All About Kilts

Monday, May 29, 2006

Getting the First Kilt

I wrote about buying the first kilt. When you get that first kilt, it can be a great experience.

When I put on my first kilt, I was amazed at its comfort as well as how right the garment felt. Getting the first kilt is also special because rarely is it just something you bought on a whim. Most guys aren't going to spend the type of money you spend on clothing just for the heck of it.

Now, some guys are so confident that they can take that kilt, wrap it around themselves and walk down main street without a thought. Others, as the initial enjoyment wears off, have a mind filled with questions, "What will family members/co-workers think?"

The worst thing to do in a kilt is to venture out scared silly because of your own insecurities. The kilt can be worn most anywhere provided that you have confidence in yourself. Part of that process of building up confidence is mental, but a big part is physical.

Most men have worn pants all their lives. The kilt requires some getting used to, in terms of knowing how to sit, how to kneel, and how to walk. So, if you're nervous give yourself sometime to get used to the kilt. What I'd reccomend is trying the kilt out around the house and getting the feel of it.

Then, try to go hiking in the kilt. I'd reccomend using a quiet but nice park, somewhere you can just relax and enjoy yourself. Get comfortable and step out when you feel like it. Don't feel pressured either way, but build up your confidence.

I'd reccomend trying this, even if you're only planning to wear the kilt to a wedding or the Highland Games. Don't let your big event be the first time you've seriously worn the thing.

The kilt is best worn comfortably and confidently.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Casual Kilt Buyer's Guide: Buzz Kidder's Canvas Casual Kilts

Buzz Kidder Canvas Casual Kilts:

Fabric: Canvas
Colors: Olive, Black, Khaki, Forest Green, Navy and Woodland Camo
Standard Length: 22 1/2 Inches (length adjustments are free)
Price: $99.00
Fat Tax: For 46 to 50 Waist Bands the cost is $109, 52 and 54 is $119
Shipping Time: Not Given
Additional Product: Buzz Kidder now offers a rayon-blend custom Casual Black Watch Kilt for $10 more than the Canvas Casual.

Choosing a First Kilt

There are so many Kilt manufacturers out there, it can be hard to pick a right 1st kilt.

You want to be sure to choose a kilt that fits your needs. If you’re wanting a kilt for a wedding, you’ll want to pay for a nice one. There are many places to get a nice kilt for a wedding, I’ll just throw in a plug for my company. King Kilts has done several wedding kilts in family tartans at reasonable prices. Please check with us if you need more than one kilt for a wedding, because when we get into multiple kilts, you’re able to get every other kilt for $55. If you only intend to wear the kilt at the wedding and never again, a rental may make more sense rather than shelling out hundreds of dollars for something that you’re only going to wear once.

If you’re looking at wearing a kilt to the Highland Games, depending on what you’re doing and the rules of the particular festivity, you’ve got a few options. Some games don’t care what you wear as long as it’s a kilt. So, you can buy anything that catches your fancy, Amerikilt, Stillwater Kilts, King Kilts, Utilikilt, pretty much anything will go including Ebay which always has several good kilts available. Others have very specific regulations. You have to wear a family tartan kilt or tartan kilt of some sort. That will limit your choices. If you’re just walking through exhibits, you should be able to wear whatever you want.

If you’re looking to wear a kilt outside these normal kilt wearing occasions, a couple guidelines in choosing a kilt. First of all, wear something you’re confident in. I’ll discuss getting confident in a future post.

If you plan to wear a kilt to the office, my recommendation for at least the first time is to wear a tartan kilt. That’s going to be more readily accepted and recognized as a kilt. Otherwise, buy what you want, but don’t spend a fortune on it. You’re trying something new and dipping your toe in to see if you like it.

My first kilt was a budget kilt now renamed the economy kilt from Kilts N Stuff. It was fairly simple, light, inexpensive, but still gave that kilt feel. There are countless others that will work that are quite similar.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kilted High Schooler Goes to Scotland

I wrote about Nathan Warmack on my main blog back in January. For those who don't remember, Warmack set off a two month international furor when his Missouri Principal ordered him to change out of his kilt, alleging calling him a clown. The School Board came to agreement with him to allow him to wear his kilt at various events including Basketball games. Yesterday, the Scotsman had an update.

Victory was realised in the form of the tall American football-playing student wearing his Scottish jacket, kilt and shoes to school on Tartan Day, 6 April. He then completed his school year by attending the prom a month later, again in his complete attire.

"I think we made a lot of progress," Warmack tells of the school's policy reversal. "Some people liked it (him wearing the kilt) and some thought I was doing it for the attention – which I wasn't. Overall I got a good response."

He adds: "I won't hesitate to come back and help people if there is another situation like mine."

