The sporran, a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress, is a pouch that performs the same function as pockets on the pocketless kilt. Made of leather or fur, the ornamentation of the sporran is chosen to complement the formality of dress worn with it. The sporran is worn on a leather strap or chain, conventionally positioned in front of the groin of the wearer.
Since the traditional kilt does not have pockets, the sporran serves as a wallet and container for any other necessary personal items. It is essentially a survival of the common European medieval belt-pouch, superseded elsewhere as clothing came to have pockets, but continuing in the Scottish Highlands because of the lack of these accessories in traditional dress. The sporran hangs below the belt buckle; and much effort is made to match their style and design. The kilt belt buckle may be very ornate, and contain similar motifs to the sporran cantle and the Sgian Dubh. Early sporrans would have been worn suspended from the belt on one or other of the hips, rather than hung from a separate strap in front of the wearer.
When driving a car, dancing, playing drums, or engaging in any activity where a heavy pouch might encumber the wearer, the sporran may be turned around the waist to let it hang on the hip in a more casual position.
This style, a 1921 Pattern, is worn as part of regimental attire for NCOs (Non commissioned officers). A traditional horsehair pouch extends just below the belt to just below the hem of the kilt. The most ordinary pattern contains black horsehair tassels on a white horsehair background. Pewter or silver cantle is also carved on the sporran. This style made from horsehide rather than tail hair, are more able to keep with the compact shape and decor of less showy, semi-dress versions.