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Thread: kilt length

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverkilt View Post
    Methinks which waist to wear a kilt at is a matter of personal choice.

    I remain abhorred by the trend of buying/selling kilts with their hem well below the knee.

    I'm seeing more and more "long" kilts and I just don't like them. I find myself repulsed by them...just me.
    I couldn't agree more Ron. Some in these parts call the situation as you describe above and particularly when wearing the kilt too long, as "trollopy".
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 22nd December 18 at 09:28 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I couldn't agree more Ron. Some in these parts call the situation as you describe above and particularly when wearing the kilt too long, as "trollopy".
    Never heard a man described as a “trollop” given the dictionary definition as “a sexually disreputable or promiscuous woman”
    but I know what you mean. Maybe simply describing it as “untidy” or “careless” would be be closer the mark.

  4. #13
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    Which dictionary?
    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.

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdinSteve View Post
    Never heard a man described as a “trollop” given the dictionary definition as “a sexually disreputable or promiscuous woman”
    but I know what you mean. Maybe simply describing it as “untidy” or “careless” would be be closer the mark.
    “Trollopy” is as far as I am aware, a long used descriptive word in these parts for the kilt being worn with the kilt hem worn below the center of the knee. In fact the author of the useful but slightly outdated book “So You Are Going To Wear The Kilt” uses within the book the said adjective to describe the same situation. Now, I don’t know if he coined the term, or if he picked it up whilst doing his research for the book———-the latter I suspect———nevertheless the term describes the situation perfectly.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 23rd December 18 at 01:53 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Father Bill View Post
    Which dictionary?
    This one - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trollop
    and this one - https://www.collinsdictionary.com/di...nglish/trollop
    and this one - https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dic...nglish/trollop
    or even this one - https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/trollop
    all of which agree in broadly similar terms that a "trollop" refers specifically to a person of the feminine gender from which I would gather that it would never be appropriate to assign such a description to a man.
    The dictionary of the Scots language has a slightly different definition - http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/trollop - but it is unlikely to be used where gaelic is the prevailing culture as opposed to Scots. 2. A long trailing piece of cloth, a loose-hanging rag, a tatter; a large ugly straggling mass of anything.
    Last edited by EdinSteve; 23rd December 18 at 03:34 AM.

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  9. #16
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    My personal taste is to have the bottom of the kilt hit at the top of the knee. Mid knee is acceptable, but less than optimal. Bottom of the knee is right out.
    Commissioner of Clan Strachan, Central United States.

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  11. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC View Post
    If I may offer some input from a kilt makers standpoint. Let's take fashion out of the question for a moment.

    There are three places on the human body where a garment will anatomically sit without riding up or drooping down. This is based on the bones of the body and not 'soft tissue'. The bones do not move but soft tissue like the belly button are different on different men.






    The top strap in these photos is at the anatomical waist. If you put a finger right up, under the ribs at the side, and bend in, towards your finger, you will feel a hollow. This is your anatomical waist. This is "full waist height'.

    The center strap is at what I call a "mid-waist height". At the spine, the strap is cinched into the small of the back or nape of the spine. It will usually sit just on top of the crest of the pelvis at the side. In the front this may settle in slightly different places on different men depending on their weight. (if the man has a bit of a belly the strap will tend to sit lower in the front than on a slimmer man)

    The lower strap is at "low waist height". This is where blue jeans are designed to fit. The strap is resting on the rise of the buttocks in back. At the side, it is down over the top of the crest of the pelvis.

    (Please notice that I purposely did not reference the navel or belly button. This is because the position of the navel is different depending on the weight of the person. The more of a belly the guy has, the lower the belly button will be.)

    At the time period that the kilt was designed, men's trousers were designed to ride naturally, at the anatomical waist.


    Image from Sears Catalog, 1942


    The Actor Jimmy Stewart during a radio broadcast circa early '50's.

    To accommodate this anatomical waist height, a kilt was made so that the top strap would cinch into the anatomical waist and flair outward above the top straps. In the back a kilt designed to fit like this will cover the bottom of the short ribs.



    This upper portion of the kilt is called "The Rise" and varies from about 3 inches on some military kilts to 2 inches as described in "The Art of Kiltmaking".

    In this photo all three kilts fit me perfectly. The Black Watch kilt on the right is an actual Royal Regt. of Scotland Military kilt with a 3 inch rise above the anatomical waist. The Highland Granite kilt on the left is my Barb Tewksbury kilt with a 2 inch rise above the anatomical waist. In the middle I am wearing one of my Contemporary kilts with a 1 inch rise worn at Mid Waist Height.



    One common way we see kilts made today - is that while the top straps are still below the level of the top of the kilt, the flare of the Rise above the straps is absent. The smallest part of the kilt is at the top of the top band. This smallest part of the kilt will naturally try to settle into one of the three anatomical places of the body. Sometimes this will cause the straps to feel looser and the straps doop lower than they would on another kilt made with the flare.



