Kilts are back. Don’t question me, darling. They’ve returned. I mean, they were out of season for a whole year or so! They had to be rehabilitated. Who doesn’t want a slice of tartan goodness as the chilly months roll on? Totally on trend. I’m sure I can find some catwalk image or another to confirm how absolutely-utterly-and-completely they’re back on the fashion radar. If anyone questions, just cite McQueen. McQueen! Never goes out of style. Well, I mean, they are back. I think they must have gone somewhere for a while. Maybe back to Scotland for a little holiday, a break from the continual exposure and features extolling the virtues of pleats and plaid. But, wait, bear with me. Kilts are both timeless and season-less and yet also bang on trend right now? The paradox, the headache. Someone fetch me my kale and chia seed smoothie. Actually, I need a break! I’ll return in six months.
The phrase ‘X, Y or Z is back’ is one I find infinitely amusing. It’s just another example of ‘fash-speak’, the continual renewal and re-packaging of concepts that last surfaced six months ago. The proliferation of RTW collections, resort collections, haute couture and all the other stuff in-between means that it’s possible to cite almost anything as being ‘back’. For example, it seems that ‘sex’ returns at least every two years (as if it ever went away?). Sexy is thus allegedly brought back the minute a bra, transparent shirt or leather skirt makes it onto the runway, like it had been hiding somewhere in the meantime.
For me, my kilts come back every year at the point where I open the door to be greeted with a blast of wind and a low enough temperature to require several pairs of tights. They are pulled out from the depths of my wardrobe and hung in a more prominent position. I used to have more of them, buying one after another in charity shops, between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. Most of them resembled items that far-reaching previous generations of my family might have worn, but then I did wholeheartedly embrace ‘granny chic’ when that was still an acceptable phrase (and phase). Now it’s been reduced to a capsule collection of kilts – a full length one in red, green and white from a jumble sale (seen here), a knee-length blue and cream one and a St Michael black and white short one from a charity shop. This yellow and black one worn here is its twin, found in Oxford in one of Cowley’s incredible charity shops for the grand total of £6. Same size, same pattern, same origin. St Michael – it’s the best.
I’m naughty, in that I often wear my kilts the wrong way around. Practically blasphemy, I know. Yet I prefer to have the pleats at the front. I think it gives a better shape. I even have one imposter that doesn’t have pleats at all. Although it hangs among the kilts, it’s actually just a long, red, tartan skirt. Corrie Nielsen meets Vivienne Westwood, as found here.
See, they never go away.
This yellow kilt's origin is covered above. I've stolen the black vintage mohair jumper from my mum (hopefully permanently), though it originally belonged to my late great grandma. The black sixties wool coat was one of my first ever vintage purchases from a local market. It was the best £20 a thirteen year old could spend. Chelsea boots from a charity shop.