From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Make a sartorial statement that’s more lyrical than the poet’s verses

Burns Night is both an annual homage to the lovely cultural heritage of the Highlands and a glorious excuse to sip whisky and cut open a lava-hot stump of haggis, all done in celebration of the lionised 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns, a bard whose works were lyrical, romantic and tender, with a use of words that fortified his homeland’s sense of self.

Indeed, to mark the occasion, it’s likely that your celebrations will take to your favourite eatery in town, your local watering hole, or an evening at home with a few tumblers of the brown stuff. Wherever you may end up, and though there is no strict dresscode for the evening, we suggest that you make the most of the event by putting together a sartorial statement more that’s more finessed and lyrical as the famed-wordsmith’s verses. For a touch of inspiration, take a look below… 

Check mate: play up your ensemble with some plaid

As is de rigueur for the occasion, a splash of tartan is always an appropriate pattern to showcase, one defined by its rich, bold, crisscrossing checks; blending of spirited colours; and its historic associations. 

Though not strictly tartan (tartan is associated with a specific clan or name), Kit Blake’s plaid ‘Aleks Green and Brown’ trousers are evocative of the style, made in 11oz worsted wool and featuring deep, inward-facing pleats that offer a formal slant. To offset the bold aesthetic, we suggest balancing it all out with more neutral pieces; try using these two navy items – a merino crewneck sweater by Aurélien, and Aubin’s classic-style ‘Brumby’ jacket – as anchor points.

From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Aubin ‘Brumby’ jacket

£350

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From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Aurélien extrafine crewneck sweater

£139

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From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Kit Blake ‘Aleks’ wool trousers

£355

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Easy does it: off-duty items for bracing the breeze

If, however, you aren’t entirely sure about sporting such a bold look, we also have some stripped-back, neutral style essentials for you to consider – ones that won’t only fit into most scenes and scenarios, but will help keep you guarded from the current winter chaos. 

For something that speaks of the rural, bucolic Highlands, we recommend this spacious waffle knit, courtesy of Peregrine and crafted from 100% British wool – not only luxurious yet rugged in appearance, it’s naturally water repellent, too, making it a practical piece that’ll pay dividends during spring showers. To match the robustiness, Aubin’s twill trousers are both soft and hardy, and features a slightly tapered fit. If wanting to further elevate these no-frills pieces, try Aurélien’s ‘City’ loafers, made from a rich chocolate-hued suede. 

From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Peregrine ‘Skiddaw’ waffle jumper

£110

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From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Aubin ‘Barcombe’ chino

£89

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From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Aurélien ‘City’ loafer

£330

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Button it: poetic formalwear for a high-celebration occasion

Though tradition may dictate that you should reach for the kilt, many out there may not have the know-how of where to buy one; how one should fit; or which one would be appropriate for them, if at all. 

So, if you don’t want to invest in the full regalia, but still aim to polish up while giving a subtle tip of the hat towards the occasion, Turnbull & Asser has you covered, with a suit done out in a subtle check pattern – a sense of formality is given thanks to its peak lapels, double-breasted style, and flap pockets, but there’s a contemporary feel, too, due to a semi-lined structure (this roomier fit will be most welcome during an evening of big drinking and heavy eating). To help subdue the pattern, try the brand’s plain-white cotton shirt – a tasteful piece made with double cuffs, and one which might not make the night without seeing a few spills.  

From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Turnbull & Asser navy check double-breasted blazer

£1195

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From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Turnbull & Asser navy check trousers

£395

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From checks to chunky knits, here are three ways to dress for Burns Night

Turnbull & Asser white cotton shirt

£250

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Need a venue in which to celebrate? From cocktails to ceilidhs, here’s how to spend Burns Night in London… 

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