Best Universal Tartans That Anyone Can Proudly Wear

Probably the most common question asked is “what tartan can I wear?”. We always find a few plaids to wear with pride. But what tartans are there for non-Scots, or if you’ve no connections with Scotland? Here are seven ideas for universal tartans that can be worn by everyone. And we’ll save the best for last! Today some tartans are seen as universal, so anyone can wear these plaids whatever their background. Most famous is Royal Stewart tartan, originally designed for Queen Victoria. Then there’s Black Watch tartan, which now commemorates Scotland’s most famous regiment. Other examples include Macleod Dress or ‘Loud Macleod’ to its fans. Lindsay which is so popular it’s almost public property. Dress Stewart is much loved for womenswear. And Scotland Forever is Scotland’s gift to the world. 

Royal Stewart Tartan –  The Plaid That Started It All

The Royal Stewart tartan is the best-known plaid on the planet. It was chosen by Sir Walter Scott for King George IV’s visit to Edinburgh when the old laws banning tartan began to be lifted. Commoners soon hijacked the Royal Stewart plaid to show their royalist loyalty. So the royal family later adopted the Balmoral tartan (said to have been designed by Prince Albert) which convention dictates is worn only by them and the Queen’s piper! Nowadays Royal Stewart is the most widely produced tartan commercially thanks to its striking red color scheme. No one thinks of it as even expressing royalism. It’s simply the most widely worn tartan in the world.

Black Watch Tartan –  A Tribute to Valor and Style

Black Watch tartanThe Black Watch tartan is also known as the Campbell tartan. Dark, moody, and suited to both menswear and womenswear as well as interiors, the subtle depth of Black Watch is what makes it so popular. Even the British Prime Minister (at time of writing) Theresa May often sports a Black Watch suit, cutting a dash while staying on the safe side of sober. No wonder it’s so popular.

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Its common name of Black Watch is because the army adopted this plaid for kilts worms the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, or Argyll Regiment or just Argylls for short (now the 3rd Battalion) giving yet another name: Government 1A tartan (though 1B is more commonly woven commercially). This renowned regiment was of course best known as the Black Watch.

Macleod of Lewis Tartan – Bold and Unapologetic

The MacLeod of Lewis tartan (or MacLeod Dress) is famously known as Loud MacLeod, and it isn’t hard to see why. This is a plaid for someone who likes to stand out in a crowd. The MacLeods are found on the Isle of Skye and all over the Inner & Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland, and into the western mainland of Scotland. But MacLeod of Lewis tartan has outgrown these origins to be universally recognised as one of the boldest fabric patterns in the world.

Lindsay Tartan – Elegance in Weaves

The Lindsay tartan is another that’s been commercially successful thanks to its sophisticated beauty and flexible styling. Popular for everything from school uniforms to ladies’ skirts and jackets, the Lindsay tartan has a place in countless hearts.

Descended from Danes, the first Lindsay recorded in Scotland was in 1120 and the family prospered both in both Scotland and England until they had to give up the English parts during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Now the family is found all over the world. But their tartan is found much more widely!

Dress Stewart Tartan – A Blend of Tradition and Fashion

Dress Stewart tartanThe Dress Stewart tartan is another plaid found in many a school uniform. But its popularity is much wider than that, used in everything from high fashion to traditional interiors. Dress tartans are typically showy, designed of course for dress-up occasions. But Dress Stewart somehow does so in a way that’s classy.

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Dress Stewart is nowadays so widely used for commercial production that few wearers probably even reflect on its historic links with the Stewart clan. But it remains a source of pride for many Stewart family members to see their fabrics being enjoyed all over the world.

Scotland Forever Tartan – A Symbol of Unity

Scotland Forever tartanThe Scotland Forever tartan is a more modern invention by one of the Scottish weaving mills. Taking its name from a famous battle cry heard at Waterloo, the Scotland Forever was created especially to meet the need for a plaid design that could be worn by anyone, wherever they lived, and whether or not they had Scottish blood. After all, which of us wouldn’t agree: Scotland Forever!

Choose Your Tartan – Celebrating Individuality and Inclusion

Tartans aren’t only for families and clans. The tradition is really about honoring a community you belong to and love. So there are plaids for countries, cities, regions, and villages. There are tartans for companies, clubs, and events. Lots of universities and schools have their own. Heck, you can even design your own tartan .

But here’s the big take-away: there’s no rule to stop you wearing any old clan or family tartan! That idea’s a myth. Scottish tradition is all about welcoming outsiders into our community. To wear someone’s plaid is a sign of respect and friendship. So it’s fine to choose any traditional tartan just because you like it! This is Scotland’s beautiful gift to the world. We love it when you love our tartan – whichever you choose.

Scottish Kilt – A Timeless Garment That Connects the World

The Scottish kilt, renowned for its deep historical roots and vibrant tartans, serves not only as a powerful emblem of Scottish heritage but also as a dynamic expression of personal style. Each kilt, whether it’s the Royal Stewart, bold MacLeod, or the universally cherished Scotland Forever tartan, weaves a rich narrative of tradition and belonging. Far beyond its origins as a symbol of Scotland, the Scottish kilt has ascended to global prominence, embraced widely for its unique combination of comfort, tradition, and style. It stands as a testament to how a garment can bridge cultures, transforming from a national icon to a global fashion staple. As we delve deeper into the world of universal tartans, remember that wearing a Scottish kilt is much more than sporting a piece of fabric; it is an act of embracing a rich historical legacy and joining a diverse global community. Embrace Tradition, Embrace the World.

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Tartans transcend their Scottish origins, becoming global symbols of community and identity. Universal tartans like Royal Stewart and Scotland Forever showcase the inclusive spirit of Scottish culture, inviting people worldwide to partake in their rich heritage. Each pattern is more than fabric; it’s a narrative woven into Scotland’s history, now extended globally to celebrate cultural connections. By wearing these universal tartans, individuals globally embrace Scottish traditions and integrate into a narrative that values diversity and kinship. Whether chosen for aesthetic appeal or historical resonance, each tartan represents the enduring charm of Scottish heritage and its ability to unite different backgrounds. These plaids not only adorn wearers but also weave them into a broader tapestry of global community, demonstrating the power of cultural symbols to foster unity and solidarity. Adopting these tartans allows one to honor tradition while embracing a modern, inclusive world, proving that the rich history and vibrant culture of Scotland can become a meaningful part of personal expression, transcending borders and cultures.