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A Dress Sporran is usually reserved for formal events. They are oval-shaped and feature a metal cantle (semi-circular closure decoration) on top. A typical full dress sporran will be made of black leather with a layer of fur on the front.
The formal sporran can also be recognized by the decorative tassels. These may be made of leather strips. Or if it is a fur full dress sporran, they may be made of fur. In either case each tassel is caped by a metal ball or bell. On an especially classy sporran, these may be cast in pewter to match the cantle and include raised designs such as Celtic knotwork.
The sporran, which comes from the Gaelic word for "purse" or “pouch” (pronounced /Spor' en/), is a leather pouch that performs the same function as pocket on the kilt. It's where the kilt wearer stores their keys, wallet, etc. At USA Kilts, we only offer the highest quality sporrans made in Scotland, at the most competitive prices on the market. We stand by every one.
As a general rule, you can wear a leather sporran any time of day, but the simpler the design, the more appropriate it is for day wear. You can also wear a sporran with some fur on it during the day -- this is what Semi-dress Sporrans are all about. Strictly speaking, a fur leather dress sporran is meant only for after 6:00 -- evening semi-formal to formal dress. However daytime formal events such as a Celtic wedding also allow for a fancy dress kilt and sporran.
Occasionally you may see someone wearing a very minimalistic black leather dress sporran for less-than-formal occasions. Some traditionalists will say this is bad form, but it can be a very sharp look (for instance with “smart day wear” tweeds). Just make sure your dress leather sporran does not seem out of step with the rest of your outfit. In that vein, if you are not sure which dress sporran design appeals to you most, remember that you can never go wrong with a classic black full dress sporran such as all-leather or musquash.