Argyll Jacket vs. Prince Charlie jacket: A Comprehensive Comparison

Argyll Jacket vs. Prince Charlie jacket: A Comprehensive Comparison

Scottish traditional attire is renowned for its rich history, intricate designs, and cultural significance. Two of the most iconic pieces in this wardrobe are the Argyll jacket and the Prince Charlie jacket. Each of these jackets holds a special place in Scottish fashion, and understanding their differences can help you choose the right one for your needs.

History of Scottish Jackets

The origins of the Argyll jacket date back to the 19th century. Initially designed for more casual and everyday wear, the Argyll jacket has evolved into a versatile piece suitable for various occasions, from semi-formal events to more relaxed gatherings. On the other hand, the Prince Charlie jacket, which emerged in the early 20th century, was designed with formality in mind, often reserved for black-tie events and special celebrations.

Argyll Jacket Overview

Description and Design Features

The Argyll jacket is characterized by its less formal design compared to the Prince Charlie. It typically features gauntlet cuffs, a single button at the front, and less ornate detailing. The jacket is usually worn open, showcasing the waistcoat underneath.
Typical Occasions for Wearing
The versatility of the Argyll jacket makes it a popular choice for a range of events. From weddings and ceilidhs to day-to-day wear, this jacket provides a balance of tradition and modernity.

Prince Charlie Jacket Overview

Description and Design Features

The Prince Charlie jacket is the epitome of formality in Scottish attire. It features a cutaway front, satin lapels, and decorative buttons. The design is more elaborate, often worn with a waistcoat and bow tie, making it ideal for black-tie events.
Typical Occasions for Wearing
Reserved for the most formal occasions, the Prince Charlie jacket is typically seen at weddings, formal dinners, and Highland balls. Its grandeur and elegance make it the go-to choice for those looking to make a statement.

Material and Construction

Fabrics Used in Argyll Jackets

Argyll jackets are commonly made from tweed or wool, providing durability and comfort. The fabric choice reflects the jacket’s versatile nature, suitable for various settings.
Fabrics Used in Prince Charlie Jackets
Prince Charlie jackets are often crafted from finer materials like barathea wool or velvet. These fabrics add to the jacket’s formal appearance and luxurious feel.

Design Differences

Lapels and Cuffs

The Argyll jacket features simpler lapels and gauntlet cuffs, while the Prince Charlie jacket boasts satin lapels and more intricate cuffs, highlighting its formal design.
Buttons and Embellishments
Argyll jackets have fewer buttons and embellishments, maintaining a subtle elegance. In contrast, Prince Charlie jackets are adorned with multiple buttons and ornate details, enhancing their formal aesthetic.

Formality and Occasions

When to Wear an Argyll Jacket

Argyll jackets are suitable for semi-formal and casual events. They are perfect for daytime weddings, social gatherings, and traditional Scottish dances.
When to Wear a Prince Charlie Jacket
The Prince Charlie jacket is reserved for formal evening events. It is the preferred choice for black-tie affairs, ensuring you look polished and sophisticated.

Comfort and Fit

Argyll Jacket Comfort

Designed for versatility, the Argyll jacket offers a comfortable fit, allowing for ease of movement. Its construction caters to both style and practicality.
Prince Charlie Jacket Comfort
While the Prince Charlie jacket is more structured, it is designed to offer a snug fit that complements formal attire. However, it might not be as comfortable for extended wear compared to the Argyll.

Customization Options

Customizing an Argyll Jacket

Argyll jackets can be tailored to suit personal preferences, with options to choose different fabrics, buttons, and lapel styles. This customization ensures the jacket meets individual tastes and requirements.
Customizing a Prince Charlie Jacket
The Prince Charlie jacket also offers customization, but within the bounds of its formal design. Options include selecting fabric types, button designs, and adding subtle personal touches.

Price Comparison

Cost of Argyll Jackets

Argyll jackets are generally more affordable, with prices varying based on fabric choice and customization. They offer a cost-effective option for those seeking traditional attire.
Cost of Prince Charlie Jackets
Due to their formal nature and luxurious materials, Prince Charlie jackets tend to be more expensive. The investment reflects the jacket’s quality and detailed craftsmanship.

Popularity and Trends

Current Trends for Argyll Jackets

Argyll jackets are gaining popularity for their adaptability. Modern designs incorporate contemporary elements, making them appealing to a broader audience.
Current Trends for Prince Charlie Jackets
Prince Charlie jackets remain a timeless choice for formal events. Current trends focus on subtle updates to the classic design, maintaining their traditional appeal while embracing modern fashion sensibilities.

Care and Maintenance

How to Care for an Argyll Jacket

To maintain an Argyll jacket, regular dry cleaning is recommended. Storing it properly, away from direct sunlight and moisture, will help preserve its quality.
How to Care for a Prince Charlie Jacket
Prince Charlie jackets require careful maintenance due to their fine materials. Professional cleaning and proper storage are essential to keep the jacket looking its best.

Buying Guide

Tips for Purchasing an Argyll Jacket

When buying an Argyll jacket, consider the fabric, fit, and customization options. Ensure the jacket suits your style and the occasions you plan to wear it for.
Tips for Purchasing a Prince Charlie Jacket
For a Prince Charlie jacket, focus on quality and craftsmanship. Pay attention to the details, such as the buttons and lapels, to ensure it meets the formal standards required for special events.


  1. Can I wear an Argyll jacket to a wedding?
    • Yes, Argyll jackets are suitable for weddings, especially daytime ceremonies or semi-formal receptions.

  2. Is the Prince Charlie jacket only for men?
    • Traditionally, yes, but women can also wear tailored versions designed to fit their shape.

  3. What is the main difference between Argyll and Prince Charlie jackets?
    • The main difference lies in their formality; Argyll jackets are more versatile, while Prince Charlie jackets are reserved for formal occasions.

  4. How do I choose the right size for these jackets?
    • It's best to get measured by a professional tailor to ensure a perfect fit, especially for formal wear.

  5. Can I customize the buttons on my Prince Charlie jacket?
    • Yes, many tailors offer customization options for buttons and other details to add a personal touch.


Choosing between an Argyll jacket and a Prince Charlie jacket depends largely on the occasion and your personal style. Argyll jackets offer versatility and comfort for a variety of events, while Prince Charlie jackets provide a touch of elegance and formality for special occasions. Understanding the key differences in design, material, and formality will help you make an informed decision. Whichever you choose, both jackets celebrate the rich tradition and heritage of Scottish attire, ensuring you look your best while honoring your roots. If you're looking for the best place to buy a kilt in Scotland, check out GoKilt.
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