How To Wear A Kilt

If you have never seen a kilt, there are probably a lot of other questions that come with how to wear a kilt. Do the pleats go in the front or the back? Does the sporran sit on your hip or should it hang from the front or back? Should I tuck my sgian dubh into my sporran, my belt, or my socks? What the hell is a sgian dubh, how do you pronounce that (pronounced sgain do), and; while we are at it, what is a sporran?

Outlander character Jaime Fraser wearing a kilt to pitch hay.
Wearing a kilt right is important–regardless the task at hand.

Time needed: 15 minutes

A kilt is easy to wear the wrong way and you do not want to be that guy who does not know how to wear a kilt. Whether you have bought a kilt for your big day or are wearing a kilt to pitch some hay, we want to make sure you look your best so here is a detailed step-by-step instruction on how to wear a kilt:

  1. Put on underwear (Optional?)

    If you own the kilt you are cleared hot to go commando; if you do not own the kilt, aka you rented/borrowed it, then boxer/briefs are mandatory–that’s a direct order. If you are going commando and have an answer for people who are going to ask what is worn under a kilt feel free to comment in the comment sections below (please keep it PG-13).

  2. Put on your socks

    You are free to wear any socks you like: ankle socks, pineapple patterned socks, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous–pantyhose. At formal occasions knee-high socks are traditionally worn with flashes.

  3. Put on matching flashes

    Flashes should be made of the same tartan to help unite a kilt outfit or of a single solid color present in the kilt to tone down out the plaid. They are worn two inches below the top of the sock and then the wearer folds over the top of the sock to both hide the flash band and to help keep the socks up.

  4. Put on your shoes

    As with socks, shoes worn with kilts can vary, but traditionally Ghillie Brogues are worn with kilts. These shoes have long laces and can be tied in a variety of ways, but the key is that they are tightly fastened and the laces are not touching the floor.

  5. Put on your shirt (Also Optional)

    A kilt is wonderful because it can be dressed up and dressed down. The formality of the kilt is the formality of the shirt. For the gentlemanly look you’ll want a tuxedo shirt and a Prince Charles jacket. For a more rugged Highland warrior look you can opt for a tight t-shirt or even take a leaf out of William Wallace’s book and merely adorn your upper half with paint.

  6. Put on the kilt

    Hold the kilt like you would a towel after a shower: pleats at the back, the single strap in your right hand, and the double straps in your left hand. Next, draw your right hand across your torso and slip the single strap through the hole on your left hip and fasten the strap through the buckle. Finally, bring your left hand side across your torso and fasten the two straps through the two buckles and your right hip. A kilt is usually worn around the waist in line with your belly button but some may prefer to wear a kilt on the hips instead.

  7. Put on your belt

    Typically there are 2-4 belt loops around the top of the kilt. Thread the belt through your belt loops like any standard pair of pants, buckle at the center of the front.

  8. Put on your sporran (that little fanny-pack looking thing)

    The sporran is thread through the belt loops and hangs roughly one hand’s width below the belt, centered at the front.

  9. Complement with kilt accessories:

    A Balmoral Bonnet or a Glengarry Bonnet, a sgain dubh or a ceremonial mace, or perhaps a nice plaid. No idea what we are talking about? Check out a page of kilt accessories! Or enter your information into the What’s My Tartan tool to see which accessories are sold in your family’s tartan.

We would love to hear your feedback on how to wear a kilt outfit! Please comment below, like this post, or share with your friends on social media.