Highland Attire

Highland Day Wear or Evening Dress.  Think of this as business suit or Black Tie.  The Kilt remains the same, but all the other parts are different. 

The Kilt is the beginning. Choose an 8-yard kilt of medium or heavy weight wool tartan.  Light weight material does not drape or hold a crease well.  

Look at all the options for tartan in your clan as there are modern, ancient, muted, hunting, etc.  There are tartans for different regions as well.  See the Tartan Finder at Lochcarron of Scotland.

The pleats on the back of the kilt are folded one of two ways: on the sett of the pattern or on the stripe of the pattern (military).  If you are not sure, do the sett as some patterns may not look great on the stripe.  A kilt pin can be any design you like. It is pinned to the front apron on the right but only the outer layer.  

For more on pleating options Google Kilt Pleating or see: 

Askival of Strathearn 

Day Wear



Belts with buckles are optional and often worn.  For Day wear black or brown.  I would not recommend wearing a belt with a waistcoat or vest.


The Sporran is your pocket.  It is simple leather and can also be an animal head.  This is worn with a sporran belt or chain.  A band sporran (long horse hair) is only used by pipe bands and the military.  

Sgian Dubh

Pronounced "Skeen Du" (black dagger), it is worn in the right stocking.  For day wear it is more casual as in a hunting knife.  The more eleborate dress sgian dubh can also be worn for day.  Be aware of local restrictions on carrying knives.


For day wear, the wool stockings are of a muted solid color complimenting your kilt.  The flashes or garter can be of tartan matching your kilt or a complimenting solid color.  


Jackets are short cut for the kilt and can be in various colors and are often heavy tweed. There are different designs for the cuffs and most often have stag horn buttons.  Frequently a matching vest is an option. When wearing a tie, it should not be a tartan matching the kilt.  

Shoes and Bonnets

Ghillie Brogues in black or brown or any foot wear appropriate for the weather are used. Bonnets of the military style Glengary or the Balmoral are optional.  

Evening Dress



The Plaid is the long flowing tartan that originally was part of the kilt. This should be made of the same material as the kilt.  It is worn over the left shoulder and attached with a brooch.  It is mostly worn with formal dress. This can be a Fly-Plaid (as shown in the photo) attached only at the shoulder or the more formal Belted-Plaid attached at the waist as well as shoulder.  


Dress sporrans are more fancy and usually fur with various embellishments.  An animal head may also be worn.  

Sgian Dubh and Dirk

The dress sgian dubh is black handled decorated with studs and often a jewel.  

A dirk is a short sword often worn with military dress suspended from a belt at the side.  

Be aware of local restrictions on carrying knives.


For evening wear, a custom tartan hose matching your kilt is the most elegant but also expensive. Sometimes ready-made tartan hose may be close to matching your kilt.  In the past white hose were in fashion (only for evening), but now the fashion is for black, navy or charcoal. Military diced hose can also be worn. They are in black and red or white and red.  


The most popular jacket is the Prince Charlie most often with a waistcoat or vest.  It is a tail coat with the tails shortened.  There are other doublets in different styles such as the Montrose, Kenmore and Sheriffmure.   


Black Ghillie Brogues are appropriate.  

Formal Jackets

Prince Charlie Coatee

Prince Charlie Coatee

Prince Charlie Coatee


This is the most common formal jacket often with matching waistcoat in black wool with silk lapel.  The Coatee can be in other colors or materials.  

Montrose Doublet

Prince Charlie Coatee

Prince Charlie Coatee


Often in black wool or velvet in various colors worn with a white lace jabot. Lace cuffs are an option.

Kenmore Doublet

Sheriffmuir Doublet

Sheriffmuir Doublet


Often in velvet of various colors worn with a white lace jabot.

Sheriffmuir Doublet

Sheriffmuir Doublet

Sheriffmuir Doublet


Often in velvet of various colors worn with  white lace jabot.



The method of wearing sashes or light scarves had customary significance even two centuries ago, and although the wearing of sashes in any particular manner is of no significance these days, ladies may feel more comfortable knowing that tradition is being observed.

All the following suggestions are based on a study of old portraits, prints and traditional practice and approved by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.  



The sash is worn over the right shoulder and is secured by a pin or brooch on the shoulder.



The wife of a clan chief or the wife of a Colonel of a Scottish Regiment would wear a slightly wider sash over her left shoulder and secured with a pin or brooch on the left shoulder.


Ladies Married Out of their Clan but Who Wish to Wear their Original Clan Tartan

The sash is usually longer  and is worn over the right shoulder secured with a pin or brooch often with a large bow at the left hip.


Scottish Country Dancers or Ladies Wishing to Keep the Front of the Dress Clear

Often worn by Scottish country dancers or ladies wishing to keep the front of her dress clear of the sash as in when wearing decorations of a chivalric order. This style is very similar to a man's belted plaid.  It is buttoned at the back of the waist or held by a small belt and is secured at the right shoulder by a pin or small brooch so that the ends fall backward from the right shoulder and swing at the back of the right arm.