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Five top tips

For choosing

a kilt outfit

From denim kilts to sporrans with smartphone pockets, Scottish designers aren’t afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to our national dress. This blend of traditional techniques and heritage style, often with a modern twist, is as enchanting as ever, with celebrities clamouring to wear the kilt whenever they can. So, if you’re to be the leading man in a Scottish wedding story that’s coming soon, here’s how to rock your kilt.

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1. Rules were made to be broken.
When checking out kilts for our wedding, my husband encountered one or two uber-traditionalists along the way, who were adamant that a certain style of jacket or a particular sporran must be worn together. What they made of him – a Canadian with no Scottish heritage – wearing traditional Highland dress in the first place, we didn’t dare ask. Naturally, he rejected all of this “helpful advice” and wore exactly what he wanted on the day. Which is just as it should be.

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2. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.
As with the bridesmaids, there really is no need for the men in the wedding party to be all matchy matchy. One of the best things about Scottish weddings is seeing all the different colours of kilts – aka the tartan rainbow effect. Equally, if the thought of your group shots being less than symmetrical makes you shudder, or if your mates don’t own their own kilts, then by all means pick a matching outfit that you can hire for everyone. Just watch out for the rogue usher who pretends not to have received the memo and decides to wear his own family tartan anyway. There’s usually one…

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3. Invest wisely.
A kilt outfit is a big investment, and if you don’t see yourself wearing it all that often down the line, then hiring could be your best bet. Gone are the days of the ubiquitous Prince Charlie jacket (which with its short crop and long tails wasn’t the most flattering style for all figures). Now most quality kilt hire companies have a much greater range of tartans, and several styles of jacket to choose from.
However, if you want to wear your own clan tartan and it’s not widely available, or you love the idea of a hipster fit kilt with pockets – having a kilt outfit custom-made is your best bet. And while it won’t be cheap, choosing a kiltmaker who uses quality materials, teamed with traditional craftmanship, will help ensure that your kilt lasts a lifetime (the extra notches in the buckle will allow for a little leeway over the years, but it also serves as a highly effective weight-monitoring tool!).

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4. Check that it fits.
We have lost count of the number of times we’ve seen hire companies diligently take measurements, only to give out a completely over-sized jacket for the big day. We know it’s dull, but please, please, try on your whole outfit as soon as you pick it up, and make sure all the components are there. Rushing around, trying to find a missing pair of flashes on the morning of the wedding, when you should be enjoying a cheeky dram with the boys, is not the best way to start the big day. And when it comes to tying a bow-tie, practise makes perfect, but if you forgot to put in the hours, there’s always YouTube.

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5. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise.
Usually us girls get to have all the fun here, but this is the one time that you can really go for it gents, and put your individual stamp on your outfit. Always fancied owning a ginormous hairy sporran? We say do it, it’s your wedding day after all! Don’t forget that you can indulge your love of bling (or more understated horn finishes) with your choice of Sgian Dubh. And with the option of adding a belt, braces or even bespoke brogues, to the other staple accessories – flashes, ties/bow-ties, hose (socks), kiltpin, cufflinks, a nice watch/pocketwatch – there are so many ways to get your personality across. Just try not to outshine your bride, okay?
Got any questions about kilts – how to wear them? What to wear under them? Just holler, we’d be very happy to help! Christina x