Hello everybody! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. I’m back to continue the conversation about kilt jackets, and what is considered formal and what’s casual? Last week I touched on Bonnie Prince Charlie jackets, Sheriffmuir jackets, and Argyle jackets and how these traditional evening and day formal jackets have evolved over time, yet are still the most commonly worn jackets for formal occasions. So what should you wear to less formal occasions? What is a casual Highland dress? Imagine a line, a scale rather, that is formal to casual from left to right respectively. I think that a Prince Charlie and Sheriffmuir jackets both would be all the way to the left being the most formal. Then, about 2 notches down the line to the right would sit the Argyle Jacket. An Arrochar Tweed jacket would sit right in the middle and then Jacobite waistcoats would sit another two notches to the right, and a Jacobite shirt another notch away, and then at the very end of the line would sit your t-shirt or rugby shirt.
An Arrochar Tweed jacket , or Crail jacket, can really be made of any tweed you would like. Popular these days is a charcoal tweed, as it’s a dark tweed and edges on the more formal side. Typically this is worn just as argyle jackets are, with cream or black socks, and with a white or black shirt, with dress sporran, etc. Many people do and are getting married in these types of outfits because for some they are very formal. For others they are more casual, I think this is a matter of personal opinion. Regardless it’s a classy jacket with a 5 button waistcoat, usually made with real or imitation stag horn buttons, with plain epaulettes, and either a crail or balmoral cuff.
Sometimes, and becoming more popular, these jackets are made in a green, blue, or neutral tweed. Typically worn with this outfit are kilt hose that are similar in colour to the jacket, and often are worn with a semi-dress sporran. Often, these coloured jackets are worn with the more muted ancient tartans as they are lighter and more suitable for day wear. This is a very nice day outfit that bends more to the smart casual end of the spectrum. The colour of the jacket really depends on what colour you wish to bring out in your tartan. The weathered Anderson tartan, for example, could handle a lovat blue tweed, or a neutral stone tweed. Again, personal preference dictates which colour you want to be the highlight of your outfit. However, if tweed isn’t for you there are still a few options in the smart casual look.
Jacobite waistcoats are another option for a smart casual look. These are particularly suited for warmer weather, perhaps in America, Australia, parts of Canada, etc. To name a few there are the Inverness Jacket, Edinburgh Jacket, Peitean Jacket, and Lowlander Waistcoat. We have many available in our Jacobite Wear category. Many and most of these are made from black barathea wool with polished buttons, and are worn with a ghillie or Jacobite shirt. Some Peitean Jackets even come in leather! These Jacobite outfits are a recent addition to the Highland dress, coming about in the 1950’s. Some traditionalists can be opposed to such outfits as they are, of course, not traditional. However, there will always be a place for these outfits among those that choose to wear the Highland dress.
Of course a jacket or waistcoat is not always needed to wear a kilt. Those that go to rugby or football games may wear one with their favourite team’s jersey. Those that choose to wear a kilt on a day to day basis, may choose to wear a sweater, or just a shirt and tie with their kilt. On these occasions you wouldn’t be wearing your finest highland jewellery, or your most dressy sporran. A basic leather sporran, with plain accessories, such as a stag horn sgian dubh, or perhaps even boots would be worn. A casual outfit is, in itself casual, so people choose what they would wear with their kilt just as you choose what you wear to work everyday! The what’s formal and what’s casual question isn’t necessarily a difficult one. Of course you wouldn’t wear a jumper to a wedding, or go to a rugby game in a full Bonnie Prince Charlie outfit, but the line can blur, and many people consciously or unconsciously challenge that line.