How to Wear a Kilt

How to Wear a Kilt

The Kilt, a traditional Scottish garment that has a rich history dating back to somewhere around first half of the 17th century or even before, is a practical piece of clothing worn by Highlanders. It’s a pleated garment of a knee-length which is typically put on by men, though, nowadays it’s considered a gender neutral dress.

Thus, if you don’t know how to wear a Kilt and the accessories used with it, you don’t need to worry. In this short guide, we have for you all about wearing a kilt, which suffices to give you enough pre-knowledge about wearing a kilt. You just need to give this short guide a full read.

Components of a Traditional Kilt

Remember! if you are trying a kilt outfit for the first time, then, wearing a kilt may seem a bit daunting task and there are chances of making mistakes in putting it on , such as wearing a kilt with its pleats at front, that don’t go unnoticed from a seasoned kilt wearer.

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an image showing different components of kilt

However, before we move on to the steps of kilt wearing process, we are just giving here a brief account of the components that a kilt dress consists of:-

Kilt: The main garment, usually made of wool, featuring pleats at the back and has a flat front apron. It is fastened around the waist with buckles and straps.

Sporran: It is a mall pouch which is worn at the front of the kilt, suspended from a chain or leather strap. It works as a practical accessory and is an alternative to a pocket since kilts lack it.

Kilt Pin: A decorative pin which is worn on the front apron of the kilt, adding weight to it and keeps the apron from blowing in the wind.

Belt and Buckle: It is a wide belt which is had around the waist with a distinctive buckle. This belt supports the weight of the sporran, adding a decorative touch to the dress.

Kilt Hose (Socks): These are woolen socks that are folded down at the knee and garter flashes hold them in place.

Kilt Hose Flashes: These are decorative garters or ribbons that usually match the tartan of the kilt, and are worn just below the knee.

Ghillie Brogues: These are traditional Scottish shoes with long laces that wrap around the ankle and lower leg.

Sgian Dubh: A small, single-edged knife which is traditionally tucked into the top of the kilt hose.

Shirt: people wear a kilt without a dress shirt on their choice. However, a tucked-in shirt gives a better look.

The Necktie: A necktie in a kilt refers to a traditional Scottish practice where a tie is worn with a kilted outfit.

Jacket and Vest: Pairing a jacket and vest with a kilt creates a formal and stylish Scottish ensemble. The combination adds sophistication and completes the traditional Highland dress.

How to Wear a Kilt – Step Wise Process

Once you know about the accessories of a kilt dress and you have them all around you, just begin putting them on. But don’t know where to start from?

You can begin with wearing a kilt, a shirt, or even shoes, followed by other things. Here, we have for you every single part of getting dressed in a kilt outfit from start to end, step by step:-

Step 1. Shirt

an image of shirt types

We recommend you to begin with the shirt. Once you have put on a shirt, it becomes easy for you to get your shirt tucked in the kilt later on.

Step 2. Kilt Hose (Socks)

an image of kilt hose socks

Once you have put on your shirt, then, the easiest way for you is to work from the bottom up. So, just start to wear your kilt hose. Kilt hose are your socks. You pull those all the way up, they're going to go above your knee.

Step 3. Kilt Hose Flashes

The next thing you have to do is to grab your flashes. These are elastic orders that help hold the socks up. They attach with metal fittings, an adjustable strap right there, they go on the outside of the leg and you can wear them somewhere between the side of the leg and the front of the shin bone somewhere. IMAGE NO. 5

an image of kilt hose flashes

Next, you're going to fold down the top of your kilt hose over top of the flashes and they're going to be about three fingers breadth below the bottom of the kneecap.

Step 4. Ghillie Brogues

Now, you’re going to tie your Ghillie Brogues. These are the fancy shoes you wear with your kilt outfit, they have really long laces with tassels on the end. So, what you're going to do to start is take one lace in each hand and wrap them around each other about four or five times, you're going to pull them tight and make a little column running down the front of the leg.

image of ghillie brogues

Then, you’re going to pass the laces behind your leg and do a half knot in the back, then, pull them back around front. Do a half knot in the front and this is going to be about three or four fingers breath above the top of the leather part of your shoe.

Next, you're going to make your bunny ears, you're going to tie these reasonably snug and double knot them, so that way when you're out for the day, the tassels on the end of the laces don't untie the laces for you.

Step 5. Sgian Dubh

image of sgian dubh

Moving on, if you do have a Sgian Dubh, which is the knife that you stick in your sock, it's going to be worn on the dominant hand and you just basically tuck that into your sock with about two or three fingers breath showing above the top of the sock. The elastic garter of The Flash will actually keep this in place.

Step 6. The Kilt:

All right, now that you have the legs covered, you have to move on to the star of the show, The Kilt. You'll notice the Kilt has a flat front apron and the pleats in the back. Remember, when you're wearing it, the pleats go in the back.

kilt types colors forms

Now you start by unfolding the Kilt all the way and passing it around behind yourself. Remember, the pleats go in the back and in your right hand, you should have a single strap.

On the left hand side of your kilt, you're going to notice that there's a hole in the Kilt. Take that strap and pass it through the hole in the corresponding buckle.

Adjust with Bellow Button

See your belly button. You have to wear the Kilt about two inches above the belly button because this strap is actually cinched right on your hip bone, so pulling it reasonably snug on the left hand side, you're going to put the strap through the other end of the buckle.

Twist the Kilt around a little bit and then on the right hand side you're going to re-strap the corresponding buckle on the right and strap the hip strap, which you're going to leave a little bit loose. You don't want that one to be too snug because you can end up pulling the front apron a little bit.

