Fox Kibble

Arthur Shipkowski's personal site


How to Wear a Great Kilt

Note 1: For all you SCA types, the periodicity of this method is semi-debatable, but so is the periodicity of the kilt. Note 2: You might do well to do a search on Google and find a site with pictures…it’ll help immensely the first few times. My previous site-with-pictures has gone 404, but this one has illustrations and this one, doing it with the narrow end (works if you’re thin enough) shows the process.
You need: One belt. One great kilt, preferably at least 60 inches wide and five yards long (longer is better). Please, wear a real kilt, and don’t join Clan Pizza Hut.

  1. Put the belt on the floor, with the inside facing up.
  2. Lay the kilt across the belt with the belt towards the bottom (waist level relative to one edge, considering that the kilt should bisect the knee) and approximately centered. Unless you have a really thin waist, you’ll want the kilt and belt to both be lengthwise.
  3. Pleat the kilt from the middle outwards by making small folds in the material towards the center. You did figure out where the center of the kilt was, didn’t you?
  4. Continue pleating until, when you lay down on the kilt as if you were about to wrap it around yourself and put it on, the kilt ends at about the middle of your forearms.
  5. Lay down on the kilt in the above manner, ensuring that it bisects the knees.
  6. Pull one side over you till it about lines up with the opposing leg.
  7. Pull the other side over the first
  8. Adjust your belt to waist level. Yes, your waist, not your hips.
  9. Belt yourself.
  10. . Stand up. You are now done with pleating the great kilt; you will notice a great deal of leftover material. People usually throw it over one shoulder, or pin the material in place, or make pockets. There’s even a way to get a nice warm coat with a hood! Experiment.

Congratulations! You have just taken your first step to breaking the tyranny of pants. Of course, the first time you do it you might want to try it with underwear before going Regimental.

Making Pockets

This is the way to go on a warm, sunny day. Take the two long ends that are in front of you, and tie little knots in each corner. Then push the knots between your belt and your body on the opposing side. Then take the longest point of the back, make a knot, and place it like the others, but behind you.

A Warm Coat

On a wintry day, your leine might not be warm enough. Take the two corners of the long ends that are in front of you, and tie them in a knot together. Put your head through the hole thus created. Take the long part in back and pull it through the hole and up over your head.

Clan Pizza Hut

Occasionally, at a renaissance faire you will find men who have made the choice to wear kilts. This choice is not an easy one, from deciding that they don’t mind being men in skirts to finding out how to wear a great kilt.There does, however, tend to be just one problem.

Not everything that is considered plaid by Americans is a tartan. I don’t mean that one has to wear an official tartan of a given clan; at the time that was period for faires and the SCA, clans did not have specific tartans.

What I mean is that taking that plaid tablecloth that has that pattern you find at Italian restaurants is not a good idea. It makes you part of Clan Pizza Hut, and Scotsmen who know better will laugh at you behind your back.

What’s worn under the kilt?

There are a variety of “answers” to this question in my experience. Some answers from my experience:

I was wearing a great kilt for a Halloween community service event for my fraternity when a female friend came over and asked, “Hey Art, What’s under your kilt?” I say, in my best Scottish accent, “Well, lass, if you give me your hand…” She actually proceeds to do so, and I place it on the inside of my right knee and very slowly slide it up my thigh under the kilt. About, oh, 3 inches from the top, I managed to finally call her bluff.

A different female friend, about a year later. Once again, I’ve put on my great kilt. She asks me, “Art, are you regimental?” I say, “See for yourself.” She goes to lift the kilt and everyone goes silent. We decide that she should actually do the lifting elsewhere. For the curious, I was in fact regimental at the time, and no, she wasn’t bluffing.

Then, of course, there’s the jokes involving this line. One of my favorites, the punchline of which I’ve used when asked this question: A Scotsman is walking down the street when a woman in a convertible pulls up along side him. “Hey Scotty, what’s worn under the kilt?” The Scotsman turns and asks, “Lass, do you really want to know?” “Sure I do!” she says. He walks over right up next to the door to the car and says, “You sure you want to know, lass?” She feels a little scared but isn’t about to back down, and replies, “Yes, I do.” The Scotsman says, “Why, nothing’s worn under the kilt, lass, everything’s in perfect working order.”

A final answer to the question posed above: “Shoes and socks.”

What is Regimental?

“Regimental” is Rennie/reenactor slang for wearing one’s kilt without the benefit of underwear. The origin of the term appears to be “regimental style”, referring to Scottish Regiments in the United Kingdom army, who wear their kilts this way.

The fact that the UK Armed Forces still have kilt-clad soldiers allows people in the UK to buy wool kilts in army-navy surplus stores, though from what I’ve read, it is wise to sew a small flap of a less rough fabric in the area that rubs against you — this technique is taught by quartermasters in the aforementioned military.

In many cases, “Regimental” is considered the “manly” answer to “What’s worn under the kilt?”