Tartans: choosing the right one for you

Selecting a tartan can be bewildering at first sight. But choosing is easy and fun once you know how. We suggest you first decide on the following issues.

  • Do you want a tartan associated with your family background, or do you care more about the colours? If the family link is important to you, read further here about finding family or clan tartans, and what to do if no exact match exists. Otherwise, just explore! There are thousands of choices to browse, so you’ll soon see ones you like. You can now also search by colour, choosing shades to include or exclude.
  • What weight of material do you want? Once you’ve decided whether you want the most commonMedium weight wool, or would prefer Light or perhaps Heavy material, you will have simplified your choice greatly. Most mills stock only a selection of tartans in only some weights. So if your heart is set on a special pattern you may have to be flexible on weight. But in general we suggest choosing the ideal weight first, and if need be find another pattern available in that weight for you.
  • Is the exact shade important to you, for example to match another garment? If so, it is best to find out which weaving mill manufactured that other fabric, as the “same” tartan produced by two different mills can vary greatly. The reason is historical, as colours and ‘thread counts’ were often only loosely defined. Also, just like paints and wallpapers, one batch can be different to the next. And computer monitors seldom display perfectly. So we strongly advise you order a swatch of the tartan/s you like, before having your kilt made, to check the actual colour.

Beyond that, choosing a tartan is largely a matter of taste. Many clan or family tartans are available in a range of colour ways, which are commonly grouped into descriptions such as: Modern Colours; Ancient, Muted or Hunting Colours; Dress Colours. Which you choose is entirely down to your preference.

Categories Help Centre Tartan Finding & selecting
Tags tartans choosing