The Proper Way to Wear Kilts


Kojo Jumah


The creator and driving force behind Gentleman's Division. Kojo is ...

Kilts have a long history in Celtic culture, and should be worn properly to give them the respect they deserve. Check out this guide on wearing kilts properly.

Despite the many jokes you might hear about kilt wearing and “Being A True Scotsman”, kilts are a serious and fun tradition. And with the invention of things like Utilikilts and sports kilts, the kilt tradition is becoming more popular.

And since you might have seen any number of ways people wear or make their kilts, it’s probably time to give a little clarity.

Kilts are not skirts. And nor should they be worn like skirts. And if you wear one wrong, you’re likely to have someone giggling behind your back.

Here’s how you really wear a kilt.

The Pleats Go In The Back

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If you’re not new to kilt wearing or have been around people who wear kilts, this might seem like common sense.

But if you wear the pleats in the front, you look like you’re wearing a Catholic school girl uniform.

Use Enough Plaids

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It’s typically been said that traditional kilts were at least 9 yards. But this was only half the amount of plaids used in medieval Scotland.

But the kilts were actually made of two strips of cloth cut from the 9 yards. Kilts needed to reach the knees and the width of the cloth strips were too narrow.

So, they cut the clothes and sewed them together to reach the width needed.

Now that cloth is wider, you can make a kilt out of only 4-5 yards of plaids.

Make Thy Hem Straight

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Once you’ve figured out your orientation and how much material you need, it’s time to wear the kilt.

To make sure the hem is straight, make the top edge even.

To do this, make sure the corners of your top edge are in line with each other and that no points in between sag.

Then have someone check your kilt from the side to make sure no part of it hangs lower than the other.

And while there is no historical evidence, the tradition is to wrap your kilt left over right

A Gentleman Scot Wears Under Armor

While the jokes do go around about “True Scotsmen” and whether they wear something underneath, most highland games actually require that you wear something underneath during competitions.

But really, outside the actual competitions, whether you wear something underneath or not is up to personal preference.

Just consider the weather when you do so. There are certain consequences to not bundling up down below in the dead of winter.

Be Sure To Wear The Right Tartan

If you have Scotish heritage, you have the right to wear your clan’s Tartan.

Clan tartans are restricted to the family or sept of that clan.

But some states and communities have their own tartans. Even the U.S. Marines have their own tartan pattern.

But there are plenty of tartans that aren’t connected or restricted to specific clans. And really, you can make a kilt out of any cloth material including tweed, canvas, etc.

What Makes A Kilt A Kilt?

You can know a kilt by both how it’s designed and how it’s worn.

If it’s pleated on the front side, straight on the other, and worn from the waist to the ankles, it’s probably a kilt.

Do you wear a kilt? Let us know what kind you like to wear down in the comments below.

Imagery: Pinterest