Kilts: Manliness and Tradition

Knee-long kilts.
Kilt-wearing bagpipers.
Kilt-wearing man at the Highland Games. Evidently he is not a “True Scotsman”.
Different tartan-patterned kilts.

The world-renowned Scottish kilt, typically made of tartan cloth, is a male garment that resembles a skirt. However, unlike a skirt, which may be of any length, kilts conventionally have to be knee-length and fastened on the right-hand side to be regarded appropriate.

Part of military uniforms

Despite their aforementioned resemblance to womenswear, Scottish men wear kilts, appropriately selected for length and style, with pride. Scotsmen, furthermore, have a history of wearing kilts going back several hundred years, with the garment historically being the proper attire for Scottish marching bands, as well as part of military uniforms. Said function in military uniforms, to be a little anecdotal, also led the Scottish soldiers to gain certain international fame in World War I. This was due to the fact that fierce fighting, and what looked like women’s clothes, in this war, earned the male soldiers the memorable nickname “Ladies from Hell”.

Somewhat in contrast to the old times where kilts were famous for being formal wear, nowadays kilts are regularly used on both formal occasions and on lazy days. On formal occasions the kilt is usually combined with a blazer, kilt hose and polished shoes, while casual users match their kilts with anything from t-shirts and sneakers to sweaters and winter boots. Scotswomen, too, nowadays, sometimes dress up in kilts or similar apparel, but, because they are women, their version is often called a skirt or kilted skirt — not a kilt. Furthermore, in contrast to men, women have the socially accepted freedom to wear kilt-like garments of various shapes and styles.

True Scotsmen

Going back to kilt-wearing men. Though without women’s social freedom to deviate from the dress norm, the men, nevertheless, have their own way to dress controversially. Their method, quite simply, is to not wear any underwear beneath their kilts: a practice which makes them so called True Scotsmen by Scottish standards. The extent to which men go without underwear, for obvious reasons, is unknown, but a mere rumor or a self-confession of being a True Scotsman can be enough to draw special attention to a seemingly ordinary kilt-wearing man.