In light of Tartan Week in NYC I want to explore the power of The Kilt.
The Kilt is something that has always held a dear place in my heart. I stand by my view I refuse to marry a man unless he dons a kilt.
Since moving to New York I’ve become exceptionally proud of my heritage; finding it a conversation starter and a way to show off that we have such solid and interesting traditions that many other cultures do not. All of this proudness and heritage culminates in The Kilt.
Any man, skinny, rugged, shy or confident can don a kilt and be instantly transformed. I think there is something about wearing a skirt that is exhilarating for a man. The weight and quality of it and the history it carries – quite likely one of the most expensive pieces of clothing a Scottish man will invest in.
For my generation The Kilt is making a comeback. A common 21st birthday present for a boy, The Kilt has become an item of clothing that many Scottish boys, particularly in my group of friends, are desperate to wear for any occasion; in a way to declare that they are Scottish and that they are proud of where they are from. Travelling (not only for sporting events) weddings, Hogmanay (New Year), birthdays and of course the Ceilidh – young men are finding more and more excuses to get their kilt on.
An English friend of mine commented during tartan week that if she kisses a man in a kilt and ‘big kicker boots’ she will die a happy woman – she succeeded in her quest and boy was she delighted! I believe The Kilt holds a power that makes the wearer ooze confidence. You forget that the man in question is wearing a skirt, that it swings side to side with each step they take; instead it becomes something commendable – that he would be brave and confident enough to surpass the boundaries and wear it without a second thought. This is where the power comes from.
However, girls in kilts is a tricky one. There have been too many short, awkward, slutty versions of kilts for a girl to choose from. Dumpy and gaudy tartans with heavy, weighted materials that remind me of my grandmother are the only alternative. Of course we can wear a sash or a bit of tartan in our hair but I want what the boys have – that sense of pride, of a great piece of craftsmanship, a quality investment that can be worn and styled to fit our personalities.
A friend of mine in Glasgow gave me a kilt customized by her friend – I have worn it with pride many a times and was especially pleased to showcase it at Tartan Week. A woman exclaimed after seeing me walk in the parade – ‘THAT IS HOW A GIRL SHOULD WEAR A KILT’.
There has been an increase in modern day takes on The Kilt, with many Scottish designers taking inspiration from their heritage, but the focus has always been on men.
I make a plea to Scottish Designers – give us women more options when it comes to wearing our traditional dress; we don’t want to be dressed like Braveheart!