Kilt, Isle of Skye tartan, Cadiz, Spain

Must a kilt be expensive?



Purists will say yes, because no less than a 16 oz. 8-yard wool kilt, sewn by hand by a skilled kiltmaker in Scotland or equivalent places shall do.
But are they right? You may judge for yourself, but do you wear the same trousers for all purposes? Could you think of wearing some cheap jeans, being fine for gardening, with your tuxedo jacket? Or the high waisted trousers with double braiding at sides from your white-tie evening tailcoat when shopping grocery? Chances are that you don’t own neither black-tie nor white-tie attire, but I think you got the point.


The all-purpose kilt does not exist.

Let's be realistic. Even if a kilt is an extremely versatile garment, and you by means of accessories can use one and the same kilt for many functions, it has its limits.

Too expensive the kilt, the less likely it is that you shall wear it just for when out or about. Also, a luxury kilt is normally heavy, due to the fabric, and due to eight yards of it. This makes it less comfortable AND not suitable at all on a sunny July afternoon visiting Colosseum in Rome.

Too cheap, and you shouldn’t feel at ease at dress-up events like a wedding or anniversary or at a Scottish gathering.

In other words, the all-purpose or universal kilt does not exist; and, like in many other respects, good for everyone is good for no one. Each at its own.


Which opportunities do you have for wearing a kilt?

Your specific choice of kilt must be a question of situations where you should be able to wear one. Looking at the way men’s garments are often categorized, headings could be casual, smart casual, business-casual, semi-formal, and formal.


Kilt wearin opportunities

We spend more and more time dressed casually. Add to this that a kilt probably is only for you to wear in your spare time.


The categories should be self-explanatory, even if a concise definition might be individual. They also vary from country to country, even within Europe.
A general tendency is that we men are dressing more and more casually.

Formal events (black tie and white tie) are not frequent. They could be weddings, anniversaries, and the like. For many men they are too seldom occurring events for investing in an expensive garment, thus in many cases resulting in hiring rather than buying. This also implies to kilts, of course.
If you, like me and many, many other kilt wearers around the world, have no Scottish roots, it is rather unlikely that you should ever be invited to an event, where formal kilt wear is an option or mandatory.

Semi-formal is where you should else be wearing a suit (two- or three-piece). Examples are eating at high-end restaurants, or visiting opera houses, concert halls, and theatres. They are good opportunities for wearing a kilt but are hardly everyday events.

Do you miss business-formal in above figure? It is not a failure. The reason is that unless you own the company or have a job within kilt business, I consider it non-relevant. Should you, nevertheless, be able to participate in board meetings wearing a kilt, just think semi-formal wear.

Business-casual might be a possibility on ‘casual Fridays’. If so, you in principle have about 45 Fridays a year to wear a kilt. Should that be the case, the column should have been much higher. Most likely it is not the case.

Your spare time is where your potential for wearing a kilt really is. This means weekends and holidays. This means casual and smart casual.


General considerations


Which kind of trousers shall your kilt replace?
Related to above categories are different kinds of trousers, like blue jeans, shorts, chinos, and dark jeans, as well as those belonging to various 2- or 3-piece suits, including tuxedos and tails.
When it comes to kilts you should think in kilts to replace jeans, kilts to replace shorts, kilts to replace chinos, kilt outfits to replace evening suits and tuxes etc.


Should you strive for the very best – and most expensive - kilt, in general, as well as within categories?
Start looking at your wardrobe. What should a kilt replace or substitute? It is about you and your money and your possibilities for wearing a kilt. Don’t automatically think that only the most expensive kilt shall do. Are your business suits all labelled Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss and the like, it might be true – if the kilt should substitute them, and not your shorts.
For people seeing you in a kilt, their first thought is not, whether your kilt is cheap or expensive. It is the fact that you are wearing a kilt. Probably it is their only thought.
Most people, outside Scottish environments, have only seen a kilt in pictures or on TV. They simply don’t know how a ‘real’ kilt shall look like. They connect a kilt with tartans and perhaps pleats. How should they know about details?


