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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