Ever wonder what’s going on under there? Kidding. This isn’t one of those posts. I’m here for educational purposes in the name of history only. I’m sure you all know what a kilt is, but do you know where it came from? Its purpose? Its variants? Well, pour a cuppa or a wee dram and let me enlighten you.
The Great Kilt of the Scottish Highlands evolved over the 16th century as the predecessor of what we recognize as the kilt today. In the beginning it was a woollen cloak, or plaid, worn over a tunic that was up to seven yards long. The perfect length to pull up over your head to shield against the winter chills. Around the 18th century the small kilt appeared, to the dismay of many a Scot, with thanks to an Englishman for his employees in iron smelting.
Alas, in 1746 after the Battle of Culloden the English decided to punish the Scots for their rebellion with The Dress Act which outlawed all Highland dress including the tartan and kilt. It was repealed in 1782, thank goodness. In 1822, King George IV of England ignited the popularity of the kilt when he visited Scotland. It was at this time the Lowlanders jumped on the kilt wagon, and the romantic version of clan identification by tartan was born.
Typical items to wear with a kilt include an Argyll or Prince Charlie jacket to look dapper, a sporran to hold your baubles, sgian dhubs (black knives) tucked into your long hose in case you get caught in a dark alley or need to cut a steak, kilt flashes which are little ribbons that dangle from the socks, and a pair of shiny brogues to keep your feet safe.
Got any kilt stories of your own to share?