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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 represents your Scottish heritage. Alternatively, maybe there’s a particular colour or style you want to showcase. Remember that not every tartan is linked to a specific family or district. 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 like Tartantown who have a range of tartans to fit your specific taste and family tradition. Simply enter your family name into the search bar to find your tartan. If you can't find what you are looking for, do a little research around the Scottish Tartans Authority. You can always send us a message or give us a call as well!

Types of tartans

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


This tartan derives its name as it belongs to the time when natural dyes were used. This made the 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 rich.  These are often popular for men’s kilts.


Most modern tartans are much bolder compared to ancient counterparts. Though they have the same as the ancient tartan, their darker and stronger stand out. However, sometimes their patterns can be very bright.


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


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


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 and overall look. 

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 of tartans, why not visit Tartantown, a reputed Scottish department store and explore more options.