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  1. #1
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    6th August 18
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    Clothes Make the Man

    I've been thinking a lot about my place in the 21st century western world and how that relates to the kilt.

    Rightly or wrongly, most people see the kilt as an anachronism at worst or a folk costume at best. They file it in the same headspace as lederhosen and kimonos.

    With that in mind, and the oft-repeated adages like "dress for the job you want, not the job you have" and "clothes make the man", I question what the place for a kilt is in the modern western world.

    It's not a question of can I wear it. It's a question of should I wear it. I keep returning to the fact that being other than clean-shaven, crew-cut, and conservatively-dressed singles one out as "weird". In the business world, people don't like surprises or "weirdness". They trust "normal". "Weird" is risky. Risk is bad.

    So I think the bottom line for me is that I'm probably going to hang up the kilt for good and end up resigning from this site, for the sake of not embarrassing my employer, to whom I owe my life and well-being since they graciously provide me with a paycheck and the means to continue living in the western world.
    Last edited by imbrius; 16th August 18 at 06:07 AM. Reason: Fix closing tag.

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  3. #2
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    7th February 11
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    Hi Imbrius.

    I'd be sorry to see anybody doing either of those things. I just think you may be thinking of making the kilt fit into a venue where you are right... it doesn't easily fit. For some people on this forum, the kilt is an everyday item. I love my kilts, but there's no way I would try to make them fit that description, because of the lifestyle and responsibilities I have.

    As a priest, if I wore the kilt to make a pastoral visit, the entire visit would move from the needs of my parishioner to the topic of the kilt, making my visit less effective. Would I wear it for a hospital visit? Very, very unlikely except to cheer up a fellow kilt-wearer.

    On the flipside, would I wear it to celebrate Mass on the Feast of St. Andrew? Of course I would! Would I wear it for the North American tradition of "The Kirkin' o' the Tartan"? Nothing else would be appropriate. Would I wear it for the morning service at the Highland Games? Need you even ask?

    Once my parish became accustomed to the fact that I wore my kilt for such events, might I wear it one day (or two) to the church office to do my paperwork? Sure! By then, should a parishioner come in for emotional/ theological support, they might be used to it and ignore it. On the other hand, I would be amazed should nobody ask "What's the occasion?"

    Would I wear it to the Cathedral for a service of Ordination? No. It's not about me. It's not about the kilt. It's about a group of ordinands coming to the church.

    When I was a school principal, I would have used similar criteria. When I had to face an upset parent, I wouldn't want the kilt to potentially derail a careful, sensitive and frankly, rather political situation. If the situation happened on a day when we were having a special Rabbie Burns assembly, people would understand the reason and it wouldn't become an issue whatever in a school bedecked and decorated with tartan.

    It's all about cautious and judicious use. I love my kilts, but I'm very careful not to insert them into venues where they become the centre of attention. Wear them. Enjoy them. Discuss them here. Learn about them, but wear them when they fit in comfortably to the venue and the event.
    Last edited by Father Bill; 16th August 18 at 06:24 AM.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.


  4. #3
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    Your reservations about kilt-wearing seem to relate to the business context. If your employer, or business associates, see the kilt as inappropriate, then it would be wise not to wear it to work. But don't give it up altogether - there are plenty of other contexts where you could wear it. Continue to enjoy doing so.

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  6. #4
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    6th April 05
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    It is always sad when someone decides to hang up the kilt for good, but like Father Bill said, I think you might be overthinking it. I don't think it is about making the kilt an every day thing or something that should be accepted by every one everywhere. I too pick and choose the time and place when I wear the kilt, mostly used as my fancy wear or for kilt related events. I hope you reconsider your decision, but I will say that I do not think clothes make the man, not in the case of the kilt. It is a powerful statement to wear the kilt, but it is the man that portrays the kilt that makes it so. You know your employer better than we do, and if it will cause you to get fired to wear the kilt on your time off, by all means, hang it up. I would simply not wear it around co-workers or at work. The kilt is too cool to not wear it!

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  8. #5
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    6th August 18
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    Work

    It's not so much that I fear that I'd be fired, it's my fear that by being "ouside the norm" that I'm embarrassing my employer. That I'm reflecting badly on them. And that I'm being ungrateful to them. After all, they allow me to work for them, which is a privilege in this day and age.

