Guides and Insights
How to Choose the Right Kilt Outfit for any Wedding
How to Choose the Right Kilt Outfit for any Wedding
With wedding season coming up, you're probably already far into the process of planning your special day. To help take some of the weight off your shoulders, we've come up with this essential kilt outfit guide for weddings.
Whether you're planning a formal black tie event or opting for a more casual approach, we've picked out everything you need to know about buying a kilt outfit for your wedding. If you're a guest planning to attend a wedding where a kilt outfit may be expected, don't worry: this guide will be just as useful for you. Here's everything you need in order to make an informed kilt outfit purchase for your wedding day, in one handy guide!
Why Buy a Kilt Outfit?
Picking the right kilt outfit for your wedding (or someone else's) can be difficult. What kind of jacket should you wear with your kilt? What about accessories- do you actually need all of them? Is it even worth it to buy your own kilt outfit, or should you just hire one for the weekend?
We've put our guide together with two scenarios in mind: a formal, traditional wedding, and a more semi-formal option. Regardless of which outfit you choose, we really recommend buying your kilt outfit rather than hiring.
Think about your big day. Or better yet, think about your fiance thinking about your big day. Do you want her imagining you in a made to measure kilt, complete with a tasteful jacket and accessories to match? Or do you want her imagining you in a stock kilt outfit that dozens of others have worn? If you're the best man or a groomsman, wouldn't you want to look your best for your friend's special day?
It's also important to mention that most kilt hire companies only carry a set collection of stock tartans. If you want to wear a specific tartan that's meaningful to you, you may even find that kilt hire companies don't have your tartan as an option. In this case, buying your own kilt outfit may be your only choice, unless you're willing to compromise on wearing a tartan that you're not as attached to.
Your kilt can also be worn for many other occasions ranging from other weddings to dinner parties, so if you know you'll need a kilt outfit in the future, you should know that hiring your kilt outfit will, over time, end up costing a comparable amount. But if you get your own outfit, you're getting one that's personal to you. And who knows? Maybe one day your son could wear the very same kilt to his wedding.
The Elements of a Kilt Outfit (and how to pick the right outfit for your wedding)
If the wedding you're attending is traditional and formal attire is expected, look no further than the Prince Charlie outfit. Think of the Prince Charlie outfit as the tuxedo of kilt outfits. These days, the Prince Charlie outfit is widely considered the obvious choice for a refined, impressive, and luxurious look.
The Tuxedo of Kilt Outfits
The Prince Charlie jacket is characterised by a set of three buttons on either side of the jacket and hangs low at the back, almost like a tailcoat. The traditional choice of colour is black, but other shades may sometimes be worn as well.
You will also want to make sure that your kilt outfit comes with a matching 3 button vest in the same colour as your jacket. Most retailers will include the vest by default, but it's always good to double check and make sure that's the case.
Some retailers may also include the traditional choice of what to wear underneath your vest and jacket, which typically includes a plain wing collar white shirt. To finish off the look, you'll also want a bow tie in the same colour as your jacket (again, traditionally this is black).
It's also important to note that you would not typically wear a belt and belt buckle with a Prince Charlie outfit. Because of the way the outfit is worn, they'd be covered by garments anyway. Not to worry though- there's plenty of options for personalising your Prince Charlie outfit with a wide array of accessories!
Accessorise Your Prince Charlie Kilt Outfit
Because of the grand appearance that the Prince Charlie outfit offers the wearer, the accessories worn should compliment this level of formality.
No Prince Charlie outfit is complete without a set of smart brogues to match. The most common recommendation is a pair of ghillie brogues, but a pair of nice buckle brogues can be just as suitable. You'll want to wear them over a set of hose (socks) which compliment an accent colour of your kilt. Otherwise, you can consider getting an off-white ecru (cream) colour which has become popular in recent years. Just make sure you avoid pure white, as they are generally reserved for piper outfits and frowned upon for most other outfits.
Flashes are small decorative pieces of fabric attached to the top of your hose. Aside from their decoration, they also help hold up your hose. Ideally, flashes should be in the same tartan as your kilt, or at least in a color that compliments it.
A Prince Charlie kilt outfit should also boast a prominent choice of sporran. As this is the most visible accessory you will wear, you'll want a full dress sporran to really elevate the outfit. A full dress sporran will typically have a metal top called a cantle, with a fur body.
