Kilt, Caledonia tartan

Get the measures right

for your kilt

Buying your first kilt is something quite unusual. Most likely you shall buy it online, and often it shall be custom made. Most likely this is the first time in your life where you have to take or have taken measures with the purpose of having something sewn to really fit you. It is not difficult, however, and with a kilt there is some give and take; in contrary to trousers.

The measures

When ordering a kilt your are asked for up to five measures. They are waist size, There are maximum five measures , they are:

Waist size - Fell length - Hip size - Kilt length - Your height.

Sometimes it is only waist and length, and do you order a ready-made kilt, you only have to inform about your waist size, the length being with 95% probability 24 inches or 61 cm. But then of course, you still have to find out, whether this length shall fit you, but let's take the measurements step by step.

They use yards, feet, and inches
To a continantal European it might seem odd, but it is the way it is. And you already know it from jeans. Americans and Brittans don't use the metric system.
Fortunately, a recalculation is not difficult.

The basic measure is the inch.

1 inch (1 in or 1") = 2.54 cm 

12 inches make a feet

1 feet (1 ft in or 1') = 30.5 cm 

3 feet or 36 inches make a yard

1 yard = 91.5 cm 


A traditional kilt is supposed to sit about navel (your “natural” waist), i.e. higher than most trousers. A casual kilt can be worn lower, however.
Take your measure where you want your kilt to sit.

Don’t rely on your trouser size!

The clothing industry is pleasing their customers by lying about facts. My Tommy Hilfiger jeans waist size is 32” but my kilt waist is 36”!

A kilt being fastened by means of straps and buckles means that there is some flexibility, like plus/minus 1 inch. On off-the-peg kilts the flexibility might be even bigger, like for example 34”-38” = 10 cm.


Like mentioned earlier the fell on a kilt is the part where the pleats are sewn down. In most cases you are not asked about this measurement. In fact, it is only when ordering a made-to-measure kilt in Pakistan. If you don't give an answer they'll make it 6" from the rise or 6.5" from the top of the kilt, no matter the length of it. It might be a bit to the short side, but probably perfect if you want your casual kilt to sit low. Shorter or longer is up to you, and when you have the option, why not use it? The fell should end where you are at the broadest, i.e. where you'll take the next measurement. Better too short than too long.


It is where you are at the broadest. Take a lose measurement.

When buying a readymade kilt you are never asked. Then the seat size is based upon the waist size.


The kilt should at the longest end at the middle of your knee cap. By no means should it cover your knees – even if that not uncommon. At the very shortest it should be one inch above the knee. That means a give and take of about five cm or two inches.

Should you get across the renowned book, So you*re going to wear the kilt by J. Charles Thompson, you’ll see that the author is advocating for short kilts; and that for special purposes they might even be quite short.

So you're going to wear the Kilt

J. Charles Thompson: So you're going to wear the kilt, 3rd revised edition 1989, Lang Syne Publishers LTD, Glasgow.

At the very longest, the kilt should reach only to the top of the knee cap… Don’t get the kilt too short, either. One of the books tells of a Highland gentleman who has his heavy kilt that he wears for shooting and hillwalking three inches above his knees. That way it does not touch the calf of his leg at all. That may be all very well if you are going to have a kilt, especially for outdoor sports, but for a general-purpose kilt an inch above the top of the knee cap is probably as short as you will want to go, even if you like a shortish kilt.
J. Charles Thompson: So you're going to wear the kilt, 3rd revised edition 1989, page 54.
And further he says:

Don’t get your kilt too long! The top of the knee cap is the absolute long limit, and up to an inch shorter is acceptable – better in my personal opinion.
J. Charles Thompson: So you're going to wear the kilt, 3rd revised edition 1989, page 99.

A few examples:
A kilt is a most flexible garment. Below are six different kilts, ranging from 24" down to 20", meaning a difference of no less than 10 centimeters, and five of them can be worn according to rules.

MacKenzei tartan

Too long. Kilt covering the knees. If worn higher OK. 24" 8 Yard PV ready-made kilt. MacKenzie tartan.

Douglas Green Modern tartan

No longer than this. Mid knee cap. Kilt worn at natural waist. 24" 5 yard wool kilt made-to-measure. Douglas Green Modern tartan.

Campbell Ancient

Top of knee cap. The kilt length I prefer. 22.5" 5 yard wool kilt made-to-measure. Campbell Ancient tartan.

Holyrood tartan

About one inch above the knee. Better no shorter than this. 22.5" sitting a little higher than on the kilt on the picture above. 5 yard wool kilt made-to-measure. Holyrood tartan.

Buchanan tartan

About two inches above the knee. Too short, if, like here, worn at natural waist. If lowered as munch as it can, it shall still be acceptable. 21" 3 yard PV off-the-peg kilt. Buchanan Antique tartan.

