A Wee Guide to Traditional Scottish Garments

Welcome, lads and lasses, to a wee journey through Scotland’s famed attire. From the kilt to the Arisaid, each piece is a yarn in our rich tapestry of history. So, let’s set forth and explore our heritage, one garment at a time!

The Kilt

Ah, the kilt! It’s a garment that’s as Scottish as a dram of fine single-malt whisky on a misty evening. A kilt is not merely a piece of clothing, it’s a statement, a symbol of our history and heritage. Worn traditionally at events like weddings and Highland games, this pleated tartan skirt of sorts really sets us Scots apart. The pattern, or tartan, often signifies the wearer’s clan or region. And, of course, the real Scots wear it with a certain style – aye, and nothing underneath!

Tam O’Shanter

Tam o shanters

Now, moving on to the Tam O’Shanter. That’s our signature cap, named after a character in a poem by our very own bard, Rabbie Burns. It’s a bonnie wee thing, usually made of wool and with a wee pom-pom bobbing about on top. Often, you’ll find it patterned in tartan, much like the kilt. It’s perfect for those crisp Scottish mornings when the air has a nip to it. More than just a practical item to keep your noggin warm, it’s another nod to our unique Scottish identity. Whether you’re out on the town or taking a walk in the Highlands, a Tam O’Shanter adds a nice touch of Scot to any outfit.


Onto the sporran, then. This wee pouch, worn front and centre on the kilt, is a practical necessity for the Scotsman. You see, traditional kilts don’t have pockets, so the sporran is where a Scotsman stashes his essentials. The design ranges from plain leather for everyday use, to ornate silver and fur for more formal occasions. It’s a charming blend of Scottish pragmatism and style.

Tartan Sash

Tartan Sash

Now, for the ladies, we have the tartan sash. A long length of tartan cloth draped gracefully over one shoulder, it’s a sight to behold at ceremonies and celebrations. The tartan, just like with the kilt, often tells a tale of clan or family lineage. It adds a splash of colour, a touch of grace, and a hearty dose of tradition to a lass’s outfit. It’s not just about lookin’ good, it’s about the connection, the shared history that ties us Scots together.

Ghillie Shirt

Ghillie Shirt

Finally, let’s not forget the ghillie shirt. This loose-fitting number, made from linen or cotton, is what you’d traditionally pair with a kilt. It’s got this lace-up detail at the neck that gives it character. You might think it’s straight out of a pirate tale, but this shirt’s been a part of the Scotsman’s wardrobe for centuries! It’s laid-back yet noble, exemplifying the effortless elegance of Scottish fashion. Don it with a kilt, and you’ve got yourself an outfit that’s undeniably, unashamedly Scottish.

Tweed Jacket

Ah, the tweed jacket! As Scottish as the rugged Highlands themselves, this is a true wardrobe staple. Made from traditional Scottish tweed, this jacket is as durable as it is stylish. It’s perfect for those brisk Scottish days, providing warmth without sacrificing style. Whether you’re strolling through Edinburgh or exploring the rolling hills of the countryside, the tweed jacket is a timeless piece that never goes out of fashion.

Prince Charlie Jacket

This one is the real deal when it comes to formal Scottish attire. It’s the sort of jacket you’d wear to a ceilidh or a formal event, with its fancy silver buttons, satin lapels, and tails at the back. Pair it with a kilt, and you’re ready to make an impression. It’s not just a jacket, it’s a statement piece that adds a touch of Scottish sophistication to any ensemble.

Argyle Jacket

A bit more casual than Prince Charlie, but no less Scottish. It’s named after the pattern you’ll often see on it, a diamond-shaped design that’s been part of Scottish fashion for centuries. It’s versatile enough for both day and evening wear, making it a popular choice for events like weddings or dinners. When you see a man in an Argyle Jacket, you know he understands the blend of tradition and modern style that’s at the heart of Scottish fashion.




Ah, the trews! Traditionally worn by Scottish highlanders in the 16th and 17th centuries, these are basically tartan trousers. They’re a great alternative to the kilt, offering a bit more warmth and protection from the elements. A pair of trews in a rich, classic tartan is a sight to behold. They’re not just trousers, they’re a piece of Scottish history you can wear. So, whether you’re at a formal event or out on a cool evening, trews will have you looking sharp while staying true to your Scottish roots.

Aboyne Dress

The Aboyne Dress, oh what a spectacle! It’s a traditional Scottish costume worn by lassies during the Highland dancing at the games. Named after the Aboyne Highland Gathering, it consists of a tailored bodice and a tartan skirt or kilt. It’s a sight to behold, full of grace and vibrancy, echoing the rhythm of the music and the spirit of Scotland itself.


Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t just any old wrap, the Arisaid is a garment soaked in Scottish history as deep as the Loch Ness itself. It’s more than a cosy cover for a chilly day, it’s a nod to our Highlands heritage, a symbol of our enduring spirit. Traditionally worn by women, this long plaid piece, often seen in the rich, earthy colours of our beautiful landscapes, is draped across the body with a style that’s as Scottish as haggis and bagpipes. The Arisaid might not be as renowned as the kilt, but it holds its own when it comes to showcasing our rich heritage.

In the last decade or so, this piece of tradition has found a new lease of life, thanks to the surge in popularity of the “Outlander” series. Aye, our Arisaid has been transformed into the “Outlander Shawl” on screen! The shawl is worn with pride by the series’ heroine, adding a touch of authenticity and a dash of romantic allure to her character. These shawls, inspired by the rustic and robust spirit of the Arisaid, have become a favourite amongst fans all over the world. So, whether you’re stepping out on a cold day, or settling down for an episode of “Outlander”, wrapping yourself in an Arisaid – or its TV counterpart – is like being enveloped in a warm, comforting embrace by Scotland herself.

Tartan Skirt

Then there’s the tartan skirt. You might be thinking, “Not more tartan!” but in Scotland, there’s no such thing as too much tartan! The tartan skirt is a versatile piece, a spin-off from the traditional kilt, that can be worn by lasses on both formal and casual occasions. It’s the Scottish way to say, “Yes, we do love our tartan, and we’re not afraid to show it!” Whether worn with a classic blouse or a cosy sweater, it adds a wee bit of heritage to any outfit. Practical, timeless, and unmistakably Scottish, the tartan skirt keeps the tradition alive, one swish at a time!

Scottish Wedding Dress

Lastly, we have the Scottish wedding dress, an embodiment of tradition and romance. These dresses often incorporate elements like tartan, lace, and Celtic knot designs. Some brides even choose to wear a white version of the Aboyne dress. These gowns aren’t just beautiful, they’re steeped in history and meaning. For the Scottish bride, the wedding dress isn’t just about looking the part; it’s about honouring tradition and celebrating Scottish culture on one of the most important days of her life.

A Scot’s Farewell

Scotland’s spirit is woven into every thread of our traditional attire. Each piece is a tale of our history, our spirit, and our heart. So, here’s to the love of tartan and the charm of Scotland, etched in every fold and seam. Keep these stories close, as close as tartan on a chill Highland morning. Slàinte mhath!