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  1. #1
    Join Date
    21st December 05
    Location
    Hawick, Scotland
    Posts
    10,286

    Men's Kilts and Women's Kilts

    Friends John and Yvonne were telling me today of new kilts in their Hunter tartan which they had ordered from a kiltmaker in the Inverness area.
    Both kilts arrived in reasonable time and were a perfect fit, but both were fringed to the right as per men's kilts.
    When they queried this with the kiltmaker he insisted that there is no such thing as a woman's kilt, that all kilts are unisex and are fringed to the right.
    This despite the fact that Yvonne already has two ladies' kilts from other kiltmakers which are fringed on the left.
    I re-assured them that although in my opinion ladies and gents kilts normally fold to opposite sides, it was quite common to see ladies wearing kilts fringed to the gents' side, for example female pipe band members. I also know a now retired lady magistrate who regularly wore kilts which were fringed to the right, and I encouraged Yvonne to start wearing her new kilt and not worry about which side it was fringed to.
    I wonder how common it is for the more traditional kiltmakers to make all their kilts fringed to the same side whether they are being made for a man or a woman.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    8th December 09
    Location
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,245
    Alex,

    I'm no expert on this matter, by any means. However, my wife just received her Muir kilt, made by Alexis Malcolm of Florida, and the fringe is on the left. Personally, it doesn't bother me as to what side it's fringed on, as long as it looks marvelous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    8th February 04
    Location
    3389 Schuylkill Rd, Spring City, PA 19475
    Posts
    5,462
    Is it a KILT or a KILTED SKIRT? I've seen kilted skirts fringed on both sides, but have only seen KILTS fringed on the (wearer's) right side.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    7th July 09
    Location
    Melbourne,Victoria Australia
    Posts
    3,209
    Rocky, in my opinion you are spot on, there is only one garment that is a kilt and that's the one we all know. There are no mens and and ladies kilts. A kilt is a kilt and that's it. There are ladies kilted/pleated skirts which have the fringe on the left but these are not and should not be called kilts. As a general "rule" ladies don't wear klts unless in a pipe band

  5. #5
    Mostly they open on the left whether they are kilts or kilted skirts, although Sport Kilt (!) seem to have theirs open on the mens' side. I think the real issue is that women are not horrified at the thought of donning a man's garment (unlike vicea versa), so the makers can get away with it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    23rd May 06
    Location
    Far NW Corner of Washington State, USA (48 45' 51.5808" N / -122 30' 36.6228" W)
    Posts
    5,711
    Quote Originally Posted by O'Callaghan View Post
    I think the real issue is that women are not horrified at the thought of donning a man's garment (unlike vicea versa), so the makers can get away with it.
    Indeed....I know of some women (non-pipe band) who have bought men's kilts & don't have a problem wearing them irregardless
    T. E. ("TERRY") HOLMES
    proud descendant of the McReynolds/MacRanalds of Ulster & Keppoch, Somerled & Robert the Bruce.
    "Ah, here comes the Bold Highlander. No in his breeks but too proud to tug his forelock..." Rob Roy (1995)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    22nd July 08
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    2,678
    Quote Originally Posted by RockyR View Post
    Is it a KILT or a KILTED SKIRT? I've seen kilted skirts fringed on both sides, but have only seen KILTS fringed on the (wearer's) right side.
    Semantics aside, what is the difference then between a kilted skirt that's fringed on the right and a kilt (regardless of whether it's for a man or woman) that's fringed on the right side?

    I.e. what physical characteristics distinguish the two garments other than the fact that a kilted skirt MAY be fringed to the opposite side?

    (puzzled)....
    Duos habet et bene pendentes!

    To my eye, the peacock -- the male peacock, has escaped his cage, and I don't think anyone's going to be able to corral him or get him back into the cage of conformity. He's on his own now, and he's flying high!
    - Bill Cunningam (NY Times photographer)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    24th August 06
    Location
    Kansas City Missouri
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by CDNSushi View Post
    Semantics aside, what is the difference then between a kilted skirt that's fringed on the right and a kilt (regardless of whether it's for a man or woman) that's fringed on the right side?

    I.e. what physical characteristics distinguish the two garments other than the fact that a kilted skirt MAY be fringed to the opposite side?

    (puzzled)....
    Ladies kilted skirts usually use less material, with shallower pleats, and may be longer length (below the knee).
    Mark Keeney

  9. #9
    Join Date
    26th January 05
    Location
    Western NC
    Posts
    5,717
    And generally one can tell by the measurements, as well. Most women have a much greater waist-to-hip ratio than men do, so you can often tell simply by the shape of the garment if it was meant for a man or a woman.

    I have seen a few ladies' kilted skirts in my day that open on the right, as a male kilt. However, the majority open on the left. I've had one or two women over the years specifically ask if their skirts could be made to open on the right, and that's easy enough to accomodate. But normally I'd have them made to open on the left, as that is standard today for women's kilted skirts.
    Matthew A. C. Newsome, GTS
    Kiltmaker & Tartan Scholar
    US Distributor for House of Cheviot kilt hose
    Visit www.NewHouseHighland.com for custom kilts & knitwear.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    18th October 09
    Location
    Orange County California
    Posts
    4,352
    In The Art Of Kiltmaking, Barbara Tewsbury and Elsie Stuemeyer say:

    "A folklore of untruths exists about kilts. You may hear people say, 'A womans' kilt opnes on the left.' Not true. All kilts open on the right. What these folks are undoubtedly referring to as a 'woman's kilt' is, in fact, a kilt skirt. A kilt skirt, sometimes known as a hostess kilt, is not a kilt. Rather, it is a woman's pleated skirt made in lightweight tartan with machine-stitched pleats. Kilt skirts are commonly worn below the knee with the fringe edge at the wearer's left, rather than at the right. A kilt skirt requires much less cloth than a kilt and has wide, shallow pleats, no rise, and none of the interior contruction of a kilt.

    You may also hear people say 'A man's kilt in longer in the back than a dancer's kilt.' Not true. There's no such thing as a 'dancer's kilt', and kilts for dance competitons are measured and laid out exactly the same way as a kilt for a man.

    The bottom line is that there is really only one kind of kilt. Anyone who wears a kilt wears a garment that is laid out, stitched, and contructed by hand in exactly the same way, regardless of whether the wearer is a woman or a man, a piper or a dancer."

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