Can You Wear A Kilt On St Patrick's Day

Can You Wear A Kilt On St Patrick’s Day? Answered

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

On St. Patrick’s Day, the streets are filled with energetic parades, festive tunes, and a multitude of individuals enthusiastically showing off their Irish background.

But amidst all the celebration, one question arises: can you wear a kilt on St. Patrick’s Day?

Well, let me tell you about a St. Paddy’s Day celebration I attended last year to share some insights on whether you can wear the kilt at that special event.

Is It Acceptable To Wear A Kilt To St. Patrick’s Day?

man wearing kilt

Absolutely, it is not only acceptable but often encouraged to wear a kilt [1] on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day is regarded as the number one kilt-wearing holiday on the calendar.

“Look at Scottish guys wearing kilts – you could look at them and laugh, but the way they carry themselves, how can you? You can wear some of the weirdest things and be cool. If you believe in it, that’s what makes it cool.”

Andre Benjamin, American Rapper

Although only some people are familiar with the kilt, wearing one to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations is an entertaining and trendy way to show your love for Irish culture.

But why exactly should you not wear orange on St. Patrick’s Day?

Is It Okay For People Who Aren’t Scots To Wear Kilts?

It is definitely okay for people not of Scottish heritage to wear a kilt. Kilts are now worn by people of all backgrounds and nationalities worldwide. 

The kilt is no longer a symbol of Scotland alone but instead a symbol of cultural appreciation and respect. 

When using a kilt, it is essential to remember its cultural significance. While wearing traditional clothes can be fun to make a statement, one must respect their origins. 

Kilts should never be worn while engaging in activities that do not respect Scottish culture and people. But what are the best St. Patrick’s day outfit ideas for guys?

Why Do You Not Wear Pants Underneath A Kilt?

The most common reason people do not wear pants [2] underneath a kilt is that it is a part of the traditional Scottish dress. 

Kilts are designed to be worn without anything underneath, including underwear or pants. 

Wearing a kilt without any form of underwear allows freedom of movement and unrestricted air circulation, making it the most comfortable way to wear a kilt. 

“A kilt on St. Patrick’s Day is a reminder that traditions are meant to be celebrated, adapted, and shared by people of all backgrounds.”

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Traditionally, it is worn as a single layer of fabric and is designed to be tucked into the wearer’s waistband to keep it secure. 

As such, additional clothing, such as underwear or shorts, would be unnecessary and uncomfortable. 

Besides that, wearing a kilt without anything underneath is seen as a sign of respect. 

In Scotland, it is a sign of pride and honor, and wearing pants underneath a kilt is seen as an insult to the tradition. 

Are Kilts More Irish Or More Scottish?

man wearing a kilt

The kilt is a traditional garment in Scotland, and many people in Scotland still wear it for formal occasions and certain national events. 

Although kilts are most closely associated with Scotland, they have also been worn by Irish people for centuries. 

They are often seen in traditional Irish dancing. Some tartan plaids are associated with Irish clans, such as the Black Watch tartan. 

Also, it is a popular choice of garment for Irish musicians, many of whom wear the traditional Irish kilt. 

So, while the kilt is closely associated with Scotland, it is also an essential part of Irish culture.

Irish Kilt vs Scottish Kilt


The primary difference between an Irish and a Scottish kilt is in the crests they bear. 

A Scottish kilt is usually decorated with a tartan pattern and a crest associated with the wearer’s clan. 

The crest is typically a shield with various symbols, including a stag’s head, a bundle of arrows, and a thistle. 

Plus, it represents the wearer’s family history and clan identity. 

Meanwhile, an Irish kilt is often plain and does not feature a clan crest; instead, they decorate it with a shamrock crest around the pleats of the kilt. 


Scottish kilts are traditionally made with a tartan unique to a particular Scottish clan. In contrast, Irish dresses are made with Irish tartan, which can be any of various plaids in different colors and designs. 

Irish tartan is usually based on the colors of the Irish flag and can feature shades of green, white, and orange.


Technically, Irish and Scottish kilts can be paired with the same type of jacket. 

In traditional Scottish dress, the jacket worn with a kilt is called a “Prince Charlie” jacket, a cutaway tailcoat with silver or gold buttons. 

This jacket style is appropriate for formal occasions, such as weddings or dances, and is typically worn with a vest and tie for a complete look. 

Aside from Prince Charlie, the Argyll jacket is one of the most popular jackets worn with the Irish kilt. 

It is traditionally accessorized with a bow tie and a sporran, giving the wearer an air of refined and old-fashioned sophistication.

Also Read: Why Are Masks Worn During Mardi Gras?


Are kilts more warm than pants?

Kilts may offer more air circulation than pants, making them more relaxed in warm weather, but they are not necessarily warmer than pants in cold temperatures.

Is it still called a kilt if a woman wears it?

No, when a woman wears a kilt, it is typically referred to as a skirt or a wrap skirt. 

Women’s kilts often have a different cut and design than traditional kilts, as they are tailored to fit the female body.

Check out these lucky outfits you can wear for St. Patrick’s day here.

Why do they call it a kilt and not a skirt? 

The term’ kilt’ is derived from the traditional pleated garment worn by men in the Scottish Highlands. 

It is distinct from a skirt due to its unique cut and design and its historical and cultural significance to Scotland.

What do you call a kilt worn by a woman?

A kilt worn by a woman is called an “Earasaid” or “Arasaid.”

Final Thoughts

St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration and tradition, and there’s no better way to honor the Emerald Isle than by wearing a kilt. 

Whether you wear a traditional Irish tartan or opt for a modern twist on the classic look, a kilt is a perfect way to express your style and honor your Irish heritage.


Kimberlee Johnson
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