Scots and The Kilt.

General discussion of skirt and kilt-based fashion for men, and stuff that goes with skirts and kilts.

Scots and The Kilt.

Postby STEVIE » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:27 am

Hi All,
Given recent discussions with regard to the Kilt I feel the need to tell how it is here in Scotland.
This is not related to how it is described as a garment but the Scots' attitude toward it.
I hope that my compatriots will bear me out or correct me as necessary.
For starters, I cannot give a figure but the vast majority of Scotsmen probably do not posess a Kilt of their own.
In all likelihood most would not even aspire to obtaining one.
The proportion may have increased in more recent years but there appears to be no statistics.
When an occasion demands, they will simply hire the outfit for the period required.
Most often this will be for a wedding or christening. Funerals tend to be regarded quite differently.
The Kilt is only worn by a minority of Scotsmen on a daily basis. Equally, only a very small number of schools will include the Kilt as part of the boys' uniform. Those establishments would almost certainly be exclusive to the private/fee-paying sector.
There is no valid historical tradition for the current concept of clan tartans. The wearers surname confers no special rights to wear a given design. The design of the Kilt itself is not wholly loyal to the traditional Great or Highland Kilt,
In recent history the modern Kilt was worn as a mark of wealth and class as the cost was utterly prohibitive for the common man.
Fortunately, production techniques and fashion itself has levelled that out some.
Let us not get into the old chestnut of what is worn under the Kilt. That has been done to death elsewhere.
Finally, I am sorry if I have shattered some illusions about The Kilt.
However, it may not even be Scots in it's origins either, OUCH!
Any comments most welcome.
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1891
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:01 pm
Location: North East Scotland.

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby rivegauche » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:44 pm

I agree with every word.
Active Member
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:05 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby skirtpettiman » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:25 pm

The kilt isn't exclusively Scottish: us Cornish have our own kilts and tartan (yellow and black).
User avatar
Distinguished Member
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:04 am
Location: St Austell, Cornwall, England.

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby r.m.anderson » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:58 pm

Aye - ya dona hafta be Scottish to wear the kilt -
ya can be Irish too !

A lot of truth to what STEVIE as posted.
Wearing kilts used to be a serious event.
There are over 450 recognized clan tartans.
Some clan tartans required the protocol
of getting the clan chief for permission to
wear the clan tartan.

But now these days that may be in the past
as the commercialization of the kilt is common.
Notably the standard tartans - Stewarts and
the Black Watch standing out foremost.
One kilt seller SportKilt a merchant in Long Beach
California has some 40 + tartans not so much
clan tartans but civic military types included.

On eBay there is a extraordinary number of kilts
available is all sizes & sexes (Yes sexes the kilt is
no longer worn just by men).
SportKilt as noted above sells a great deal of
short minimal kilts to women (and men - I for
one have several). Also in the market are the
cheaply made kilts from Pakistan and anyone
with a loom to fabricate a tartan pattern.
Note these cheap knock-offs do not have the
pleats box pleats double box pleats that set
the backfield in motion that marks a fine kilt.
Some of these cheap backyard kilts don't even
have pleats at all sort of stick a feather in your
cap and call is yankee doodle dandy !

And this is just the tartan kilts - then there is a
great following for the utili-kilts - a market that
has been developing rapidly over the past few
years. Plain non-tartan kilts that speak volumes
for the rugged outdoorsy masculine bloke.
One member here - Dick Ackerman does an
admirable job of doing just that.

Returning to STEVIEs post yes times have and
are changing - you do not see much of the formal
kilt except for the weddings funerals and an
occasional marching affinity band.
But don't let that set you back from strutting your
stuff - be proud to wear the kilt or even skirt no
matter what your affiliation is.

