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Choosing a Tartan: Things you need to know

Choosing a Tartan: Things you need to know

Choosing a tartan you like is often the first step in discovering your perfect kilt outfit - but it’s not always easy. You may want a tartan that honours your Scottish heritage. Alternatively, maybe there’s a particular colour you want to showcase, or you know for certain you want a weathered look.


Remember that not every tartan is linked to a specific family or a place name. However, knowing your tartan choices more candidly can surely help you make an informed choice.

What tartan to wear

The answer to this is quite simple. Choosing a tartan really is a matter of choice more than anything else. Your personal tartan style is something you can absolutely tailor your choice to. Regardless of your heritage, whether Scottish or not, there is a tartan out there that matches your style and taste.

Finding your family tartan

The first step to finding a tartan specific to your family name is to browse through a comprehensive directory of family names and tartans listed on the website of reputed stores like Tartantown who have a range of tartans to fit your specific taste and family tradition. Simply browse through their “tartan finder” and search your family name to find your tartan. If you can't find what you are looking for, do a little research around Scottish Tartans Authority. You can also try to change spellings of your surname a bit so that you can still find some options. If you fancy something that is more of a personal choice, feel free to choose from a range of tartans offered by the store.

Types of tartans

While the design of a tartan is a personal choice, there are some common elements of tartans that distinguishes them in different styles. Most tartans have different colours or may be commonly ancient, modern, dress, hunting and weathered. Generally, variations follow the same colour palette but shades can be quite different.

ANCIENT

This tartan derives its name as it belongs to the time when natural dyes were used more than colours. This made the colours look a little faded and light. In ancient tartans, you can find that reds will be tilting towards orange and blue or greens may not be as colour rich.  These are often popular for men’s kilts.

MODERN

Most modern tartans are much bolder compared to ancient counterparts. Though they have the same sett like the ancient tartan, their darker and stronger colours stand out. However, sometimes their patterns can be very bright. These are often popular for ladies kilt skirts.

DRESS


These type of tartans are inspired by the arisaid of Highlander women from the 17th and 18th centuries. They are nowadays found mostly in Highland dancing but are used by both men and women for all occasions.

HUNTING

Hunting tartans, as the name suggest, find their inspiration from the deep forests and woods. The colours on this variety are simply designed to camouflage with the forests and were developed using colours from nature. They work especially well with tweed jacket and accessories. These are often popular for men’s kilts.

WEATHERED

They give a rustic look and appear as if they have been through long wear and tear routine. They appear faded in terms of their colours and overall look.  These are often popular for men’s kilts.



If you are still searching for an ideal tartan, that blends with your rich Scottish heritage or simply want to experiment with other types and colours of tartans, why not visit Tartantown, a reputed Scottish department store and explore more options.