Dress to impress?
No doubt, you know the expression, dress to impress. If that is what you have in mind, better than invest in that extremely expensive kilt think other ways. Only very few connoisseurs, whom you after all shall never meet, shall be able to give you credit for this Rolls Royce of a kilt.
Shirts with a logo, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger et all, are signalizing something to most people. So do watches like Rolex, Philippe Patek, TAG Heuer, and Omega. Wearing them makes your thrifty kilt look like a million. The world asks to be fooled.
By the way, the newest iPhone makes it only 14 days, then everybody has one.


How should your kilt be made?
A skilled, experienced kiltmaker, doing every single stich by hand, can make a kilt a piece of art. It takes hours and hours and hours. No wonder that such kilt has its price.
That said, a skilled, experienced kiltmaker, primarily using the machine can make very, very nice kilts, too.
Even a woman with her skills only coming from making kilts day in, day out, perhaps in a factory in Sialkot, Pakistan, might be able to produce kilts like if by magic, if she was given just a little bit more time than when making the cheapest of kilts. It is called learning by doing.
I have been wearing kilts for almost 25 years. Except for arranged meetings, I think, I might have seen men in kilts maybe 20 times and only from a distance, making it not clear, whether the kilt was expensive or less so. Besides, I couldn’t care less. The important thing for me was seeing another man in a kilt.


Are 16 oz. and 8 yards after all preferable?
If you want the ‘tank’. Yes. The kilt with the correct swing, as they say. But less will do and might often be better – depending on the context in which you shall wear it. A 16 oz. kilt is fine on a cold day, or at a dress-up event. Formal clothes have never been comfortable, but that is the way it is. When temperature exceeds 5C/41F a 13 oz. kilt feels much more comfortable – to me. At 25C/77F I think an 11 oz. one is better, or an 8 oz.
To my opinion eight yards of fabric around me, even if lightweight, is quite a bit. If I have the choice, I say 5 yards for me; 4 or 3 yards being ok too.


Wool or PV?
Wool, no doubt, is the best-looking fabric. A minus is that a wool kilt cannot be washed, it must be cleansed. It is warmer in the winter – and in the summer - than PV.
PV is available in different qualities. Some cheap fabrics peel, others, especially those coming from British mills, like Marton Mills, are fine and make good kilts for casual and smart casual wear.


Which kilt for you?



Kilts to fit the purpose

We spend more and more time dressed casually. Add to this that a kilt probably is only for you to wear in your spare time.


Your kilt should fit its purpose
The all-purpose kilt not existing, means that only one kilt must be a compromise and exclude some functions. Now, what is worse; either having to refrain from wearing a kilt at a wedding or when being on holiday in Rome? The wedding is for some hours, Rome perhaps for a week.

It makes sense to start with the categories, where you have the best opportunities to wear a kilt.
If, like in my case, it is in your spare time, meaning for casual wear, already a cheap PV/acrylic kilt shall in principle do the job. Some may come from China, but most of them are made in Pakistan.
All Pakistani kilts are PV/acrylic, the fabric on some kilts better than on others.

A step up the ladder, you can from Scotland and USA have high quality casual kilts made of PV from British mills. Especially here they are superior to Pakistani competition.

Looking at the figure the most universal kilt seems to be the traditional style wool kilt.
However, it covers most different kilts, ranging from machine-sewn 13 oz. or less, 5-yard or less kilts intended for smart casual/semi-formal functions up to 16 oz. or more, 8-yard or more, hand-sewn kilts for strict formal wear.

Typically, you can have these kilts in any tartan-weight you wish, in any tartan, you want, and it can be a 4-, 5-, 6-, 7- , 8- or 9-yarder, depending on vendor or maker. Makers of this type of kilts are to find in Scotland, but not only there. Other countries are Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and USA.

A 5-yard 13 oz. wool kilt shall cover most casual functions through semi-formal wear, thereby making it coming close to the universal kilt.

Depending on tartan and vendor it is in the £200-300 price category. For casual and smart-casual functions kilts can be cheaper, even much cheaper.


Where to buy which kilt?

Out of probably hundreds of vendors, I only knew few, of course, and some, I know and should have recommended are no longer existing or are no longer on segments, where I should have given them my recommendation, like Heritage of Scotland.

After over 20 years in kilts on a regular basis, I do have some experience, however. And even if no guarantee, because things can change, I think i'm able to give you some valid advice. You'll find some suggestions a few pages from here, but before then it is about getting measures right and something as boring as customs, taxes, and import fees, having become relevant to kilt buyers living in the EU, after UK in relation to The European Union has become a third country.



