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Why is a Kilt called a Kilt?

by | Nov 23, 2023 | All About Kilts, Categorized

Kilts have long been associated with Scottish culture, it exudes a sense of heritage and tradition. When you think of ‘Scotland,’ you can probably imagine bagpipes, haggis, and kilts.

Why is a Kilt called a Kilt by Ozkilts Although these are known stereotypes, they do form part of Scotland’s identity and history. Why not throw in the late great actor Sir Sean Connery in the mix? He was a true Scotsman who, by the way, is a staunch kilt wearer.

However, the kilt, like most items of clothing, has evolved over the centuries, it has a long history of external intervention and deliberate reinvention. Yet it remained recognisable while responding to the changing of the times and catering to consumer demands. 


Why a kilt is called a kilt

The kilt, as we know and see today, is a knee-length garment worn by men dating back centuries. Much like its uniqueness, its name, or what it’s called, remained an integral part of its identity.

The “kilt” terminology is derived from the Scots word ‘kilt’. It means to tuck the clothes around the body. It may have even originated from the Old Norse word ‘kjalta,’ referring to a pleated garment. 

Regardless of its name origin, the modern kilt’s design has not deviated all that much from its older counterpart. The modern kilt retained its basic design, and continued to provide its wearer freedom of movement while maintaining a level of modesty.

Difference between a Traditional Kilt and Utility Kilt

Traditional kilts can be considered as limousines of the kilt community, with specialised use in activities such as cultural events, formal events, ceremonies, official occasions, weddings. Traditional kilts are exotic, colourful, stylish… and so cool!

Utility kilts on the other hand can be considered the SUVs of kilts. Utility kilts are the type of kilts you’re not afraid to get a little dirty by wearing it on a daily basis during work or play. It’s simple to dress it up with a buttoned down shirt, polished boots, perhaps add a crisp look to it by ironing its pleats. If you want to dress it down, you can wear a t-shirt with a pair of crocs, flip-flops, or sneakers.

Traditional or modern, make no mistake, the kilt is here to stay. Whatever it is you choose, the kilt-up is always a great choice. To further illustrate the differences between a traditional kilt and a utility kilt, check out the following:



Perhaps the most obvious difference one can easily spot between traditional kilts and utility kilts is the fabric used for their construction. Traditional kilts are constructed with tartan fabric made out of wool.

They are laden with history as they belong to Scotland, Ireland, and Celtic. The patterns used for tartan kilts are identified with families or tribes, making it the prime reason why there are over a hundred tartan pattern designs representing different tribes/families.

On the other hand, utility kilts are modern incarnations of the traditional kilt, made using different materials and come in different styles. You can see utility kilts in High-Grade Cotton, such as what we offer at Ozkilts.

Utility kilts can also be constructed out of cotton, denim, faux leather, polyester, and many other types of fabrics. Utility kilts can be made from virtually any material, including non-traditional fabrics.



Traditional kilts have their own historical design, which has been used for many years. It has a front apron and pleats at the back. One side of its apron is fringed, which makes the back pleat stand out.

Incidentally, the traditional kilt’s back pleats are intentional for the garment to use more fabric to help keep the body warm in cold weather.

Not burdened with history, working kilts or utility kilts are designed and made according to the needs of the modern man and/or woman. They often come with detachable cargo pockets, allowing you to carry your stuff while working.

Moreover, utility kilts may come with different kinds of bling, hooks, buttons, or buckles to personalise and/or beautify your kilt. Check out Ozkilts Range of Utility Kilts, which is among the best examples of modern-day kilts. 

While traditional kilts hold a special place in Scottish heritage, utility kilts offer a modern twist on this iconic garment.



The traditional kilt’s long history also extends to its process of manufacturing. To maintain tradition, they are handmade using a needle and shunning the use of any machine in the process.

The majority of modern-day utility kilt manufacturers use modern machinery; however, some steps during the manufacturing process are still done by hand. At Ozkilts, we combine the traditional with the modern, our utility kilts are handmade and are of high quality.


Kilt Fastening

In olden times, their kilts were usually fastened by using fabrics of the same colour. Kilts today, even the traditional ones, come with various fastening methods. Tartan kilts are fastened using adjustable leather straps on each side of the kilt.