Prom night was particularly satisfying for the young man. When he and his date posed for the traditional prom photo, Warmack painted a picture straight out of a Hollywood premiere.

"It went really well. A lot of people wanted to take my picture. There must have been 50 camera phones taking pictures."

Before he begins his university studies in a few weeks at Benedictine College in Kansas, Warmack has one important trip to complete. He and his family are travelling to Scotland next week for an eight-day adventure that will include visits to castles, cathedrals and a particular loch in search of a certain water monster.

I'm so glad everything turned out well for Nathan and he got a really excellent kilt outfit out of the deal. Hopefully, he'll pave the way for others to enjoy the same privilege.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Kilts That Aren't

This is a sensitive topic, but it must be said. Not every item on the market pedalling itself as a kilt really is. Now, I've got a pretty relaxed standard of what a kilt has to be. It doesn't have to be tartan. It can be leather, denim, khaki, or any one of a number of materials. It can be quite a variety of yards.

A kilt is a garment made for men that's about knee length with pleats in the back. Now there are some garments out there that can't meet this requirement, but they call their products kilts. Lets take a look.

Running Kilts

Running Kilts are designed primarily with runners in mind. Instead of wearing the chaff-prone running shorts runners can wear the Running Kilt, which isn't a kilt at all, but rather an unpleated mini-skirt.

Surf Kilts

Not really kilts at all, but some well-designed Sarongs for surfing. Nothing wrong with these, but a Sarong's not a kilt. Its not pleated and the way its worn in the pictures it goes all the way down to the ankles.

Just Change by J'Dez:

This is one where there's so much wrong with the product line of kilts. 3 out of the 4 "kilts" have one pleat in the back and convert into shorts, which offers some convenience on a windy day, but with one pleat its still not a kilt. The fourth design meets my minimum qualifications, but the pleating design doesn't look very well in the picture.

Mountain Kilt

This is a light weight hiking "kilt". The only problem with this one is that its unpleated and therefore not a kilt, thought is the right length.

Now, I'm not slamming all these companies and their products. I've never bought from them so I don't know about the quality of their work, but they should be up front about what their selling. If their selling a skirt or a sarong, say it. Don't call something a kilt for marketing reasons. Call your product what it is, but don't give it a name that clearly doesn't apply.

Kilts and Health

From the Jefferson City News Tribune, a story of a man whose life was bettered by kilts.

Two years ago, Lawrence started showing symptoms of automatic nerve damage related to Type 2 diabetes. Last May, he was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.

“It's called a silent killer,” Lawrence said. “At the point when you start noticing symptoms, a fair amount of damage is already done.”

His condition affects his ability to regulate body temperature and affects his heart. So, Lawrence is more likely to get overheated, which can be disastrous. The disease carries a 50 percent mortality rate within five years of diagnosis.

Kilts take care of that.

Depending on the weather, Lawrence can choose a kilt that will keep him cool down or warm - in summers, lightweight canvas, and in the winter, thick and heavy wool.

“I love to go outside. I worked inside for 40 years,” Lawrence said. “I was totally unaware of the different variations of birds.”

Lawrence got the idea to try wearing a kilt from a friend over the Internet. Lawrence decided to try it out at the grocery store the first time in public. He was nervous.

“I had no idea how people would react,” Lawrence said, “but the only thing the happened was that the woman behind the counter said, ‘I really like your kilt.'”

Great story. It definitely takes courage to do that. Even though, it makes perfect sense as a treatment for the disease, some guys are far too insecure to wear the kilt and would rather risk death. So hats off to you. God speed and enjoy your (kilted) life.

Now, there are a variety of things believe about kilts being able to cure diseases. I've heard some suggest that wearing kilts can increase fertility, but there's no real data that proves it benefits more than saying wearing looser pants.

I do know it has been a benefit to me as I suffer from a tendency towards knock knee. What would happen in pants is that my legs would rub together and they'd do so through two layers of fabric, the under garment and the pants. What this did to the pants was pretty bad. It basically sanded the fabric down. What it did to my thighs was even worse. There were basically permenent blisters on my thighs from the chaffing. Sometimes it bled, sometimes it stung, but for the most part I got used to it. I developed a weird walk which served to protect myself.

When I started wearing the kilt the problem disappeared. I'd become used to it, so I didn't think about it. On a recent trip to Mexico, I bought a pair of swimming trunks to wear under my kilt when I went to Chichen Itza, the Mayan archeological site. I wore them for modesty sake as I figured I was in a strange country and the worst that would happen if a wind blew up is that people would see the same thing as if I was wearing a pair of swimming trunks only.