Next page

Kilt

Get the measures right


Buying your first kilt is something quite unusual. Most likely you shall buy it online, and often it shall be made to your measures. Buying a kilt is not difficult, however, and with a kilt there is some give and take. Read on, and you'll know how to make it right.



What to find on the Dress2Kilt site?



Kilt, Gunn Ancient tartan, Gilleleje, Denmark, with a view to Sweden.

How about a kilt?

Have you ever been thinking of wearing a kilt, but have given up, because you were not Scottish? But you must not be Scottish. You can be of any nationality, any colour, and any belief. Only you must be man enough. The objective of the Dress2Kilt site is making you wear a kilt whenever YOU feel like it and appropriate. Without needing a special event. It is about causal-first kilt wearing.


Kilt

Men and kilts

Who will wear a kilt? Why wearing a kilt? Where and when to wear it? What’s the difference between being Scottish and not, related to kilt wearing? What about surroundings? Is it true? These and many more questions are answered here.


Kilt

Webmaster's kilt story

How come that the webmaster started wearing kilts? When was it? How was it, wearing a kilt for the first time? How were reactions from his wife, his family, neighbours, and other people?


Kilt

You in a kilt?

When seeing you in a kilt, what should people say? And especially your significant other? And the ‘Kilt Police’? Shall people think you are Scottish? How about prejudices? Should you tell people you know that you have started wearing kilts or are about to do it? How do you tell them? What should your reasons be? See answers to these and many other questions here?


Kilt

What makes a kilt?

Are 8 yards of fabric a must? Or will less do? How is a kilt constructed? Learn about straps and buckles, fell, rise, pleats, length, drop.


Kilt

Is the kilt a skirt?

Scotsmen will say NO. To them and very many kilt wearers the kilt is a kilt, not a skirt. It is a garment of its very own, they say, and exclusively for men.
Calling the kilt a skirt is accordingly considered an almost unforgivable insult. But is it nevertheless a skirt?



Buy a kilt and accessorize it



Kilt

Must a kilt be expensive?

Yes, purists will say, because no less than a 16 oz. 8-yard wool kilt, sewn by hand by a skilled kilt maker in Scotland or equivalent place will do. But are they right? Read why they are probably not.


Kilt

Get the measures right

Buying your first kilt is something quite unusual. Most likely you shall buy it online, and often it shall be made to your measures. Buying a kilt is not difficult, however, and with a kilt there is some give and take. Read on, and you'll know how to make it right.


Kilt

Something to pay on top?

Details might only be of interest to EU-citizens.
What you have to pay for your kilt might not be, what you saw on the price label. And it is not only a question of shipping cost. Read about customs, VAT, and customs clearance fees when ordering your kilt in a 3rd country.



Pakistani kilt

A cheap kilt

Probably most kilts today are not sewn in Scotland, but in Pakistan. In common these "imported" kilts have that they are affordable. Some shall give you real value for your money, others little - or worse - no value. Read about where to find good, nevertheless cheap kilts.


USA Lilts Casual

A moderate priced kilt

Some established Scottish and American kiltmakers know that affordable kilts are the condition for having men start wearing kilts, especially those having no Scottish roots. They therefore offer some very good kilts which they will position as casual kilts, probably for not hurting the rest of their business. For casual wear they might be all you need. Pay under £300 and get a fine 5-yard kilt in pure new wool, which you can also wear in La Scala or the Met.


Kilt

A premium priced kilt

You'll hardly get an 8-yard kilt in pure new wool for under £300 or the equivalent. It shall be much easier to find one costing twice or three times as much. Not all premium priced kilts are sewn in Scotland. Examples are USA, Canada, England, France, and Austria.


Kilt accessories

Kilt accessories

Don't get ripped off on things you don't need. Find out, which accessories are must-haves, which are nice to have, and which you shouldn't consider at all for casual and smart casual wear, and some not even for dress-up events.




Utility kilt

A utility kilt

Utilty kilts have existed since 2000. Judged from the number of vendors who are offering them, the market for these kilts must be big. They come in very many different designs, some better than others.


