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What and When to Wear

Relax, love it, respect it and enjoy it

What and When to Wear

The Hon. Stuart Ruaidri Erskine (1901) view was to relax, love it, respect it and enjoy it. He says

“The Highland dress is essentially a ‘free’ dress – that is to say, a man’s taste and circumstances must alone be permitted to decide when and where and how he should wear it”

However, although it is important to invest one’s personality, it is comforting to have some guidance. I have researched many sources and have puled together this guidance. I would be delighted to receive any more information from readers to enrich this guidance.

Ceilidh (informal)

➢ Jacobite Shirt and Kilt

Daywear

➢ Kilt
➢ Plain style Tweed Jacket (available in Charcoal, Blue or Green Lovat Tweed)
➢ Five Button Waistcoat in matching tweed (optional)
➢ Belt and Buckle if not wearing the waistcoat or cummerbund
➢ Tweed tie, plain wool tie to complement both kilt and jacket or silver-grey silk wedding tie – not tartan
➢ Plain leather sporran
➢ Plain toning kilt hose
➢ Flashes – elastic gaiter with tartan
➢ Plain Brogues
➢ Kilt Pin
➢ Sgian Dubh
➢ Bonnet. Balmoral or Glengarry, with crest and badge
➢ Plain Brogues
➢ Kilt Pin

Morning dress

The morning suit version of Highland dress consists of:

➢ Black (or charcoal) semi-formal kilt jacket in superfine wool, tweed or barathea e.g. Argyll/Crail jacket with Braemar-style cuffs.
➢ Five- or six-button waistcoat in black, grey, putty, or tartan
➢ Kilt
➢ White shirt with turndown collar, French cuffs, and cufflinks
➢ Tie in a single colour
➢ Black brogues
➢ Tartan, argyle, diced, or dark hose (white and off-white hose should be avoided)
➢ Flashes or garter ties
➢ Day Dress sporran. These have less intricate designs and are often black leather. However, a full-dress sporran is not considered inappropriate
➢ Day Dress sgian dubh. Again, less intricate than a full dress one, these are typically made of horn or antler.

➢ Plain Brogues
➢ Kilt Pin

Semi-Formalwear (Day or Evening)

➢ Kilt
➢ Argyll Jacket
➢ A Black Barathea five button waistcoat
➢ Belt and Buckle if not wearing the waistcoat or cummerbund
➢ Plain leather or semi-formal Sporran
➢ Silver grey wedding tie or black bow tie for the evening
➢ Plain kilt hose
➢ Flashes
➢ Ghillie Brogues or plain brogues
➢ Kilt Pin
➢ Sgian Dubh
➢ Plain Shirt

Wedding (afternoon)

➢ A tweed jacket (dark grey tweed is also correct) or Argyll Jacket.

Black Tie Dinner / Ball / Evening Wedding Reception

▪ Coatee and Vest (often called the Prince Charlie Jacket),
▪ Argyll Jacket,
▪ Regulation Doublet,
▪ Montrose Doublet,
▪ Sheriffmuir Jacket or
▪ Kenmore Jacket
There is some contention about whether the Montrose doublet or Sheriffmuir doublet are too formal for black tie; they should be worn with the accompaniments described for white-tie equivalents.

The Coatee and waistcoat or vest is by far the most popular formal jacket for evening wear. Also known as the Prince Charlie, the fabric is usually black barathea but other fabrics such as velvet can certainly be used. Normally the lapels are of silk. The buttons down the front of the Coatee are for decoration only and are not used.

Kilt with kilt pin

Waistcoat: matching, low cut and fastened with three to five Celtic buttons, can be tartan
Shirt: White with shirt studs, French or barrel cuffs, and a turndown collar (wing collars are reserved for white tie in most locales)
Neckwear: Black bow tie or white lace jabot, silk cravat
Footwear:

Evening dress brogues:
buckle brogues (tongue-less brogues closed with a strap and decorated with a buckle on the toe of the shoe) are most formal ghillie brogues (tongue-less brogues with long laces that wrap around the lower leg and tie above the ankle) are less formal

Dress kilt hose (knee-length wool socks):
diced pattern (broad criss-crossing diagonal stripes of two different colors) or tartan patterns (to match kilt) are most formal; note that red diced patterns are for members of the military
solid-colour hose are less formal.

