Yes, you read that right, Kilts are back!!
Personally I love all things tartan so I was delighted to read/watch this week’s ‘How To Wear It’ column in the Guardian in which fashion editor JCM extolls the virtues of kilts. I will be channeling Alexander McQueen and Cher from Clueless with this one! Tartan is so good for autumn and so you can imagine how delighted I was to come across this splendid example of a genuine kilt in my favourite colour for this season – oxblood. This came from the Trinity House Hospice Shop in Streatham and I parted with £8 for this 100% wool ‘Made in Scotland’ number.
It’s actually somewhere between oxblood and aubergine with bottle green squares and a slight blue/purple stripe. Much research on the website tartan.gov.uk has led me to believe that this is the tartan for ‘Lindsay’, but please correct me if you know better.
Now, in her Kilts column, JCM recommends following Chanel’s adage about always removing one item from your outfit before you leave the house in order to look chic. For best effect, she suggests choosing two of the following: pleats, buckles and tartan. I’m actually going to remove two Kilt-features from my one – the kilt pin and the frayed blanket edge – but that means I will be left with all three of her criteria, sorry JCM!
After sticky-rollering the whole thing for cat hair, removing the blanket edge was actually rather easy. It’s actually just the edge of the fabric folded under so the frayed edge falls at the fold, then topstitched. I removed the topstitching, cut it off, and redid the topstitching in oxblood rather than green.
The kilt pin was easy to remove but it did leave big holes in the fabric. Thankfully, the holes were in the bottom third of the length, which I cut off.
The hard part was figuring out a way to hem this thing. When kilts are made, they are sewn up, the hems are sewn and then the whole thing is pleated by machine. If I had tried to turn under a hem and press it up, the folds on the hemmed part would have been the opposite way to the folds on the skirt. The whole thing would have looked ugly, stopping the pleats from closing as they should. My alternative method was to simply overlock the edge of the skirt in a co-ordinating colour and leave it hanging free. I think it looks reasonable like this – you can hardly see it from a few feet away. The pleats fold nicely!
To complete this outfit I picked up a chunky cable knit sweater in a very similar colour to the kilt at the British Red Cross shop in Lewisham. This is acrylic but it feels lovely and soft, I don’t think it’s been worn much. It’s a H&M size 16, so a little on the big side, so I am wearing it loose. With the roll neck I have to be a little careful – in combination with my glasses I look like Velma from Scooby Doo – but it rounds off the kilt outfit nicely.
Here are some photos of the outfit in action. Unfortunately we couldn’t quite make it as far as Scotland to take pictures! My home town sits on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors so the pictures were taken there instead. It’s a dead ringer for Scotland (only nicer ;-) ).