The Sporran was originally borne out of the simple need for somewhere to hold valuables in a pocket-less kilt. Having evolved from these humble origins, today’s sporrans are available in much more ornate and decorative varieties. It’s one of the most distinctive parts of a kilt outfit, letting wearers personalise their kilt while drawing on the long heritage of this traditional dress.
The sporran hangs from the belt at the front of the kilt, often matching the belt buckle in design. When they were first worn kilts were basic garments made without pockets, however, those medieval highlanders needed somewhere to carry small essentials; this is where the sporran comes from. Originally, they were leather pouches gathered with a simple cord and drawstring fastening.
They were used to store small items and essentials, even including trophies from the battlefield. Sporrans can now be much more decorative, with highly ornate formal varieties in a range of different fur and hair varieties to match any kilt, occasion and outfit. Daywear sporrans, traditionally made from leather, are often quite simple pouches with tassels and embossed Celtic designs and a simple fastening.
For more formal occasions, sporrans can be made from a huge range of leathers and furs, including seal, bovine or rabbit fur, featuring intricate decoration. There are also semi-formal sporrans which are designed to be smart and yet not quite as ornate as full dress varieties. The sporran is one of the most unusual parts of the kilt outfit. Like the kilt itself it has practical origins, but has become an eye catching and eccentric part of any traditional outfit.