Last winter was mainly spent in Manchester, UK, and the Manchester winter was not a problem in a kilt; but now I'm back in Finland, and winter is looming closer (we're in the middle of a magnificent golden autumn; night temperatures have just dropped below freezing and probably will continue now through into the spring). So the question that's on my mind is: Does anyone on Skirtcafe know if anyone manufactures *UTILITY kilts* (with POCKETS) in WOOL? All my kilts are in cotton of various kinds, except my hiking kilt (an Elkommando, brilliant) which is ultralightweight polyester; none of them carries serious warmth. Curiously, I find it's the front of the thighs that gets uncomfortably cold, rather than the knees. I did cope around town in a Utilikilt last January down to -20 C (that's around -5 F), and below that I switched to padded trousers. Nothing foolhardy. But wool would definitely be a better option, especially for serious walking; but I am reluctant to go Scottish (a) because I'm not, and (b) because I do like Pockets, and do not like sporrans.
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Could try a half slip, then a wool skirt that's a little shorter than your Utilikilts. Put the Utilikilt on top, then add some wool kneesocks. Should be plenty warm. Another option would be heavy tights or thigh-high socks. One of my former coworkers at the Utilikilts shop in Seattle wore cycling tights under his UK when it was cold.
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Far better !Finnkilt wrote: But wool would definitely be a better option
You need not be Scottish to wear a kilt -- plenty of men do so in Europe and N America.but I am reluctant to go Scottish (a) because I'm not,
There are also warm woolen kilts, plain or tweed, that don't look Scottish to the non-initiated.
Yes, that could be a problem, but there are a few kilts with pockets, and there are shoulder bags.and (b) because I do like Pockets, and do not like sporrans.
Hope you find something before you freeze in your cotton!
Martin (in sunny Spain).
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You don't have to be Scottish to wear a kilt! Yes, there are "clan" tartans for any adherents who wish them, but there are many tartans nowadays that "Joe Public" (ie non-Scottish) people are more than welcome to wear. (I personally think that all tartans should be available to all nationalities - though my kilt is coincidentally a clan tartan. I bought it because I liked it!) The only down side is the arm and leg it will cost you to buy one! Also, as they have no pockets, the requirement to have a sporran or other type of "man-bag" would also be needed.
Wearing a Utilitykilt a -20deg C is a bit brave - though I have worn my own (a woollen tartan kilt) at -15deg C a few winters back when it became very unseasonably cold here and that felt fine. I wear thick woolen sock-hose to just below the knee so the shins were fine as well. Thick socks are certainly beneficial as would thick tights also be (if that appeals to you). I've never worn tights with a kilt or a Utilitykilt but have done so with other skirts. (Not had the UK that long but could try it sometime this winter - maybe with the tights)
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it" - Joseph Goebbels
When people ask me if I'm Scotch, I just say, "No, but I drank some once."Finnkilt wrote:...I am reluctant to go Scottish (a) because I'm not, and (b) because I do like Pockets, and do not like sporrans.
And I'm with you on the pockets. I never liked the look of fanny bags, let alone sporrans, and I can't picture myself with a shoulder bag. Although maybe something that resembled a camera bag, or an ammo pouch, or a messenger case...
thanks for so many responses within the first 24 hours!
Thanks for the reassurances that "it's OK" for non-Scots to wear a kilt: yes, I know; I also know how historically dubious the allocation of specific tartans to specific clans is (a romantic fiction dreamed up for the Royal visit to Edinburgh in 1824, says the historian Trevor-Roper); but almost two centuries after Sir Walter Scott's fun and games back then, the idea that tartans ARE clan-specific is too strong for me to ignore. Plain black would be OK. But it's the lack of pocketry that is the real barrier. – I have two Blåkläder working kilts from Sweden: a gardener's kilt in olive, somewhat weatherproof, and a black workman's kilt which has (depending how strictly you define 'pocket') over fifteen (>15) – that's including ones for your phone, and your screwdrivers, and also a loop for your hammer) Now that's what I call pocketry.
