It’s that time of year, when you frequently get to choose between being comfortable and dressing very casually. Skirt weather, I call it. Kilt weather for the boys.
Yeah, kilts, but I’m not telling you to wrap nine yards of wool around your waist at the height of summer. That might have been necessary once, but no more. A few years ago, Utilikilts came along. Kilts in your choice of durable, washable fabrics–with snap closures and cargo pockets.
They also come with a stack of Utilikilts business cards. You’ll understand why if you get one of these things. I can’t overstate the attention they get. Even in Scotland, everyone wanted to talk about the boys’ kilts.
There are a few things to know if you want a Utilikilt. You’ll need a good, wide belt. The snaps don’t go all the way to the top, and even if they did, they’re snaps. Without a belt, Utilikilts are very easy access. A standard kilt belt is likely to be too wide, however. Two inches of belt is about right.
They’re machine washable, but you want to lay them (at least most of the fabrics) out to dry. The perfect place is an ironing board. Hold the ends of the waistband and shake the wet kilt hard to get the major wrinkles out and the pleats roughly in place. Lay it out on the board with a bit of an arc, so the pleats are just past the point where they fall flat. Starting in the middle, give each pleat a good tug and lay it in place. It’s a pain the first time, but it goes pretty quickly once you’ve practiced.
If you’re the kind of guy who worries about looking like you’re wearing a dress, don’t pair your kilt with a t-shirt of the same color. Dress shirts? Fine. Different color of tee? Sure. But somehow the single-color t-shirt/kilt pair generally looks like a dress.
If you’re shy, invest in a kilt pin as wind insurance. There’s a foot-plus overlap of fabric in the front, but I’ve seen wind in which that’s not sufficient to keep the color of your underwear a secret. If you’re really shy, you can invest in a sporran too, but everyone will know why.
You’ll also need a good answer to “What do you wear under there?” Ideally, you’ll have two answers–one for the people you don’t want to offend. Alan Cumming is still on record as having the best answer (X-2 premiere), but I’m not even linking to it here.
Ask a helpful woman to teach you how to sit down in your kilt, preferrably one who has pleat experience. Think of it as a chance to talk to a former Catholic schoolgirl. The process involves a sweep down the back of the kilt with one or both hands plus a little swish to get the pleats you can’t reach. I swear to you, people will be so mesmerized by the kilt, they won’t notice the swish. Getting in and out of the car just requires practice.
Finally, follow their sizing instructions very carefully, then order your kilt one size shorter. Utilikilts seems to have something against the male knee, or at least their instructions do. A kilt that covers your knee will, in addition to harming your social standing and looking more like a dress than ever, chafe the back of your calf.
So, guys, as we move into a hot, humid weekend across the States, let the weather be your inspiration. Get yourself into a kilt. And when someone asks, “Are you wearing a skirt?” tell them proudly, “Aye, but it’s a man’s skirt.”