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  1. #1
    Join Date
    18th August 21
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    Tell newbie about kilt pins

    Have done some reading online and it looks like things are fairly "up to you" in this department but I'd like any pointers for a newbie. This will be a formal occasion (formal night on a cruise). I'm guessing if you wear a clan badge you know you're part of that clan? Or can you wear one because you think their badge is cool?

    I have a Scottish Terrier and I've seen a pin or two with a Scottie dog on it but somehow that doesn't seem ... fitting. Like the swords or cool knots better. My wife and I also love the claddagh (we have rings) but that doesn't seem to be a pin thing.

    All in all, I have no idea what to get. Your thoughts and guidance would be appreciated. And pics showing what you have make it even better!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    15th October 07
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    Hey @BuckeyeMark, it really is anything goes for kilt pins. You can even forego them if you choose. The only thing I'd consider is the size and weight of the pin. Too big and it will pull on the kilt or may look a little off. But overall, whatever you like will suffice. It's your kilt and your outfit, so use what you like.

    I've used parts of antler, a clan badge pin, the large safety pin you can find most anywhere, and the Marine Corps kilt pin. Here's the Marine Corp pin:


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  4. #3
    Join Date
    18th August 21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12stones View Post
    Hey @BuckeyeMark, it really is anything goes for kilt pins. You can even forego them if you choose. The only thing I'd consider is the size and weight of the pin. Too big and it will pull on the kilt or may look a little off. But overall, whatever you like will suffice. It's your kilt and your outfit, so use what you like.

    I've used parts of antler, a clan badge pin, the large safety pin you can find most anywhere, and the Marine Corps kilt pin. Here's the Marine Corp pin:

    First, thank you for your service. And second, that Marine Corps pin is the bomb!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    24th September 04
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    One of the things I would like to mention is that while there is a lot of stuff out there about kilt pins, most of it is one person's opinion. Form your own opinion.

    To me, a kilt pin is like a lady wearing a brooch. That little glint of jewelry or bling.

    Wear something that means something to you. A special gift from someone perhaps.


    But we never pin both aprons to each other with the pin. That is a sure fire way of tearing your kilt.

    And most of us who have multiple kilts that we wear every day, have one pin for each kilt. The pin lives on the kilt, only having to be taken off for cleaning. That way we are not constantly punching holes in our kilts.

    Oh, and if you ever happen to see the hack of mounting your kilt pin with rare earth magnets - Well, sounds great at first - until you walk between two cars in a parking lot and your pin jumps and fastens itself to some ones car. True story.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    6th July 07
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    The Highlands,Scotland.
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    To be clear, some experienced kilt wearers don't wear a kilt pin at all and if that is their choice then not an eyebrow is raised. There does seem to be an opinion here on this website from some that there is a risk of the pin catching on something and tearing the kilt cloth. I am not saying it does not happen, but after a rather long time wearing the kilt in all sorts of terrain with a "safety pin" style of pin, I have never managed to rip the kilt in that fashion and I have never personally known anyone else do it either. On the other hand, Land Rover door catches are entirely another matter!
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 30th August 21 at 04:43 AM. Reason: clarification
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  9. #6
    Join Date
    3rd March 15
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    My preference is to wear a kilt pin.

    Most of mine are fairly low key and "natural" looking - mainly horn, antler or wood. I basically follow the one-pin one-kilt approach, although I do have an art deco, pewter luckenbooth pin I sometimes use for formal events (when I can be be bothered swapping them).

    On your original query, I wouldn't wear a clan badge just because I thought it was cool (but that said I don't wear my own clan badge either) and, in the UK at least, I would say that the claddagh is usually more associated with Irish rather than Scots heritage (although by no means are the two mutually exclusive).

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  11. #7
    Join Date
    3rd March 15
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    Last edited by Tomo; 30th August 21 at 04:00 AM.

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  13. #8
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    The background about kilt pins is that they seem to appear in the Victorian period, but weren't all that popular then.

    About military kilt pins, from 1808 there were only five kilted Scottish Highland regiments, and only one, the 92nd Foot (Gordon Highlanders) wore kilt pins. They were a plain safety pin.

    About Victorian civilian kilt pins, as best I can tell they were part of the general Victorian fad for Clan Crest accessories.

    Victorian kilt pins were generally round, and more or less were miniature cap-badges, the Clan Crest surrounded by the strap & buckle. Plain safety pins were also seen.

    As best I can tell it was around the 1920s or 1930s when the common modern traditional kilt pins became popular, so popular that some expressed the opinion that they were "required" for proper dress (an opinion which would have baffled the Victorians).

    These 20th century kilt pins had a vertical axis and were usually in the shape of swords (often with targe) or less often other weaponry such as axes and dirks.

    It's almost as if when men stopped wearing swords at their sides they began wearing them in the form of kilt pins, as vestiges of a former age.

    Then in the 1970s, after a century of obscurity, Clan Crest do-dads came roaring back, including Clan Crest kilt pins. Now the strap & buckle was placed over a sword, just as the targe used to be.

    Today kilt pins are in a strange place here in the USA. There was a "show us your kilt pins" thread here and very few of the things people were wearing on their kilts were designed and made to be kilt pins. Rather, any small object a person might own was attached to their kilts.

    Personally I rarely wear a kilt pin. It's an unnecessary do-dad IMHO and when I'm getting dressed for a piping gig there are enough bits to a Highland outfit at minimum! The last thing I want to do is add superfluous impedimenta.

    Time for pretty pictures!

    A Gordon Highlander wearing a plain silver safety pin; it appears to have a ball at bottom, a style often seen. (There's another style with a silver rod with silver balls screwed onto each end.)



    The man on the left wearing matching Clan Crest cap badge, brooch, and kilt pin



    This Fraser Ross catalogue (1930s IIRC) only shows the plain pin and the grouse-claw styles



    The Anderson 1936 catalogue only offers pins, in this case with silver ball and a tiny stone, and a penannular brooch style



    Here in 1960 we see our familiar styles. A major maker was Robert Allison (established 1938)



    Here in a 1970s catalogue we can see a fairly full range of the styles made by Robert Allison and other makers. Robert Allison was in business until 1982.

    Note (lower left) the return of the Clan Crest kilt pin! They were offered by two new makers, Art Pewter Silver (est. 1968) and Carrick (est. 1971) who made Clan Crest cap badges, kilt pins, key rings, sginean, etc. It was these firms who powered the 1970s Clan Crest fad which is still with us to some extent.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 30th August 21 at 08:33 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. #9
    Join Date
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    If you wear a pin do be sure to wear it high enough so as to avoid your knee in all circumstances.
    My mum used to put a simple pin in my kilt through both layers and low down, and horizontally. It hurt when it got in the way, but one day I dropped to my knees and the pin was opened up and pushed into my knee behind the kneecap - I can still remember it vividly, both it going in and the teacher pulling it out.
    I presume to dictate to no man what he shall eat or drink or wherewithal he shall be clothed."
    -- The Hon. Stuart Ruaidri Erskine, The Kilt & How to Wear It, 1901.

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  17. #10
    Join Date
    10th December 06
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    As others have said, pick something that has meaning to you. Or if you don't want to or can't find something then you can forgo it altogether. One of my favourites is a Victorian era pin that I found on eBay, I use it on my Scottish Wildcat tartan kilt



    Another favourite is this lizard on the Carolina Tartan kilt

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