Check Gig Line & Bottom of the Kilt

check gig line and bottom of the kilt

So, after you have your hip strap done, two other things you want to check. Number one, your gig line. There's a center line down the front of your kilt you want that in line with your placket of buttons and in line with your belly button.

The second thing you want to check is that the bottom of the Kilt is either hitting you middle of the knee or top of the knee that's generally the range of where you want the bottom of the Kilt to sit.

Step 7. Belt and Buckle

Next, you’re going to move on to the Kilt belt. To size a kilt belt, you're actually going to do is wrap it around you upside down so that the velcro side is facing out.

belt and bukle

Connect the belt and buckle and then you're going to pull snug cross and attach the velcro around back. Now this looks weird. We know but when you disconnect it and take the little keeper and slide it up and then you go to actually wear the kilt belt properly, it's going to fit you perfectly.

Remember that if you’re going to be wearing a vest with the outfit, you would not be wearing a kilt belt.

Step 8. Kilt Pin

The next part of the Kilt we're going to talk about is The Kilt pin. The kilt pin is a decorative metal pin, it's worn about six inches or seven inches up from the bottom of the Kilt and about two inches in from the edge. It's worn above the right knee and you don’t need pinning it through all the layers both aprons of The Kilt. Only pin it through the top layer.

Now, when you put it through, use the lines on the Tartan as a bit of a guide to make sure you're getting it nice and straight vertical on The Kilt and that's about how it should sit and look when it's finished.

Step 9. Sporran

Turn comes of the outfit we're going to talk about is the sporran. The sporran is the bag that you wear in the front. There are several forms of sporran however following will give you some wide view of the sporrans.

types forms colors sporran

This is where you keep all your money, your keys, your wallet, all that kind of stuff. So, it comes with a sporran, its half part leather, half-part chain. You're going to disconnect the leather of the strap, and you're going to hold it essentially over your manhood and pass it around behind you.

Now, in the back, you're going to actually put the belt into the spawn strap exactly where it's hanging down in front.

Apply the Trick

When you wear the sporran and after you have it adjusted with the belt exactly where you want it, you don't have to readjust the belt every time on the back of the sporran. There’s a little d-ring and a little clip, just disconnect the clip from the d-ring and now it would be sized appropriately to you.

If you have a problem trying to buckle it behind your back, you find it a little bit difficult. One thing you can do is pull it reasonably snug and do it on the side of your body and cut. This may take a little bit more trial and error but you can get it as snug as you'd like it there and then spin it in front and see if it fits, and if not, loosen or tighten it a notch or two.

Now on the back of your kilt, you have two Loops. They’re about three inches tall and a lot of people think those are belt loops. They're not, they're actually sporran loops for guys with what we affectionately call noacetal disease or a flat butt. So to speak, you pass your sporran chain through those loops and therefore it won't fall down over time.

Step 10. The Necktie

The next part of the outfit we're going to talk about is the necktie. When it comes to wearing a necktie with a kilt, generally speaking, the simpler the necktie the better. Now, when you go to tie your necktie, and if you have a spread collar, then a Half Windsor is a great knot to use or you may choose any other one.

Step 12. Jacket and Vest

Next, we're going to talk about the jacket vest. Now, if you have a black jacket and vest, obviously you don't have to worry about color matching. If you have a tweed jacket and vest, then, for instance, you may pick a tweed that tones well with one of the colors in your kilt. So, if there are any shades of blue in the Kilt that you’re wearing, pick a Lowman blue jacket and vest to tone nicely with the kilt.

jacket and vest

One quick point about Kilt jackets you'll notice, that the body of the jacket is actually cut much shorter than a regular suit jacket is. That's to allow you to see all the pleats in the back of the Kilt versus a regular suit jacket which would cover the majority of your plates.

There you have it. Now, you’re looking sharp and ready to go. The last thing to remember when you're wearing a kilt: shoulders back, chest out, smile and be confident.


Hopefully, you find this short guide helpful and handy. You just need to be careful to avoid making mistakes, such as having the kilt pleats at the front or fastening the kilt too much high or low, and to such mistakes, just follow the steps we have shared with you, look yourself into the mirror and enjoy wearing the kilt outfit.

We have given a step wise description of the point how to wear a kilt; by following the procedure you will be controlling and adjusting the kilt as per your needs. Sufficient details on each component of the kilt, likewise the sequence of steps has been described to help the reader follow the process and get it done.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rules of wearing kilt?

While wearing kilt, you just need to make it sure that: the kilt reaches the middle of your knees, the pleats are at your backside, you have had the footwear and all the accessories.

What is proper to wear under a kilt?

It depends on the individual choices and preferences. Some people even don’t put on any undergarments and go “commando” while others use undergarments for their comfort.

Do you wear a kilt above or below the knee?

The exact length may depend on the personal preference or physique of the kilt wearer. However, it’s good to have the bottom of the Kilt either hitting you middle of the knee or top of the knee that’s generally the range where you look dignified.

How to wear a kilt?

Start by unfolding the Kilt all the way and passing it around behind yourself. Remember, the pleats go in the back and in your right hand, you should have a single strap, pass it through the hole in the corresponding buckle on your left. You need to wear the Kilt about two inches above the belly button.

Twist the Kilt around a little bit and then on the right hand side you’re going to re-strap the corresponding buckle on the right and strap the hip strap. Also make it sure that the bottom of the Kilt is either hitting you middle of the knee or top of the knee that’s generally the range of where you want the bottom of the Kilt to sit.

William Anthony

Passionate lifestyle blogger creating vivid narratives on fashion, wellness, and culture, weaving stories that inspire and captivate readers globally.

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