Of Skirts and Men

*Gasp* It’s a man in a skirt! What is the world coming to?!

Listen up – it’s a kilt. If it was a skirt, he’d be wearing something under it. Even if it was a skirt, the world will still be here, so simmer down.


If you’re of Scottish descent, have ancestry harkening back anywhere nearScotland, or have been to any kind of Renaissance fair/geek convention, chances are you already know what a kilt is. For the uninitiated, it’s a knee-length, pleated garment that wraps around the waist, is narrow at the hips, flares toward the bottom, and can be worn by both men and women. Yes, I’m sure that still sounds like a skirt to you, despite the whole heritage behind it and the people who would not take kindly to your dismissive attitude toward a garb rich with history and meaning.


Nevertheless, if you don’t think men have a right to wear kilts in public to work (I’ll concede undergarments needed for the workplace) or in public because of their appearance, then women don’t have the right to wear pants and we might as well just take the calendar back to 1930-something. Yes, it is a sexist double standard to deny men their choice of attire while demanding women get that same choice. And while I know some of you would love to do just that and deny both sexes any kind of choice in life, YOU are the minority now. That’s right – no one wants your discrimination and bigotry in this day and age. Oh I’m sorry, does someone looking different make you uncomfortable? Do you think your overalls and your slicked hair is attractive to all of us? What about that knit vest and the armpit-high jeans? Tattoos that look like someone blind inked them? The tank top you bulge out of? Those hair extensions that are clearly not real hair? The spiky gel ‘do? That “formal attire” cowboy hat? Those sagging pants with your ass hanging out?


Wakeup call: You look ridiculous to someone, somewhere, and we don’t want to have to look at you but this is a free country and thus we endure.


It is imperative that you understand this concept if you want this country to stay “Land of the Free.” Even if they were skirts and men were wearing them – deal with it. Men wear “skirts” in other cultures, they killed people in “skirts” for thousands of years, and somehow that never managed to make them less capable of reproducing or whatever standard you judge masculinity by.


So in understanding why men should be allowed to wear kilts (or skirts) as they see fit, it still begs the question: why do men choose to wear kilts? In interviewing some local kilt wearers, I found that kilt popularity was fueled by ties to heritage, a want for unique attire, and an appreciation for both the freedom of movement kilts offer and their overall appearance. These days you can buy traditional kilts made of wool for special occasions, sporting the tartan (think plaid-like) pattern with pleats in the back, or contemporary kilts for daily/regular wear. Contemporary kilts include utility kilts, less heavy variations of traditional kilts, and specialty kilts for sports, mountain hiking, and nightlife attire. Cost ranges anywhere $50 to $400+ depending on what type of kilt you decide on, what the kilt is made of, and what features the kilt has. Most companies create kilts to fit the individual wearer, so expect to provide measurements, even when buying kilts online.


Speaking of where to purchase these fine articles of clothing, there are several choices: online as mentioned, at Renaissance/Celtic fairs, events/conventions with vendors such as the Oregon Country Fair, or local stores. There are only two shops in Oregon dedicated to the sale of kilts: Scottish Country Shop in Portland (which also has kilt rental), and The Kilt & Thistle Scottish Shoppes in Salem, which boasts of Sir Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor, & Samuel L. Jackson as customers (manly enough for you?). Both stores focus on traditional kilts. However, many shops offer kilts as part of their inventory – even REI does (hiking kilts exist, no joke). Online you can find whatever kind of kilt your heart desires, and plenty of photos to demonstrate how men, women, and children can all enjoy this comfortable garb that we haveScotlandto thank for.


So think twice before you make that snarky comment– fashion is completely subjective, and if women expect the liberty to wear what they want, men deserve that same liberty as well. “Don’t knock it until you try it,” as a wise man once said!




Local enthusiast Clint Coleman doesn’t care what you call his kilt – it doesn’t change how versatile he finds them.





Kilt Specialty Stores in Oregon


Scottish Country Shop



The Kilt & Thistle Scottish Shoppes



By: Alex TwoSpirit


A Kilt is A Kilt Is a Kilt?


Traditional Kilt:

  • 6-8 yardsof fabric, 3-4 double-width fabric
  • Tartan pattern, heralding back to family lineage/regional patterns inScotland
  • Nothing worn beneath traditionally (real men don’t need it!)
  • Associated withIreland& other Celtic regions aside fromScotland
  • Generally worn for formal occasions
  • No pleats in front, only back
  • Accessories: belt, jacket, kilt pin, sporran (pouch), sgian-dubh (small knife tucked in hose), hose, brogue shoes


Utility Kilt:

  • Generally feature pockets for hands as well as rear & side pockets/loops for tools
  • Made of sturdy materials like Duck cotton in more neutral tones
  • Pleats tend to be all around save for wide front panel
  • Hardware like studs may be incorporated
  • Interchangeable term for “contemporary kilt” at some stores


Contemporary Kilt:

  • Can be lightweight take on traditional kilt or utility kilt
  • Tend to be cheaper in price
  • Can have pleats all around & pockets
  • Various hardware can be attached, such as buckles
  • Any color (including camo), variety of fabric types
  • Height may differ than knee length
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6 thoughts on “Of Skirts and Men

  1. Clint,

    Gotta hand it to you, mate, the points in this article are spot on! Yes, there exists a hard-and-fast double standard in the world of fashion, at least in the U.S. of A. The only way that I see it going by the wayside is for others to “Just Do It” to borrow an Nike ad line. Guys, in reality, no one is stopping you from wearing a skirt or kilt except yourself.

