Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire groomswear: expert advice from the area’s Highlandwear specialists

From local tartans to treasure troves of keepsakes, Aberdeenshire’s groomswear specialists have a lot to offer, discovers Amy Shearer 

Kilt outfits from Mitchell Scott
Ordering a made-to-measure kilt outfit from Mitchell Scott is an investment that will last a lifetime (Right photo: By Rhea Photography)

Hard to believe it, but there was a time in Scotland’s history when the wearing of tartan was banned. If you were getting married a couple of centuries ago, wearing a kilt as you exchanged vows could have got you six months in jail – or worse. The Dress Act of 1746, brought in to quash the Jacobites, outlawed kilts, plaids and anything that could be construed as Highlandwear.

Thankfully for kilt lovers, the ban was lifted in 1782; tartan made a triumphant return and has been the emblem of Scotland worldwide ever since. If you fancy adding some romance and tradition to your outfit, we’ve got tips from Aberdeenshire’s Highlandwear experts on the right way to do it.

Kilt outfits from Georgian Dress Hire
Choosing the outfit for you is easy with the help of the experts at Georgian Dress Hire

Aberdeenshire tartan options

Georgian Dress Hire has been helping the men of Aberdeenshire and beyond look their best for decades. When owner David Stephen took over in 1984, the shop stocked just 30 kilts – now it has close to 1,000. “Times have changed, and owning or hiring a kilt is now the thing to do,” David tells us. “As for how to pick a tartan, you can either look at what’s affiliated with your clan or with your mother’s surname. Highlandwear and tradition go hand in hand, so if you do invest in your own kilt, you can be sure that it will always be wearable. Plus, we offer a free cleaning and pressing service for our customers too.”

Grooms can also choose from affiliated Aberdeenshire clan and district tartans if something catches their eye. The Clan Gordon tartan, with its black, blue, green and yellow scheme, is perhaps one of the oldest, and remains a popular choice. If you’re a footie fan, Aberdeen FC even has its own tartan (and yes, it has a fair bit of red in it)!

Grooms' kilt pin and hip flask from McCalls
Left: A kilt pin from McCalls would make a lovely groomsman gift; Right: A McCalls hip flask will be cherished long after your special day

Aberdeen groomsmen wedding gifts

The average wedding is done and dusted in a single day of celebrations, but we all know there’s far more to it than that. Usually you’ll have a few people who’ve been with you (and kept you sane) every step of the journey – the pal who organised your stag do, say, or the best man who has perhaps flown in from halfway across the world. So it’s nice to give a token of appreciation to the people who have helped bring your special day together. Highlandwear specialist McCalls has you covered with its extensive selection of keepsakes and small gifts which can serve as lasting mementos of such an important moment in time.

“The morning of your wedding can be quite stressful, but gathering the special men in your life and showing them your appreciation can be a beautiful moment to share together,” says Simone Waters at McCalls. “It is up to you if, how and when you want to do this, but we often see grooms giving a little keepsake on the morning of their wedding.”

Choosing a present that can be used again is a popular idea. “Perhaps if your groomsmen are wearing a kilt made from one of our Pride of Scotland tartans, a good gift would be a matching hip flask – these always come in handy on a wedding day!” suggests Simone. “Kilt pins, pocket watches or Highland­wear accessories that can be used on your day and again at future weddings are a great idea too.”

Interior of Mitchell Scott shop and tartan selection from Georgian Dress Hire
Left: Build your dream Highlandwear look at Mitchell Scott; Right: Georgian Dress Hire has hundreds of tartans to choose from

Made to measure kilt outfit in Aberdeenshire

What you wear on your big day really matters: when all eyes are on you, you’ll want to be sure you feel confident and comfortable. The option is there simply to hire a kilt outfit, but if you’d rather buy your own (so you can wear it again and always be reminded of the best day of your life!), you could try Mitchell Scott’s bespoke ‘made to measure’ service.

“This service allows every stage of the process to be personalised,” says the Inverurie firm’s Darren Eggie. “That includes the linings of the jacket and waistcoat, the button styling and configuration, having personal text underneath the collar and even personal embossing on the back of the sporran.”

Good-quality Highlandwear is an investment, says Darren, but you’ll have it for the rest of your life: “The outfit can be styled in all sorts of ways. If you take the kilt and jacket as the centrepieces, all of the accessories can be changed to create different formats of the outfit depending on the occasion. Something as simple as changing the colour of shoes can give it a whole new look.”

Pocket watch from McCalls and kilt outfits from Georgian Dress Hire
Left: This pocket watch from McCalls can be engraved with a personal statement, turning it into an heirloom that can be passed down the generations; Right: Georgian Dress Hire displays a small selection of the High­land­wear options available

See even more of this season’s slickest groomswear looks here