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


Something to pay on top?

The next page 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 the difference is not only a question of shipping cost.
Read about customs, VAT, and customs clearance fees when ordering your kilt in a 3rd country.

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.


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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 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

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?


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 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.


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.



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 #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.

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