Guides and Insights
How to Choose the Right Ladies’ Sash
The world of tartan and highland dress can often feel like it's by and for men. Images of kilts, sporrans, and impressive kilt outfits come to mind, and it's easy to forget that women have a wide variety of clothing and accessory options available to them.
Aside from jewellery or various skirts, women can choose from an array of clothing items worn around the shoulders such as shawls, serapes, and stoles. We have a great article on the differences between sashes, stoles, and shawls, but today we wanted to focus on one of the most popular ladies' items: sashes.
The exact origins of sashes are rather murky, but it's thought that they evolved out of the tradition of women wearing arisaid. The arisaid would be pleated and wrapped around the waist. The spare material would then be draped over the shoulder and fastened with a brooch or pin.
As time went on, these simple fabrics grew in complexity and evolved into the many modern iterations we see today.
Today, one can find sashes in almost any tartan or type of fabric. Lightweight wool is still the most common choice, but the more luxurious silk sashes are quite popular as well. Regular sashes will typically be slightly longer than a scarf and may be worn for a wide range of occasions including weddings, dinners, or other celebrations.
How to wear your tartan sash
You'll want to wear your sash draped over your shoulder and across your body. You will also need a brooch or pin to fasten it at your side.
If tradition is important to you, you should be aware that wearing a sash across the left shoulder is usually reserved for the wife of the clan chief. These traditions dictating what side to wear the sash on are largely forgotten and unenforced these days, however. It's best to wear your sash on the side you feel most comfortable with, which usually means wearing it on the side that allows for the most freedom of movement for your dominant hand.
Though there are different kinds of sashes available, the most popular one besides the regular sash depicted above is the mini rosette sash. Instead of draping the sash over the shoulder and pinning it at the hip, you would instead use a brooch to pin the mini sash just below the shoulder and then flip it over the shoulder to hang at the back.
In recent years, the mini sash has grown in popularity for less formal events as it's slightly easier to move around in and doesn't give as formal of an appearance. Ultimately, it's largely a matter of preference whether you opt for a sash or a mini sash, and it is common to see both types of sashes at any given event.
We hope that our quick primer on sashes will serve you well in choosing the right sash for your wedding, dinner party, or any other social event. Unlike the rules governing kilt outfits for men, the rules for ladies' sashes are a little more freeform, so don't miss the opportunity to look into accessories such as brooches and pins to add some extra flair to your outfit.
And if you're really committed to personalising your outfit, consider getting a sash in a tartan you designed yourself using our easy-to-use tartan designer!