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History of the Sporran

So, we’ve given ye a bit of insight on how to choose a kilt, pick the perfect tartan, and select the best kilt accessories for the complete Scottish look.

After sharing some common accessories available for achieving the perfect Kommando Kilt attire, I began wondering how one of the most popular “must-have” accessories – the sporran – came about.

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As ye learned in our earlier blog, the sporran, which is actually Scottish Gaelic for “purse,” is typically worn along the waist of yer kilt, hanging right below the belt buckle. In order to understand the history of the sporran, ye must also understand the history of one of the oldest, most original, OG kilts – the Feileadh Mor, also known as the Great Kilt.

The Great Kilt (aka, the Original Gangster kilt) is the most basic form of the kilt, dating  back to the 12th century. The Great Kilt was created and worn in a way that suited the lifestyle and climate of the Scottish Highlands.

For example, in comparison to traditional trousers, kilts were customarily made from wool which dried out quickly and could be unraveled to be used as a blanket. Additionally, kilts provided a Scotsman a greater range of motion.

While kilts were very popular in this region, they were missing one key component traditional trousers always had: pockets.

So, how was this resolved? How would they hold all the basic, daily necessities, such as their keys and iPhones, conveniently in one place?

Okay, maybe their personal items didn’t include car keys and iPhones. However, this ingenious little bag was still born out of a necessity to carry other items we can also relate to today, such as coins, food and even pistols (maybe some of ye can relate to the last one?).

Anyways, a simply designed pouch made of leather was made, gathered at the top with basic drawstrings and later dubbed what we know now as the “sporran,” or, as I like to call it, the medieval man-purse. 🙂

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From this point on, the medieval man-purse actually stuck and became a thing! While it was originally made from leather, most commonly deerskin and calfskin, over time sporrans evolved into more elaborate and decorative pieces for the Scottish Highlanders.

These elaborate decorations included intricately designed metal clasps and adornments, as well as detailed etchings and designs. They later evolved to include fur accents and tassels as well.

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As sporrans became more and more decorative, their aesthetic appeal became more enticing over time rather than their function. Sporrans were eventually grouped into different categories, primarily revolved around Scottish attire for different occasions, such as semi-formal, formal, and daily wear.

So basically what was once bore out of necessity eventually became a “must-have” accessory. 🙂

Now that ye know a little history behind the medieval man-purse, consider taking a look at some of these sporran beauties. In fact, our hand crafted sporrans are exclusively made from %100 high-quality leather, and are available as a single pouch, a double pouch, or with a genuine fur accent. We even offer a classic Sporran with Tartan, which undoubtedly ensures the sporran complements yer kilt! ;P

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2016 Show Update

It has been quite a while since we’ve given ye an update on what’s been happening on the road with Kommando Kilts. 🙂

Believe it or not, we’re already into our 7th weekend at the Colorado Renaissance Faire and we’ve just been having a grand ‘ole time! So sad to think there are only two more weekends left celebrating this wonderful festival’s 40th anniversary. 🙁 Time sure does fly by quickly when we’re having fun, especially considering all the spiffy getups we’ve witnessed throughout our time here. I couldn’t resist sharing, just see for yerself!

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Don’t worry, there’s still some time for ye to make it out and join in on all the Renaissance Fair shenanigans! Two more weekends left to go, so come on out, if ye can, in all yer Celtic pride and glory.

If ye didn’t already know, the Bristol Renaissance Faire’s been quite exciting as well! We just wrapped up Weekend 3, where ye’ll be sure to find big men in kilts. 😉

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I absolutely cannot wait to see what’s in store for us on Weekend 6 (August 13-14), which is the Bristol Fair’s Celtic themed weekend!! Don’t hesitate to swing by our shop before in preparation for this particular weekend to ensure yer Celtic attire is up to par! 😀

Also, don’t miss us at our upcoming shows! In August we will be attending GenCon in Indianapolis, IN, as well as the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, NY. Ye can always look at our 2016 Show Schedule for more details about these and other upcoming festivals for the remainder of the year! 🙂

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How to Choose a Kilt: Part 4 Kilt Accessories

Now that you’re all sorted out with your perfectly fitted tartan kilt, let’s accessorize! What’s a Scottish outfit without all the accessories, eh?

