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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbeard View Post
    From your answers I can see that a kilt is worn how you like as long as some simple guidelines are followed, which is good to know. I want to make an honest go at this and wearing it at least some what properly. *grin*
    It's good that you're looking for information and guidelines on how to wear the kilt and all its associated accessories, but be warned that the term "properly" comes with no small amount of controversy! As you'll see mentioned quite often, there are no set rules on how to wear the kilt. There are traditions, and they vary quite a bit even within the Highlands. You'll get pointers and tips from people (including me, most likely) based on their interpretation of what falls within the norms or traditions of the Highlands, and then you'll get conflicting advice from others based on their own interpretations of the same traditions. As Jock Scot pointed out, people will often post photos or portraits showing that someone, somewhere, wore things a certain way, to justify their interpretation.

    Long story short, it can be quite frustrating trying to get a firm grasp on what constitutes "proper" with kilts. You just have to look at all the evidence, as it were, and draw your own conclusions. You will realise in the end that there are many, many mindsets on kilt-wearing protocols, but none can lay legitimate claim to being the official one. And even when you adopt a good set of ground rules that seem to conform to a general consensus of how to properly wear it, there are still cases where individual liberties may be taken at one's own risk.

    I'm sure that muddies the waters for you. Sorry about that.

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    It's good that you're looking for information and guidelines on how to wear the kilt and all its associated accessories, but be warned that the term "properly" comes with no small amount of controversy! As you'll see mentioned quite often, there are no set rules on how to wear the kilt. There are traditions, and they vary quite a bit even within the Highlands. You'll get pointers and tips from people (including me, most likely) based on their interpretation of what falls within the norms or traditions of the Highlands, and then you'll get conflicting advice from others based on their own interpretations of the same traditions. As Jock Scot pointed out, people will often post photos or portraits showing that someone, somewhere, wore things a certain way, to justify their interpretation.

    Long story short, it can be quite frustrating trying to get a firm grasp on what constitutes "proper" with kilts. You just have to look at all the evidence, as it were, and draw your own conclusions. You will realise in the end that there are many, many mindsets on kilt-wearing protocols, but none can lay legitimate claim to being the official one. And even when you adopt a good set of ground rules that seem to conform to a general consensus of how to properly wear it, there are still cases where individual liberties may be taken at one's own risk.

    I'm sure that muddies the waters for you. Sorry about that.
    Not muddled more than I was before, so no worries there.

    I know in the long run I will wear my kilt as I am going to wear it. Just didn't want to seem like the complete mindless wonder when I do.

    Thank you for actually stating that there are no set in stone rules for wearing a kilt. I look at this as a point to start setting my own guidelines, yet also doing so with some reference to what was already established.

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  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbeard View Post
    I know in the long run I will wear my kilt as I am going to wear it. Just didn't want to seem like the complete mindless wonder when I do.
    I found it useful to understand the "why" behind the guidelines.

    For example, kilt jackets and waistcoats are shorter than those normally worn with pants/slacks/trousers. That's due to two reasons. First, the kilt waist is much higher than the modern pants waist. Second, the shorter jackets/waistcoats shouldn't be interfering with the flair of the kilt (generally not an issue when wearing slacks).

    Equipped with that knowledge, I can seek out suitably short jackets and waistcoats, regardless of whether they were explicitly designed with kilts in mind.
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbeard View Post
    ...learning more about proper kilt attire and dress. From what I have been reading so far, as long as you are comfortable with the look, just about anything goes.
    For sure people are free to wear whatever they want.

    But when the concept of "proper kilt attire" is introduced things get more complicated.

    What is proper varies according to what mode or genre of Highland Dress is intended.

    You'll see a term used here "traditional Highland Dress". It's difficult to pin down, difficult to put into a formula, difficult to codify in a list of rules. Definitions become circular, like "art is what artists make". But it's true that "the tradition" is defined by the attitudes of the people within the tradition: Traditional Highland Dress is what the people who wear Traditional Highland Dress feel it is. We need to keep in mind that it's not about rules, but about attitudes, feelings, and opinions.

    Then there are Fashion Cultures which use kilt-like garments such as Utilikilts, which by the way were invented in Seattle. If one were to draw a Venn diagram with one circle for Traditional Highland Dress and one for the Utilikilt Fashion Culture there would be little if any overlap. It's why there are separate Forums here.

    Then there's Historical Highland Dress, which refers to styles which have fell out of use in Traditional Highland Dress. (The Tradition marches on and continuously evolves. Historical periods are fossils and never change.)

