Description of Kilts

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December 05, 2016 By Ryan Maxey

Kilts are the skirts that are part of the traditional Highland dress. These are woolen skirts that are worn by men and that feature a tartan pattern. However not any old skirt with a pattern on it is a kilt, and in order to classify as a kilt it's actually important that they meet certain criteria. Here we will look at traditional kilts and some of the other items they are often worn alongside.

The Scottish kilt is highly unique in terms of the way it is worn and its appearance. This is usually a tailored garment meaning that it is designed to fit the wearer specifically, or that at least it has been purchased based on the measurements of the individual. The kilt is usually wrapped around the wearer's body so that the top is wrapped around the natural waist (this is the point between the bottom rib and the start of the hips) and so that it hangs to just about the middle of the knees.

The kilt is worn in a particular way so that it 'wraps' around the individual. Normally this will start on the left side of the waist and will wrap around the front, the back and then the front again where it will then attach at the right side (kilts can be worn right to left, but left to right is more common). The fastening is achieved normally through a combination of straps and buckles which are attached on both ends. Here the strap on the inside will usually pass through a slit in the waistband before being buckled shut on the outside. On some occasions however it may be buckled on the inside.

There are many technical terms for parts of kilts and the way they are worn. For instance the overlapping layers at the front are known as aprons and these are flat (whereas the fabric at the back and around the sides is usually pleated). A kilt pin is then what is normally fastened to the front apron on the free corner.

The sporrans then are the bags normally worn loosely around the waist often made from hair and/or leather. These sporrans provide the wearer with somewhere to keep items such as loose change and phones etc and hark back to the middle ages when pockets hadn't been invented and all loose items were kept in similar hip bags. These allow you to easily sit down without losing any of your money.

Whether or not you choose to wear underwear when wearing kilts is a matter of personal opinion. While popular culture has often hinted that we should not wear underwear under kilts, this is not something agreed upon in all circles, and the Scottish Tartans Authority has publicly condemned the action as unhygienic.

While this describes what the majority view as the traditional Scottish kilt, there are nevertheless many other types of kilts and variations that can be worn. For instance there may be specific regulations regarding length and other minor details for those hoping to engage in Highland dancing and bagpiping competitions etc.

This describes normal kilts as well as sporrans. To find both, click on the links.

Written by

Ryan Maxey