I sign with my avatar the Anderson (modern) tartan.
No clan permission required as this tartan is now
commercialized - aye so what is this Swedish name
getting a Scottish tartan - another long story for later
and actually I am half Danish (-sen) and the other
half Irish so this is as close to wearing a kilt as I can get!
"Kilt-On" -or- as the case may be "Skirt-On" !
Isn't wearing a kilt enough?
Well a skirt will do in a pinch!
Make mine short and don't you dare think of pinching there !
User avatar
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1874
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:25 pm
Location: Bloomington MN

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby Gusto10 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:57 pm

In the last few years a number of villages in Brittany (France) have acquired their own tartan and kilts.
But shouldn't this be discussed under the heading of Kilts?
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:07 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby weeladdie18 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:58 pm

skirtpettiman wrote:The kilt isn't exclusively Scottish: us Cornish have our own kilts and tartan (yellow and black).

Please allow me to add to Skirtpettiman's Post....The owner of the Cornish Tartan Centre in St Austell
recently informed me there are twenty five registered Cornish Tartans.

As far as I can remember the Yellow and Black Cornish National Tartan was designed in 1960.
The Cornish Hunting Tartan was designed by the founder of Cornovi , another Cornish Tartan Centre.

The other Cornish Tartans are Family or possibly District Tartans.
There is a plain black Cornish Tartan and also a Black Scottish Tartan which is actually an
Embossed Tartan in a single colour......Please remember I am not Cornish by blood line and I
do not at present wear any Cornish Tartan Kilt which I may wear correctly......weeladdie
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1198
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby weeladdie18 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:27 pm

Gusto10 wrote:In the last few years a number of villages in Brittany (France) have acquired their own tartan and kilts.
But shouldn't this be discussed under the heading of Kilts?

It was claimed that Cornish Celts migrated to Brittany at the time of the invasions of Mainland England.
It was also claimed that Celts from South Eastern England migrated to the Low Countries on the Coast
of Europe.

The story becomes more complicated if we consider the Viking Raiders and Scandanavian Settlers
and traders who came from three Scandanavian Countries and sailed around the North of Scotland
and visited Wales and Ireland on their trips to North Cornwall and Brittany. This voyaging route
is known as The Celtic Way.....One of the trading Interests in Cornwall was the tin, which was originally
panned from the Rivers and Streams. ......................

There was an exchange of Cornish Tin Ore and Welsh Coal................

The question of mixed blood does become complicated if one considers ones own Family History
going back to the times prior to the Roman Invasion of South Eastern England..............Weeladdie
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1198
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby steamman » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:48 pm

Going slightly off topic, but Scotland as we know it today, is largely due to Sir Walter Scott! In 1814, he anonymously published a novel called Waverley, now considered the first historical fiction in Western literature. It was a publishing sensation. Influenced by Scott’s idealistic, romantic notions of fealty and the past—notions completely in line with Romanticism’s themes—Waverley told the story of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Although the inhabitants of England greatly feared Bonnie Prince Charlie’s invasion at the time, they found the novel utterly bewitching sixty years later. Although England and Scotland had shared monarchs since 1603 and parliaments since 1701, the two lands remained separate in many other respects. Readers south of the border knew little about their northern neighbors. Scott cast a pseudo-mythological glow on life and culture in the Highlands. Then as now, something about the world he imagined struck a chord with his audience.

That audience included members of the royal family: the Prince Regent (1762–1830, later King George IV) and the young princess Victoria (1819–1901, later Queen Victoria). George IV made Scott a baronet and, after his coronation, asked the writer to orchestrate a royal visit to Edinburgh in 1822—the first visit by a sitting monarch since 1651. Victoria, at the time subjected to the infamous “Kensington System” that allowed her few novels, did receive permission to read Waverley and then Scott’s later works (known collectively as the Waverley novels, published from 1814 to 1832), also largely set in Scotland. There was no better endorsement than royal patronage, and soon Great Britain was mad for all things Scottish. Scott influenced far more than literary trends. Tartan—previously a fabric that, if seen south of the Highlands, indicated imminent fighting—soon became a mainstay of nineteenth-century fashion. Fabrics with interlocking stripes appear in endless fashion plates and surviving garments from the era; tartan fabrics remain a fashion staple to this day.

