Wearing a Tartan Sash

Wearing a ladies Tartan Sash.

The manner of wearing tartan sashes has had customary significance for the last two centuries.
The wearing of a sash in any particular manner has so far no legal significance, hence the sash is worn as respect for tradition and is consistent with custom.  The different methods mentioned below are appropriate for ladies in different circumstances.

The different ways to wear a sash is based upon a careful study of old portraits, prints and traditional practice carried out by the Lord Lyon King of Arms and thus bears the authoritative approval.

1. The sash is worn over the right shoulder, across the breast and secured by a brooch on the left hip. A more modern way of wearing a sash, that can be worn by any woman, usually with an evening dress. 2.  Style worn by Clan Women: The sash is worn over the right shoulder across the breast and is secured by a pin or small brooch on the right shoulder.

3. Style worn by Wives of Clan Chiefs and by Wives of Colonels of Scottish Regiments: The sash which may be fuller in size is worn over the left shoulder and secured with a broach on the left shoulder. 4. Style worn by country dancers or where any lady desires to keep the front of the dress clear of the sash. Perhaps to wear a sash of some chivalric order or any orders and decorations. The style is similar to the belted plaid and is really a small arisaid. It is buttoned on at the back of the waist, or is held by a small belt, and is secured at the right shoulder by a pin or small brooch, so that the ends fall backwards from the right shoulder and swing at the back of the right.

Due to a new ruling by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, permission has been granted by her majesty for Members of the Scottish Country Dance Society to allow them to wear sashes on the left shoulder. This is an honour bestowed upon the Society because she is Patron.

2 thoughts on “Wearing a Tartan Sash

  1. Lee Bradbury

    The Highland dress worn today would hardly be recognised by our ancestors ever since the Georgian/Victorian revival changed it beyond recognition.
    I would say that you can wear a sash anyway you like, but with a nod to seniority stay away from the style of Clan Chief’s and Colonel’s wives.
    Also, the Lord Lyon is in charge of heraldry and not dress, thus his views are just that…..his views.

  2. Callie French

    I don’t want to offend the customs, but what happens if I wear a sash attached at the center front of my gown with the ends going over each shoulder, and clasped at the waist in the center back, ‘tails’ falling from there?


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