Kilts -- a practical garment for everyone

Men's styles through the ages

Romans would have thought it hopelessly stupid to bifurcate their garments and restrict leg and cojon movement
Romans would have thought it hopelessly stupid to bifurcate their garments and restrict leg and cojon movement
The Norman tunic is not much different from the Roman.  I told you men's styles evolve very slowly
The Norman tunic is not much different from the Roman. I told you men's styles evolve very slowly
The jerkin is just a tunic, gathered up and bifurcated at the crotch, probably for warmth and wind reasons.
The jerkin is just a tunic, gathered up and bifurcated at the crotch, probably for warmth and wind reasons.
Who knows when bifurcated garments started?  Some believe the idea was stolen from Chinese WOMEN's fashion in the 1200's
Who knows when bifurcated garments started? Some believe the idea was stolen from Chinese WOMEN's fashion in the 1200's
Arrrr! What could be more manly than this?
Arrrr! What could be more manly than this?
Postal workers model proposed official UPS kilt prototype
Postal workers model proposed official UPS kilt prototype

Kilts: Keep an open mind

One difference I have noted between men and women is that women are much more adventurous when it comes to fashion and style. Women adapt whatever is in the news, whether it's wild African prints or traditional Indian saris, and make it into a fashion trend. They will steal ideas from men's clothing, or from the military, or from athletics, or from whatever. Women's fashions change much more quickly.I hate the current trend in women's tops. They look like maternity tops to me. No thanks! Been there, done that. I'll drop back to classics until that stupid style changes, and luckily, at least I know it will be over in another season or two.

Men's styles, by comparison, change at a snail's pace, though it's been picking up a bit lately, thanks to the internet. Most men are terrified of looking like bozos and stick to the tried and true, whether it be the business suit or the ubiquitous T-shirt and jeans. Men, additionally have the pressure on them to look "manly" (whatever that means), and are afraid to look "girly" or "gay", hence the paranoia in Western English speaking societies about wearing pink or bright colors or uncommon cuts.

I want to put to you that there is nothing intrinsically "manly" about dark colors, the business suit, or trousers, and there's nothing intrinsically feminine about pink, or feathers, or ruffles. In the animal kingdom, and in some human cultures it is the male of the species that is the more showy. If you examine fashion throughout the ages you will see that men's fashion has changed, from tunics to pantaloons to the business suit, which, in my mind, is a relic of stuffy Victorian England. And forward thinking and open-minded men are pushing for the kilt. And I believe it is gathering momentum and will become common and accepted in Western countries other than Scotland.

My perceptions of the kilt

As a youngster I learned about kilts in school when we studied Scotland. I thought they looked bizarre. Here were these guys looking perfectly "normal" from the waist up, and wearing skirts. And it was taught that no one really wore them, except on ceremonial occasions.

Then I actually went to Scotland and I saw men wearing kilts fairly commonly. Like the Aloha shirt in Hawaii, the kilt is an acceptable alternative that shows national pride.

Another thing that affected my perceptions is that I used to play in a contra dance band. In the cities such as Seattle and Portland in the late 90's male dancers would actually change into skirts for the dances. These are not transsexuals or transgender or transvestites or anything else. They wore filmy skirts because it enhanced their sensual enjoyment of the dancing. Then our guitar player got himself an olive green pleated kilt. A manly man if ever there was one, Kevin liked to complete his performance ensemble with combat boots, a sheath knife, a black beret, and an outrageous tie. I just got used to it and eventually forgot that it was a pretty extreme getup.

Then I saw Braveheart. Mel Gibson looks dynamite in a kilt, no one can argue that. Just as Michael Jordan started the trend of long baggy shorts for basketball players, Mel Gibson is adding fuel to the kilt fire. Guys, wanna attract the ladies? Look like Mel Gibson in a kilt. A-a-aaaa-ahhh!

Recently I went to bar camp Portland OR. Bar camp is an event made popular by, and populated primarily by geeks, predominantly male. Geeks are typically logical thinkers, and to them, logic is king. They pride themselves in their independent thinking and their refusal to be sheep. But there are still fads and trends among geeks and kilts seem to be one. And so I saw more than a few "utility kilts" at bar camp. And I found that thinkgeek (an online company catering to geeks) is offering utility kilts. If the geeks find these things practical, they will probably keep them. Geeks tend to hate clothes shopping and wear out their clothes anyway. And the ThinkGeek kilts look like they could withstand a nuclear assault.

And now, some US postal service workers are campaigning to have kilts as an official uniform option. (I wonder if they are already approved for female letter carriers. Hmmmmm.) It only makes sense. These guys walk a lot. Their thigh muscles are a lot more developed than the typical skinnyshanks of the typical US male. This drive for kilts is motivated by expediency and comfort. As one guy put it, the bifurcated garments chafe his unspeakables and he feels much more comfortable in a kilt. Well, they lost this round, due to cultural prejudice but I suspect they will be back.

