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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by imbrius View Post
    Seeing as you are (or claim to be) a Mason, this point is moot for you; I'm simply making it for others who read about this tartan.
    I...actually lost my dues card a while ago. I'm Junior Warden of Rose Croix in Chicago and about to be running a York Rite College, but I really should get a new card or else I'll get chased out as an eavesdropper one of these days.

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by imbrius View Post
    Go for it! The Freemasons' Universal Tartan has very nice blue and royal purple, which is certainly a handsome and interesting choice. https://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/ta...tails?ref=1279

    Note that nothing in the GL of Utah website (the originator of the tartan) or the entry in the register of tartans says that the Freemason Universal tartan is restricted to Masons only. One could make the argument that it's like wearing a Masonic ring: Master Masons only (wives of Masons get a pass), but nothing anywhere I've read actually says that. Seeing as you are (or claim to be) a Mason, this point is moot for you; I'm simply making it for others who read about this tartan.
    Let me be very clear on one thing - the "Freemasons' Universal Tartan" may not be quite as universal as some think. Some Grand Lodge jurisdictions have their own tartans and their members might wonder why a member would wear a tartan promulgated by a different Grand Lodge.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  5. #13
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    Highwayman,

    The issue is of obvious concern to you, so it should go without saying that a key element will be "whatever you, personally, are comfortable with"

    I have my maternal clan, family named, and provincial tartan. All worn because of my sense of "affiliation". But I also have a 'fashion', a solid black and utility because I like the kilt as an item of clothing. They were acquired in the order of maternal, fashion, family, province, utility, black - so no thought to your conundrum. I don't think there is any ethnics beyond self perception in selecting a tartan to wear (less those tartans that are indeed restricted)

    I wear a kilt more Fridays than not, and have about an event a month where it isn't inappropriate [don't hound me on that, rabble..you know what I mean ] When it matters, my tartan takes centre stage simply based on "this is who I represent today". Otherwise, its simply about the whim of choice to planned activity. My spouse would encourage my getting another, but I think my 6 are absolutely plenty!! But now with you mentioning blue, that XMarks is looking good.

    My opinion; Find something you know you would enjoy wearing, and then enjoy wearing it.

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  7. #14
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    Steve's post is excellent! In keeping with his format, I wear:

    Davidson, because that is my surname (I have three different colourways);
    Davidson of Tulloch, because that is the family from whom I descend;
    Clan Chattan, because the tartan was woven by the late Jamie Scarlett and gifted to me by the late Mackintosh (and I have been a sitting member for the Clan Chattan association for over forty years);
    Mackintosh, because that is the family of Moy, my cousins and on whose old estate I have a home;
    Lochaber, because that was where I formerly had a home;
    Maple Leaf (the Canadian National tartan) because I live more than half each year now in British Columbia;
    Two Freedom kilts, because they are comfortable;
    a Utilikilt, because it performs well for me in the garden. One of my Freedom kilts is rapidly moving in that direction
    Last edited by ThistleDown; 23rd October 19 at 04:49 PM.

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  9. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post
    Offhand, I keep wanting a blue pattern of some kind. This is where I have to catch myself. Am I wearing a kilt with heritage, or am I picking tartans like I'd pick a tee shirt color?
    I wouldn't wear a tartan that I didn't like the looks of. On the other hand, I want to have some connection to the tartan I'm wearing.

    Instead of treating it like a (false) dichotomy (appearance vs. connection), look at it like a challenge. Can you find an attractive blue tartan that you feel a connection to? For me, that's the St. Andrew's tartan. I like the look of the tartan. My wife likes the look of the tartan. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. And for many years, I was a very active member of St. Andrew's Church. I have numerous enduring friendships from there.

    I realize that the background of the tartan is a bit more ... circuitous. But I have a connection to the tartan. It's deeply personal.

    It came down to a choice between St. Andrew's and Holyrood (a blue & brown tartan). Holyrood also carries a strong connection. On my first vacation with one girlfriend (now my wife) we visited her aunt and uncle in Edinburgh. On our first free day to tour the city, we visited (among other spots) Holyrood. On another day, we hiked up Arthur's seat, giving us a grand vista overlooking Holyrood. I have photos from each day on the electronic picture frame that sits on my desk at work. I see Holyrood (along with a multitude of positive memories) on a daily basis.

    Why did I choose St. Andrew's over Holyrood? On my budget for that kilt, I could get St. Andrew's pleated to the sett. Holyrood pleated to the block. And given that choice, I like the way St. Andrew's looks better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post
    I spent months bugging forums for 'permission' to wear Farquharson and even wrote to organizations about it, now here I am wanting tartans by looks alone.
    I like certain tartans based on looks alone (i.e. Warrior), but I can't bring myself to spend the money to buy them. I want looks -and- a connection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post
    It is not in my nature to wear a pattern I could not relate strongly with and claim connection to, the clans are safe from my antics. But for branching off into fashion tartans, is there a point where I'm thinking too lightly of the history and heritage? If I do crave variety, are there safer options such as choosing the Masonic tartan as a card-carrying member of that organization?
    Option #1:
    Take a lot of extra time, and find a connection. If you're looking at (relatively inexpensive) PV tartans offered by Marton Mills, that's just north of 100 tartans to look at. If you have a higher budget and are looking at wool tartans, there are tens of thousands of tartans to consider.

