My own kilt story in brief
Greg, you are wearing kilts on a regular basis, despite you are not Scottish and don’t live in Scotland. When and how did it start?
It started in the mid-nineties during a vacation in Scotland with my wife and our, by then, teenage daughter. One afternoon, in Edinburgh, they wanted to go to the Waverly shopping mall, whereas I would rather stroll around for an hour or two and take some pictures. To make it short, in a corner house in High Street I noticed a shop selling highland wear. At lot of shops in Edinburg are, so no big deal about that. Out of curiosity I went inside.
I happened to be the only customer and I was persuaded to try on a kilt. Just a few steps around and looking into a mirror gave me the feeling that a kilt was something extremely comfortable to wear and that there was nothing female about it. I got hooked, so to say.
Did you buy the kilt?
No. It was quite expensive and what should I use it for, even if the sales assistant or owner claimed that he had non-Scottish customers from all over the world? But when I left, I had in my hand his business card with my measures written on it, 36”, 43” 23”, referring to length, hip, and length, just in case.
But when did you get your first kilt, then?
It might have been about two years later, after I had got access to the rather new internet. During my surfing around I found out that there were “message boards” for men wearing or wanting to wear kilts and/or skirts. At that time the difference between kilt- and skirt wearers was not big. Everyone was striving for a manly appearance. And then you could actually order a kilt on the internet. On a website I happened to find a good looking “affordable casual kilt.”
Should, should not? It wouldn’t ruin the family economy in any way, but…
End of story: A few weeks later I was the owner of that kilt plus some accessories.
The quality was not quite up to that of the kilt I had tried on in Edinburgh. But how could it, being almost seven times cheaper? The fabric was not wool but polyester and only four yards, but being a non-Scot with absolutely no possibilities to wear a kilt at dress up situations it gave me all I needed.
Shortly after, when passing by a store named Scotch House I in their window saw what looked like a very nice kilt. I went inside and pretending it was to be a gift for my wife, I took a closer look.
It was made by probably the most renowned kilt maker in the world, Kinloch Anderson in Edinburgh. The waist size seemed to be right, only it was somewhat too long. I could see, but that was no problem; if needed they could shorten it. Or they could take it back, if it did not fit or my wife didn't like it.
I bought it, tried it on at home, liked it, had it shortened, and I had kilt number 2.
The main difference:
Tiny straps and buckles compared to my "real" kilt. Otherwise, it was a 3-yard kilt in a much better fabric, approximately 8 oz. pure new wool (lightweight). And it closed to the right, as shall a man's kilt.
It is no longer available, but the Kinlock Anderson 'kilted skirt' which comes closest is over 300 British pounds. Their, by far cheapest, kilt for men is £475 and is meant for casual wear.
Fortunately this is not what you must pay for a nice kilt.
Did you then start to wear it out right away?
No. My wife thought wearing a kilt in public might be somewhat problematic and, in fact, so did I. But when on holidays abroad I would sometimes wear it. And inside home, of course and in the garden and when emptying the letterbox - after having convinced myself that nobody could see me.
When did it change?
It was in 2005. We had been on holiday in Italy, where I had been wearing the kilt for some hours every day and had got quite many compliments from the local people. And as I then a few months later at a garden party with our neighbours realized that in fact they all knew that I would wear a “real kilt with a purse”, there was no reason trying to keep it a secret any longer. And I didn’t.
I had not been able to keep it a secret. You cannot. And you should not.