Buchanan tartan

The same kilt, worn lower and now just within limits.

Stewart Black tartan

A cheap 5 yard 20" made-to-measure PV kilt. Ordered that short from an American vendor. Stewart Black tartan. Here worn high but the kilt just a bit shorter than the length, which J. Charles Thompson finds still acceptable for a kilt, "especially for outdoor sports". I think most men should consider it too short.

Stewart Black tartan

The same kilt, worn as low as it could. The length now is fine, and the kilt looks OK - as long as the top is covered by a jacket or a sweater, but otherwise it is too short (to be authentic) and is looking more like a low-waist miniskirt.

School girl look

Don't get your kilt TOO short. Especially in countries where school uniforms are common, a short kilt might be associated with schoolgirl's pleated skirts (Tokyo, Japan and Malaga, Spain). Also in Scottish environments where kilts are well known, better be within accepted tolerances.

Taking the measure
I have never been able to use the "kneeling" method" often referred to.

My advice: 
Use a camera or your smartphone, a towel and a belt. The phone or camera should be placed in a vertical position, meaning parallel to the wall and in knee height.

With the belt at navel – or where you should like to fasten your kilt – adjust the towel to the 24” standard length.
With you standing upright (like with your back against the wall) take the picture with the self-timer. If not satisfied adjust the length of the towel until it looks right on the photo and take the measure.
You might also use the smartphone on a selfie stick. Just NEVER lean forward when taking the picture!
Another way is to have your wife or girlfriend assist you.

Be aware that a custom made kilt cannot be returned, just because it does not fit you! A ready-made 24" long kilt can, even if it might have become more complicated to return a kilt from an EU-country to Scotland or wherever it has come from.

Placed at navel a 24” kilt goes to the middle of my knee cap. In my case this length is the absolute maximum. A 21” kilt resting on my hips comes to about one inch above my knee cap, thereby still just acceptable. Fastened at navel it should look more like a mini kilt, however. The perfect kilt length is for me 22.5"-23”. This just to indicate that there is some flexibility – and come in mind we are talking casual kilt wearing, not national dress. I’m 176 cm tall.
For me, better too short than too long.

If you are of average build, you can expect a kilt being around a third of your height to fit.

Being 176 cm = 69", a third is 23". 23" is for me the perfect length = mid/upper knee cap. Preferring my kilts to be on top of my knees, I order them 22.5".

Kilt, Gunn Ancient tartan, Helsingborg, Sweden

My preferred kilt length. 5-yard kilt, pure new wool, 22.5" long. Gunn Ancient tartan, Helsingborg, Sweden.


Not all vendors will ask. You are supposed to give your height in feet and inches. It is just to give an impression, whether the length you have ordered seems correct. Varying by 2.54 cm it is not a very precise indicator, but if you order your kilt 20” (51 cm) short and your height is 6’9” (206 cm) you might be asked whether you really want it to be a micro mini kilt?

1 foot = 30.5 cm.

My 176 cm equal 5' = 152.5 cm plus 23.5 cm = 9", meaning I am 5'9" high.

Next page

Kilt accessories

Kilt accesories

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 not even for dress-up events.

What to find on the Dress2Kilt site?

Kilt, Caledonia Tartan

How about a kilt?

Have you ever been thinking of wearing a kilt? 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.
Verschiedene Kilts

Men in kilts - Q & A

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, Holyrood Tartan

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?

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?

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?

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.

Buy a kilt and accessorize it


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.
Pakistani kilt

A cheap kilt

Probably most kilts today are no longer 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.

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.

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 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.

Wear your 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?

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.

24/7/365 in a kilt

Let's be realistic, you cannot and probably you should not wear a kilt every day year riund. But having chosen to consider your kilt casual-first wear there are so many possibilities year round. Read on and get inspired.

Kilt variants, skirts, and closing remarks

Utility kilt

Utility kilts

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.
kilt variants

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.


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. Read about which to go for, if a skirt.

Closing remarks

Hopefully, visiing this site has contributed to bring you an important step further. Now show to the world that you are man enough to pull that kilt or skirt, whatever it is.



Galleries Main Page

Links to altogether over 50 gallery pages with tartan kilts, utility kilts, other kilt variants, and skirts.
Tartan kilts

Gallery Tartan kilts

Hundreds of kilt pictures on over 30 pages, one page per tartan.

Non-tartan kilts

Gallery Solid kilts

Solid traditional kilts.


Gallery Utility kilts

Utility kilts in various brands and colours.


Gallery Skirts

Man skirts, unisex/genderless skirts, and just skirts.

The Braveheart way Gallery

Gallery The Braveheart Way

A mix of skirted manly garments.

Links and What's new?


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.


Links #2

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


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.


What's new?

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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