    So what is proper to a historical re-enactor wearing a Highland costume from a specific time in the past probably wont' be proper to a modern person wearing modern Traditional Highland Dress. What is proper to a person wearing modern Traditional Highland Dress won't be proper to a person wearing an outfit in line with the Utilikilt Fashion Culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbeard View Post
    ...about the belt. Is there a more proper way to wear it, or is it just how it feels comfortable?
    In the old days waistbelts were worn to support a dirk, hence "dirk belt" which was the standard name. This changed in the 1920s with the introduction of the Montrose jacket which was intended to be worn with a dirkless belt. (Dirkless because the Montrose was introduced at the very time that the wearing of plaids and dirks and swords and pistols and powder-horns had fallen from favour.)

    Nowadays you'll hear "kilt belt" which is a new term, and people wearing belts to hold up ill-fitting kilts, which is a new concept. Kilts that fit don't need a belt, never have, never will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbeard View Post
    Next would be about types of kilts. Are the newer "utility" kilts just as acceptable as the traditional style?
    Utilikilts (and their numerous copies) are not only acceptable, but required, for the Utilikilt Fashion Culture that's sprung up with those. Utilikilts aren't acceptable in Traditional Highland Dress.

    Here on the West Coast of the USA (the home of the Utilikilt) wearing Utilikilts has become quite common. I see men wearing them around once a week. At Highland Games too they have become as popular as actual kilts.

    Here's the Utilikilt Fashion Culture I see all the time (tattoos and Doc Martens are practically indispensable)



    Here's modern Traditional Highland Dress



    Here's Historical Highland Dress, early 18th century



    Historical Highland Dress, mid 19th century



    As you can see if one were to Venn diagram the dress seen in these images there would be practically no overlaps, save for the boots of the 19th century guy which would look correct with a Utilikilt, and his hose which would pass muster in modern Traditional Highland Dress.

    The only thing the 18th century fellow is wearing that wouldn't look overly odd in modern Traditional Highland Dress is his soft deerskin sporran.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 12th October 19 at 05:00 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhockin View Post
    FYI: if/ when you do wear a belt, please donít put it through the sporran strap loops, on the back of a traditional kilt ( it will damage it).
    I hadn't noticed mine wearing any more than usual with my occasional belt wearing. Then again, I never cinch the belt tight anyway.
    Clans: Armstrong and Guthrie on Father's side.
    Other heritage: Mostly German and some Polish on Mother's side.
    Kilts: One five-yard semi-traditional in Armstrong Ancient 13oz from Lochcarron

  8. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by imbrius View Post
    I hadn't noticed mine wearing any more than usual with my occasional belt wearing. Then again, I never cinch the belt tight anyway.
    I believe what he's referring to is that if you run the belt through those loops, when you sit down, the belt often tries to ride up in the back and will tug those loops upward. Over time, it can distort the back of the kilt into 'points' at those loops. Steve Ashton, I think, posted a photo a while back of a kilt that he had in for repairs that was permanently misshapen because of this. If my search skills were better, I'd find that post, but maybe someone else can hunt it down.

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  10. #17
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    My biggest "ah-ha moment" with kilt wearing was the first day I did not over think it.

    If you haven't yet, this sticky is a good read http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=46888

  11. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taskr View Post
    My biggest "ah-ha moment" with kilt wearing was the first day I did not over think it.

    If you haven't yet, this sticky is a good read http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=46888
    I have seen that thread and it did help a lot.

    And yes that is great advice about not overthinking it. *grin

  12. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    I believe what he's referring to is that if you run the belt through those loops, when you sit down, the belt often tries to ride up in the back and will tug those loops upward. Over time, it can distort the back of the kilt into 'points' at those loops. Steve Ashton, I think, posted a photo a while back of a kilt that he had in for repairs that was permanently misshapen because of this.
    Somebody, probably from the San Francisco Bay Area, dubbed it the "Golden Gate Bridge effect".

    It's a vivid and accurate visual. I see it at every Highland Games.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  13. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbeard View Post
    there are no set in stone rules for wearing a kilt.
    There is one. Pleats in the back.
    "My beloved America, thank you for your children. If your children want to become soldiers I will train them. When they are hungry I will feed them. When they are thirsty I will give them water. When they fight for freedom I will lead them. When they are unsteady on the battlefield I will motivate them. If they die on the battlefield I will bury them. So help me God."

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