Clan MacFarlane Worldwide, Inc.

Helping To Connect You With Your Heritage

Diaspora - 9 March 2019

"Dress Code - Part I"

Steve and I hosted a Clan MacFarlane Worldwide tent at a Wichita, Kansas Highland Game several years ago.  It was a new event, and we were very proud to be there.  From that Game, we have made life-long friends with, Anita and Dan and Harold and Jennifer.  Perhaps it was watching the chubby belly dancers in top hats dancing to a "bump and grind" selecton of music that created our bond.  More likely, it was the fascinating conversation we had with a gentleman with a very British accent giving us all sorts of advice about everything Scottish.  We learned so much from him.  But when he turned to walk away and join the group forming up for the Clan parade, Dan quietly asked "who is going to tell him he has his kilt on backwards?"  I quickly looked back at our guest, and indeed, you couldn't see any pleats moving.  So much for all his sage advice about everything Scottish!  

So other than ensuring you have the pleats to the back, what else should you consider?  For me, the length of the kilt is often suspect to my scrutiny.  I've seen some way too short and some way too long.  There are several resources to proper length.

Mentioned in a great website:  "How to Wear the Kilt" from the Scottish Tartans Authority.

"The subject of Highland dress can occupy a complete book - in fact the late Charles Thompson proved it by writing 'So you're going to wear the kilt?' and one piece of advice that many of us on this side of the Atlantic would disagree with is his assertion that 'At the very longest, the kilt should reach only to the top of the knee.'  At that height it tends to lose its elegance and its admired swing and fills onlookers with trepidation in case the wearer should bend over too far..."

Steve purchased two of his kilts from a maker in Edinburgh, that has since closed its doors.  (Sordid story of trying to work around the VAT taxes by shipping all goods to Palm Beach, California first and then to U.S. buyers.  The IRS caught up with them.) They told Steve that the kilt should fall to the middle of the knee cap.  (Oh, and be pulled up to cover the belly-button.)

Steve's third kilt was made by J. Higgins, Ltd., from Lenexa, KS.  Yes, Kansas.  J. Higgins makes many of the pipe band kilts, and we have found the workmanship beautifully done.  If you get to peek into the back room, you will see patterns and bolts of beautiful wool tartan.  You can be confident you will have a well-made kilt when you receive it.  But I note that they too measured the length of his kilt to the middle of his knee.  They have a guide for measuring for a kilt should you wish to order one online:

Measurement Guide:

Kilts & Kilt Skirts 

  1. Waist ___(the stomach at the navel which is the widest for men; narrowest for women. Where women wear their belts.)
  2. Ledge of Hip Bone ___ (This is where men would wear a belt with a pair of pants)
  3. Hips ___(The widest part around the seat)
  4. Length ___(Taken from the ledge of hip bone to middle knee while standing straight; we add 2" to this measurement. Provide total lengths for below knee skirts, we will not add 2" to these type skirts.)
  5. Trouser Inseam___
  6. Your Height ___ (in feet and inches)
  7. Total length of a kilt you currently own___ 

So I say, if they want to measure to the middle knee, that is good enough for me!

Looking for images to share with you, I did find "skortman."  Ummmm... I'm not even going to post it here.  Yuck!  But here is a good free example from Pixaby again, of 3 different lengths.  My preference?  Number 1 on the far left.

Kilt length

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