What are kilts?

KiltOne of the frequent images that come to mind when we talk about Scots is that their men wear kilts. So what are kilts?

The kilt, to begin with, is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century, the kilt has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic (and more specifically Gaelic) heritage even more broadly.

Although the kilt is often worn during formal occasions and at Highland games and sports events, it has also been adapted as an item of fashionable informal male clothing in recent years, returning to its roots as an everyday garment.

The kilt first appeared during the 16th century, and is actually Gaelic in origin.

A modern kilt for a typical adult uses about 6–8 yards of single-width (or about 26–30 inches) or about 3–4 yards of double-width (about 54–60 inches) tartan fabric. One of the most special features of the authentic Scots kilt is the tartan pattern, the sett, it exhibits.

The Scottish kilt is usually worn with kilt hose (or woollen socks), turned down at the knee, often with garter flashes, and a sporran, which hangs around the waist from a chain or leather strap.

Today most Scottish people view kilts as formal dress or national dress. In recent years however, kilts have also become increasingly common in Scotland and around the world for casual wear.


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