If the big day is your first foray into wearing a kilt, you’ll be full of questions. McCalls has shared the most common quandaries grooms have
This article contains paid-for content created in collaboration with McCalls
“How far in advance do I need to order a kilt?”
We always recommend you sort out your kilt a few months in advance of your wedding. This not only ensures you get the exact items you are looking for, but also gives plenty of time to try on, and in the worst-case scenario, exchange items or be remeasured.
If you are planning to lose a lot of weight, we would recommend waiting as long as possible before being measured – there may be an alteration charge depending on how much work needs to be done if there is a significant change between measuring and collection.
Children are trickier; we recommend booking as early as possible, but that they also come back for a re-fit two weeks prior to the big day. Sizes can change rapidly in our smaller customers.
“What is a sporran/kilt pin/sgian dubh/flashes for?”
The accoutrements of a Highlandwear outfit can often leave some baffled. However, all serve a purpose:
A pouch made of fur or leather that performs the same function as pockets. Useful for holding your wallet, keys and handkerchiefs for those emotional moments!
It’s worn on a strap or chain and sits in front of the groin. When dancing the sporran can be turned around the waist to let it hang on the hip in a more casual position.
A decorative piece of jewellery worn on the right-hand side of the kilt. It is pinned through the front apron about four inches from the bottom of the kilt and two inches in from the fringe.
It is not used to hold the two pieces of cloth together to protect your modesty as some would claim.
Sgian Dubh (pronounced skee-en-doo)
Derived from the Gaelic for ‘black knife’, the sgian dubh is a small knife tucked into the top of the kilt hose with only the upper portion of the hilt visible. It is normally worn on the same side as the dominant hand.
Short strips of fabric, usually matching the tartan of the kilt, that hang down from the folds in the kilt hose. They are a decorative garter that used to help hold the hose up.
“Do I have the right to wear a kilt?”
Kilts can be worn by anyone in the world, regardless of nationality or descent, and there is no law to say you can only wear your family tartan.
Many tartans are considered universal that anyone can wear. Over the past few decades, a considerable number of ‘general’ tartans have come onto the market, designed for widespread appeal with no particular identity in mind – McCalls’ own Pride of Scotland collection is one example of this.
Of course, there is nothing to stop you choosing almost any tartan you like. There’s no tartan police that will prevent you from picking a pattern simply because you like it! Perhaps it ties in with your wedding colour scheme, or even it’s the tartan of your university or football team – the choice is entirely down to your preference.
“How do I tie the ghillie brogue shoes?”
Over the years we’ve seen a variety of weird and wonderful ways to lace up brogues. However, round the houses and halfway up your thigh is certainly not the way to go. In fact, it’s a lot simpler than some make it look.
To tie the laces, start by crossing the two laces as usual and pull tight. Twist the laces four to six times, then pull tight again to produce a vertical thong about one inch long. Pass the laces round behind your ankle and tie at the front with the remaining lace and tassel left to dangle.
And why are the laces so long? They are derived from the days of old when long strips of cloth were used to bind the leather to your feet – thank us after your next pub quiz.
“What is worn beneath the kilt?”
The answer to this eternal question is… whatever you like!
Many kilt wearers do like to go ‘true Scot’, which is fine if you prefer the feeling of freedom, just be careful not to show too much whilst dancing.
But it is also equally traditional to don underwear (tartan boxers are available), especially in very active or windswept circumstances, or when wearing a kilt hire – for obvious hygiene reasons.
Have a good answer ready for when asked what is worn beneath the kilt: “my brogues, socks and flashes, of course!”