    Now, as a side note - There is a common misunderstanding that military kilts were somehow designed to fit differently than others. This is actually because it was common not to cut the single-width fabric. The kilt was made so that the bottom was where the unit regulations said it should be. The top of the kilt was allowed to be where ever the single-width fabric was and it would end up at different places depending on the wearers height. It was thought at this time, that for good health, that you must keep the kidneys warm.



    Notice that the bottom of the kilt is at the top of the knee and the belt, (there are no straps and buckles on this kilt) is at the anatomical waist, but the top is above the bottom of the breast bone.


    So - how to you tell where the kilt you have, was designed to be worn?

    One way is to find where the bottom of the Fell area is. - -

    Now I have to define "The Fell Area". The Fell Area of a kilt is that portion of the back that is sewn down and tapered.

    For the pleats to hang well, and to swish well, the bottom of the Fell Area should be right about the crest of the hips and buttocks.



    Put your kilt on and reach around behind yourself. Slide a finger up the pleats until you feel where the stitching stops. This should be right about level with the joint of your thigh bone and the pelvis.

    If necessary, you may have to adjust the height of the straps and buckles.

    Finding out where a non custom kilt was designed to be worn using the bottom of the Fell Area is a very good way to see where you need to cinch the straps and buckles.

    This will insure that the pleats hang straight and parallel and swish well.



    If the bottom of the Fell Area is below the crest of the hips and buttocks you may see large shower curtain folds develop in the pleats.



    If the bottom of the Fell Area is too high the pleats will splay apart and outward.



    Another thing to look at is where the bottom of the kilt hits your knee. If you have a kilt made to the 'standard' 24 inch total length this could be almost anywhere depending on your height. There simply can be no 'correct' place for the bottom of a kilt made to some standard and not your actual height and leg length.

    If you have or make a kilt using "The Art of Kiltmaking" you will have the bottom of the kilt at the top of the knee cap.

    As a general rule of thumb you want to show some leg between the bottom of the kilt and the top of the hose. But you also don't want the kilt to be too short.

    In this photo even an untrained eye can see that two of the kilts look too short and one looks to be too long.



    The correct answer to the orginal question in post 1 of this thread really is - it is up to how the kilt is made, the wearers knowledge of his kilt, and - the wearers personal preference.

    The bottom of a kilt today may be anywhere from the top of the knee cap to the bottom on the knee cap. Or about a 2 inch difference.
    Most today will say that a kilt, when worn with kilt hose, looks best worn at the top of the knee cap.
    If worn with boots and hose scrunched down, you may feel that mid knee or perhaps even bottom of knee looks best.

    Even in the "Tartan Army" in Scotland, it is quite common to see kilts that are designed to be worn high, being worn down where jeans usually go. This has the tendency to drop the bottom of the kilt below the knees.



    Of course with the Utility style kilts all of this goes out the window.

    In the end it falls to the kilt makers. We who do this for a living, who look at kilts all day, and who have the insight into how a kilt is made.
    It should be incumbent on us to teach and advise our customers how to look their best without ever forgetting that it is the customers hard earned money on the table. We need to make it fit the wishes of our customers.

    The 'standard' 24 inch length we see on the off-the-rack kilts, on kilts sold in bulk on Ebay, the lower end kilts, and those in rental fleets all over the world, are the reason we see the middle and below the knee kilts. It is a fact that 24 inches is not perfect for everyone.

    If the kilt a new guy is looking at, or asking about, is designed to be worn high, we need to teach that fact.

    It really is all about how the kilt is made! One size does not fit all!
    Re the short kilts, whilst I agree there are some 18thC pictures which depict the belted plais some 3 inchs above the knee..one suggestion is the weight of the plaid may have dragged it up...there are also images showing the general mess the plaid ends up in...


    I remember one shop offering kilt hire where the young lady stated that there was images showing the kilt worn below the knee historically...I would be intrigued to see the sources though I think she is perhaps confused by images of the 'cloak' section of the plaid being left hanging down...

    Personally mid to just above the knee is fine..anything else looks excessive...

  12. #18
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    There is an old but prevalent myth that the kilt should just brush the floor if you kneel.

    This comes from an old kilt maker trick.

    The anatomical waist can be found easily and quickly by putting a finger just under the ribs at the side.
    So kilt makers would have the customer kneel and measure from the anatomical waist down to the floor.

    That would then become the total length of the kilt.

    BUT - As the kilt would be made with the straps and buckles 2 inch below the top of the kilt this would pull the kilt up with the Rise above the anatomical waist.



    When you put the kilt on the result is that the bottom of the kilt would now be 2 inches off the floor. That just happens to also be the top of the knee cap.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

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