Well, I got to re-experience the chaffing and ironically there was no wind that day. My wife was shocked and I had some severe discomfort as I resumed my old pain. My wife noted that she'd noticed I'd stopped walking odd, but that after wearing the shorts I'd started again. It goes without saying that I didn't wear the shorts again, nor do I intend to. They're bad for my health, don't you know? :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Give Bear a Break

I won't go into much detail on Bear Kilts for now. The business is currently not taking new orders, but hopefully will in the future and I hope soon. Bear is a great kiltmaker. I've got one of his kilts and it still wears as good as the day I first got it after 3 years. Still, the wait time had gotten pretty long (up to a year). Still, they were worth the wait. In the meantime, Bear does still have some accessories for sale. So check that out anyway.

An Intelligent Question

You get a lot of interesting questions as a full-time kilt wearer. Well, not really interesting. Unless you consider, "Do you play the bagpipes?" for the thousandth time interesting or someone asking whether you're Scottish/Irish/English.

I walked into Albertson's tonight and a guy asked me, "What's the difference between a Scottish and an Irish kilt?" I explained the Irish kilts were generally either District Tartans or Plain Kilts while the Scottish Kilts preferred Family Plaids. (Clearly, there are exceptions to this.) He then asked whether my kilt was Scottish or Irish. I responded that it was Royal Stewart which was Scottish. The man nodded and walked away. "You learn something every day." Indeed, if you ask the right questions.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Amerikilt: The Customers Speak

Here are the reviews I've gotten on the Amerikilt. Click here to read the details on the Amerikilt.

I got my first one a couple weeks ago. A couple of minor problems with the order, but first rate customer service got everything straightened out quickly. The Amerikilt is very well made, but the material in mine is 100% cotton, not cotton/poly. Very soft and comfortable. The pleats all point the same way, which is fine, but I think one or two more on the left and right front would be very nice. The belt loops are too small: they need to accommodate a two or two and a half inch belt. The cloth 'sporran' is a nice touch, though a bit too small for my Springfield .45. The hip pocket is just right. I have a thick wallet (not with money!) and I don't have to dance a jig to get it out. Serged edge is a small minus, a proper hem would be much better. Overall, I think the Amerikilt is a great buy, and I plan to get a couple more.

Star Rating: 4.25

The Amerikilt was my second Kilt and one has to give a round of applause to the Butlers for some awesome customer service. I needed a custom length and it was no problem for them. It arrived in 3 weeks (would have been sooner without the extra length) and it's one of my absolute favorites.

What I Liked:

1) The most comfortable garment I've ever worn. I've even thought about sleeping in it.
2) Durability. My Kilt was the Olive one and it looked like it was made of the same stuff as an army tent. Very tough Cotton/Poly blend.
3) Modesty: Very Easy to sit in, plus the button snaps holding the two aprons together protects against accidental exposure from anything but a hurricane.
4) Sporran. Every Amerikilt comes with a cool cloth sporran that matches the color of the kilt. The Sporran and the accompanying back pocket provide more than enough room for all the stuff I have.

What I Don't Like:

Not much, although I'm not sure how much I'll be able to wear it come winter.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


Likes: It is cheaper alternative to the Utilikilt. It has the Velcro fastener to wear it without a belt. Great customer service.

Dislikes: Inside pleats not sewn down. The belt loops cannot accomodate even a 2 1/4 kilt belt and buckle. When unfastening the kilt, you have to pull the belt forward or be able to slide it through the belt loop that is over the Velcro.

Rating: 4.0 stars binx

I recently purchased my first first kilt from Amerikilts. I've worn it 3 times in as many weeks and am very pleased with the fit, feel and look of this well made garment. Granted that I don't have anything to compare it to I would rate Amerikilts as at least a 4- star company ( service was quite a bit quicker than I expected ) -Jim

I just wanted to say that I just received a kilt from Amerikilts and I
am very pleasantly surprised. I thought it looked good on the web, but the
actual kilt exceeded my expectations. They are great people to work
with and the fit and finish is wonderful. It's my first kilt, but it won't be my
last. I highly recommend Amerikilts as a fantastic casual kilt.-Patrick McGinley

Casual Kilt's Buyer's Guide: Amerikilt

I wrote the Casual Kilt's Buyer's Guide about 2 years ago. Its now hopelessly out of date. I'm going to update it by doing one manufacturer at a time and then updating it in the template.

So, today's kilt is the Amerikilt:

Fabric: Cotton/Polyester Blend and Corduroy
Colors: Black, Khaki, Forest, Olive, Tan, Denim, Brown
Standard Lengths: 20" in., 22 in., 24 in. (Will do custom lengths)
Price: $98 ($123 for Corduroy)
Fat Tax: none
Shipping Time: 3-4 weeks in the United States

I'll have some revies from Amerikilt wearers tonight.

