Types of Sporrans and When to Wear Them

A sporran is an important and traditional item of the highland outfit. Traditional kilts are made without pockets, and sporrans would have been used to carry items such as small portions of food, or money. Today, sporrans are used to hold more modern items - mobile phone, wallet, and perhaps even a hip flask! Today there are three types of sporrans that are suitable for different occasions.

The Day Sporran

The day sporran is an all leather pouch that is as its name suggests - used for day to day wear. These sporrans are great for casual day functions - rugby games, informal occasions, and everyday wear. The day sporran will sometimes have embossing or studs on the front of the flap and will usually have  three all leather tassels hanging from the front of the sporran.

The Semi-Dress Sporran

My favourite sporran is the semi-dress sporran. This sporran will have a fur front with a leather flap. Often the flap will be embossed with a Celtic design, or have studs across the flap. The body of the sporran is made from fur - usually bovine - and the sporran will have three bell tassels hanging from the front. This sporran works for all occasions. It can be worn with a casual Jacobite shirt, or is even perfect with a tweed crail jacket. When first time buyers come into the shop - I usually recommend this type of sporran as it is so versatile.

The Dress Sporran

The dress sporran is a more ornate sporran. It will always have a metal cantle and usually is made from fur and will have three bell tassels on the front. The metal cantle is usually decorated with a Scottish design - sometimes with thistles, Celtic patterns, and sometimes will include a stone in the centre. These sporrans are ideal for formal occasions and are very popular for weddings and formal dinners. Dress sporrans also can have an all leather body, and these are called Hunting Dress Sporrans. As the name suggests they are worn for formal hunts.

Horse Hair Sporran

Horse hair sporrans are normally associated with pipe bands. The most common colours of horse hair sporrans are a white horse hair with black horse hair tassels. They are a very long sporran and the hair will usually sit just below the hem of the kilt. They have metal cantles and are worn at formal events.

Alternative Sporrans

There are a number of alternative sporrans as well. So if you fancy sometime different you may want to look out for these alternative sporrans. Sporrans made from fox and badger heads are sure to turn heads.  The head of the animal makes the flap of the sporran and the body of the sporran uses the same pelt. They are not suitable for formal occasions but are commonly worn for reenactments or for costume.

Sporrans should be worn about 4-5 inches below the top of your kilt. You yourself will know what feels comfortable, but they are always worn in the centre of your kilt. The only exception is when dancing with your partner - you can pull your sporran to the side to stop it swinging as much. If you need any help choosing a sporran our friendly sales team is always available for advice. You can chat with them through our Live Chat option, call them at 01896 208 007 or send an email to sales@tartanplustweed.com