Kilt jackets can be a tad overwhelming if you’ve ever researched how many different kinds there are. To name a few there’s the Bonnie Prince Charlie Jacket, the Sheriffmuir Jacket, the Argyle Jacket, the Arrochar Jacket, and then there are all the Jacobite waistcoats from the Inverness to the Edinburgh Doublet! How to choose! And what is classed as formal or casual? Generally, most people choose on personal preference and what types of functions they most often wear a kilt too, however as the kilt outfit evolves to be more modern, so does the versatility of the kilt jackets. Here, I’ll be discussing the three most formal jackets and will be leaving the more casual jackets for next week’s discussion.

Let’s start with the Prince Charlie Jacket. This jacket is very traditional and mimics a tuxedo jacket in some ways. It is detailed with satin lapels, a lower cut waistcoat, and tails on the back. Being that it mimics the tuxedo jacket, it is most appropriate for more formal occasions. Traditionally, this jacket is either worn with it’s accompanying waistcoat or a belt with diced socks and the finest jewellery to match (ie. kilt pin, cufflinks, full dress sporran, and sgian dubh). This jacket has evolved, in recent times, to accompany a 5 button waistcoat, which allows the individual to wear a mixture of shirts and neckwear. I think over the past few decades as suits and waistcoats have become more popular, some have preferred to integrate the 5 button waistcoat with the Prince Charlie jacket. If you were to take your jacket off, you are left wearing your shirt, neckwear, and a 5 button waistcoat, (and your kilt of course!) which has become a more modern look as opposed to the lower cut 3 button waistcoat. It still poses itself as a formal outfit suitable for black tie occasions, but it can lend you a more modern look. Prince Charlie jackets and waistcoats can even be customised with antique buttons, or black buttons to add more of your own character into the jacket and are available at tartanplustweed.com.

The Sheriffmuir Jacket, or Sheriffmuir Doublet, has also seen its evolution over time. Traditionally, the Sheriffmuir was the most formal jacket you could wear to special occasions. Typically it was worn with a jabot, a leather belt, and without a waistcoat. The high cut of the collar is perfect to wear with a jabot as the wing collar of a shirt would become covered by the high neckline of the jacket. However, as jabots have regressed in fashion, a black waistcoat became a more favourable choice to wear with the Sheriffmuir, as well as a wing collar shirt. This has become a very sharp evening wear outfit that has almost come out of the dark ages by switching from a jabot shirt to a five button waistcoat and wing collar shirt. It completely changes the look of the jacket and the outfit as a whole. Military style jackets are very popular for women as well as men in day to day fashion, and this jacket, with the high cut collar and doublet style, brings a bit of that fashion into evening wear. As with the Prince Charlie Jacket, the Sheriffmuir Jacket can be customised with polished, antique, or black buttons, on bottle green, navy, or black barathea wool available at tartanplustweed.com.

Lastly, my discussion takes us to the Argyle Jacket or Argyll Jacket. This jacket was originally made to be a formal day jacket. It resembles a day tweed jacket in many respects from the cuff to the epaulettes and straight cut of the jacket but is made from black barathea wool with polished buttons. Now, as I’ve probably reiterated a few times, obviously the five button waistcoat has become a favourite amongst kilt wearers. It’s comfortable to wear without the jacket, and it hides enough so you don’t have to wear a pleated shirt. You also have the versatility of wearing a normal neck tie, a ruche tie, or a bow tie. In saying that I do think that’s why this jacket has become a quick favourite for many people. Many stores, like us here at tartanplustweed.com, sell it with a five button waistcoat, so you don’t have to ask what kind it comes with, and the being black the Argyle Jacket goes with almost any tartan. It’s evolved to tick both daywear and evening wear boxes. I would truly say it’s the most versatile jacket and waistcoat, and it really is value for money, considering you can wear it to almost any occasion these days.

All in all, the five button waistcoat favouritism could change, and probably will change just as Jabot shirts, and diced kilt hose are no longer favoured. Black shirts are now just as common as white shirts are for formal occasions, and 50 years ago no one would have even dreamed of wearing a black shirt! Or a ruche tie for that matter. The kilt outfit is ever changing, and the rule of thumb is to go with an outfit you feel comfortable in, but just as day to day fashion modernises so will the kilt outfit.