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Utility kilts vs Traditional kilts

Kilts have remained a key piece of Scottish identity over the years. The kilt is instantly recognisable all over the world, it is worn and celebrated globally by people of all backgrounds and cultures.

When we think about a kilt we all have the same picture in mind of a traditional kilt. Over the years more variations in kilts have arisen through fashion and history.


In the USA particularly there's been an increase in utility kilts, a special kind of functional kilt derived from the original traditional kilt.

Kiltsforhire Traditional kilt hire
Kiltsforhire Traditional kilt hire '

What defines a Traditional kilt? -

Kilts have changed over the past few centuries and have evolved into what we know today. A traditional kilt is embraced by people all over the world and is typical formal attire in Scotland. A traditional kilt can vary in weight from 13oz -17oz woven cloth. A kilt is made up of an inside apron , a series of pleats and front apron using one whole kilt length of fabric which is usually at least 8 yards.


The modern traditional kilt derives from the walking kilt or what's also known as a small kilt. If your interested in the origins, history and evolution of the kilt, we have an interesting blog post here worth reading.


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Exclusive Kiltsforhire Autumn Bute tartan

The traditional kilt is secured with leather straps and metal buckles on the inside and outside and wrapped round the body like a towel or wrap skirt.

Traditional kilts are typically styled with a tweed or black formal jacket with matching waistcoat, a shirt, tie, belt & buckle, kilt pin, Sgian Dubh, socks and brogues. This completes the outfit making it perfect for any formal occasion.


Traditional kilts are standard formalwear in Scotland and easily spotted. Kilts can be worn to a variety of events including , weddings, balls, dinners, christenings, proms, graduations, banquets, ceremonies, football games, burns suppers, Highland Games and more.

More casual wear of the kilt can include styling your kilt with a sporran, boots and a jumper/football shirt/ ghillie shirt.





What is a Utility kilt ? -

A utility kilt is an adaptation of the kilt, designed to be more multifunctional. Utility kilts have similar design to a traditional kilt but stand our from them as they are 18oz cloth making them heavier and more durable. Utility kilts started making an appearance as workwear in some parts of the USA as they featured additional pockets, loops & storage and allowed tradesmen type workers to move freely whilst keeping warm. Emerging in the late 20th century, utility kilts aren't seen very often but are a unique variation of kilt and not well known despite their practicality.


Utility kilts
Utility kilts

Utility kilts were even made in other materials other than tartan, some heavyweight durable fabrics like leather , cotton & tactical fabrics. The creation of utility kilts led to a sub category of kilt variation known as military kilts designed for soldiers. The extra pockets and more durable fastenings and features were beneficial for those in the armed forces but aren't heavily used or seen but carry the same characteristics as utility kilts made in more neutral and camouflage materials.


Utility kilts focus mostly on functionality and can be completely customised to the individual and type of work. Utility kilts have emerged through their popularity into fashion style kilts with people wearing a utility kilt in an non work related environments, some utility kilts have been spotted on celebrities and red carpets as a fashion statement.




Who can wear a Utility or Traditional kilt? -

There are misconceptions and misinformation that circles around who can wear a kilt and having the right to wear one. Highland wear is a part of Scottish culture and we encourage everyone to celebrate Scotland's beautiful national dress.


Scottish culture is celebrated all over the world with people wearing kilts and tartan from all demographics, backgrounds, gender , religions and more. There is no gatekeeping of kilt culture and we only encourage and support everyone to participate in the beauty of wearing a kilt.

Formal event kilt hire
Modern traditional kilt outfits

Utility kilts may have a functional aspect but the same applies, there are no kilt police! Highland wear is open to everyone no matter what you want to wear. Utility kilts are not technically considered traditional but at the end of the day it is still a kilt and represented around the world.


Scotland is protective of it's identity and history but wearing a kilt is a sign of appreciation to what ancient Scot's used to wear and what was normal attire. All variations and modern forms of the kilt stem from the original great kilt, one piece of cloth wrapped and pleated around the waist and back, with the remaining fabric draped over the bodice. Created with purposed, the great kilt has led to all the types of kilt we see now and are only a small part in the identity of our Scottish history.





Traditional kilt hire -

Here at Kiltsforhire, we are highland wear experts, providing the best quality highland wear to offer since 1909.

We strive to make highland wear accessible to everyone. We offer complete kilt hire packs with everything your outfit could need for your special occasion.


In our hire packs you receive over £1500 worth of premium highland wear.

In your kilt hire you will receive:

Utility kilts
We have the largest range of tartans available for hire.
  • A traditional heavyweight 16oz kilt in your choice of tartan.

  • A super lightweight breathable jacket in your choice of style and colour.

  • A shirt with cufflinks

  • Your choice of tie style and colour

  • Belt & buckle

  • Sporran & chain straps

  • Kilt pin

  • Sgian Dubh

  • Socks and brogue shoes


At kilts for hire we don't do half measures, all our staff are very knowledgeable and able to have you looking and feeling great in our kilt hire outfits.

Although we have one stand alone store in Paisley, Glasgow Scotland. We ship our hires internationally, letting people all over the world embrace the kilt and making highland wear accessible to everyone. We offer a range of different types of kilt hire packs to suit every budget and occasion.




Why consider hiring a traditional kilt for your next occasion -

Wearing a kilt outfit should be ticked off every mans bucket list. Not only is wearing a kilt unique and different it, makes a statement. You can customise your kilt pack for any type of event ensuring you look and feel good. Our kilt packs are high in value and allow you to embrace the Scottish national dress without breaking the bank.


As mentioned before, kilts can be worn to a wide array of events beyond just weddings and we highly encourage everyone to embrace the kilt and stand out in the best way possible.

We offer the largest tartan selection in Scotland available for hire, so we've got something for everyone. Our experts offer styling advice and guidance when helping you customise your kilt pack.


Kiltsforhire Traditional kilt hire
Kiltsforhire Traditional kilt hire


We welcome everyone to our store if possible but not to worry we also offer our full range on kiltsforhire.com. You can build your kilt packs , browse our tartans and book party groups all from the comfort of your own home. We will take care of the rest.





For any enquiries on traditional kilt hire, booking or anything else feel free to visit us in store or email us at Shop@kiltmakers.com / call us on 0141 889 4879.



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