What to expect when you wear your kilt for the first time in public
So what can you expect when you go out in a kilt for the first time? In a word…attention. You WILL get looked at if you are in a place where you are the only guy in a kilt. Remember, you are in control of how you react to this. You can acknowledge the looks or ignore them. You will probably do a bit of both.
99% of the glances will be admiring ones!
Confidence is sexy and wearing a kilt says you’re secure in who you are. As long as you keep your head up and shoulders back, you will project confidence. People will admire you … or envy you.
And just a reminder — You will look better in a Celtic kilt than in pants! Wearing the kilt does two things. First, it encourages good posture. You will naturally walk taller with your shoulders back and your chest out. And you’re proud to be wearing the kilt, so this happens naturally.
Second, a kilt creates a cool “hourglass” body shape that looks more manly. Imagine the top of the hourglass is your shoulder-line….the narrow middle is your waist….the bottom of the hourglass is the bottom hem of the kilt. This works for bigger guys too. It’s a flattering effect that can’t be achieved very well with a utilikilt. (See illustration)
Common questions you will get when you wear a kilt:
- “Are you a bagpiper?” / “Are you in a band?”
- “Are you from Scotland / Ireland?”
- “Have you been to Scotland / Ireland?”
- “What clan are you?”
- “Is there some event going on?”
- “Are you in a parade?”
- “Are you in a play?”
- “What plaid are you wearing?”
- “Where did you get your kilt?”
- “What is that bag thing?” (meaning the sporran)
- “Don’t you get cold?”
- “Is it true what they say about what’s under the kilt?” This one deserves some discussion….
What Should You Wear Under Your Kilt?
Whatever makes you comfortable and happy. That’s it. There are NO rules! When you get asked The Question, you can respond in a number of ways. There are so many joke answers to this that we actually sell a T-shirt. As we said above, YOU can control the interaction.
Option A: You don’t have to answer at all…
“A true Scot never tells.”
“A lady doesn’t ask and a gentleman doesn’t tell.”
All fine answers. Do try to smile though.
Option B: Be matter of fact…
“I prefer to go regimental.”
“I wear running shorts.”
“It depends on the weather.”
Also fine answers! Sometimes people really just want a basic answer that confirms this bit of trivia about Highland dress. You do not have to entertain their curiosity if you don’t want to. And if they don’t like your answer, tough cookies.
Option C: Flirt!
It’s our experience that the lion’s share of people who ask kilt-wearers questions are women. That includes the regular questions above as well as The Question. Guys in our culture are often too self conscious to show their curiosity (straight guys at least). And very often, the ladies are asking because they want to flirt a tiny bit, or see if they can make you blush. Some see it as turning the tables and who can blame them? Hey, kilts are titillating. And they will be until all men everywhere wear kilts 24/7.
So how should you respond to the flirtatious admirer?
First of all. NEVER assume that asking is a come-on for serious romance. Especially if the asker has been drinking. Second, gauge the person’s level of prudery. If they seem (*ahem*) outgoing, a more bawdy answer may give everyone a good laugh. If they are just being rude or obnoxious — trying to goad you — you might just make THEM blush. Of course a little embarrassment might be just what they need. Use your power wisely!
Here are some of the classic bawdy answers to What’s Under the Kilt?:
“Nothing is worn, everything is in perfect working order.”
“I can’t tell you, but if you give me your hand…”
“My back-up claymore.”
“The Loch Ness monster.”
“String. I had to tie it up so it didn’t hang below the kilt.”
“Why? Did something fall off?”
“If you don’t know by now, what’s the use of me telling you?”
“Socks and boots.”
“The future of Scotland.”
What about Hecklers?
The classic example of kilt hecklers is the carload of kids zooming past you and yelling insults you can barely make out. Hecklers like this are usually in a group. They are usually behind a barrier – the car in this case, or a wall or a window or the Internet. They are basically cowards trying to prove something to themselves by showing off in front of their buddies. It’s basic stupid human group-think.
What should you do? Ignore them. Worthy men do not need fake bravado like that. You out-rank them.
What if you have some drunk goon who won’t back off? In our experience, this happens very rarely. If it does, you just have to treat it the way you would any ordinary encounter with such a person. Remember, your friends and most of the people around you will be on your side. Don’t get flustered. That’s what a heckler wants.
A final word.
There has never been a more kilt-friendly time in history. There are more men in kilts, both traditional and contemporary, walking our streets than ever before. They come from all walks of life and lifestyle. It’s no fluke or fashion fad. It’s not restricted to anyone. In a sense, the hard work of paving the road you’re on was done decades ago. So relax. You are among friends and surrounded by people who like what you’re doing, or simply just don’t care which is great. Kilts are becoming a more “normal” clothing choice every day. You’ve got the freedom to move (literally!). Kilt on!