Kilts and Accessories

First, let’s begin with the Fly Paid. What’s a Fly Paid you ask? Well, only the flyest accessory of them all! The Fly Plaid is a long piece of fabric, sort of like a scarf, that matches your kilt.  These babies date back to the 18th century, introduced around the time modern kilts replaced the Great Kilt and the traditional Féileadh Mòr (Great Plaid) worn in the Scottish Highlands.

Unlike a Sash (which makes a loop around the body), a Fly Plaid is pinned to the chest with a brooch and draped over one shoulder. At Kommando Kilts, we offer some of our very own handcrafted Celtic adornment, such as the Pewter Brooch or the Fireman Brooch, as well as other more traditional artwork– in fact, some of the Celtic designs in these brooches can be traced back to Early Medieval metalwork!

Now onto another must-have accessory – the sporran!

A sporran, which is actually Scottish Gaelic for “purse,” is the perfect accessory to go along with the traditionally pocketless kilt. Where else will you carry your wallet and keys? Our hand crafted sporrans are exclusively made from %100 high-quality leather, and are available as a single pouch, a double pouch, or with a genuine fur accent. They are typically worn along the waist, hanging right below the belt buckle, which we also offer. 😉 If you really want to go all out and make sure the sporran complements your kilt, we even offer a classic Sporran with Tartan. This way you’ll match all around!

Now that you’re filled in on a few common accessories used to add the finishing touches to your Scottish attire, come join us at one of our upcoming shows! Check out our 2016 schedule to see when we’ll be near you. 🙂

Just know there are still countless accessories available to help spice up your outfit, including traditional Scottish hats and much more! Make sure to take a look at some our previous posts if you’re in need of some guidance on choosing the right kilt or sett before you deep dive into the accessorizing!

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How to Choose a Kilt: Part 3 – Size and Measurements

Now that you got the gist of the different styles of kilts and tartans available, determining how to get adequately  fitted for one of these buggers is a whole different story! After the sett is chosen, deciding on how to tailor the kilt correctly is often a concern.

Traditionally. the waist of the kilt is measured at the bellybutton and the length of the kilt should hit the middle of the kneecap. What this means is, first, measurements must be made around the natural waistline – about an inch above your bellybutton. Then, similarly, measurements along your hip bone will also be needed, which is roughly about 5 inches greater than your waist. As for the length of the kilt, generally, measurements are made starting from the bellybutton all the way to your knees.

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However, as we said before in earlier posts, really, anything goes! At Kommando Kilt, when taking measurements into consideration, we would highly recommend simply tailoring the kilt to fit however you feel most comfortable wearing it. 🙂

Although these traditional measurements are more geared towards our male counterparts (since conventional kilts were designed for men), women can also wear one if they so please! We won’t stop ya. 😉 On the other hand, it is much more common for a woman to wear a kilted skirt (and they’re so cute!), such as this Billie Kilt or even the Ladies Utility Kilt.

A typical kilted skirt is made up of an apron (the flat flap) at the front, which is worn with a seam on the same side as the men’s kilt.Traditionally, this means on the right side, however, placing it on the left is totally acceptable too. As far as measurements go for the ladies, the only difference will be the desired length and the placement of the waist. For women’s kilted skirts, measurements on the lower part of the waistline are much more common, versus above the navel for men.

Once again we’d like to emphasize that choosing a kilt that fits your body type most comfortably is highly recommended! Tailoring your kilt to be fitted so that you’ll want to wear it proudly and flaunt it as often as possible is usually a good judgement for measurement. 😀

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How to Choose a Kilt: Part 2 – Tartans and Setts

In our last blog post, we introduced the basics behind the origins of different styles of kilts that exist, as well as the different types offered exclusively at Kommando Kilts. Just as promised, this week we’ll get into the details of how to select the right tartans (err, pattern) for yer kilt! Now comes the fun part. 🙂

If ye didn’t know, a tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in different colors, which result in a distinctive pattern known as a sett. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they’re made of many other materials such as polyviscose or acrylic fabrics (which we offer!).

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There are a variety of setts available, which include the Blackwatch, the Royal Stewart, the Hunting Stewart, the Mackenzie, the Dress Thomson, and the Dress Gordon. Each is associated with a different clan, and according to custom, one must wear their own proper set linked through ancestral bloodline. The differences between tartans is a result of how way back when, each community had a weaver who would create tartans with colors extracted from the dyes of local plants. Since different areas had access to different types of plants, each community had unique tartans that reflected their locality! And just like most things, dyes evolved over time and tartans became much more elaborate with vivid colors and patterns that we love love LOVE today. We even sing songs about how much we love them, like the classic Gentlemen-The Tartan by Murdoch Maclean:

Here’s to it!