Silk flashes (a pair of decorative pointed vertical strips of fabric attached to elastic sock garters) or silk garter ties (traditional sock garters made from fabric that ties around the calf)

Dress sporran (decorative pouch worn at the front of the kilt) with silver chain

Sgian dubh black, silver-mounted (a small ornamental knife tucked into the kilt hose)

Dirk optional (an ornamental cut-down sword)

Headwear: Highland bonnet with crest badge (only suitable out of doors).

White Tie Dinner

Kilt jacket (formal kilt doublet in barathea or velvet):
▪ Regulation Doublet,
▪ Montrose Doublet,
▪ Sheriffmuir Jacket or
▪ Kenmore Jacket

Velvet is considered to be a more formal material. The Prince Charlie (coatee) is considered to be less formal, although when introduced it was to be worn with a White lace jabot. Tartan jackets are also seen.

Kilt with Kilt Pin

Waistcoat: in white marcella, tartan (to match the kilt), or the same material as the (regulation or
Sherrifmuir) doublet. The Sheriffmuir should be paired with a waistcoat that closes with seven Celtic buttons

No waistcoat is worn with the Kenmore doublet (nor, presumably with the Montrose doublet as it is
double-breasted); instead are worn with a belt.

Shirt: white stiff-front shirt with wing collar and white, gold, or silver studs and cufflinks for the regulation doublet.

White formal shirt and optional lace cuffs for the Montrose, Sheriffmuir, and Kenmore doublets

Neckwear: white lace jabot (a cascade of lace or ruffles on the breast of a garment)
With the regulation doublet, a black silk or white marcella bow tie may be worn in place of the jabot (highland wear often includes a black bow tie even at white tie events).

Footwear: Black formal shoes or black buckle brogues
Diced or tartan kilt hose
Studs and links as noted under “shirt” for regulation doublet
Silk Garter flashes or garter ties
Silver-mounted sporran in fur, sealskin, or hair with a silver chain belt
Sgian dubh black, silver-mounted, and jewelled
Fly plaid or short belted plaid Optional (a square piece of cloth in the same tartan as the kilt attached to the left
shoulder of the jacket with a decorative broach)
Dirk optional (an ornamental cut-down sword)
Headwear: Highland bonnet with crest badge (only suitable out of doors)

Kilt with kilt pin

Waistcoat: matching, low cut and fastened with three to five Celtic buttons, can be tartan
Shirt: White with shirt studs, French or barrel cuffs, and a turndown collar (wing collars are reserved for white tie in most locales)
Neckwear: Black bow tie or white lace jabot, silk cravat
Footwear:

Evening dress brogues:
buckle brogues (tongue-less brogues closed with a strap and decorated with a buckle on the toe of the shoe) are most formal ghillie brogues (tongue-less brogues with long laces that wrap around the lower leg and tie above the ankle) are less formal

Dress kilt hose (knee-length wool socks):
diced pattern (broad criss-crossing diagonal stripes of two different colors) or tartan patterns (to match kilt) are most formal; note that red diced patterns are for members of the military
solid-colour hose are less formal.

Silk flashes (a pair of decorative pointed vertical strips of fabric attached to elastic sock garters) or silk garter ties (traditional sock garters made from fabric that ties around the calf)

Dress sporran (decorative pouch worn at the front of the kilt) with silver chain

Sgian dubh black, silver-mounted (a small ornamental knife tucked into the kilt hose)

Dirk optional (an ornamental cut-down sword)

Headwear: Highland bonnet with crest badge (only suitable out of doors).