The sporran (taken from the Gaelic word for "pouch" or "purse") is a circular Scottish bag that appears in various styles and materials, worn in front of the kilt, just below the waist. It is used to carry everything that you would normally carry in your pants pockets (i.e. wallet, keys, coins, etc.). Sporrans range in size from approximately four inches (for children) to one foot in diameter, and are usually made from leather or fur. Vegan (a.k.a. "cruelty-free") sporrans are also available for those who do not wish to wear real animal fur. Many sporrans easily close with a cinch, buckle, or snap.
Your first concern is that your sporran should rest at a comfortable height for walking, navigating stairs, marching, or running; no matter what others may tell you, most men will probably agree that a bag flopping around "down there" can potentially ruin your day. However, a loose-fitting strap or chain helps when you need to move the sporran to the side for dancing or when nature calls.
- Choose an appropriate sporran, based on the occasion for which you intend to use it. Wear a simple sporran for everyday use, a formal one for special occasions, or an all-out parade style for when you want to look your Highland best.
- Fasten your belt behind your back first, using any belt loops in your kilt; then, attach the chain ends to the strap and the sporran. You may also use a full chain, which is worn completely around your waist. Alternatively, you can get adjustable sporran suspenders which attach to the front of your belt, eliminating the need for a separate strap or chain.
- Adjust the chain or strap to keep the sporran at a comfortable height, anywhere from just below your waist (or belt) to about two inches (two or three fingers) below your navel. Be aware that the top of your kilt should sit snugly and slightly higher than your waist, so do not assume that the sporran chain or strap will align with this.
- Ensure that the bottom of your sporran does not hang below the bottom of your kilt.
While chains are a hardier and more impressive way to show off a sporran, they tend to chafe kilt material much more quickly than a leather strap. Keep an eye on your kilt over time, so you'll know when it needs repairing or replacement before becoming threadbare.