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About the Fly Plaid and Brooch


fly plaid /flʌɪ pleɪd/       pronounced: (fly) pl-ay-d

derived from Galiec plaide 'blanket'

What is a fly plaid?

In American English the word plaid (pronounced: pl-a-d) can be used interchangeably with the word tartan. In Scottish English, on the other hand, the word plaid (pronounced: pl-ay-d) refers only to a specific garment of Highland Dress which can be made in any tartan.

The Scottish fly plaid is a piece of fabric, woven in the same tartan as the kilt, that is worn over the shoulder as part of a traditional kilt outfit. It is typically worn for formal ‘white tie' events such as by a groom on his wedding day.

How did it come to be?

The traditional kilt (now often referred to as the ‘Great Kilt') was much larger than those worn today. It was so large in fact that it would be wrapped around the body and draped over the shoulder. As the function and size of the kilt evolved, less fabric was used and eventually the extension over the shoulder was lost.

Today's fly plaid is a testimony to the Great Kilt and a reminder of its extensive transformation.

How do I wear a fly plaid?

A fly plaid is traditionally worn over the left shoulder of the wearer to sit at breast level. the tartan of the fly plaid should be identical to the tartan of the wearer's kilt.  

To attach, first lie the fly plaid flat on a surface. Choose one of the corners to be the corner that rests over your shoulder. Some fly plaids will have one corner that is gathered and sewn for this purpose but if yours does not, it doesn't matter which corner you choose!

Fold the two adjacent corners inwards toward each other. Turn the fly plaid over and thread the corner you chose to go over your shoulder through the epaulette of your kilt jacket. (If you do not have an epaulette do not worry, as long as the fly plaid lies over your shoulder.) The fly plaid should hang behind the wearer and finish a short distance below the kilt length.

When you are happy with the height of your plaid, pin the corner onto your jacket at breast level using either safety pins hidden in the folds of the plaid or a specialised plaid brooch.

Feeling inspired?

At CLAN we offer fly plaids in a huge variety of tartans to match your kilt as well as a beautiful collection of plaid brooches. Take a look at our full collection of brooches and fly plaids here.



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