When Did the People of Scotland Start Wearing Kilts?
The word “kilt” is a derivation of the ancient Norse word, kjilt, which means pleated, and refers to clothing that is tucked up and around the body.
People in Scotland began wearing kilts during the 18th century. Originally, the kilt was part of a single large piece of plaid woolen cloth that early Scottish Highlanders wore for clothing.
The wearer tucked the lower part of the cloth in his belt and wore it above the knees for freedom of movement. The rest was carried over the shoulder and used as a cloak in bad weather.
Later, the cloth was cut into two pieces, the lower part becoming the kilt, or short skirt. Today, the kilt is the national costume of Scotland, and is worn for special occasions.
The “great kilt” and belted plaid evolved from the tartan wrap, when woolen wraps and plaids began to emerge as a highly desirable form of fashion and a sign of cultural affluence.
The belted plaid became a popular dress among Highland men during the 17th century and as late as 1822, when they were worn largely for ceremonial purposes as opposed to being a part of everyday dress.
When making a kilt, the tartan’s pattern must remain unbroken throughout the garment; therefore, it takes approximately 20 to 25 hours since nearly all the work is still done by hand.
The knee-length kilt, similar to the modern kilt of today, did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century. The wearing of Scottish kilts was common during the 1720s, when the British military used them as their formal uniforms.