5 Yard or 8 Yard Kilt?

Posted on September 13 2016

I’ve chosen my tartan but should I buy the 5 yard or the 8 yard kilt?”

This is a question we are often asked, especially by someone ordering their first custom made kilt. The front of each kilt is the same as there are two layers of fabric, and they lie flat, one over the other.

The difference is around the back, in the pleated section. Naturally, there is considerably more fabric to pleat into an 8 yard kilt, and so the kilt maker has to make more pleats to use all 8 yards of material. The pleats are therefore more densely folded and when you move, the pleats look slightly less open.

You can see the difference between the pleating here:

5 yard on the left, 8 yard on the right.


Another consideration is the difference in the weight of the kilt when you are wearing it. Mathematically speaking, the 5 yard kilt is 37.5% lighter than the 8 yard kilt, although the exact weight of your kilt will vary according to your chosen tartan. The difference in length of course also makes a considerable difference to the cost of the kilt. Sometimes this is the deciding factor.

If you plan to wear your kilt to work in, or if you’re an active person, you may prefer to carry less weight in your kilt. For this reason, the 5 yard kilt is also referred to as a casual kilt, the idea being that it is light and easy to wear. This lighter kilt is also favoured by the younger generation of kilt wearers and is usually the choice for modern tartans and plain colours.

Traditional 8 Yard

For a heritage kilt in your family tartan, we always recommend the traditional 8 yard kilt. Perhaps the first time you’ll wear this will be on your wedding day, when only the best will do. The extra 3 yards of material add a fullness which says quality, heritage and pride. This kilt will swish with confidence when you walk or dance. Here in Scotland, there’s a tradition of handing down an 8 yard kilt from one generation to another. This kilt is an investment piece.


If you still can’t decide which kilt is right for you, get in touch. We have the experience and knowledge to be able to talk you through the decision process.



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