. I'm a Miller descended from the Miller's of Monk Castle in Ayrshire. If I were to purchase a kilt what tartan would be appropriate?

  30. Hey Im apart of the Scott clan, who are unfortunately descendants of John Baliol the LAst cruel scottish king. Can u teel me if my family was cast our because of their blood?

  31. I'm Mexican and wear a Royal Stewart Kilt
    People here is amazed and love it
    Thanks Scotland for giving kilts to humankind

  32. No such thing as kilt and weird.
    Kilt and badass, yes.
    You have permission from a Scot to wear a kilt.
    Go and be badass!

  33. I completely enjoyed this video. This was an education for me. I was, until now, largely unaware of the intricacies of dressing in such an ensemble (twisting the ties 3x, for example, & all the various buckles involved), & I was unaware of some of the names of the various pieces &/or their spelling. I really did learn a great deal.
    I also found this video quite titillating. I find kilts very attractive, particularly when such great care and respect is given to their wear. :))
    Thank you!

  34. i always assumd a kilt pin was intended to connect the apron to the under layer of fabric, so your tartan would appear squarely symmetrical. oops

  35. This might sound mean, but I think that men who wear kilts are so adorable. It makes me want to hug them….Also they look good for easy access. 😉

  36. 1. Thanks for the information, now I know how to use the kilt pin correctly. 2. Are leather and fur sporrans worn in different settings? Or are either acceptable for formal wear?

  37. so now the great mystery of what is worn beneath the kilt has been solved 🙂  btw, I have a friend who served in the Black Watch in Germany….he told me he jumped down from a truck and his kilt ended up down at his ankles…thanks for this video.

  38. Great video very informative, just come back from the Highlands and shall return next year fully Kilted. Representing the Gordon Clan.

  39. Well Sr. I just found out that youtube has everything, I'm just a curious Mexican that wanted to learn about the kilt, and there it is  

  40. Just found this video – love it, love the voice, love the legs! Men in kilts look fabulous and wouldn't our world be a much brighter place if more men wore them. They look grand when worn formally or casually and yes, very sexy! Thank you so much for the video!

  41. If you know the meaning of the tartans plaids,you can tell what part of Scotland the Scotsmen come from,what family they belong to,and how important they are…

  42. Two things I do differently: 1. Regulation doublet – the flaps make a more pleasing to the eye, less abrupt transition from jacket to kilt and add a bit of elegance, 2. Lay down collar formal shirt and I tie my own bow tie. Just my humble opinion, but PCs, wing collar, and clip on tie look rented and/or amateurish. Same with a dinner suit (aka tuxedo)
    The regulation doublet also has the advantage of being proper for white tie events (in which situation an wing collar is required)

  43. I'm not a Scott, but I am almost half Irish. Would Irish dress be somewhat smiliar? I'm attending a friends wedding soon, and he's part Irish as well and he amf his groomsmen will be dressing accordingly. Can you point me to the right direction if it would be different. Thanks!

  44. if a kilt is supposed to dangle no lower than the knees, how would i go about this being a man of 29" legs?

  45. hi thanks for demo going to wedding on fri. 1st time kilt wearer, looks easy when you see it done.  John Nolan

  46. Our family is Napier with its own tartan and we were under clan MacFarlane. Can you go into detail on tartans and meanings? Should I have a kilt made with clan MacFarnlane's tartan or my family's tartan?

  47. It's so funny how uncoordinated and gangly you feel when you don the kilt for the first time, but after a while it's practically as easy to put on as a pair of trousers.

  48. I may be totally incorrect, but my understanding is that since one of my great-grandparents was a McDonald, I have the right to wear the McDonald tartan. Which leaves my son out in the cold, but …….

  49. I've seen people wearing belts while wearing their kilts and was wondering if this is normal. Also when would a sash or a fly plaid be worn?

  50. if you want you can put your sgian dubh in your left leg if you are right handed,this is why your bride walkes on the the left its so your sword or sgian dubh can be drawn

  51. How do Scots feel when then they see an American wearing a kilt? Would he/she be offended because the American is not Scottish and has no business in a kilt or would they feel that the American in a kilt is showing respect?

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