When you are purchasing Highland wear for the first time, being presented with so many kilt sizes can be confusing. Not only do you have to check kilt size charts to compare your body measurements, but you are also presented with a choice between a 5-yard or an 8-yard kilt.
In this article, we discuss the differences between each type of kilt. From weight to pleats, we will show you the varying factors that are important to be aware of when purchasing a kilt for the first time.
5 yard vs 8 yard kilt
From the front, both kilts look pretty similar to each other. There are, however, subtle distinctions between a 5 yard and an 8-yard kilt to be aware of.
Obviously, the 8-yard kilt uses more fabric. Since more material is used in an 8-yard kilt, there are a lot more pleats giving a nicer, fuller appearance. The pleats will be folded more densely and don’t tend to open up as much when you move around.
This extra fabric also results in extra weight. The 8-yard kilt is heavier than the 5-yard kilt, providing a better swing or swish when walking. This additional weight is not great in warmer climates, however so if you are planning on dancing then the 8-yard kilt may make you a little too hot. The 5-yard kilt is the better option if you need to stay cool throughout your event, as on average these kilts are up to 40% lighter.
Price is another varying factor. 5-yard kilts are typically the more economic option as they use less material. If you are only planning on wearing your kilt a handful of times, then this may be the option for you. On the other hand, if wearing a kilt is something you plan on doing often, investing in a premium kilt with more yardage will provide you with more longevity.
If tradition is important to you, then it is recommended that you chose the 8-yard kilt. This type of kilt is the most authentic to our Scottish ancestors, as they used 8 yards of wool fabric to construct their garments. Pairing the 8-yard kilt with other Highland wear accessories such as a sporran, kilt pin, and sgian dubh completes this customary look.
Measuring for a kilt
So, you are probably asking yourself “but what size kilt do I need?”. The choice between a 5-yard or an 8-yard kilt is largely down to personal preference, depending on the style and weight you feel most comfortable in.
Whichever type of kilt you select, it is important to take accurate kilt measurements to get the perfect fit, both in kilt length and waist measurements.
Proper kilt length dictates that the kilt should cut off at the knee. For traditional kilt length, kneel down and measure from your belly button to the floor. If you want a military-style kilt, you should instead measure from your belly button to the top of the knee.
You will also need to take measurements around your waist and seat. For more information on measuring for a kilt, read our in-depth kilt measuring guide.
Both 5 yard and 8-yard kilts are great options for showcasing your Scottish heritage at formal events such as weddings, christenings, and graduations. 5-yard kilts are a lightweight, more cost-effective option whilst 8-yard kilts are a traditional, weightier choice.