By: Caroline Anderson
"A man in a kilt is a man and a half." ~ Sir Colin Campbell.
Kilts, as we know them, were adapted from 16th century Highland garments that are believed to have been heavily influenced by the clothing worn by the Vikings and Normans that conquered the British Isles in the 8th Century. The word kilt is thought to come from the Danish word "kilte," meaning "to tuck up" which is believed to have been derived from "kjalta," meaning "to tuck up a garment or to secure hanging fabric with a belt" in Old Scandinavian and/or the Old Norse word "kjilt," meaning "pleated or folded fabric layers.�
Whatever the case, kilts came to be a symbol of rebels and warriors and are still worn by Scottish Regiments of the British Army. The wearing of kilts among the Celtic/Gaelic people spread as their tribes migrated in all directions throughout Europe and around the world. Over the past 200 years, the kilt has become a potent symbol of Scottish pride taking hold in the traditions of the many cultures that experienced Celtic influence from the Dark Ages through present, particularly those wishing to demonstrate kinship and solidarity with the Highlanders of Scotland, whether or not they themselves were of Scottish ancestry.
There are actually a wide variety of traditional, kilt-like, ethnic outfits worn by men throughout the world; such as the Albanian kilt (also known as a Greek fustanella), Japanese hakama, East African kikoi, Indian lungi, Mexican and Native American sapeta, Fijian sulu, Tongan tupenu, sarongs and lava-lavas found in Greater Polynesia (the Pacific Islands), as well as unbifurcated robe and tunic-type outfits such as the Japanese kimono and yukata, African dashiki, Middle Eastern caftan, Moroccan djellabah, Polish giermak, Egyptian galabiyah, Himalayan gho, Burmese longyi and a host of various cassocks and robes regularly worn by the Clergy of most religions, whether it be on a daily basis or for most special occasions and ceremonies.
Why are there so many styles of kilts and which one is right for me? Kilts in Tartans, kilts for carpenters, kilts in solid colors and even Camouflage kilts. Kilts that cost thousands of dollars, and kilts sold for the cost of a pair of jeans.
Kilts have been with us for quite a while now. Designers have always, and will always, try to come up with something different that will catch the eye of prospective customers. Those of us who wear kilts do so for a variety of reasons. One reason that stands out above the others is that The Kilt is perhaps the most masculine of all garments, and people seem to instantly recognize the confidence you begin to exude the moment you put one on. Whenever you step outside in the kilt, you will be noticed. People will stop you and ask questions. They will want to take your picture.
Today, the kilt is becoming more accepted on the street than ever before. It is becoming daily wear for more men, and has finally come out of the realm of formal wear or costume. Yes, the kilt is evolving. Our understanding of the kilt will also evolve and hopefully mature as more men wear it.
There is a power in The Kilt. Enjoy and revel in the power!
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