The fighting sheen of it,

The yellow, the green of it,

The white, the blue of it,

The swing, the hue of it,

The dark, the red of it,

Every thread of it!

The fair have sighed for it,

The brave have died for it,

Foemen sought for it,

Heroes fought for it.

Honour the name of it,

Drink to the fame of it – THE TARTAN!

However, if ye don’t know which clan yer ancestors were from or if ye simply don’t like the tartan associated with yer clan, don’t fret! Much like the spirit of the Renaissance Festivals, anything goes! If ye really want to follow tradition and the former still follows, we suggest neutral tartans representative of the Scottish military—the Blackwatch. We also offer a couple of tartans based on official state designs, such as Oklahoma, Colorado, Wisconsin and the Texas Bluebonnet.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the How To Choose A Kilt Series for even more on how to prepare for yer next Scottish purchase! ;P

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How To Choose A Kilt: Part 1 Types

Selecting the right kilt may seem overwhelming at first with the myriad of patterns and styles readily available at your disposal. However, it’s much simpler than you’d expect, especially with some help from seasoned experts like ourselves. Before you dive into choosing the perfect Celtic attire, it’s always a good idea to learn a lil’ something about the origins and verbiage associated with such a timeless, fashionable product that reigns back to literally hundreds of years ago.

First, we’ll begin with the oldest and most authentic of them all, the Great Kilt. Back in the day these full-length garments were all the rage; in fact, the way one was put on actually required you to lay out the fabric on the floor and roll into it. Sounds fun, right? Not exactly. Although this may be the “original”, they evolved in such a way so you won’t have to break a sweat each time you put one on. As a result, the Wee Kilt was born.

In contrast with the full length Great Kilt, the Wee Kilt covers the lower half of the body from the waist to the knees. Nowadays, the Wee Kilts have a greater appeal since a.) they use less fabric (3 ½ to 4 yards of fabric on average), therefore making them lighter and more comfortable, and b.) they have a waistband, making it WAY easier to put on.

While different variations and styles exist of these two basic kilts, at Kommando Kilts we offer traditional Tartan Kilts and Casual Kilts.

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Our casual kilts line offers our very own Kommando Kilt. This kilt maintains a distinct style that combines casual with the traditional look, perfect for everyday wear. It even has an adjustable waistline! We also offer the awesome Fusion Kilt, which is a whole new take on a timeless classic and the lightweight AND functional Utility Kilt.

Part 2 of this blog series will delve deeper into the patterns and etiquette associated with the Tartan kilts, as well as Gaelic heritage. From there, you’ll be even closer to confidently choosing the perfect kilt!

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Norman, OK Medieval Festival Was A Success

What a great second show of the season we had last weekend in Norman, Oklahoma! We were at Reaves Park for the Norman Medieval Festival this past Friday through Sunday, outfitting families, friends, and all the chic Scotsmen (and women) who know the value of a good, comfortable kilt!

If you came out to see us at the Kommando Kilts booth, you know what a perfect weekend it was to come and enjoy this festival. The weather was GORGEOUS, and so were all the smiling faces we got to connect with over the course of the weekend. We always get excited to see some familiar faces when our return customers pop in to hang out and browse for new Scottish style to add to their wardrobes! It was equally exciting to see so many new lads and lassies checking out the Kommando Kilts tent. There’s nothing better than making new friends and sharing our unique Celtic craftsmanship. We take pride in outfitting our customers with quality kilts and handmade real leather footwear made right here in the United States!

We even made a couple of new feathered friends last weekend!

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Hanging out with the owls was just one of the interesting things to be seen at the Norman Medieval Festival. These events are such a blast as festival-goers get to interact with all the culture, art, music, dancing, and other entertainment that is around every corner. We had an especially good time with the Scottish Belly Dancers. This group of performers came to hang out with the Kommando Kilts team and show off some serious Scottish moves; it was fantastic!