    Option #2:
    Decide that you have a legitimate connection to a tartan that you covet. It's a subjective decision, not an objective metric.

    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post
    When is it an acceptable jaunt to wear another pattern, and when should 'my' tartan take center stage?
    Personally, I would look at the gravitas of the situation. Weddings, or (more importantly) funerals, I'm (in part) a representative of my family. And if you're helping represent your clan tent, it's a no-brainer. Pick a clan tartan.

    But even in the situation that I mentioned, I'm still looking at appearance. In the next few weeks, I intend to order a family tartan from the other side of the family. It's a lot more somber than my other family tartan. And I feel a bit of urgency. I expect to attend two funerals in 2020. And the Renwick family tartan looks like it was designed for funerals (or Halloween).

    But I also like the appearance of the Renwick tartan. If I hated it, I would find some other tartan that expressed my family roots or heritage, without wearing something that I detest.

    For less serious events, let the whim of the moment guide you. A friend invited us to join her for her birthday party at the local Renaissance Festival. On November 30. St. Andrew's day. Come hell or high water, I'll be pulling out the St. Andrew's kilt for that event. If the invite had been for the day before or after, I might choose another kilt. But my personal sense of whimsy says that I wear St. Andrew's for St. Andrew's day (barring exceptional circumstances).

    TL;DR
    Don't overthink it. Find a tartan that you feel a connection to -and- that you find attractive. Buy it and wear it (for appropriate situations) without regrets.
    Last edited by Karl R; 23rd October 19 at 07:43 PM.
    Trying to look good on a budget.

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  11. #16
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    I have close to 20 kilts. I have a clan, family or regional connection with most, but have a couple that just fit right. Wear your kilt respectfully and you will be fine.
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience
    well, that comes from poor judgement."
    A. A. Milne

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  13. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highwayman View Post

    ...the tartan of my late step-grandmother...It was a subtle but fulfilling feeling to wear her tartan...


    ...for branching off into fashion tartans, is there a point where I'm thinking too lightly of the history and heritage?
    To me, both ways of choosing a kilt are equally valid.

    As was pointed out above, prior to the invention at the time of the Royal visit to Scotland of the concept of "clan tartans" all tartans were fashion tartans, chosen simply because they looked attractive. (The exception being the military tartans.)

    So in choosing a tartan as you would a t-shirt you are being true to the older, authentic history of tartan.

    It's why I've been wearing Isle Of Skye for years now: when I first laid eyes on it I was struck by its beauty and the way it simultaneously looked innovative and traditional. (Which is a difficult thing to do well, in design of any sort.)

    Yes I can rightly wear quite a few different named tartans due to my somewhat complicated heritage. But I choose to wear IOS.

    Now that I've become more interested in my family history, and found out more about it, I'm probably going to get a Clan tartan kilt. But I am sorting through the various options to find the most attractive one.

    Part of the motivation for getting a Clan kilt was pointed out by Karl above: participating in the Clan tent at Highland Games.

    As an aside, you mentioned liking blue fashion tartans.

    Here's a commemorative tartan (The Declaration Tartan) with striking colours including vivid blue. This tartan does the very thing that usually results in weak tartan design: copying a flag (or in this case, two flags) but the designer pulled it all off very well.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 27th October 19 at 06:49 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  15. #18
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    As I often do, I hesitated long before hitting reply to thread. I got a firestorm of criticism long back because I referenced a court case from Scottish history.
    It involved a father, chief his clan, who banished his son from the clan, clan territory, and the wearing of his tartan. I was excoriated vigorously with jabs
    at Americans wearing kilts at all, Americans thinking they know anything about Scots history, American fabrication of family connections, the general ignorance
    of Scots law and the absence of laws governing ownership of tartan. None of which had relevance to my posts, which didn't address any of those subjects.
    No hard feelings being stirred, merely pointing out the difference between reality and belief and emotion, which will be with us for a while, having been so
    for quite some time now. Makes life interesting.

    Following that prefacing statement, I will again reference the case, as this issue comes up regularly. Banished from his clan and home by his chief for much
    inappropriate behavior and failure to make amends for same, the son sought refuge with his mother's family. Down the road, tired of his continued lack of
    good behavior, he was "encouraged" to reclaim his meet and right place in his world. As in, go home. That's your tartan. nobody owns it, you're family,
    etc, etc, blah blah, blah, yada, yada. His father took him to court; the judge ruled that his chief having banned him from the lands and tartan, he had to go,
    and wearing the tartan would be a chargeable offense. I made (and make) no claims of law. I merely report having read about this case being discussed
    in a meeting of the Scottish Records Society somewhere around 1825 or so, IIRC. It was an old case then, and I do not recall when it happened. I read
    about it ten or so years ago; seventy two years and more than a few head injuries will on occasion obscure my recovery of minor details.

