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Kilt as formal wear

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by prompe, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. prompe

    prompe Member

    Likes Received:
    Feb 15, 2004
    I've been thinking about formal wear's conservative styling and tried to figure out why a Scottish kilt manages to appear quite formal even though it seems to break many rules for formal dress.

    First, according to popular advice, tuxedo styling should be black and white - black tux, white shirt, black tie, black silk socks, black shoes, white vest.  Colour has no (or little) place in formal dress.

    Yet, take a look at the kilt with Prince Charlie coatee.  The dress kilt is brightly coloured, shocks are white and heavily knitted, garters peek from behind the socks.  The coatee's tails are cut short to emphasize the kilt's backside and it is ornatly emblazened with military style cuffs and buttons.  It is correct protocol to wear a large belt with a heavily decorated buckle, and ornate kilt pin.  An even more formal kilt attire is the Montrose doublet or Sheriffmuir doublet with breacan feile, an extremely ornate evening outfit.

    Any man who dons a kilt and coatee or doublet seems to aquire all the style of a tuxedo and more.  Why does it work?

  2. MPS

    MPS Senior Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    Ah, the kilt: so many of those who wear it are lowlanders whose forebears turn in their graves every time they don that poor copy of the traditional Gaelic dress. The modern kilt was probably designed by an Englishman named Rawlinson. According to my (Scottish) father-in-law and his friends, people were ridiculed in the fifties for wearing the kilt, and yet now it has made a comeback - largely because of misplaced sentiment about a national heritage. The kilt is "accepted" because many people choose to wear it, regardless of whether or not they are of highland stock. I think it looks ludicrous, especially when paired with a velvet coat or "jacobite" shirt and waistcoat.

    Wearing colourful clothing at evening events is certainly not novel - originally, all men wore colourful clothes at evening events. Black was adopted during periods of mourning. Supposedly, after a protracted period of mourning (there is some disagreement over whom was being mourned), black stuck.

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