Non-tartan kilt

Other kilt variants

Kilts can also be solid coloured, or come in a camouflage pattern. They can be made of tweed, denim, or leather. They can be traditional in style, or their design can deviate to the extent where they become utility kilts - or skirts.



Wear a kilt



Kilt

Kilt on!

Let’s assume you have just received and unpacked your first kilt, and the accessories you ordered. How to handle and wear all the unfamiliar things, the sporran, the belt, the socks, the flashes etc.?
What else to wear with your kilt?


Kilt

To mind when in a kilt

Now being ready for taking your kilt out into public for the first time, is there anything you should mind? Something to worry about or calling for your attention? After all a kilt is something very different, just the way it looks and especially, how it feels, wearing it.


Kilt

24/7/365 in a kilt

Now being ready for taking your kilt out into public for the first time, is there anything you should mind? Something to worry about or calling for your attention? After all a kilt is something very different, just the way it looks and especially, how it feels, wearing it.



Skirts and closing remarks



Man skirts

Man skirts

Could you as a man wear a skirt? Well, the existence of utility kilts with their non-defined designs is part of the answer. You can. Skirts on men make sense and dedicated man skirts are on the market, even if very rare. Another possibility is having a skirt designed and made for you, making it a man skirt.


Woman's skirt worn by a man

Simply skirts

Is it possible, emphasizing a manly appearance, to wear a skirt intended for women? It very much depends on the avalability of appropriate skirts. Looking at women's fashion these years, skirts tend to be increasingly feminine, too feminine for a man to wear, or they are simply replaced by dresses. Another important thing, of course, would you?


Skirt

Closing remarks

Thank you for having visited this site. Hopefully it has contributed to bring you an important step further. Now show to the world that you are man enough to pull that 'skirt', whether a traditional tartan kilt, a solid-coloured kilt, a utility kilt or some other kilt variant, a sarong, a skirt designed for men, a unisex skirt or one simply looking manly enough to also be worn by you.



Galleries



Galleries

Galleries Main Page

Links to gallery pages showing traditional kilts, solid-coloured kilts, utility kilts, man skirts, simply skirts, and pages with a mix of kilts and different skirts - 'the Braveheart way'.


Tartan kilts

Tartan kilts

Choosing a tartan can be difficult with, in principle, more than 4,000 available. In praxis they are much fewer, however, but still, it shall take you. Hundreds of kilt pictures on 32 pages, listed alphabetically and one page per tartan, might give you some indication of where to go.


Non-tartan kilts

Traditional non-tartan kilts

A traditonal kilt must not have tartans. Solid coloured kilts are becoming more and more popular. Most often they are black, but also other colours are a possibility. Three gallery pages.


Galleries

Utility kilts

If you have no Scottish roots or just want a kilt less connected with tradition and rules you might prefer a utility kilt over a traditional kilt. Or you might consider a utility kilt just an addition to your other kilts.
On seven pages you'll find slide shows featuring different utility kilts. One page for each kilt.


Skirts

Skirts

If not too keen on a kilt, or for just more variety, a skirt might be a possibility. On for example a hot summer day an appropriate skirt, to be worn instead of shorts, could even make more sense than a heavy kilt.
On five gallery pages you’ll find examples of custom-made skirts, man skirts, and simply skirts, being maybe manly enough.


The Braveheart way

The Braveheart Way

The Braveheart Way is about MEN being brave enough to include skirted garments in their wardrobe, and who dare wear them out in public, On two gallery pages kilts and skirts are mixed together with the purpose of helping you find YOUR Braveheart way, with or without a mix.



Links



Kilt

Links #1

Vendors of traditional kilts, from cheap, typically imported Pakistani kilts, whether off-the-peg or custom-made, to more expensive kilts, sewn to-your-measures in Europe or in America.
Vendors of accessories.
Tartan-mills and tartan-finders.


Kilt

Links #2

Vendors of utility kilts, sarongs, man skirts, unisex skirts, "manly" skirts, and some shorts.


Kilt

Links #3

Kilt and skirt forums, non-commercial home pages, blogs, picture galleries, videos, articles in print media and on the internet, men in kilts and skirts on stage and on the catwalk.



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Kilt

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At a glance, find out what is new, has been changed or has been deleted on the D2K site since your last visit.

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