Monday, November 12, 2012

BEAUTY: Men--Kilt Style

Above: Modern kilts which feature pockets on the outside are sometimes referred to as "utility kilts." These urban-styled examples are actually quite fashionable, in worsted wool, camouflage, and leather.

The above kilt and tartan are by venerable Italian men's tailoring company ISAIA, who have created bespoke suits for men since the 1950s. The tartan was created in 2010 for presentation at Pitti Uomo 2011, and is on record at the Scottish Register of Tartans.

There are many kilt accessories.

From left to right: 1) A kilt pin is usually worn at the bottom of the kilt, close to the hem. Kilt pins are generally a long, dagger-like shape and can be made of various metals, sometimes with semi-pecious jewels, or they can even be made of antler. 2) A "flash" is a little notched piece of fabric attached to a garter which holds up the kilt "hose." The top of the hose or sock is folded down to cover the garter so only the fabric is visible. 3) A belt with a buckle--often featuring a clan crest--can be added to the kilt. 4) The lace-up shoes specific to a Scottish kilt are called "Ghillie Brogues." A brogue shoe is a classic men's shoe which includes wingtips and spectators but the "Ghillie Brogue" is only worn with a kilt. 5) An optional kilt accessory is the sgian dubh (pronounced "SKEEN-dhu"), a small knife worn tucked into the top of the right sock, or hose, with only the hilt visible. The knife position descends from the ancient practice of revealing any hidden weapons (tucked into armpits or jackets and cloaks) when entering a home or dwelling as a peaceful guest. Knives were displayed in the hose to show that there were no hidden intentions. In Gaelic, sgian means "knife," while dubh means "black," or in this case, "hidden."

And of course, the most traditional accessory is the "sporran," or pouch worn in front of the kilt. These can be made of leather, hair on hide, fur, or any combination thereof...with or without tassels. Many include elaborate silver work featuring Celtic knots or designs. Sporrans, of course, come in handy since kilts have no pockets! When I wear my kilt, my wallet, keys, and cellphone go in my sporran.

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