Here are some mores specific responses to responses:
Actually one of the features I *enjoy* about kilts is the feeling as it swings at knee-height as you walk .. No, I don't think I'll be going for a full-length skirt. Also, the price you have to pay for dry-cleaning in Finland is absolutely appalling (my wife and I try to take dry-cleanables with us to the UK or the US, where we get them done for a quarter of the price or less).Sarongman wrote:Welcome Finnkilt, I suppose it all boils down to how far you want to push the envelope but, I would, in that climate, go for an ankle length lined wool skirt. Here, in Australia, the need for this type of skirt is not that great, however I have an unlined wool skirt, which gets winter night use when out to the local eateries for a treat. (The big minus with that skirt is the label "dry clean only") The locals in your area are now used to seeing you in unbifurcated garments, so should not be too surprised to see a long skirt. I also have a flannel lined denim skirt which buttons fully down-this, I think, in a Finnish winter, would be impractical as there is a draught down the button line.
> Could try a half slip, then a wool skirt that's a little shorter than your Utilikilts.
> Put the Utilikilt on top, then add some wool kneesocks. Should be plenty warm.
> Another option would be heavy tights or thigh-high socks. One of my former coworkers
> at the Utilikilts shop in Seattle wore cycling tights under his UK when it was cold.
This comes close to one solution I tried in -20C on a more serious walk last winter (there's a very pleasant 5-km walk up one side of our river and back down the other, takes me about 50 minutes): I wore my Elkommando as an underkilt, since it's very lightweight, with a Utilitkilt over the top. But it was a bit clumsy, and even with the two layers, since neither of them is wool, the thighs got mighty chilly.
Yes, I wear good socks in winter; I have some truly marvelous hiking socks (forgotten the brand) from GoOutdoors (a UK outdoor store) which (a) are warm (b) don't get too hot either (I've worn them in Spain on the Camino de Santiago), and (c) stay up! which is more than I can say for some of my Scottish allegedly kilt-hose. Wearing warm kneesocks means that the whole lower leg is warm, and the knee is happy too. But it doesn't help the thigh. (In summer I usually don't wear socks at all, just sandals.)
As for woolen tights – Yes, maybe this is a way to go, tho I'm somewhat reluctant – I think it's the ubiquitous use of tights by the other gender that makes me nervous that they would undermine The Look. A kilt is not crossdressing! – An older guy, total stranger, came up to me after church two weeks back and exclaimed (in Finnish): "I've always said the kilt is the MANLIEST of garments!" – (Minä olen aina sanonut, että kiltti on vaatteista MIEHEKKÄIN!)
But woolen tights would certainly keep the thighs warm and eliminate, or postpone, the need to switch to a hideously expensive woolen kilt with the dearth of pockets ...
> Sportkilt build in hidden slash pockets behind the front apron. I also am an advocate
> of thick woollen tights, which wouldn't look out of place under a kilt in Winter.
Now that is just the kind of tip I was hoping for; I'll check Sportkilt out asap.
I can see that a woolen wrap (=kilt) may not offer good support for pockets, or at least not cargo pockets. Mixing materials is of course tricky, but I began to daydream about a woolen multi-yard kilt suspended from a good leather belt (all as one garment, not separately). My first kilt was an Amerikilt, which did come with a sporran and no pockets; for a while I subverted the sporran by hanging it at the side from the belt or from the beltloops; now it's sewn on permanently at the side.
I forgot to welcome you to this cerebral gathering of like minds which will give you a lot of pleasure, for sure.
Sportkilt made the attached 'Kilt-on-Fire for me using my submitted Cameron clan modern tartan for the flames and the pleat reveals at the back. The big advantage of this kilt-genre is their use of Velcro at the waist fastening, making their kilts the 'Fastest kilts in the West' for getting on & off. Three years ago I was rowing at Henley Masters' Regatta and contacted Ian Milfmog suggesting we try to meet, as he lives in BuckinghamSquire. Not to be disappointing he cycled ten-odd miles along the Thames towpath to rendezvous with me at the Brakspear's Arms at the start of the course. I put my sportkilt in a shopping bag (Manbag?) I had with me ready for instant use should the said Milfmog turn up unbifurcated. He was in MAMIL, very bifurcated and the sportkilt stayed in the bag. I was still in my rowing one-piece. It didn't prevent me enjoying his company immensely and time passed very quickly indeed that afternoon.
Last I saw of him was wobbling back to the narrow towpath on his multi-geared bike with several pints inside him.
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