History of the Kilt

The kilt first appeared as the belted plaid or great kilt in the late 16th century. It was a full length garment that could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over the head as a hood. The small kilt, which has become the modern kilt, did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century, and is essentially the bottom half of the great kilt. It is said that the MacDonnells of Glengarry originated the small kilt when they found the great kilt to be too cumbersome to wear while smelting iron and manufacturing charcoal.

The word kilt comes from the Scots word kilt meaning to tuck up the clothes around the body. Essentially, the kilt was a large blanket that could be wrapped around the body and worn as clothing rather than having to carry it from place to place.

So, why are kilts so popular? Among Scots, kilts are a way to show Scottish heritage as well as means to display a bit about who they are as a family. Each family has a unique plaid, known as a tartan. Kilts are typically made and worn with that family specific color pattern. Kilts also have practical uses as they allow a more wide range of motion that traditional trousers or pants. A man wearing a kilt is someone to be reckoned with as they are self-confident in the face of glances, giggles, and pointed fingers. It takes a man and a half to wear a kilt.

Kilts today have now been adopted by many for non-traditional dress purposes. With the advent of the modern work or utility kilt, men can wear them while working on a construction site, out hunting, golfing, or any other number of activities. This is in part due to the inclusion of pockets and utility pouches to hold not only their wallets, but even specialized places to hold on to things like hammers.

So, thinking about getting a kilt? Stop in and see us!


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