Kilt Couture

By , April 3, 2016

The blog’s been published almost 7 years now. In that time, you’ve learned a lot about me and my family. What you have not learned here, though, is that I am a kilt wearer.

I own two “little” kilts, as opposed to the great kilt (which I’d dearly love to own, but haven’t acquired yet) that you see in movies such as Roby Roy and Braveheart. Great kilts wrap around the waist and cover one shoulder in normal wear; little kilts are the basic waist wrap.

I purchased one of my kilts from a commercial manufacturer, but the one I wear most often, I made myself.

Mark's homemade kilt: good for homestead chores, simply grand for striking heroic poses (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

Mark’s homemade kilt: good for homestead chores, simply grand for striking heroic poses when necessary (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

When we lived in Juneau, I designed and sewed a kilt based on the popular commercial Utilikilt. I kept my design simpler, making a sporran (the pouch that hangs off the front of a kilt) rather than the inner pockets of the Utilikilt. I added one pocket, a hidden wallet holder on the kilt itself, that can be accessed easily without flipping my “skirt” up in public.

As proud as I am of my creation, I don’t wear it very often. I have worn it in public before, particularly when traveling, but I’ve never worn it to town here. The homestead offers ample opportunity to wear it without becoming a walking conversation piece. It is on the homestead that I’ve grown to appreciate what a versatile item of clothing a kilt actually is.

Worn with the proper socks, a kilt doesn’t expose one to cold weather as much as one might expect. It creates a bell of body heat around and below the waist. Its ability to vent when needed makes it somewhat more comfortable than a pair of pants most days. Fear of biting insects at certain times of year limits my desire to wear it, but in winter and on shoulder seasons, I find it quite comfortable.

I wore my kilt recently for a rather ironic reason. I strained a knee one day while hauling backboards full of firewood. I wanted to treat the knee with our devil’s club salve, but I didn’t want the carrier oil to stain my pants. Wearing a kilt took care of that problem nicely.

I found this ironic, becuase one of the reasons I tend to wear the kilt less often has to do with my shins. Even though I have pairs of knee length socks to wear with my kilts, throughout the course of a day the socks often fall to expose my shins. And, they are seldom pretty.

The work of the homestead is really, really hard on shins! I bark them so often that I no longer even try to keep track of what caused which scab or bruise. Were I to show you my shins, you’d be hard pressed to believe that someone doesn’t regularly beat my legs with an ax handle. That’s not far from the truth, except that the beating comes accidentally, and usually at my own hands. Most commonly they get bashed by rolling firewood rounds, or tripping against the step that partially blocks the bedroom doorway, or the rocks on the beach. A quick inventory as I write this shows 17 scabs and one bright bruise, some of these well above the tops of my kilt socks. Covering my legs with a good pair of pants helps mitigate these injuries better than my thickest pair of socks, and hides the places where even pant legs weren’t enough.

So, I don’t wear the kilts often, which probably helps me seem a little less like a strange forest hermit than I already do. But, occasionally, I put one of them on and go about my day normally, just a little better dressed than other days.

2 Responses to “Kilt Couture”

  1. Angie says:

    Does this mean we’ll finally get the answer to the age-old question, What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Not from me! I’ll never tell!

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