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We want to thank everyone who came out to the festival in Norman last weekend so much; we’re so glad we got to enjoy such a beautiful, fun weekend with all of you, and we CAN’T WAIT to see who makes it out to our next event! We’re already geared up for the Georgia Renaissance Festival’s opening weekend, which will take place this Saturday and Sunday! And don’t worry, if you can’t make it to the Georgia Renaissance Festival this weekend, we’ll be around with our amazing selection of Kommando Kilts all the way through June 5th!

We hope to see all of you during our time in Georgia; we love making new friends wherever we go to enjoy the experience with. Get your tickets to the festival here, then come say hello and find your favorite way to GO KOMMANDO! 🙂

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2016 Show Schedule

If you read our last blog post, you know that the Kommando Kilts team has just kicked off the 2016 festival season. It’s an exciting time for us; we get to travel all over the country and bring with us our traditional Scottish kilts, handmade leather footwear, ladies’ attire, and our many, many Scottish accessories. We are a brand whose business is all about being playful and imaginative, having a little fun with life…So you better believe we have some good times during our time spent on the road.

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So far, we’ve checked the North Texas Irish Festival off this year’s list. We had a blast! And you can read all about it in our last blog post.

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Next up, we’ll be at the Medieval Fair of Norman in Norman, Oklahoma. This is our home state, so we always have fun at this event. We’ll be at the Kommando Kilts booth all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 1-3). There’s even free admission, so come say hello! For more information about the Medieval Fair of Norman, click here.

After Norman, we’ll be leaping over to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas. This festival runs a lot longer, so you can find Kommando Kilts at the Scot Shoppe from April 9 through May 30!

From Waxahachie, we’ll go on to:

-Washington, Missouri for the MO Tartan Days at the Washington Town and Country Fair – April 8 through April 10

-Fairburn, Georgia for the Georgia Renaissance Fair – April 16 through June 5

-Yukon, Oklahoma for the Iron Thistle Highland Games – April 29 through May 1

-Arlington, Texas for the Arlington Highland Games – May 8-10

-Dallas, Texas for Dallas Comic Con – June 3-5

-Larkspur, Colorado for the Colorado Renaissance Faire – June 11 through August 7

-Kenosha, Wisconsin for the Bristol Renaissance Faire – July 9 through September 5

-Indianapolis, Indiana for GenCon – August 4-7

-Tuxedo Park, New York for the New York Renaissance Faire – August 6 through October 2

-Wentzville, Missouri for the St. Louis Renaissance Faire – September 17 – October 16

-Estes Park, Colorado for Longspeak Scottish Festival & Highland Games – September 8-11

-Plantersville, Texas for the Texas Renaissance Festival – October 8 – November 27

We hope to see everyone at these events! They’re a ton of fun and a great opportunity to come try on a Kommando Kilt at the Kommando Kilts booth.

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North Texas Irish Celtic Festival in Dallas

We’ve just kicked off the festival circuit season and what a blast our first show was! Kommando Kilts sold superior Scottish style all weekend long at the North Texas Irish Celtic Festival in Dallas. This happens to be the second largest event held at Fair Park. (The state fair claims to be the first largest event to take place on the fairgrounds). Starting on Friday evening, we were there all evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. The Kommando Kilts booth was bumpin’!

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We had such a great time, per usual, but we especially enjoyed all the entertainment floating around the Automobile Building at Fair Park. There were Irish dancers, singers, and characters of all shapes and sizes. The atmosphere was whimsical and buzzing with the Celtic pride, complemented by the excitement of Irish music filling the room.

That Saturday at the North Texas Irish Festival, as usual, was our busiest day of the show–we love the craziness and all the interesting, enthusiastic characters we got to meet throughout the experience. We were there with all of our casual and tartan kilts, sporrans, kilt pins, handmade leather footwear, ladies dresses and chemises, and so much more. We had four to five Kommando Kilts employees working the booth at this show. Our favorite thing is seeing return customers come visit our booth again and say hello to us, which we had a lot of at the North Texas Irish Festival. But, of course, we also love meeting new customers and sharing with them the joy of traditional Scottish attire!

Our next show will be at the Medieval Faire in Norman, Oklahoma, beginning the first weekend in April at Reaves Park. Again, we’ll be there with all of our casual kilts, tartan kilts, handmade leather footwear, and TONS of beautiful Scottish accessories for the discerning Celt! We hope to see all our fans and customers out there, ready to GO KOMMANDO!