A kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the back. It was the traditional clothing of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands. However, the first kilt — the great kilt — is believed to be of Norwegian origin and not Celtic as first assumed. Plaids denoted various families of Scottish heritage and kilts were made of twill and woven worsted wool. The Irish, known as Scots, who migrated to the area of northern Britain that would be called Scotland never wore kilts before they arrived in the area. They wore pants instead. Kilts were developed in the 16th century and then became a signature garment.
The image of a gentleman in a kilt is deeply rooted in Scottish culture. This garment has primarily been associated as an item originating exclusively from Scotland. While the history of the Kilt is debated among historians, the Irish are also known to wear kilts.
Some claim that the kilt was worn in Ireland as early as the 16th century. However, most historians agree that they are more of a recent phenomenon, resulting from their adoption by Irish nationalists in the early 20th century as a symbol of Celtic identity.
Scottish Kilts for Sale
Variants of the Scottish kilt began to be adopted in other Celtic nations and slowly became associated with the Gaelic language in the 20th century. The Irish wore kilts that began as solid colors rather than the intricate checkered tartans of the Scottish varieties. The most popular color was saffron, worn by Irish military regiments. Black and green were also used in Irish kilts.
Today there are many variations of the Irish kilt, and some reflect tartans of Scottish varieties. These tartans are a fairly recent development as they were first made by a Scottish company that decided to make them mainly for the Irish-American market. Irish tartans are virtually unknown in Ireland. Visitors to the Emerald Isle rarely see a kilt worn on Irish streets. Still, thousands of Irish-Americans wear their Irish kilts with great pride to show their heritage.
Although Scottish kilts predate their Irish cousins by centuries, kilts have become a form of formal wear widely adopted by Irish-Americans today.
These early Scottish kilts were multi-purpose; they provided excellent protection from the weather and the elements, served to cover and protect weapons such as muskets that a person carried, and could be removed and used as a camping blanket. They served as an indicator of wealth and status depending on their size and material.
What is a kilt?
Traditionally worn by men as part of Scottish Highland dress, the garment (a knee-length skirt made of pleated tartan fabric) is now worn by women and girls.
Which countries wear kilts?
Kilts are worn in Scotland and Ireland as a symbol of pride and celebration of their Celtic heritage, yet the kilt has many differences in each country, which we will explore in this post.
Why do the English wear kilts?
English boys sometimes wore kilts with full headpieces. They were almost always boys from wealthy families. Skirts were worn as dresses for formal events. This became fashionable in the mid-1800s after Queen Victoria and her descendants began dressing princes in kilts.
Is it ok to wear a kilt if you’re not Scottish?
There is no problem for no-bodies to wear a kilt as long as they are wearing it for a legitimate reason. Such reasons include any event – wedding or some parties, but be careful how you wear it. A kilt is a flexible garment made from heavy wool that anyone can wear both formally and informally.
What is the difference between an Irish kilt and a Scottish kilt?
Unlike Scottish kilts, the Irish version was initially called the Saffron Kilt, which was mustard yellow. The Irish added a trefoil design in creases. Irish soldiers were some of the first to use this style of kilt, which is still used today.
Do the French wear kilts?
The kilt is not unknown in France. Some Bretons in the inter-Celtic framework wear a kilt.