  9. #6
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    I tend to agree that the kilt is not appropriate for most workplaces. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Even in Scotland, wearing a kilt in a business environment would be odd. Trying to make the kilt into a "normal" choice of dress in the western world is just a fantasy. It's best to come to terms with that fact and see the kilt for what it is, not what we might like it to be.

    That doesn't mean you have to give up kilts entirely. There are appropriate times and places to wear it, and the fact that they are not everyday occurrances make them more special. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.


  10. #7
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    All or nothing

    I'm not suggesting wearing it to work. I mean wearing it at all, even during off hours. Hypothetical:

    I'm out and about town in a kilt. People see me and think "weirdo". Then when I go to work dressed normally, one of those people who saw me thinks about hiring my employer but stops when he or she sees that I might be on the team. "I don't want a weirdo like that working on my stuff! I can't trust him!" That's the scenario I fear.

  11. #8
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    7th February 11
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    Quote Originally Posted by imbrius View Post
    I'm not suggesting wearing it to work. I mean wearing it at all, even during off hours. Hypothetical:

    I'm out and about town in a kilt. People see me and think "weirdo". Then when I go to work dressed normally, one of those people who saw me thinks about hiring my employer but stops when he or she sees that I might be on the team. "I don't want a weirdo like that working on my stuff! I can't trust him!" That's the scenario I fear.
    Again, what is the context? Is it the weekend of the Highland Games in town (or in an adjacent town?) Is it on your way to a dress dinner and your lady is with you in a cocktail dress or long gown? In such contexts, no one is likely to think ill of it. Going grocery shopping, the question asked is clearly "why" and the word "weirdo" might indeed come into play.

    Context, or as the realtors say, "Location, location, location."

    I'm delighted that you hold your employer in such high regard. Few have that opportunity or mind-set.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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  13. #9
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    I do understand your concern.... to some extent. If it would be a problem at work then it may be best avoided. Your employer does provide a paycheque to feed, clothe and shelter you and yours.
    You however are not a charity case. The employer receives value for his money otherwise you would be quietly and efficiently escorted from the building.
    You don't say what your position is or how the kilt would be an embarrassment. What do you do? My situation is , perhaps, a bit different as I work in a manufacturing environment and as long as I show up and do my job my boss doesnt much care if i got a facial tattoo or got a haircut over the weekend. Wear the kilt proudly and well. Show you are secure enough in yourself to stand out, Hell, stand above the masses.

    As Father Bill has stated there are times a kilt may not be appropriate. Use judgement, but do not fear being judged. Part of the idea of many on this and other forums is to bring the kilt out of the closet, figuratively and literally.

    Discuss this with your employer. Get a read on their feelings. Maybe he is lurking on the forum , wishing he felt comfortable enough to wear one. It is a mans garment. It can be the equivalent of a tux , board shorts or anything in between. (Yes, I know women can and do wear them, just as they can and do wear pants, blazers etc.) Explain to your boss your reasons for wanting to kilt up, whatever they may be.

    At the end of the day you are the man and your clothes don't make you. There are stories of homeless people in rags finding large sums of money or valuables and returning them. There are stories of people who wear a police uniform everyday to work but who have stolen or committed murder. Yes, society does view each of us based on our looks initially. This doesn't mean they should or that they are right. Talk to your boss, get some good advice on how to wear it to best effect from the knowledgeable folks here, and then either wear it at work or do not. But don't let it effect your free time. If you want to kilt it up at the highland games, while you hike, garden or go shopping then take a cue from Nike. JUST DO IT !

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  15. #10
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    Got to disagree a mite. I am a priest. When I'm filling up at the gas station or shopping at the mall, I'm still seen as a priest. My effectiveness in my work in the community is a reflection of how I fit in. Everywhere. All the time.

    There are professions like that, thus, my earlier statements. I have a lot of sympathy for the concerns expressed. If I'm seen out and about and I'm filthy or odd or political, or... whatever, or if I post wild statements online, or get rowdy at a party, my ability to do my job is decreased. It's something a lot of us have to consider.

    But there are still times for the kilt. Times when it is the best alternative even!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

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