The belted pleat also know as the great kilt is the national dress of Scotland. It’s not only an embodiment of the rich Scottish culture but is also a symbol of the struggles of Scotlanders and Highlanders over the centuries.
The origin of the kilt can be traced back to the 16th century. During this time, two looms-width of woolen pieces were sewn together, pleated in the middle, worn around the waist and secured with a leather belt. The remaining part of the laid was worn over the head/shoulders like a cloak. Later, a shorter version of the kilt that is closer to the present ones was designed by an English tailor as a uniform for the Highlander army.
Today, the kilt is worn not only in Scotland but also in the world over. If you own a kilt, it’s important that you take proper care of it so that it looks at its best every time you wear it. However, most of us tend to ignore this which results in making your kilt look old and dull. So if you want to find out how to give your great kilt the care it deserves, from wearing it in the right manner to storing it properly, keep on reading.
How to Wear a Kilt
Follow these instructions to wear your kilt in the right manner.
- Pleat the kilt if it’s not already pleated. To do this, lay down the tartan on a flat surface and measure about half of your waist size from one end. Start pleating from here by grabbing about 6 inched of the tartan and pulling them towards yourself. Keep the pleats 1 to 2 inches apart and keep pleating until the unpleated length is half of your waist size.
- Place the belt on your bed and lay down the kilt on top of it while being mindful of not undoing the pleats. Position the belt at waist length.
- Lie down on the top of the kilt while using your knees as a guide to get the right kilt length.
- Fold one side of the unpleated part of the kilt over your body and tuck it under your arm. Repeat the same with the other side and hold it in place by fastening the belt.
- Adjust the kilt as required after standing up.
- The top portion can be worn down, or over your head or shoulders as you please. The most common approach is to wear it over one shoulder and secure it with a broach.
How to Take Care of Your Kilt
Perhaps, an important aspect of taking care of your kilt involved storing it in the right manner. To maintain the shape and life of your tartan, we suggest that you hand it instead of folding it. However, make sure to hand the kilt on a special kilt hanger that is durable enough to bear the heavy weight of the clothing piece without breaking or sagging under it.
Another factor that plays a crucial role in maintaining your kilt is the way you clean it and if you even clean it or not. Just like every other piece of clothing, kilts need to be cleaned with proper care to ensure they retain their color and shape and so washing them with harsh detergents may not be the best idea.
A simple trick is to use baby wipes to easily remove stains off your kilt without having to rub it aggressively. You can also use a lint0free cloth like linen, dip it in warm water and dab on the stain. You can also use an enzyme-free stain cleaner but make sure to perform a patch side on the inner side of the kilt to ensure that a mark is not left on the material. In case you spill something on the kilt, make sure to address it immediately before it dries and leaves a permanent/semi-permanent mark.
Using a washing machine to wash your kilt is not a great option since it uses heated water and agitation, both of which are not good for kilt wool. You can, however, opt for dry cleaning your kilt but make sure that the service you chose is experienced enough in dealing with kilts.
The next step after cleaning your kilt is ironing it so that the pleats sit perfectly on it. Baste the pleats in line by lightly sewing them together. This will ensure that the pleats are held in place as you iron them. Cover the kilt with a lightly moist pressing cloth and using appropriate heat settings on the iron, apply a start pressing it with light pressure. Let the cloth cool down before touching it once you’re done ironing it.
Investing in a quality Kilt is surely an investment which means that you should value it as much as you would value any other investment. Make sure to follow the wearing and maintenance instructions in this article and you’ll be good to go.