    I’m speaking outside of work of course. Please don’t lose your job over wearing a skirt. Hey, you gotta have the scratch to buy more, right? But do check the dress code and ask your HR manager about it, just to clarify if nothing else.

    You will never know how comfortable a skirt or kilt can be until you yourself try one on and experience it firsthand. At some point, EVERYTHING is a first-time experience for us all. GO FOR IT!


  2. Dismal! That’s the word for the refusal to acknowledge that a kilt is a particular subset that pertains to the master category “skirt.” If I say to the driver of a Ford Mustang, “nice car,” and he gets red faced with hysteria and belches out, “it’s not a car, it’s a Mustang!” he’s committed the same logical fallacy everyone commits who attempts to deny that a kilt is a skirt garment! Anything that hangs from the waist and places the legs together in one tube/circle of fabric is by definition a skirt! That continues to apply regardless if it buckles and pins to the right, if it wraps around, if the front is flat and not pleated, and even if the wearer is stupid enough to wear it without underwear! Indecent exposure laws are still in force, and in the event of an adult “diaper blowout,” the man wearing a (excuse me, “THE” kilt) will needlessly soil it, when with underwear, the much cheaper garment could receive the filth. Another major issue is the strong overtone in most quarters that if a man really wants to wear a skirt, it HAS to be a kilt! Is anyone advocating that women should wear only one trouser style? No, it’s only another pathetic attempt to obstruct men’s progress. The reason people insist on kilts only is that this exact style is already embedded in the public mentality, and people always resist anything new to their thinking! Kilts and bagpipers are already there to an extent so, resistance to the new is much less. I submit that if the kilt had not existed from times past and was waiting to be invented, most men who wear kilts only as a pants alternative, would refuse to wear one. The kilt is well ensconced in tradition, but at one time it was an innovation. People who forbid innovation and change are the group who most hinders the progress of civilization. Yes, the kilt is the thin edge of the wedge as to public response; however, this is tragically used as an excuse to go no further. It’s as if someone in early Colonial times said not to go explore the Ohio valley, just stop here! The kilt has most of the representation in the realm of skirted males, we must do more to encourage other styles. Yes, such as petticoats from the square dance shop, something hidebound traditionalists, who view the world as a mouse born in a peck measure, cannot understand. Travel agents never tell men “Scotland is the only overseas destination allowed to you,” they’d be howled down if they did. Same principle stoutly applies in the cosmos of skirts.

    1. How about coming clean? Are you male or female? Friends, behold another champion of the mass hypnosis environment (“skirts are for women because that’s what I’m used to seeing all my life,” and “we do it this way because we do it this way,” and “I find change unsettling and disturbing.”) Besides opposing change, men who express against other men wearing a skirt, here’s where these guys are coming from—as long as they have a near complete guarantee that whenever they see someone in a skirt/dress, that the wearer will be a female, that allows these men, just by seeing the associated garment, to experience the beginning stages of sexual excitement. If they ever see it’s another man wearing such garments, it outrages the beer drinkers. Women against men having the same rights they have, here’s where they’re coming from—as long as they hold a near total monopoly on skirts/dresses, they indeed do view this situation as giving them power over men—(“Only WE can wear skirts/dresses!”) These style selfish women must be amused to know that an entire predatory occupation—psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, are ready at a moment’s notice to spring to the defense of this female style monopoly by slandering as “cross-dressed” or “transvestite” and man wearing skirt/dress. The only view compatible with civilization is this—“live and let live.” We guys in skirts are not attempting to dictate to anyone else what they can or cannot wear, BACK OFF and stop telling us what we can or cannot wear. People who view the world as might a mouse born in a peck measure are hopeless parochials.

  3. For all which did not learn the history or our past. Skirts originally a male garment only until one women in late 17th century cut her long dress in two parts.
    Skirts for men, yes, of course, because it is the only comfortable garment he can wear…… See biology and anatomy.
    What is the question about “cross-dressing”? How may interpretation we’ll find, cross-dressing doesnt count for that because it means (originally) dressing white with black…… And we know that is a good combination. So, for all which are think that way in that minimal form should learn first and then write when knowing all facts, and we will learn very fast that the skirt for men is a rational very good garment for men and women. We should not restrict things we cannot understand.7Y82

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