Scott popularised the invented tradition of clan tartans, or patterns specific to a particular chieftain’s family in Scotland. He erroneously thought leading families laid claim to unique color and stripe combinations, called a sett, just as English lords had created family coats of arms. (In fact, Scottish weavers chose colors based on locally available dyestuffs—or more expensive imports such as indigo and cochineal for the rare customer who could afford them—and created their own setts.) I believe Scott was referencing what he knew: regimental uniforms for Scottish battalions such as the Black Watch. But who could resist the romantic notion of clan tartans? Certainly not Scott or his English readers! They completely abandoned attitudes from the mid-eighteenth century, when acts of Parliament attempted to forbid traditional Scottish clothing. Soon after Waverley became famous, a commission in London created an official register of clan tartans and asked Highland chiefs to send in the pattern unique to their clan. After nearly a century of bad press, clan leaders were more than happy to comply with this new perception of themselves and their culture as heroic, and many sent in samples of whatever they had in the attic. Other clan tartans came from fabric manufacturers such as Wilson & Son of Bannockburn, who more or less invented designs for customers who read Scott’s novels and then requested a pattern of their own. Tartan registries continued throughout the nineteenth century, encouraging the Victorian desire to collect and classify exotic curiosities—even from their own backyard.
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:58 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby weeladdie18 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:06 pm

Gusto10 wrote:In the last few years a number of villages in Brittany (France) have acquired their own tartan and kilts.
But shouldn't this be discussed under the heading of Kilts?

My previous post re this quote became an historical background to historical sea trading and migration.
The webb site " Kilt Forum " includes some of the European Kilt wearers......This is based on the way
Nations and Clans wore their tunics or liens with a covering of a basic tartan woven blanket or shawl.
Archialogical Discoveries of small strips of tartan cloth lead to a debate as to which nation was the
first to wear the Kilt as a Great Kilt or Belted Plaid.......I have seen replica of a Viking Loom.
Remember the Viking Surnames are present in The History of Scotland you can draw your
own conclusions.......Which Country was the first to use the loom to make Tartan Cloth ?

The Welsh and the Irish also have their own Plain Tartan Traditional Kilts.............weeladdie
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1198
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby weeladdie18 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:21 pm

Steamman and his references to the Kilt by Sir Walter Scott is an important factor
in the Ultimate Victorian Reinvention of the Kilt....
The raising of the Black Watch as a Scottish Highland Regiment in the British Army
prior to the 1745 Rebellion is another story.

Queen Victoria eventually purchased Balmorral Castle and set the trend for the
Kilted Highland Gillie and young boys in kilts

The Kilt was worn by some schools in Scotland by boys born in the 1940s

Nowadays ,in the 21 Centuary family and district tartans are still being registered
with Lord Lyon .....I believe this takes place in Edinburgh.

It is believed that the repeal of the prohibition of the Wearing of the Highland Garb was actioned
by gentlemen resident in Edinburgh some 30 years after the last battle on British Soil in the Civil War....Ref Battle of Culloden 1746
Last edited by weeladdie18 on Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1198
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby DonaldG » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:33 pm

To get back to STEVIE's post, I agree that most Scotsmen don't own or regularly wear a kilt these days. Until I discovered this forum a few years ago, and through it gained the courage to wear skirts in public, I would often wear one of my two tartan kilts. One is in my family tartan, and I've had it for 30 years.

But although kilt wearing here in Scotland is not very common, I do know a few men who wear the kilt on an (almost) daily basis. Perhaps being closer to the English border we feel more need to assert our Scottishness than the folks in Aberdeen!
User avatar
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:06 am
Location: East Lothian, Scotland

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby weeladdie18 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:14 am

I would agree with your comments Donald....I have travelled up though the Highlands to Inverness .
Over the years I have not seen many Kilt wearers out on the street .... I wore one of my Kilts for
over thirty five years....My replacement Traditional Scottish Kilt cost me a weeks money.
Good value as it will last me another 35 years....
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1198
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby skirtingtoday » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:34 pm

A bit of history of the kilt and its early beginnings:-

It is quite likely the origins of the kilt come from the "shendyt" which was a kilt-like garment worn by ancient Egyptians, This too was probably based on even earlier hunting skirts which allowed freedomn of movement for the wearer. It was worn round the waist and was typically above knee-length. They are depicted on Pharoahs, deities and commoners in Egyptian artwork.