My Prediction for the future

Kilts for men have a toehold in men's fashion. Men's fashion evolves at a snail's pace but in 10 years you will be seeing more and more kilts in the workplace. And guys, here's an idea for you. Wear a kilt to work and get fired. (Only do this if you hate your job and were thinking about quitting anyway.) Then you can sue for discrimination and wrongful dismissal and get a bunch of money. !!

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Comments 17 comments

compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

hot dorkage,

I thought fellow hubber jimmythejock would have been at this hub ageesss ago!! lol

Not sure about a practical garment for everyone as i would have to give them a miss!!

ps.. its quite chilly in here!!:)


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Maybe JTJ was here and didn't leave a comment. I was hoping somebody would get on and call all kilt wearers the 3 letter f-word and then I could just sit back and watch the fireworks. It's fine if you give it a miss -- the point is guys should be able to feel comfortable to wear them if they want to. It's quite chilly in Scotland too, I'm not sure what they do about the wind, maybe the fabric is so heavy that it doesn't do a Marilyn Monroe on them.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Jimmy's not the only Scot on Hubpages! The Scottish kilt is a very warm garment and also very practical in its natural environmrnt. Worn with boots and heavy knit hose (knee length socks) it's perfectly suitable for tramping through bracken and heather in all weather. But there's a lot of nonsense talked about clan tartans. They are a product of 19th century romanticism, courtesy of Sir Walter Scott. The truth is that the local weavers used whatever natural dyes they could get their hands on locally.

By the way, here in the Middle East, the locals wear the dishtash (white gown, no trousers) and many of the immigrant workers from the Subcontinent wear the sarong. It's only in the west that trousers are the absolute norm.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Indeed there is a lot of modern marketing hype that's accepted now as tradition. Let's hear it for the dishtash. I bet it's very comfortable!


2patricias profile image

2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

I have been to lots of formal occasions (in Scotland) where most of the men have been wearing kilts! And also Highland Games....

Interesting Hub - thanks.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

In the 90's I performed at a full rite Scottish wedding where the bridegroom and all the males in the wedding party wore kilts, plus many in attendance. The bride had her clan tartan draped over her wedding dress. It was quite the thing. WOOT! Comments! I love it! Feel free to comment on my other hubs too guys. They are green with jealousy of this one.


Mark Knowles profile image

Mark Knowles 8 years ago

I love kilts - but they are not a fashion statement. :)

If you want to spread the kilt word - Just tell us how comfortable it is to let the "boys" roam free lol


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Everything you wear is a fashion statement. The fact that you will wear something in public says that you think it is fashionable enough to not get you kicked out of whatever circle you associate with. Would you wear a Franken Furter style bustier with fishnets & a feather boa to work or show up at your best friend's wedding daubed with red and black clay? Probably not. And... BTW.... I would have no firsthand experience with "the boys" Mark but I can imagine that they would be very happy dancing around under a kilt. Just be ware of street vents.


Mark Knowles profile image

Mark Knowles 8 years ago

Well if everything I wear is a fashion statement, I need help - lots of it. If it fits and is comfortable, I will wear it. If it is not too scruffy, my wife will let me wear it out in public.

A good kilt is heavy enough not to worry about vents :)


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

I know some vents that can float boulders and I'm not talking about "the boys."

Send me a photo of you in the kilt, I'll put it in the hub.


relache profile image

relache 8 years ago from Seattle, WA

This hub seems to be incredibly short on actual kilt info. There's nothing really on the history and only one pictures of a genuine kilt. Also, the folks you have lableled UPS are in fact USPS and they are wearing Utlikilkts, not postal uniforms.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

not my intention to give the complete history of the kilt -- that would be the subject for a whole nother hub.  Apologies, UPS was a typo like "Utilikilkts" but the text of the hub clearly states that they are postal workers.  They are modeling prototypes that were not approved as official postal uniforms,   also clearly stated.  And who's to say what is a "genuine" kilt. Even the "genuine" kilts have changed with the times. A lot of that clan tartan stuff people think is steeped in tradition is only a century old or so.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

When my wife and I were vacationing in England, she kept trying to get me to buy a kilt with all the accoutrements (I did have nice legs), but they were expensive, and I kept thinking, "where would I wear the darn thing?) Thanks for a great hub!

P.S. 3 letter F word? Fop? Fey? Fun? I'll keep working on it!


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

The middle letter is A and the last letter is G. And what the hell is an ad for adult male diapers from Target doing on this hub!!! I guess maybe it picked up on chafing and mens wear and put 2 & 2 together.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Maybe they got a look at my avatar?


Volg CLawtooth 7 years ago

Meh, fighting with work.. I got written up for wearing my Kilt on casual days! Undiverse small minded little gits.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Sorry to hear that Volg. Logically they have no case. You're covered decently at least as much as a chick in a skirt, and nowhere have I ever been given the idea that the idea of male knees is obscene, besides, I bet some of the guys wear shorts on casual day.

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