Why do Men Wear Kilts?


With more and more people discovering their Irish and Scottish heritage, kilt-wearing has become a growing and modern trend. Kilts are conversation pieces, so we want to arm you with best kilt lore and functionality, lest you get deluged with awkward questions when you boldly display your tartan pride. 

The Celtic Croft proudly offers authentic tartan kilts of the highest quality in a wide variety of patterns, lengths, and styles. We also carry accessories, Coats of arms, Celtic jewelry, and much more. Visit our website and indulge your yearning for your Celtic cultural connection.  

Though we’re not here for an extensive history lesson today, we thought a few words about kilt function and origin would be a formidable entre into why men wear kilts.

groom in kilt with bride

A very, ahem, brief kilt-ic history

So, a few centuries ago, men wore kilts in the Scottish highlands and Irish countryside as a protective wrap and a moniker of their clan ties. Kilts also signaled affluence, membership in clan aristocracy, or heightened family status. 

Generally, men wore kilts as a belted, long robe of sorts, in varying tartan patterns, which grew more intricate as better dying techniques evolved. 

Longer kilts were worn mainly for ceremonies, while shorter “walking” kilts that fell just below the knees were more functional for every-day use. A sassy shoulder sash completed the look and offered extra warmth and protection from the elements as needed.

Today, kilts provide an enduring and fashion-forward way to wear your heritage with pride and enthusiasm. Also, they’re not just for bagpipers, though wearing a kilt may uncover a latent calling for a new musical hobby, just saying.

(Side note: we recommend practicing a lot in a sound-proof basement before taking your pipes to the streets.)

Attending a ceremony? Wear a kilt.

Kilts are ideal for ceremonial events like weddings, funerals, birthdays, Renaissance festivals, graduations, anniversaries, and more. 

A bright plaid and well-placed pleats make an undeniable statement about your history and patriotism, no matter where you live. Plus, kilts make awesome dance-wear with freedom of movement and breathability.  

Fun fact: the term “going regimental” and “going commando” originated with the height of kilt breathability–no underwear underneath the kilt! And, we can confirm that any true Scottsman lets nothing come between him and his Highland attire.

groom in kilt

Throw honor on your family crest when you wear a kilt

People who wish to honor their heritage with their kilts will likely only wear their family tartan. If you attend a large number of cultural events, having several kilts in your closet makes good sense. 

Kilts come in formal and casual styles, so plan accordingly whether your event is a soccer game, (kilts are the uniform of the Scottish Tartan Army team, and encouraged as fan attire) or a formal St. Andrews Society function.

Kilts in the military and law enforcement

We often see police wearing kilts in parades as part of a squadron of drummers and pipers. The spectacle of the march and honor of the image wouldn’t be half as impactful without the kilts. 

The military honor guard still wear kilts today in Australia, Great Britain, and Canada. Even the U.S. Army Rangers have their own tartan pattern, and they were it for military ceremonies.

Kilts, more than a costume

Many people wear their kilts as a costume, but not only on Halloween. If you’re supporting an Irish or Scottish sports team, wear a kilt to the game or the pub. Or, wear your kilt to one of the many regional Irish weekend festivals in the United States. Top off your kilt with a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” pin if you’re feeling your Irish “cheek.”

Know how to dance an Irish jig? Wear your kilt for increased impact and authenticity. Kilts are essential for battle reenactments, community dances, or historical celebrations of the “olde country.”

A kilt for every day of the week

Some men love the fit and function of kilts enough to wear them all the time. A good kilt moves with you, looks great with knee socks and hiking boots and shows the world you want to stand out in style and significance.

Not only do kilts come in clan-centric tartans, but they also lend themselves naturally to more conventional fabrics that wear well and provide an extra function. Kilts fit in at the office, on the trail, mowing the lawn, or tossing the odd caber on the weekends.

You can sport them at your kids’ playdates at the park, while loading and unloading your pick up truck, or while clicking away at your laptop for your Celtic heritage blog.

Pro tip: The Celtic Croft has a host of material options for ceremonial, formal, and casual tartans and plan-fabric kilts for every use under the fine Irish sun.

Kilts in the movies

Of course, everyone knows about Braveheart. The kilts, the blue-and-white faces, and the call for FREEDOM are etched in the minds of many Celtic enthusiasts. While the Braveheart kilt is likely historically inaccurate, there is nothing wrong with celebrating your love for Scottish heritage with this iconic look.

Our favorite nod to kilts on the big screen goes to the British film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Watch for the best quote from actress Andie McDowel, as she’s marrying a Scottsman. She imagines out loud what her late father would have said were he making a toast: “Great dress babe, but why are you marrying the stiff in the skirt?”

We bet you want to go straight to your streaming service and watch the movie. We approve.

Outlander tartan kilt

Find the kilt for you at The Celtic Croft

At Celtic Croft, we specialize in all things tartan. Find a kilt for every occasion, along with the accessories needed for casual walks in the park to a formal heritage wedding. 

We’ll help you nail your tartan style, fit, and function. You’ll adopt the swagger and confidence that comes with wearing your Celtic pride for all to see–from our family to yours.

Visit our website today to view our full line of kilts for every season and purpose.

when can i wear a kilt, why do men wear kilts, why wear kilts
King Arthur’s Origins
In the News January 2020

Related Articles

Fellow Scotsman? Check out some of our products!