I have been meaning to write about kilts for a while, but now they have featured on the Great British Sewing Bee, the time has come.
Neil’s was really nice, and Patrick looked good in his.
The Act was repealed in 1782 and Highland Dress soon became very fashionable. Women started wearing kilted skirts too. Scott’s romantic writings about the people of the Highlands prompted a wave of sentimental Jacobitism. In 1822, on a royal visit to Scotland, King George IV wore Highland Dress. Ever since then it seems our British royalty cannot get enough of the kilt.
A number of people wear a kilt to weddings if they have Scottish ancestry (I have), and they tend to go for a look like the one below. It is an OK look, but the dinner jacket, silver buttons and bow tie are way too much, to my mind, with the sporran, fancy socks and brooches.
Personally I really like a kilt and think they are a great alternative to the bifurcated garment. If I was a man I would definitely wear one. But we need to mainstream the kilt – seize it from the Scottish if necessary – but pull it away from formal wear and re-invent it, simply as an alternative to trews.
Below are some ideas if you want to incorporate a kilt into your wardrobe.
- Choose a fabric in colours that suit you – it doesn’t have to be tartan
- match it with a good top – it might be a toning jacket, but it could be a jumper or T-shirt
- you don’t have to wear a shirt and tie, unless you want to
- change the footwear to brogues or boots rather than dancing shoes
- definitely drop the sporran, unless you have a nice vintage one in the family
- different fabrics could create a really versatile look eg plain wool, tweed, leather, denim
(images from 21st century kilts, Edinburgh)
Making a nice kilt is on my “To Do” list. Now all I need is a man who would wear one! Would you?