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  1. #1
    Join Date
    1st December 18
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    Got my first kilt: accessories, buying advice and building a package

    After years of renting, in my 30s I eventually decided to buy a kilt. I didn't want to be a Scotsman visiting the US who didn't have his own kilt... and if I'm honest I always liked wearing them when I was renting and think I could get away with it more over in the US... not as many quizzical looks, etc.

    Anyway, I eventually got measured for and bought my first kilt and just received it today. 8/9 yards, hand made with some areas machine reinforced. Lochcarron mill, 16oz, Davidson Ancient, pleated to sett -- https://www.lochcarron.co.uk/davidso...tartan-fabric/

    I'm trying to build from there and already have a few items. Argyll/5-button waistcoat/vest, pins, cuff links, good quality sgian dubh. Still trying to decide on sporran and belt options.

    I've done some searching here and I'm looking for some advice on accessorising, manufacturers and where to buy -- either in the UK or US.

    Hose/Socks

    I already bought some good quality black and ecru/cream options. I know some people dislike them because they tend to look a bit too rental in appearance. Anyway given the tartan what colours would people recommend for both casual and reasonably formal occasions?

    Flashes/Garters

    The kilt came with tartan flashes at no extra cost, I know from searching that some dislike those. Again given the tartan what colours would people recommend? Also flashes or self-tie garters?

    Ties

    I know some frown on ruched ties, that being the case what are the other options? Solid colour? Wool or silk?

    Shoes

    I'll eventually want a few pairs. I'm just wondering that if I'm looking for something than can pull double duty as casual and reasonably formal, what would people recommend? Ghillie brogues? Brogues? Ankle boots?

    Shirts

    I bought a couple of black and white Victorian splay collar formal shirts and some black and white ghillie shirts from my local highland wear shop/store. Just wondering is anyone can recommend some above average to good quality formal shirts or casual shirts for kilt wear? Plain? Patterned? What Collar?
    Last edited by RecQuery; 2nd December 18 at 06:41 AM. Reason: Spelling

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    28th May 13
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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    Welcome to the forum!
    Your fellow members here will be more than happy I’m sure to give you their opinions. I encourage you to look at the many photos here and develop your own style. A bit of advice....buy quality!
    Slainte...
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience
    well, that comes from poor judgement."
    A. A. Milne

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    24th October 18
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    Perth Australia
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    You're on the right track already my good man.

    Garth
    Ex- South African military NCO. Great grandson of Captain William Henry Stevenson of the Highland Light Infantry, Scotland (1880's) and brother to Infantryman Peter Mark Schumann of the 2nd Transvaal Scottish, South Africa (1980's).

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    27th October 09
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    You've done your homework, it appears. Very good questions. I suppose that the answers really depend on how and where you want to wear the kilt (i.e. what level of dress). You mentioned in the hose portion that you're looking for casual and formal, but that's a very wide swath to cover. Recommendations would be different for each with all the accessories.

    Your tartan being green, blue, black, and red, you have a wide range of colours that will pair well with the kilt while not necessarily matching it. Browns are lovely with those colours for all ranges of daywear (my clan tartan in traditional colours has the same colours as yours, with the addition of small amounts of white).

    For tying the hose, you can't go wrong with the ubiquitous red woollen garter ties. They are traditional, simple, and suitable for all occasions. One pair will go with everything, and highlight the narrow red stripes in your tartan. They add a touch of class beyond simple flashes.

    On neckties, it's really up to you. Do you have a university or regimental association with a striped tie? If not, you can choose any solid-colour necktie or something like the ABF (Army Benevolent Fund) tie for a classic-looking option. I am partial to the texture of wool or knit ties for daywear, though I do choose silk ties on occasion, such as for my university tie. Whatever you choose, you needn't worry about matching it to your tartan. It's quite stylish to wear a tie that doesn't match your kilt, but then pair it with a matching pocket square.

    On shoes, the best general choice is black cap-toe Oxfords or brogues for almost all occasions. But there's a lot of versatility there for different occasions, and it's good to have plenty of variety in your shoes.

    Again, if you're dressing for evening wear or formal occasions, there may be different recommended accessories. But for general purposes, smart daywear is a classic and stylish way to wear the kilt. And if you're wearing it in America, smart daywear will get you through virtually every occasion. I put this together recently (almost as a joke) to show my current preferences for all-purpose daywear. If it helps, great. If it makes you laugh, so much the better!



  8. #5
    Join Date
    21st May 08
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    Inverness-shire, Scotland & British Columbia, Canada
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    Nicely done, Tobus. And, welcome, RecQuery. I live just south of Inverness at Tomatin, and for a good part of the year in British Columbia overlooking the Salish Sea (glorious sunset tonight).

    Tobus has given you good advice. I suggest you leave the ghillie shirt in the armoire (makes the kilt a bit of a throghback 'costume' rather than national dress) and the black and the cream hose you are already concerned about in the dresser drawer. Tobus suggests hand-knit hose and I second that, if you find a source. If not, look at the range available from https://www.houseofcheviot.com/highland-hose -- excellent product, and don't worry if the pair you choose is not matchy-matchy with your kilt. If you like them, most others will, too.

