Where to buy a kilt? Online vs In Person

In the 1800s, if you wanted to buy a kilt in Scotland you would talk to your local kilt maker. Unfortunately, very rare is the person today that has “a local kilt maker”. That is why “where to buy a kilt?” is one of the most commonly searched questions about kilts. The short answer is that you can buy a kilt online or in person at a local shop or festival.

There are a variety of kilt stores that sell custom made-to-measure kilts in either acrylic or wool. These online stores sometimes also have a physical storefront that you can visit to buy their products. There are also a variety of travelling kilt vendors that typically have booths at your local Celtic festival or Scottish Highland Games. Because kilts are niche products, people often overlook certain considerations about buying a kilt from these two different sources. The division between online and in person may not be perfect. Buying a kilt at a kilt store that allows customers to order a custom kilt might more closely resemble ordering a kilt online, so apply the considerations that best fit your situation. Read below to see which option is best for you.

Buying a Kilt Online

Atlanta Kilts was one of the earliest online stores that rented and sold kilts in the USA. However, now there are a variety of options for buying a kilt online. It is important to buy a kilt from a store that specializes in selling kilts. General e-commerce platforms usually sell cheap kilts that fit poorly and degrade quickly, so we always recommend buying a kilt from experienced kilt vendors. Here are some reasons you should consider letting the kilt come to you:

Image of someone shopping for kilts online

Pros of Buying a Kilt Online:

  • Wider array of tartan and fabric options – Most online stores are able to sell hundreds if not thousands of tartan and fabric options. This diversity allows you to choose which tartan is most meaningful to you. Plus, tartans come in a wide variety of color and fabric options. TheTartanKilt is proud to offer the “What’s My Tartan?” application to explore your tartan connection, and articles on “Acrylic vs. Wool” and “Which Tartan Should I Wear?“. Kilt booths at Celtic festivals will likely only carry dozens of tartans and limited fabric selections. Even permanent Scottish shops will feature fewer tartans than many online selections.
  • Custom made-to-measure – How the kilt fits is the most important attribute of a kilt. Unlike pants, kilts do not have standard sizes. Belts also often serve more as a decoration than to help hold the kilt up. A well-fitting kilt is therefore very important. A good online store will make kilts to your specific measurements rather than offer standard sizing.
  • Budget-friendly option – Online stores know that each customer can easily shop around and compare prices. That means you will get the most competitively priced kilts from online stores.
  • Higher quality – Similar to the point above, online kilt stores know that comparison between online products is easy, and reviews are easy to find online. Also, because most people are not familiar with kilts, finding the best kilt can take a bit of research that is more easily done online. For example, reviews and product descriptions describe how cheap kilts sold by general e-commerce platforms are of inferior quality (use less than 8 yards of material, no sweat panel, etc.). Online stores specializing in kilts can point out those point-by-point comparisons very easily.

Cons of Buying a Kilt Online:

  • Taking your own measurements – In order to get your own made-to-measure kilt, you have to have your own measurements. If you are making a kilt purchase online, you will likely have to take your own measurements. In spite of existing guidance, these measurements can sometimes be confusing and you may be worried if you are measuring correctly.
  • Unable to try on – To state the obvious, buying a kilt online means that you cannot try on the kilt before purchasing. If that makes you nervous, you can always buy from an online kilt store that accepts returns under certain circumstances. Also, online kilt stores sell tartan swatches, so that you can feel and see the kilt material. If you’re still nervous about buying a kilt online, keep reading about buying a kilt in person.

Buying a kilt in person

Kilts for sale in a kilt store on display

Pros of buying a kilt in person:

  • In-Person Buying (Feel it, Try it On) – In spite of how well The Tartan Kilt describes acrylic and wool kilts, the best way to learn about the difference is to be able to touch and see the kilts in person. At a Celtic festival or a physical Scottish store, you can do just that. You can find what kilt and what material best suits you.
  • Comparison – Kilt stores and vendors also carry an array of kilt products. From inexpensive acrylic kilts to hand-made in Scotland real wool kilts, these options can help the consumer feel and see the difference and decide the best option.
  • Support Celtic Festival – Local festivals rely on fees from vendors. Buying a kilt from those vendors helps support the festival.

Cons of buying a kilt in Person:

  • Not custom made – Kilt booths typically carry only the most standard sizes for customers. This means the kilt is less likely to fit well. Ultimately, this means the kilt will likely look worse and get less use.
  • Higher Cost – Vendors at Celtic festivals know that some people are making impulse buys. Kilt booths therefore are likely to charge a little more. Plus, they have to build in the fees for displaying the kilts at the festival.
  • Lower quality – Because the patrons are less likely to do research on the spot about fabric weight and quality, many kilt booth vendors sell lower quality kilts. These kilts might even be made of fabric lighter than 16 oz, or vendors might make the spurious claim of kilts being made of a “mixed wool blend”. We’ve seen that both in person and online, as in “Wool Blend Traditional Kilts”! Just google “Wool Blend Traditional Kilts” and any specific claim of being a “Wool Blend Traditional Kilt” is pretty certainly malarkey. Every “Wool Blend Traditional Kilt” sample we’ve tested comes back: “Zero wool fibers!”. It’s easier to do your homework first online.

Conclusion on Where to Buy a Kilt

How well a kilt fits is the most important attribute of a kilt. Undoubtedly, buying a custom made kilt results in the best fitting kilt. You should always prefer buying a kilt online or from a kilt store that allows you to customize the kilt. However, if you love the Celtic festival shopping experience then find your local Celtic festival and buy yourself a kilt there. “Caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware, and do their homework.)