What Tartan can I wear?

Tartans A – Z


Anyone can wear almost any tartan, generally there are no restrictions on wearing tartan although some patterns are known as ‘restricted’ meaning they are reserved for some chiefs or the Royal Family. Fortunately these are very rare. Possibly the question you want to ask is ‘what is the appropriate tartan for my name?’

first of all start with your surname; does it appear on our main list of clans? if this is the case then you are well on the way, if not then search our septs and associated names to see if your name links to a clan name in any way. If you still have no luck then there are a couple of options. Firstly you can check back through your family tree and see if a Scottish name comes up. Some people claim that you should check back along your mothers side but this is a bit of a myth, there are no rules about what surname you choose, if you have Scottish ancestry and can find a clan tartan then feel free to wear it. If that route fails then maybe your name is associated with a Scottish District. Not all Scottish names are clan names, particularly around the central belt but there are many district tartans which cover areas of Scotland and the larger cities.

Finally if after all that you still come up with nothing then there are always whats known as ‘universal tartans’ These include the Royal and Hunting Stewart Tartans, Black Watch, Flower of Scotland and many many more.

If your search for a tartan is based on a desire to purchase a kilt then there is another option; many people opt for single colour or tweed kilts which have become very fashionable.