Proper Way to Wear a Kilt

Updated April 17, 2017

Dressing yourself in a kilt of true-Scottish fashion can be an expensive and difficult process for first-time wearers. That's why it pays off to do some research beforehand about what type of cloth you purchase for your kilt, and in what way you would like it to be stitched. Kilts can range in price from 100-dollars to 500, depending on the amount of cloth used, as well as the style in which it was made (Reference 1).

What You Need to Get Started

Kilts cannot be worn alone, but rather require a wide range of accessories to get the full effect. Some of the most basic accessories are the kilt hose, garter flashes, sporran and a simple white shirt. A kilt pin can also be worn to ensure that your kilt doesn't fly up on a windy day, along with a kilt belt that can be used in conjunction with the sporran. Refer to the Accessories section below for specific information on each of these items.

Putting it on

When putting on your kilt, remember that the pleats are worn in the back. Close the kilt by taking the right side apron through the left buckle hole and adhering it to the left buckle. Similarly, fasten the left apron to the right, with the fringed edge and kilt pin on the right. Be sure that both aprons are aligned at the top and that the kilt is properly centred, and for added security, fasten a kilt pin to the right corner of the kilt to hold the folds in place. Your kilt should fall to the centre of your knee, and sit at your natural waist.

The Basic Accessories

While many kilt-wearers dress their feet in Teva sandals or knee-length Doc Martin boots, the more proper Scottish men wear knee-length socks--called kilt hose--with a pair of standard black shoes. Kilt hose are the least expensive part of the outfit, and often are solid in colour and made at least partially of wool.

Garter flashes are the coloured ribbons that attach to elastic garters and fasten under the knee. Their purpose is to help keep the kilt hose from falling down. Garter flashes are the modern variety of garter ties that were used before the advent of elastic. You will need to choose a set of flashes that match your kilt.

A sporran is the Gaelic word for pouch, or purse. Even the most modern kilts do not come with pockets, and so purchasing a sporran that fits with the look is necessary if you want to be able to hold onto anything. A kilt belt can also be used to hold the sporran in place.

Any simple solid-coloured shirt is appropriate to wear with your kilt: button-down, polo, T-shirt - as long as it blends well with the rest of your gear. White is typically a safe bet.

The Attitude

It has been said that "You're not a real Scot unless you're bare under your kilt." Traditionally, nothing was worn under the kilt unless dancing was involved or you were in a public-access parade. That requirement has apparently changed in modern times, and kilt-wearers now have a choice when it comes to underwear. But if you choose to play it safe and opt for boxers or briefs, remember to turn up your self-confidence and aggressiveness a notch to compensate.

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