What You Can Do In a Kilt

Hey, a lot of people think Kilts are impractical and you can't do anything in them. I caught this little nugget at the bottom of a story on magic, there's this little note:

Benedict and Arcane both returned in the second half, along with headliner Tim Eadie, dressed in a camouflage kilt and bowler hat, who, among other things, swallowed a four-foot long balloon, then carried on the rest of his act without ever appearing to remove it.

So, there's a lot of slight of hand and various actions involved in magic and the kilt's no problem for Tim Eadie and it shouldn't be for anyone else.

Pittsburgh Kilts Bites the Dust

Sad news. A great Kilt Making company has stopped production. Pittsburgh Kilts is done. I'd been planning on getting one eventually, but apparently its just not paying enough. I definitely understand the difficulty there. You can't make a good living unless you're mass-producing them. For a lot of kiltmakers, its a sideline. Sometimes, you've got other things going that are more profitable and you just can't afford to continue them.

Anyway, check out the Pittsburgh Kilts site. He's got a lot of great kilts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why I Write This Blog

I should have noted this in my first post but I spaced it. Oh well, lets give it a 2nd go as this is a slightly less ungodly hour of the night.

I started wearing kilts in 2003. I lived in a world where I'd always worn pants and everyone knew me as wearing pants, so it mainly got used for hiking or a trip to Glacier Park. When I moved to Boise, I figured I'd start right off wearing a kilt, then people wouldn't think I'd went bad. They'd think I was mad and then find out I was more sane as they got to know me.

Well, working in an office in customer service, you really have no need for pants. So, a couple years ago I gave them all to a thrift store. I've not worn a pair of pants since December 28, 2003. :) So, I'm going on 2 1/2 years of pantslessness. So, you gain a lot of practical experience.

I've got a pretty nice dress-up outfit with a Montrose doublet jacket, an 8 yard kilt, kilt pin in family crest, and a kilt belt. However, I don't work for the tartan police, and won't claim that I know everything but all the fancy stuff with kilts. This blog is about day to day stuff. Kilt wearing as more than just a costume, but as a practical garment, though that other stuff can be quite fun. :)

In the interest of full discloure, I'm Customer Resource Manager for King Kilts. I know it sounds like a big title, but my wife's the owner so she promoted me, so it'd look better on my resume. :) But, there are a lot of great kilt makers out there and we'll treat them all fairly.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Reporter Tries a Kilt-Again

The latest in the long-running series of reporters trying the kilt for a story appeared towards the end of last month in the News Tribune. Other than the normal thing with the reporter's self-consciousness, there was this little tidbit about Utilikilts stores:

Utilikilts has no dressing rooms, he warned, so you have to be prepared to “drop trou” out in the open.

The dressing room thing is definitely disheartening. Kind of raises the question of, "Why bother with a shop?" You can "drop trou" in the middle of a ren faire when they come to your area.

He settled on a Tripp Kilt from Hot Topic for $50. (He must have Scottish ancestry with that cheapness.) The Tripp Kilt requires something to wear it.

Its got a lot of metal on it and a lot of punk stuff. The reporter had to cover up some skull buttons.

The big thing is that the kilt has a standard length of 25". That's a little long, not on me, but on anyone under 6 foot something it is. He wore it a little bit high in the pictures so that it looked right. I guess that instinct is almost automatic.

Hutchens writes of this experience at work:

I was, however, queried about my underwear 419 times before lunch. Co-workers, sheesh. If you walk into an office wearing a kilt, you’d better be prepared for catcalls and cell-phone cameras.

This is what I absolutely hate about these stories. You take 1 male Reporter who thinks wearing a kilt is going to make a great story, throw in a good healthy dose of nervousness and send him out to the world for a day and write about it. It makes for some interesting copy. But Joe Schmo reading it at home goes, "Oh my gosh, I'm not going to wear a kilt, because I'm going to be a spectacle forever."

Might I suggest that if Mr. Hutchens wore a kilt for a month, he'd go to a reaction at work of zero. I know that the first 2 days I wore a kilt to work, I got some reaction. By the end of the week, it was old hat and has been for 2 1/2 years. Most will tell you the same. Its novelty that makes the kilt interesting. If its worn everyday, its just what the person does and who they are.

Welcome to All About Kilts

This is my new blog. I've got a longstanding one here. All About Kilts is going to be different because as the name implies, the focus is on kilts and only kilts. No politics, no nothing else, pretty much just kilts.

Its a growing trend among men, as we seek to reclaim the idea of rugged, masculine comfort through traditional kilts and the newer models such as Utilikilt, Amerikilt, and the like.

What All About Kilts will provide are Kilt Reviews, kilt pictures, analysis of Kilt news stories, links to Kilt Blog postings, and kilt experiences. As far as I know, its a first in its niche, if I can keep it going. Posts won't be every day, but should be several times a week. So, welcome.