The word "kilt" is almost certainly Scandinavian coming from the Old Norse work Kjalka. The Scots word KIlt btw means "to tuck up clothes around the body"

The "Feileadh Mòr" or great kilt (or belted plaid) developed early in the 16th century from earlier garments and remained popular until the 1820's and was a highly desirable form of fashion and a sign of cultural affluence at the time. Women too wore kilts (referred to as the "arisaid") at the same time though they were generally white tartan cloth with a wide pattern and was worn down to the ankles.

The "fèileadh beag" or little kilt (anglicised to philabeg) is controversially accredited to have been developed by an English Quaker called Thomas Rawlinson (an industrialist from Lancasire). Rawlinson, established an iron works at Glengarry in the Scottish Highlands, observed how the great kilt was "a cumbersome unwieldy habit to men at work. . ." decided to "abridge the dress, and make it handy and convenient for his workmen". This he did by directing the usage of the lower, pleated portion only, the upper portion being detached and set aside. (circa 1725)

However, this version of events has been disputed. Matthew Newsome, Director Emeritus of the Scottish Tartans Museum in North Carolina, for instance, has stated that ". . . we have numerous illustrations of Highlanders wearing only the bottom part of the belted plaid that date long before Rawlinson ever set foot in Scotland", going on to assert that "there is some suggestion of its use in the late seventeenth century, and it was definitely being worn in the early eighteenth century"

The 1746 Dress Act which followed the defeat of the Highland clansmen at the Battle of Culloden banned the wearing of tartan and other symbols of the Scottish Highlanders (although an exception was made for the Highland Regiments) with the intent of suppressing highland culture. The penalties were severe; six months' imprisonment for the first offense and seven years' transportation for the second. This was repealed in 1782. During those years, it became fashionable for Scottish romantics to wear kilts as a form of protest against the ban.

The novels by Sir Walter Scott (as noted above) popularised the Highlands and greatly influenced the Highland Society of London. Capitalizing on the Highland craze, the Society declared Rawlinson's kilt "one of the essential pieces of Highland wear" in the early 1820's. Queen Victoria first visited Breaemar in 1844, later buying Balmoral Castle and became the Society's patron as the Royal family continued to popularise the wearing of the kilt.

In the 19th century, the kilt was only worn for special or ceremonial occasions such as weddings or sporting events but nowadays is regarded as an acceptable form of dress at informal parties, events such as football matches where it is worn as casual attire or everyday wear.

I did not wear a kilt until I was just over 50 years old (nor did I even consider getting one as at the time it was expensive) but I did get one eventually and wear it to particular occasions such as weddings, parties, son's graduation and Christmas gatherings as well as the occasional ceilidh!
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on" - Winston Churchill.
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it" - Joseph Goebbels
User avatar
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1464
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:28 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Re: Scots and The Kilt.

Postby weeladdie18 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:25 pm

As far as I can remember Mathew Newsome In North Carolina wore the Kilt during his
Scottish Country Dancing activities....I also wore the Kilt as part of the Royal Scottish Country Dance
activities on the South Coast of England........The winter Scottish Country Dance Balls
attracted at least 50 Kilt wearing gentlemen and their partners from a 50 mile range.
For the weekly Dance Practice group the Day Wear Hunting Tartan Kilt with an Argyle Jacket
was normally worn...For the Traditional Balls and for Burns Night Suppers
The relevant Dress Tartan Kilt, Black Jacket and Black Bow Tie was worn.....
Our group hired a Live Scottish Country Dance Band from London.....

Where ever the Scots move in their lifetime in their search for professional employment the Kilt and
the Heritage of Scotland goes with them.
Member Extraordinaire
Posts: 1198
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:17 pm

Return to Skirts and Kilts for Men

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ahrefs [Bot] and 3 guests