Tartan V/S Utility Kilts – What’s The Difference?

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Some are still thoroughly confused when the topic of kilts arises and in particular there are doubts regarding the difference between Tartan and Utility kilts. Just as with any other problem, this one also is easily solved once a person is faced with the basic differences between these two products.


Most people know that kilts have their origin among Celtic, Irish and Scottish people. More accurately, kilts belong to the tribes within these cultures and each tribe has its own fabric which is known as Tartan. There are more than a hundred Tartan designs in existence and each design represent a specific tribe.

However, the Utility kilt is an advanced form of the more traditional designs and likewise, there are many different materials and styles used in the manufacturing process. It is not uncommon to see utility kilts made from fabrics such as denim, cotton, leather and a whole range of other suitable fabrics. The modern fabrics used today is certainly useful but they don’t have the same historic value as traditional kilts.

Kilt Design

The more traditional Tartan kilts uses a design which has a very old history. People will notice that a genuine Tartan kilt has an apron in the front with pleats in the back. The apron typically covers the front of the legs and most tartan kilts has a fringe ending on the side which makes the back pleat more prominent. The primary reason for the back pleat is that the kilt is significantly warmer because of the concentration of fabric on the back which provide added protection in cold weather.

Working kilts or utility kilts is more in keeping with modern demand providing in the demands of consumers while still honoring the sacred traditions. These kilts end in the middle of the legs and they provide pockets wherein stuff can be carried while working. These modern designs can have many decorative additions such as buttons, buckles and hooks which can make the traditional kilt even more spectacular.

Manufacturing Process

We have already established that the traditional or Tartan kilt has a long history and likewise the manufacturing process is very old. According to well established tradition, traditional kilts are hand made by using the trusted needle and yarn and no machines is used in the process. This does not apply to utility kilts which is mass produced by using sophisticated machinery although there are still parts of the process which is done by hand.

Many of the first kilts where fastened around the body with the aid of some colored fabric but even traditional kilts are now fastened with adjustable leather straps. In fact, the popular Tartan kilts has a leather strap on both sides which is then fastened in the middle. This same process is now applied to utility kilts but some designers goes a lot further by providing designer kilts which is using a whole range of fastening methods which include things such as chains, buckles, and even buttons.

Wearers of traditional kilts use to carry a Sporran, a kind of purse wherein things were carried because traditional kilts did not have pockets. This slight problem is dealt with in the design and manufacturing of utility kilts and so there you have the basic differences between traditional and modern kilts.

So, this was our article about the differences between tartan and utility kilts. If you have any questions then don’t forget to send them to us using the comment box or you can email us directly at info@www.kiltzone.com