The Utility Kilt. The bastard son of a Scottish highland legend and cargo pants. Bringing all the benefits of the traditional Scottish Tartan kilt coupled with the breathable fabric of modern cargo pants. Oh, I forgot to mention, Utility kilts have pockets. The best part of utility kilts is that they don’t carry any meaning to them. There’s no history to utility kilts.
Unlike the original kilt that has hundreds of years of history behind it, the utility kilt was made in the late 90s in Seattle. The only meaning a utility kilt has was a guy wanted a kilt that can be worn every day and is comfy. That’s it. A guy wanted to have all the benefits of a kilt without the downsides.
For us here at Ozkilts, we think traditional kilts can be compared to limousines, they can be classy, eye catching and not out of place in a formal setting. While Utility kilts are SUV’s they are tough, can go anywhere and yet still remain comfy, and you can take them to any occasion even formal ones, depending on how you spec the SUV (you wouldn’t want to take a mudslinging monster truck to a formal event like a wedding right?)
The best thing about Utility kilts is the versatility of it, like SUV analogy above, a Utility kilt depending on what you wear alongside it can be used for almost all occasions now comes the hard part of choosing what to wear with the kilt to different events. With utility kilts, what you wear WITH it is as important.
Basics: How to literally wear a kilt
Before we start with accessorising your kilt. Let’s discuss HOW to wear a kilt first.
- Wrapping the kilt: Wrapping the kilt is the first step of course. Usually, the right side will be covered by the left side of the kilt. The top of the kilt should traditionally be around your waist. The pleats should be at the back and the apron (flat panels) in front. The two aprons will then overlap at the front. Listen, you’re not wearing a mini skirt, so the kilt should be covering your knees.
- Strap it up: It depends on which utility kilt you get, but all kilts have a fastening system to keep it in place. Be it Velcro, straps, etc. Fasten the kilt. Remember, do NOT over tighten the fasteners as this WILL ruin the structure of the kilt. Just adjust it till it’s a perfect fit.
Still confused? Here’s an instructional video that can help you visualise it better from Macgregor and Macduff.
What to Wear with your Utility Kilt
We will now be discussing what to wear with your Utility kilt in different occasions to make the most out of it.
Casual Wear: Go ham. Wear anything you want with it. It’s a normal day, so let your fashion sense dictate what you want to wear with your Utility Kilt. We’re not going to dictate what you should wear. If you want to with a more traditional look. Just throw on a Jacobite shirt or a Gillie shirt, they’re lightweight and loose for maximum comfort.
Formal Wear: Now we’re going on a more structured outfit. So some dressing conventions should be followed.
- Colours – Basic fashion sense applies here. Sure you can go to a black-tie event in a bright orange outfit (especially if it’s the MET Gala) but a more conservative colour scheme is needed. So blacks, Charcoal greys, and Navy Blues are the most non-offensive utility kilt colours you can get. Try to avoid utility kilts with secondary colours, as it makes matching your wardrobe much, much easier. Try to avoid wearing utility kilts with bold colours or unconventional patterns like camo in a formal event. You are already wearing a kilt, it’s a loud enough statement as it is, you don’t need a kilt that shouts “look at me!!!”
- Pleats – With Utility kilts, you have a choice of 2 pleat styles. There are the more modern and utilitarian Box pleats and the traditional Knife pleats. Box pleats offer greater ease of movement to the wearer but at the same time, it does look more utilitarian. For occasions that require a bit more sophistication, we suggest wearing knife pleats. It retains the look of traditional kilts and thus holds its shape better.
- Shirts – A Victorian collar shirt is the go-to shirt for us kilt-wearing folk.
- Kilt Jackets – Depending on the event, you have a couple of options here:
- Prince Charlie Jackets – The most formal of the Jacket options here. Usually worn with Tartans. But you can pull this off with black kilts. You can’t go wrong with this for black tie events.
- Argyll Jackets – A little bit less formal than Prince Charlie Jackets but more versatile since you can wear them for formal occasions or informally if you just want to look spiffy.
- Day jackets – Pretty much the jacket of a three-piece suit. The least informal of the three jacket options. Does it still look good? Yes.
- Neckties – Depending on the event, you have a couple of options here:
- Bow ties – The most formal of the neckties. Typically black, typically used for black tie events.
- Cravats – For less informal events. What’s a cravat, you might ask? If you ever watched the old Scooby-Doo cartoons, it’s what Fred wears on his neck.
- Wool or Tweed Neckties – Usually reserved for semi-formal or casual events when you want to bring a sophisticated spice to your ensemble.
- Kilt Belts – Belts and Buckles are usually not needed when wearing a kilt. The time you need to wear a belt is if your outfit does not include a waistcoat.
- Sporran – For formal occasions, a Sporran gives that traditional look. Functionally a utility kilt’s pockets have replaced the functionality of the Sporran, but in formal events, a Sporran helps to tie the outfit together. You can go wild to mild with your choice. You can get it in an understated leather, or go to the extreme end and get a sporran that I can only describe as looking as an English sheepdog. There are multitudes of other designs out there, but if you are wearing a utility kilt in a solid neutral colour, my suggestion is going understated with a leather sporran.
- Socks – Also known as a Kilt Hose. These hoses are usually made from wool. They are traditionally long and thick. Modern kilt hoses are typically coloured black for formal events, while traditional hoses are made in a cream colour.
- Shoes – When wearing a kilt to a formal occasion, there is only 1 choice. Yes. There is only one universally accepted choice for footwear when wearing any kind of kilt for formal wear. It is a Gillie Brogue. These shoes are made from leather and have long laces that twist around your lower leg and halfway up your calf. The Gillie Brogue also has a metal insert in the heels, so be wary of the tapping sound when you strut your stuff.
Utility kilts are versatile, that much is true. It can be used both for work and play. One only needs to learn how to use it and what to wear with it to realise its fullest potential. Here’s the thing there is no such thing as one utility kilt to rule them all, each kilt has a purpose and a meaning some are more specialised than others but all of them retain the versatility, comfortability, and breathability that makes the Utility kilt awesome. If you’re interested in Utility kilts, check out our Utility Kilts here. Welcome to the world of utility kilts.