Happy National Tartan Day!

kilt store scotland

One of the tartan looms at Geoffrey Tailor, a large tartan and souvenir store by Edinburgh Castle.

geoffrey kilt uk

Yes, Geoffrey (Tailor) is touristy, but in a good way.

Today, April 6, is National Tartan Day, which is an American holiday that began in 2005 to celebrate Scottish Americans. To me, however, it sounds like we’re celebrating tartans, beautiful woven patterns which are certainly are worthy of celebration. And that made me think of the kilts I saw in August 2010 in Edinburgh.

tourists edinburgh castle

It takes a special kind of tourist to wear a kilt when visiting the Edinburgh Castle.

Most of the tartans that I saw were on tourists, staff members at tourist attractions, touristy shops along the Royal Mile and at Geoffrey Tailor, which is huge tartan and souvenir store complete with tartan looms. It’s aptly located next to the Edinburgh Castle and it’s the perfect place for gifts or to fully outfit yourself in a custom-made kilt, complete with straps, socks and sporrans.

Real Scots do wear kilts. But they wear them on formal and semi-formal occasions, none of which I was attending while in Scotland. At Scottish weddings, for example, kilts are the typical dress for men. And sometimes at American weddings, the groom and groomsmen will wear them if they’re of Scottish descent. It’s tough to pull off though.

Oh, and don’t think I didn’t try to convince my husband that he needed to buy a kilt! Neither of us are of Scottish descent, but you never know when you might be invited to something that requires (or even subtly suggests) a kilt. There are so many great patterns to choose from, and the custom-make it so it fits and flatters you perfectly. But not only was the high cost a factor, there was also the problem that my husband really did not want one. As for me, I wore a kilt (Dress Campbell) as my uniform all through high school, so I’m set for life. We did end up with nice plaid cashmere scarves though.

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