A sgian dubh (pronounced skian doo) is a small knife which is tucked into your hose. Only the handle of the knife should be visible, and it should be worn on your dominant side. There's a large range of sgian dubhs available for purchase out there, but for a Prince Charlie outfit, you'll want to get a more ornate dress sgian dubh where the handle is topped by a gem or crest.
The purpose of a kilt pin is to add weight and decoration to your kilt. Kilt pins vary in level of ornateness, but an especially luxurious outfit warrants a kilt pin to match! This is a great opportunity to personalise your outfit and make it yours.
A fly plaid is a piece of cloth that attaches to the jacket at the front and is draped over the shoulder to add a final touch of magnificence. It is by no means necessary, however. In fact, fly plaids are usually reserved for the groom, best man, or father of the bride at a particularly formal wedding. Guests and groomsmen should steer clear of fly plaids to ensure that these central figures stand out above everyone else.
If the Prince Charlie is not to your taste, then an Argyll kilt outfit may be the one for you! Though considered by some to be slightly less formal, the Argyll outfit is still distinguished and in many ways more versatile than a Prince Charlie outfit.
An Outfit for any Occasion
Similar to the Prince Charlie jacket, the Argyll jacket will still have a set of buttons down each cuff, though there will be fewer of them and they will be arranged differently. An Argyll jacket will likely also feel more familiar, as it does not sit as high and tight as the Prince Charlie jacket.
As with the Prince Charlie outfit, you will traditionally want to get a black jacket and vest, or at least in another dark colour. However, the vest that accompanies your Argyll outfit should be a 5 button vest instead of the 3 button version you would wear with a Prince Charlie jacket. Wearing a vest adds a sense of extra formality that may be suitable for a wedding, but it's not strictly speaking required. So if the wedding you're attending will be less formal or in a very warm environment, there's nothing wrong with foregoing the vest altogether.
For a wedding, you'll want to wear a plain spread collar white shirt with a single colour tie that matches one colour from your kilt. If you'd like to introduce some more formality to the outfit, however, you can instead wear a plain wing collar white shirt with a black bow tie.
You may wear a belt and belt buckle with your Argyll outfit, but like the vest, it is not absolutely necessary. If you'd rather not add the extra weight of a belt and buckle, rest assured that there is plenty of room for customising your semi-formal outfit with accessories. Moreover, the versatile nature of the Argyll outfit allows you to mix and match various accessories to alter your level of formality to suit the wedding or event you're attending.
Accessorise Your Argyll Kilt Outfit
Just because an Argyll kilt outfit is considered less formal, doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to accessories! In fact, because of the versatility that the Argyll outfit offers, you may consider getting accessories that you can mix and match to complete a look suitable for many occasions other than weddings.
If you'd like your outfit to be just a little more formal, a pair of ghillie brogues will round things out nicely. Otherwise, a pair of regular business shoes are well-suited to complete a semi-formal outfit. In either case, you'll want to get hose that picks up an accent colour of your kilt just like you would for a Prince Charlie outfit. Again, make sure to avoid pure white hose, as they're typically associated with piper outfits.
Just as with the Prince Charlie outfit, your flashes will be worn at the top of your hose to hold them up and add some decoration in the process. Though you may want to get flashes to match the tartan of your kilt, a solid colour that compliments your kilt is also appropriate.
Sporran options for your Argyll outfit come in a large range of styles and materials. For a semi-formal look that's still appropriate for a wedding, a semi-dress sporran should do the trick. However, if you're planning on wearing a black bow tie with your Argyll outfit, a dress sporran would be a better match. If your wedding or upcoming event is a less formal daytime event, a daywear sporran may even be appropriate.
There are many options for sgian dubhs that would be appropriate for your Argyll kilt outfit. If you're going for a more flashy look, a gem-topped handle may be the thing for you. For a more subdued outfit, a sgian dubh with a wooden handle can add class and decoration to your outfit without breaking the bank.
Just as with the Prince Charlie outfit, a kilt pin should be worn with your kilt to add some extra weight and decoration. Since this is a semi-formal look, however, you may want to get a slightly less ornate kilt pin than you would for a Prince Charlie outfit.
Typically, you would not wear a fly plaid with an Argyll outfit regardless of your role in the wedding. A fly plaid adds a level of formality that is not very suitable for a semi-formal outfit.
Clothes Make the Man
Choosing the right kilt outfit for the occasion can be a daunting task, especially if you're trying to plan for a wedding at the same time! We hope that our guide lifts the pressure a bit and serves you well in your search. We can't guarantee that the wedding you'll attend will be a hit, but we can certainly promise that your outfit will be!