    I like knitted flashes/garters, and you can source these at pretty well any country-wear shop or, if you are buying directly from HofC, they have an excellent selection in both their Highland and country lines. If you are going south in the next while, there's a place in Dornoch (name escapes me), Chisholm on Castle Street in Inverness, House of Bruar, Haggarts in Aberfeldy, and Hoggs in Angus -- off the top of my head.

    ABF is a good tie, but know much about it before you buy it and put it on. Don't be concerned with your tie matching anything else you are wearing -- it becomes your personal statement if your Davidson isn't enough for you .

    Tattersall shirts for most day and into mid-evening events; for more formality stick with white. I understand your selecting a black shirt; if you wear it that becomes your statement and be cautious about adding a 'second statement'. Black will work for you in the evening, with discrete silver 'bling'.

    Many wear pocket watches with Highland dress (I do, when I've no need to check the time every few minutes). No wrist watch with a pocket watch, of course!

    For footwear depend on comfort. I DO wear ghillie brogues on occasion because my ankles seem to like their flexibility on the ground. But I generally wear well-broken-in laced brogues (and I wish I could wear my grandfather's, but they are far to large and stored for some future generation). It's a personal thing, but I stay away from ankle boots, but do slosh about in high- and cut-down wellies often enough. And, I've some hiking boots I very fond of in the field.

    No head gear if you can avoid it. If you can't, try to avoid anything that is 'costumey" and stick with a simple Balmoral with a (here's that word, again) discrete belted clan crest (you have two to select from but, because some crass folk will ask, make sure you understand the significance of both the stag and the cat.)

    A big smiley here 'cousin': I wear the same Lochcarron Davidson as you do, and a 35 yo super weathered version (I'll try to attach a pic), a reproduction Davidson by Dalgleish (pic of that, too), a Strome Tulloch, a couple of Mackintoshes and the pride of them all, a Clanchattan by Jamie Scarlett.

    Wonderful to meet you.

    Rex

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    1st December 18
    Location
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    Thanks for the advice everyone, especially Tobus and ThistleDown. Some recommendations and products there I'll definitely be looking into. I was actually leaning to reds or perhaps something like a Lovat blue for flashes, garters and ties, unfortunately my university doesn't have a tie as part of it's merchandise.

    With my two to three weeks in the US -- California to be exact -- most of the events or situations I'll be going to tend to lean on the formal side though not overly so, if that helps narrow things down.

    I only mentioned the casual side to see if I could wear it out and about a few times.

  11. #7
    Join Date
    11th November 14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RecQuery View Post
    Thanks for the advice everyone, especially Tobus and ThistleDown. Some recommendations and products there I'll definitely be looking into. I was actually leaning to reds or perhaps something like a Lovat blue for flashes, garters and ties, unfortunately my university doesn't have a tie as part of it's merchandise.

    With my two to three weeks in the US -- California to be exact -- most of the events or situations I'll be going to tend to lean on the formal side though not overly so, if that helps narrow things down.

    I only mentioned the casual side to see if I could wear it out and about a few times.
    A lot will depend on what, where, and when in California.

    Things I wear for one thing here in San Diego might be over or underdressed for a similar event in San Francisco or San Jose.

    Similarly, weather can be drastically different up and down and across the state depending on the time of year. July in San Francisco is a lot like December in San Diego.

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  13. #8
    Join Date
    27th October 09
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    California, hmmm. I suppose it depends on where you'll be. Some areas of the state are very casual, you the point where there's no sense of dress code for anything. Still, looking dapper is never a bad thing!

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  15. #9
    Join Date
    9th December 08
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    Iím in British Columbia, in the interior Iíve lived in several provinces and have traveled in Europe with the kilt. Iíve a tweed braemar with waistcoat that I wear for most ďdress ocaisions ď I also have a PC for formal wear. Typically the level of formality in North America is less than in Europe so my charcoal tweed works for pretty much everything. My kilts are Macdonald and MacDonald of the isles hunting both in ancient colours, from HoE and Martin mills respectively I prefer garter ties which I have in red and blue, I usually go with the red but I did recently buy red Lewis hose from the wizard so it necessitated the blue garter ties. I typically wear either black or brown brogues with thick rubber soles, these are shoes I wear all the time whether in the kilt or jeans pants etc. I also have a pair of blundstones that I wear casually with hose up or scrunched down. As mentioned any Oxford type shirt in tattersall stripes or solid works. Casually I wear a light or heavy sweater depending on weather. I have a black daywear and a black and brown hunting sporran Ian Grant and L&M respectively. Figure out what your style is and add your personal flair, if it looks good most people will accept that the kilt is just replacing pants.
    For the most part out here the kilt automatically makes you better dressed than anyone else around you
    Slainte David
    Apologies to Jock Scott as I know some of the above will make him flinch if not a complete cringe

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  17. #10
    Join Date
    1st December 18
    Location
    Caithness, Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom
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    Cheers lads for replying further, feel free to keep it coming for anything you can think of.

    I plan on buying multiple items and variants at some point, I'm just seeing what I can put together by the 21st of December and what to prioritise.

    For example I'm leaning towards my first sporran being semi-dress and trying to straddle the line between everyday and dress... that is of course unless I receive advice against that.

    If it helps I'll be around the Los Angeles/Bakersfield/Lancaster area, and I don't mind dressing up a tad more than is standard. I'm going to stand out in a kilt anyway and I'm not local -- yet.

    I'm keeping red in mind, but any further recommendations for the colour of hose/ties/flashes/garters?

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