Kilt Etiquette Styles: What To Not Wear Under And On

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How to wear a kilt. What should be worn on or under a kilt.

Traditionally, it was stated you should not wear anything under a kilt. Why this is so, we may never really know, but one historic fact is that the kilt originates from the Scottish Highlands and is there since the 16th century.

Now, you may be dazzled about this, but the use of underwear is actually younger than the kilt.

First thing to know is that there are different sorts of kilts, already starting with the Scottish kilt.

The original Scottish kilt was much larger than we know today and is called the filleadh mor, or literally: big kilt. This piece of garment was worn several ways and had several advantages.

It was a woolen piece of men's garment, that was wrapped high over the body and tied together with a belt worn around the waist. It could also be draped as a kind of cape, could be wrapped around the left arm as some kind of shield during a fight, or it could be used a blanket to sleep outside. Keep in mind that the Scottish Highlands were mainly rural and many men were shepherds that traveled with their herd.

Now later factory workers had not much use for that amount of cloth and the fillead beag or small kilt developed. It also goes by the name philabeg and is the form of kilt most know today, since it gave them more freedom of movement.

Beside the Scottish kilt, that usually has a tartan motive to indicate the clan colors, you also have the Irish kilt of leine (plural leinte), that is in one color and made out of cotton or linen. It has a more folkloric function and is mainly used for Irish dancing and official occasions.

Breton kilts have a tartan pattern, that is mostly in shades of black, white and grey. They also do not seem to be made out of wool, but more likely out of linen. Breton sailors used to wear a sailor sweater on top of them. Breton pipers band or bagad as they are called their, often do perform wearing Breton kilts, although they do most likely play the Scottish bagpipes instead of the Breton biniou.

One thing about all kilts: they should cover the knees, if they knees show, they are too short, but if they come more than 2 inch below, they are too long.

Also keep in mind that a Scotman does not pick his tartan. He has to wear the pattern of his clan.

For a while it was also long prohibited for men to wear kilts in the UK, unless they were Scottish.

Now the side accessories you need beside the kilt are:

- the belt and buckle

Usually the belt is made out of black leather and worn to keep the kilt together and that is joined with a metal buckle.

- the sporran

A kilt traditionally has no pockets and that is why a little bag is worn on it. This bag might also prevent the kilt from not falling too open in front and showing off too much. Still, if a sporran is made too heavy, it might cause painful slaps on the private parts of who is wearing it, when he starts running around.

This bag is often also made of rabbit's fur or leather.

Exceptions are: the leine. It is not needed on an Irish kilt, since they are most likely also not just wrapped as a Scottish kilt. It is allowed to wear a sporran on it, but not needed.

And the modern American utility kilt also does not require a sporran and has pockets.

- the sgian dubh

This is a small dagger that is worn in the sock.

Now there are several ways to wear the kilt. When worn casual, the socks may be left down, but for any other occasions, especially galas, the socks should be pulled up.

Now what to wear under it. The idea you should not wear anything under it, is called wearing the kilt the regimental style and dates from the days kilts were part of a military uniform and nothing was allowed under it when worn in the regiment.

But while it was considered some kind of disgrace to wear anything under a kilt while worn among men, it was also considered not done to wear nothing under it during sport events like Highland Games, where there might be too much shown off to the audience, especially when women and children are around.

Now what you should wear under it, is not mentioned. Whether it is most aesthetic to show off a naked butt or a boxer short, a string or whatever when kilt wearing goes wrong, is up to combination of the anatomy of the kilt wearer and the person having to witness it.

Lets put it that way: if a kilt involuntary goes up during an event and an ugly old fashioned grandfather under short shows on a wrinkled, old man while a young woman sees it, she will most likely be relieved. If the same woman witnesses the same thing on a handsome young man with a nice shaped butt, she might me be disappointed.


Posted on Feb 15, 2011
Posted on Jan 1, 2011