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How to Wear a Scottish Dirk

Updated February 21, 2017

Originally used for warfare and the skinning of animals, the "sgian dearg" or dirk is a common accessory for Scottish attire. Though generally only applied for formal and ceremonial occasions, the method for wearing a Scottish dirk can be useful for even the most casual kilt-wearer.

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  1. Adorn your kilt and tartan accessories in traditional fashion by wrapping and fastening the pleats of the fabric with a belt. Position the apron of your kilt so the fabric falls to the centre of the knee while the belt rests firmly at your waist.

  2. Position the pleats of your kilt to the rear and strap the "sporran" at a three-finger's width below your waistcoat or belt. Gradually tighten and fasten straps in the back of your kilt. Finish with the kilt fabric, evenly draping your thighs and upper-knee area.

  3. Fold the "hose" of your kilt at two-to-three finger's width below the kneecap. Practice taking large steps to either side in order to test the flexibility of your kilt hose.

  4. Insert your dirk into the top of the right kilt hose, with only the top portion of the shaft remaining visible. Remember while most of the blade will be covered, many dirks feature decorations and the hilt and scabbard that are designed for one side to be viewed.

  5. Ensure the security of your dirk and kilt hose. Properly fastened and inserted, the blade and handle will be held firm by the fabric and stay in place during movement.

  6. Tip

    Be sure to gauge the formality of the event when choosing which dirk to wear. Today, the dirk is typically only seen during full dress affairs and commonly accompanied by a Montrose or Sherrifmuir jacket. Though often considered formal dress, it is generally recommended that you not wear a dirk with or fly plaid when wearing a "Prince Charlie" coat.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dirk of at least six inches in length
  • Traditional Scottish kilt and attire

About the Author

Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.

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