Please sign in to post.

Kilt Etiquette In Scotland

So what exactly are the etiquette rules for wearing a kilt? I'm not Scottish by birth but I had a great-grandmother who was a MacMillan. Is it okay to wear a kilt if you are not Scottish? Are there times or places where you shouldn't wear a kilt? I'm visiting Scotland soon and I'm just trying to respect the culture.

Posted by
5697 posts

Are you planning to BUY a kilt in Scotland? Be warned that good ones are pricey. And consider whether you would wear it again after your trip.

Posted by
2519 posts

well as a Scotsman I seldom wear the Kilt, usually reserved for special occasions there are some folk that wear them as everyday wear and they are few and far between most of these folk will work in some sort of tourist related industry.
If you want to wear a kilt go for it but please do not buy one of the real cheap tourist kilts that many folk do wear, they are a joke and an insult to the real thing.
a real kilt will cost in the region of £400-£500 and a decent second hand one £100--£200 and will last a lifetime, a cheap tourist kilt cost about £30 and last about a week, a lot less if it gets wet.

Posted by
8293 posts

Be sure to get the knee socks and the brogues as well. See pictures of Prince Charles in his kilt for reference.

Posted by
26353 posts

and the dirk and the sash and the sporran and the pet haggis.

You may be the only person in sight wearing one if during the day.

Forget the keks.

Posted by
5571 posts

If you take up Scottish Country Dancing you can wear your kilt several times a year--any time they have a ball. :) My dad bought one so that he could properly attired for the dances. And he wasn't Scottish, but my mom is. He picked a tartan that he liked. He went full out and got the jacket and shirt that goes with it as well as the proper socks and sgian-dubh. He also had his gillies for dancing, but you can wear dress shoes if you aren't dancing. :)

Oh, and when I went to a music festival in Tarbert in Argylle, there were lots of kilts. Kilts with dress shirts, but also kilts with t-shirts and work boots.

PAm

The only time I've ever seen even actual Scotsmen wear a kilt are:

A) a wedding
B) they work at some kind of tourist attraction
C) they're taking part in Scottish dancing/piping etc

Are you doing one of these? Or do you think that Scotsmen just wear kilts for everyday wear and are planning to join in? Because I think you'll be disappointed.

Posted by
16 posts

Okay, I won't bother then. If I was going to wear one I'd want to do it the right way and not with a touristy knockoff. I'll just have fun meeting the people as I am. :)

Posted by
8889 posts

To Jane's list I would add:
D) When supporting the Scottish national football team, especially on "away" matches.
The sight of hordes of Scottish fans wearing a kilt and otherwise modern clothes (T-shirts) in a foreign city is an impressive sight.

Posted by
5571 posts

Other places that I have seen kilts: High School Prom, Rockford, Illinois and Sales Meeting Awards Dinner, San Diego California. Oh, and Scottish Highland Games--Stone Mountain Georgia, and Chicago, Illinois. Also, Scottish Country dane is participatory social dancing and not just a spectator activity.

Posted by
8293 posts

There is a department store in downtown Montreal (Ogilvy's, by name) in which a piper in kilt and full regalia, including the white spats, marches through every floor in the building, playing the pipes, at noon and at closing time. Apart from that you would be hard put to see a man in a kilt except at St Andrew's Ball every November.

Posted by
312 posts

A couple coworkers would wear their kilts on occasion. Always a welcome sight .. IMO!

Other places that I have seen kilts: High School Prom, Rockford,
Illinois and Sales Meeting Awards Dinner, San Diego California. Oh,
and Scottish Highland Games--Stone Mountain Georgia, and Chicago,
Illinois. Also, Scottish Country dane is participatory social dancing
and not just a spectator activity.

Seems like kilt-wearing is more frequent in the US than Scotland!

Posted by
2519 posts

quite possible Jane, but the Kilt is not really practical option for most people in day to day wear, my next door neighbour wears one every day but he is a tour guide in Edinburgh.It is quite funny when you get groups of young men in the city usually from one of the many language schools who go out and buy a really cheap tourist kilt, wear them back to front and over the top of their jeans.

Posted by
1299 posts

Remember that if you are renting the kilt the contract is likely to insist on wearing of underwear. This does comply with Queen's Regs if not stereotype.

Posted by
5457 posts

I tend to see more kilts associated with drinking and sports events, aside from tourist centered wearing of the tartan.

Posted by
9857 posts

D) When supporting the Scottish national football team, especially on "away" matches.
The sight of hordes of Scottish fans wearing a kilt and otherwise modern clothes (T-shirts) in a foreign city is an impressive sight.

Aye, Chris! And a sight it is when they invade Roma!

Posted by
8293 posts

It would seem Scots wear their kilts to formal events, too. At a wedding reception in a Helensborough hotel, outside of Glasgow, there were lots of male guests, young and old, in kilts. Also on "formal" dinner nights on board a cruise ship, several older men sported their kilts, and looked very smart.

Posted by
1 posts

I own and wear a Scottish made kilt, mainly when I attend Scottish festivals (Highland Games), when I'm playing bagpipes, or attending any Scottish heritage event. I will be visiting Scotland in 2018. I will take my kilt and a tartan scarf and head wear. I intend to wear my kilt GUNN tartan at least one day during my trip, when I feel up to it. Otherwise, I will always have my Gunn tartan scarf....and probably a cover especially if it's cold to honor the ancient Clan Gunn while I'm visiting Scotland. I have no problem standing out in a crowd of tourists in a kilt either.

Posted by
2525 posts

Maybe an employee at our Costco is in the vanguard as he wears a utility kilt year around.

Posted by
26353 posts

Are recent posters aware that this is a question from April - and since mekel rogers was planning on his trip "soon" it is likely he has returned (but no feedback).

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks for the messages everyone. I did actually travel to Scotland on the RS "10 Days in Scotland" tour this past June. Its a GREAT tour and I highly recommend it. I didn't bring my kilt but everyone I met seemed very casual about it. On the tour I'd say I saw maybe 5% of people wearing kilts (less in Edinburgh, more in Inverness). It was graduation week at St. Andrews so there were a lot of people in dressy kilts there. I felt like I could have been comfortable dressing either way. I did come back with a very nice Harris Tweed vest that was my splurge for the trip.

Anyway, the tour was fantastic. I met a LOT of friendly locals and our guide Colin was fantastic.

Cheers.
Mekel