The tartan army
STYLE: RK WILLIAMS
Looking to be more sartorially daring this Christmas and New Year? Whether you’re Scottish or not, Q&C’s style guru is here with the lowdown on what is considered to be one of men’s sexiest garments – the kilt. Underwear optional.
There’s nothing as sexy than a man in a kilt, and with New Year approaching why not embrace the romantic Highlands and celebrate in full Scottish style. The rugged North with great stretches of wilderness, majestic stags and beautiful glens, not forgetting the castles and tower houses that rise from a powerful landscape all conjures up a bloody and nostalgic past.
Scotland evokes powerful ancestral memories that reminds us of community and freedom at the hands of oppression. In our current world where everything feels very unstable it’s good to reflect on things that can give us strength. The Highlands and the people who lived there evoke a powerful symbol of unity, and it’s that which gives Scottish culture its identity. Queen Victoria with Albert sought solace in the landscape of Scotland and turned the bloody past into a more benign place that still exists today.
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The most common asked question about a kilt is can anyone wear it, or is it just for Scottish men? Although there are individual tartans that are appropriately worn by members of families or clans, anyone can wear a kilt if they feel inclined. The history of the kilt continues to be a subject of debate, but wherever its origins it is a very comfortable piece of men’s clothing and can be very liberating to wear.
Kilts can be expensive, but having one made out of pure new wool will last you a lifetime. There’s also plenty of cheaper alternatives. If you do decide to go for one of the more low cost versions of the kilt make sure you get one that’s 16 oz in weight as this will give a better drape and the pleats at the back will sit well.
The kilt is usually worn with longer socks called ‘Hoes’ that are held up with a garter around the knee called ‘Flashes.’ Around the waist hangs the sporran, essentially a large practical leather pouch pocket that sits in front of the kilt. Many dress sporrans are made from animal fur, something that needs to be addressed in today’s ethical climate. d
The colours of the kilt are vast and varied, woollen threads woven together form a beautiful cloth that is often associated with different clans. Although the kilt is generally worn higher than a pair of trousers, 21st Century Kilts based in Edinburgh can cut a more modern alternative that sits lower to the hip giving a younger silhouette to anyone wanting something a bit different.
Either worn in full regal style with a fly plaid over the shoulder or with a pair of boots and jumper, the Kilt is a great piece of clothing that gives a sense of identity and speaks of freedom.
The final question that’s always asked - what does one wear under the kilt. Well, the answer is nothing. It’s a warm piece of clothing that doesn’t need you to be trussed up, so let it all hang out and be bold in your kilt-wearing.
To celebrate New Year, or more commonly known in Scotland as Hogmanay why not throw a dinner party. First course Cullen Skink, a traditional fish soup followed by Haggis, Neaps and tats, then for desert Cranachan, a delicious pudding made from fresh cream, oats and raspberries with a good dram of whisky. If you’re wanting to be a bit more adventurous why not book a Scottish castle through the Landmark Trust and live as a laird for a weekend.
Whatever you do, enjoy your kilt as they’re a great symbol of freedom and in our modern world were so many freedoms are being undermined - wear your kilt with pride!
Photos courtesy of Finlay Wilson’s Kilted Yoga calendar 2019. Buy your copy here.