Modern utility kilts also make use of leather straps, however, other fastening innovations/methods are also being used. For example, Ozkilts also use, Velcro Fastening System, which can easily be adjusted for a perfect quick fit. 



Traditional Scottish and Irish kilts have no pockets where people can carry or stow their stuff. What they do have is a separate Sporran, which is a purse they attach to their kilt belts.

Modern kilts on the other hand, apart from having many designs, are available with hidden pockets or detachable cargo pockets to carry stuff in.

These are just a few differences between traditional kilts and utility kilts. If you have any questions about modern utility kilts, do get in touch with us at Ozkilts and/or follow our social media. It would be our pleasure to hear from.


Why We Love Utility Kilts

It’s not surprising why kilts have gained the interest among clothing enthusiasts, to put it plainly, they’re awesome. 

Utility kilts offer complete comfort, freedom, and an unrivalled relaxed fit. They are tough, breathable, and ensure comfort with ease of movement, not even your most loose pair of pants can match.

The addition of removable pockets, loops, and other practical features makes it convenient for carrying essential items such as keys, your phone, or small tools you might need in performing your work.

What’s great about utility kilts is that they provide a sense of modern style and contemporary aesthetic while paying homage to the traditional tartan kilt. But unlike its traditional counterpart, utility kilts can be worn in a variety of settings. You can don your utility kilt and perform in outdoor activities, do physical work, attend festivals or sporting events. Going out for the night? Put on a button shirt and top it with a spiffy jacket and sensible shoes, and you’re good to go. How’s that for versatility?


Ozkilts Utility Kilt Range

An Ozkilts Utility Kilt allows you to express your own personal style without compromising on comfort and style. We have an impressive range of utility kilts, and we are constantly updating our existing designs, patterns, and releasing new styles.

All of our utility kilts are quality handmade from 100% heavy-duty cotton. They are low maintenance garments, in either box or knife pleats.

  • Movember Utility Kilt – This special utility kilt is our testament in support of men’s health. For each sale of this kilt, we donate 10 percent of the proceeds to the Movember Movement. This awesome kilt comes with Box Style Pleats with eye-catching Red Tartan Accents, and secured with our Sports Kilt Velcro Fastening System. Grow your Mo, wear the kilt and help men of all persuasions be aware of the importance of preventing prostate cancer, reproductive and mental health.
  • Deluxe Utility Kilt – If you’re new to kilts and are looking for superior comfort and fit, the Deluxe Utility Kilt is for you. Keep it on with its Deluxe Leather Strap Fastening system for that perfect fit at all times. This knife pleated kilt comes in three-colour choices: Army Green, Jet Black, and Plum Brown. 
  • St. Patrick’s Day Kilts – While it may have been designed to honour St. Patty’s Day, this kilt is not restricted for wear on that holiday. It’s an amazing kilt you’d want to show off on any day of the year with its Green Tartan Accent, box pleats, and secured with our Sports Velcro Fastening System.
  • Active Utility Kilt – Always active and on the move? The Active Utility Kilt is for you. Box Style Pleats offer the perfect balance during active moments, but still provide superior comfort, and breathability you can’t get from a conventional pair of pants.
  • Metal Utility Kilt – D-chain, chrome finish, and detachable pockets, fit perfectly for those who want an added boost in their confidence. It comes with our Deluxe Kilt leather strap system to hold it in place for the perfect fit. 
  • Workman Utility Kilt – The perfect kilt for the working man (or woman) offers great air flow, manoeuvrability, and great comfort while on the job. The utility kilt includes a heavy-duty khaki pocket and a Khaki apron.

We are proud of the quality and workmanship of our utility kilts here at Ozkilts. We got styles and a range of colours you can choose from to fit your personality and style. Do be on the lookout for new styles and upcoming designs. 

Ozkilts offer a compelling fusion of tradition and practicality that you can enjoy and by showing yourself off with confidence in your kilt, in your own unique way. Take the word of some of our Kilted Clan Community.

You can never go wrong with an Ozkilts Utility Kilt. Visit our shop and take a pick of one (or two) of our well-crafted Ozkilts Utility Kilts.