    Finally to my point relevant to the OP, i.e., judicial precedent. If a clan chief has told you you can't wear his tartan, you can't. Or at least shouldn't.
    Otherwise, you're on your own. Good manners would encourage knowledge of the tartan and the significance in your mind of having made that choice.
    You will get responses from "Oh.", to "Interesting.", to "That's my clan and you're not.", to "I really like your kilt. I wish I were brave enough to wear one".
    You have probably already met those reactions, they will continue regardless of your choice. Make your choice (or choices). Strap it (them) on, enjoy
    the variety and diversity that makes this world such a great place to live.
    Last edited by tripleblessed; 31st October 19 at 07:05 AM.

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  17. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    ...the wearing of his tartan.

    ...his chief having banned him from the lands and tartan...

    …somewhere around 1825...an old case then...
    It's the timing most of all that makes that story sound implausible to me.

    In 1825 the concept of "Clan tartans" was in the very process of birthing. In preparation for the Royal Visit in 1822 the various Clan chiefs scrambled to find tartans in which to dress their retainers, and existing tartans which hitherto had had no Clan identity were pressed into service.

    It was into this Clan tartan void that the Allen brothers willingly stepped, eager to invent as many ancient Clan tartans as the Chiefs desired.

    From Scotland's Forged Tartans:

    About the year 1820 there appeared upon the Highland scene two young men, the brothers John and Charles Hay Allen...the brothers began to let it be known that they had in their possession an ancient manuscript which gave the precise details of all the old Clan tartans and to hand out details of these to their friends, some of whom had not previously known that they had Clan tartans.

    In 1829 Sir Thomas Dick Lauder wrote:

    "...the most uncouth coats of many colours are every day invented, manufactured, christened after particular names and worn as genuine...some of the Clans are at this moment ignorantly disputing for the right to the same tartans which in fact belong to none of them..."

    I think such a court case, if it indeed existed, would post-date the Royal visit and the Allen brother's introducing their Clan tartans to the Chiefs.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  19. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    It's the timing most of all that makes that story sound implausible to me.

    In 1829 Sir Thomas Dick Lauder wrote:

    "...the most uncouth coats of many colours are every day invented, manufactured, christened after particular names and worn as genuine...some of the Clans are at this moment ignorantly disputing for the right to the same tartans which in fact belong to none of them..."

    I think such a court case, if it indeed existed, would post-date the Royal visit and the Allen brother's introducing their Clan tartans to the Chiefs.

    It is my hope when I awaken each day that I will learn something new. Which is why, OC , I gain so much enjoyment from your posts. You constantly
    amaze us with your findings. Your interest in and skill at finding such is beyond my own. I do, however, have experience of my own at digging in other
    areas. The post above reflects many hundreds of hours digging in Scots, Irish, Welsh, English, French, and German official records looking to piece together paper trails to folk in my lines. Court cases and military records, for instance, can eliminate confusions of same name, similar geographic area, common ancestors , and such. In the process of those searches I went through the minutes of the meetings of serious folk interested in the events that produced the Scotland they knew. The meeting referenced was indeed in the time period cited, and I think 1825 is actually a few years late, though not many. The case was brought to the group by a member who clearly thought there would interest in it. It was carefully laid out in the meeting and duly recorded in the minutes. Having always been told there is/was very little to no law on these matters, I read it carefully. I did not make notes, as I did not expect ever to need to go there again. I do recall there was no law cited. merely that the judge made the ruling noted. I was not at the meeting, I am fairly sure it was not my family involved. I will say these men did not appear to spend time on issues that happened within the memories of themselves and/or their fathers, so the events predate the meeting by a noticeable period of time. Which is precisely why it is so interesting.

    The collision of our education and belief with uncomfortable facts can be disconcerting. Noting the Lauder quote above, I rap my knuckles on my desk and
    say, "Hear, hear.". He was unquestionably correct. It does not, however, address what did or did not exist before Sir Walter invited the king, resulting
    in the well documented scramble to find the "clan tartan". And it brings us to another quote, a favorite of mine, from about a hundred years later: "Facts
    do not cease to exist because they are ignored.". Aldous Huxley, as you most likely recall.

    Again, I do not know if there was a law the ruling was based on, merely present that the case was cited by those with closer knowledge of the time than we. I was probably no less surprised than others here, which is why I offer it. We are not bound by said ruling, as we live in different times and states
    with different laws. We are, however, able to let it inform our thinking. FWIW, and anyone's mileage may vary without a quibble from me.

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