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Sporrans: Functional or Fancy

Your traditional Scottish kilt outfit is incomplete without a sporran. These leather pouches are the ultimate man-purse. Sporrans were developed to solve the problem of kilts having no pockets. Highlanders traditionally carried their money and personal effects in the sporran. Today, a sporran might be used to carry car keys, a smartphone or even a miniature of Scotch whiskey.

Sporrans originated in the 17th and 18th centuries, and initially were simple leather pouches without ornate decoration. Over time, the sporran became one more way for a wearer to signify status or importance. Decoration, trimming, jewels and the heads of animals such as foxes all became options for a fancy or "dress" sporran.

It is common for sporrans to be constructed from black or brown leather, with styles ranging from the simple and utilitarian to ornate and dressy. Kilt sporrans for fancy occasions often have fur on the front, or a metal face with fur trimming. Tassels, badges or clan emblems are commonly attached to the front of the pouch.

Older kilt sporrans are generally larger than their more compact modern counterparts. The old "Rob Roy" kilt sporrans functioned as a bag, with plenty of space for personal items. The type known as a "military sporran" is typically long and narrow in shape.

A sporran belt is the usual choice for suspending a kilt sporran. This narrow type of belt is typically made from chain or leather material. Leather is sometimes preferred to chain, as the softer material is less likely to damage your kilt. The sporran is usually worn front and center over the kilt, but many wearers place the sporran over one hip during energetic movement such as dancing or drumming.