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You may have noticed that kilts for men are making a major comeback in 2022.
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As an iconic Scottish menswear staple since the 16th century, the kilt is a (most-of-the-time) plaid, skirt-like garment that embodies both heritage and tradition. It’s synonymous with most Scottish and Gaelic cultures and can be seen draping men and boys at events like weddings, christenings and at parades alongside bagpipes.
This regional fashion statement is enjoying an unexpected resurgence here in the 21st century. To better understand the kilts for men trend, we spoke with Howie Nicholsby, a Scottish kilt designer and the creator and director of 21st Century Kilts.
Nicholsby has designed kilts for A-list stars and everyday folks alike, and he had some great insight into how to wear a kilt with style.
The Modern Man’s Guide To Wearing Kilts
At the 2022 Met Gala, we counted at least three different kilts. Oscar Isaac walked the red carpet in a kilt (of course), but so did Russell Westbrook and Travis Barker, who wore a kilt designed by Thom Browne. All three men wore jet-black kilts, which is probably for the best. While kilts are traditionally plaid, specific patterns of tartan are associated with specific Scottish lineages, and no one wants to be accused of cultural appropriation in 2022.
Scottish celebrities are more likely to wear a traditional tartan kilt. In April 2022, Scottish actress Karen Gillan wore a kilt while leading the festivities at the Tartan Day Parade in New York City — a kilt designed by Nicholsby.
So how do you style a kilt? While Gillan opted for a simple t-shirt, kilts for men are traditionally a type of formal wear, and so they should be styled accordingly.
“Formal is the norm, anything where you would wear a tie, a kilt can be worn,” says Nicholsby. “Personally, I chose to wear a kilt every day around 1999 when I was 21 years old. I wear it every day whatever I am doing, but I can wear a black denim kilt day to day, but also wear it for black tie.”
In more recent years, this traditional Scottish look has found its territory in contemporary men’s fashion through the eyes of Paris Fashion Weeks and red carpet walks. Though kilts have a storied history, the look is being transformed into more of a statement-centric, punky kind of garment. Outside of Scotland, it’s most often worn by men trying to break gender stereotypes through a garment traditionally deemed “unmasculine”. We should note that in Scotland, there’s nothing feminine about kilts, which have been worn by Scottish men for centuries.
In recent years, we’ve also seen male celebrities like Billy Porter and Harry Styles rock dresses on red carpets and fashion shoots to celebrate women’s fashion using their male figures. The rise of gender-bending fashion in the menswear is certainly one reason we’re seeing the kilt make so many appearances on red carpets.
Of course, there’s another reason that has nothing to do with making a political statement: kilts are sexy.
No matter the reason, a kilt is a man’s garment, and kilts for men can look decidedly badass when worn correctly and with confidence. So if you’re ready to try out this fashion trend for yourself, keep reading to find some of the best places to buy kilts online, along with a selection of modern kilts for men.
The Best Places To Buy Kilts Online
Kilts for men are rising in popularity, so even if you aren’t of Scottish descent, you may be wondering where you can buy kilts online. If you want to get in on the trend, here are a few kilts to get you started.
1. UT Kilts “The Standard” Tartan Utility Kilt
No offense to all of the other kilts for men in the world, but this tartan utility kilt is the kilt of all kilts. No ifs, ands or buts. This kilt is made to size and has a number of pockets and snaps for guys who like to carry their belongings on their person. It’s a super quality purchase given the low price because good kilts can go for crazy high prices. It’s designed for walking and total moveability, so you will never feel trapped inside. Additionally, it comes in a number of striking colors, but come on, this red one is exactly what you want. Add a chain, your favorite Doc Martens and a leather jacket to call it a day.
2. AAR Mens Kilt Scottish Tartan Kilt
Keep it casual with this classic Scottish tartan detailed with side leather belting so nobody can pants you (or, skirt you) from behind. It had a completely pleated back so you can move around with ease and is made from a durable poly-viscose material that will last you years. Reviewers mention how tremendous the quality is, but recommend when you measure your size, you do at your bellybutton. This really is an excellent kilt for men starting off in pantless territory.
3. Verillas Vanguard Tartan Kilt
Looking for the most modern take on old traditions? Well, you found it. If you want the traditional design with 2022 aesthetics at the forefront, you need nothing other than this tartan kilt from Verillas. It’s made using top-quality acrylic wool that’s lightweight and not too overbearing to drape on your body. Add any belt you’d like to the mix because the belt loops are extra-large, so you can style it even with your new fav from Target. To top it all off, each kilt is built with pockets to provide the same energy your most comfortable jeans have.
4. 21st Century Kilts Harris Tweed Kilt
Using traditional Harris Tweed, Howie Nicholsby is making this gorgeous customizable kilt at 21st Century Kilts for folks looking to get into some serious kilt-age. Why so serious? Because this beauty will cost you $1,000. But, come on, look at it. It’s well worth the price. All of Nicholsby’s kilts are made in Scotland, which he tells us is the only way he personally will allow a kilt to be called a traditional or Scottish kilt. Any other kilt made outside of Scotland, in Howie’s eyes, might as well not be a kilt. These puppies are the real deal through and through, so if you want one of the highest-quality kilts the world has ever seen, you should consider 21st Century Kilts.
5. Scottish Men’s Kilt Traditional Highland Tartan Utility Kilt
A stretchy kilt? Yeah, a stretchy kilt. This tartan utility kilt is made with 5% spandex to ensure no matter where you’re going, your kilt is going to match your movements. It’s designed with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern kilt, such as pockets, buttons and the traditional waist-snatching side belt. It’s perfect for weddings, sports and day-to-day wear. It also comes in a number of different colors.
6. 5.11 Tactical Commando Kilt
All the rumors are true: the traditional way of wearing a kilt is actually to go commando. And, for those of you that have never heard that SAT “C” word, commando means underwearless. No knickers. Boxer-free. Hangin’ free. Although that’s not always the case in modern kilt-wear, the 5.11 Tactical Commando Kilt plays with the traditional concept by naming its cargo kilt after the underwear-free method of wearing. In total, you can expect numerous pockets that includ
e cargo pockets plus that traditional kilt styling you’re familiar with. Essentially, this is a kilt-gone-2022 — and a must-own for modern kilt-wearers.
7. Verillas Versatta Pride Hybrid Kilt
Pride month is just around the corner, so we have a suggestion: wear a kilt. You’ve worn the Charli XCX crop top and short jean shorts way too many times. Sure, it’s cute, but how many times is too many times? This year during Pride, take your style up a few notches with the Verillas Versatta Pride Hybrid Kilt. Verillas is actually a Trans-Owned brand, so this is the most ideal way to support the LGBTQ+ community while stunting in style on the streets. It’ll be quite the conversation starter and will surely get you more than a few glances. And, if you must, you can still rock the Charli crop up top. Nobody’s going to stop you.
8. Scottish Made to Measure Utility Kilts for Men
This utility kilt is available via Etsy, and it’s a great all-black option for men who don’t want to wear a traditional tartan kilt. It’s the perfect look for lovers of the modern kilt.
Buy: Made To Measure Utility Kilt $58.50
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