Although I soon became used to seeing men wearing kilts in the street in Edinburgh It was only when the time I got invited to an Scottish celebration in Blair Castle that I realised how trendy kilts had become. With a few instances, everyone attending the wedding was wearing the Scottish kilt. Incredulous, I made the rounds around the castle’s hall noting that there was no similarity between the kilts. Each featured a long, woolen knee-length garment, which was pleated at the back, then wrapped to the front, fastened by buckles, belts, and completed with a pin on the open edge. An ostracran (Gaelic pouch) hangs on a belt or chain over the front of every kilt, and long woolen socks, rolled down towards the knees, were often adorned with an ax-sheathed knives (Sgian dhu) which was belted over the calf at the point just over the ankle. Also, each kilt was finished with a an apron and jacket that the wearer chose.
Despite similarity, the variety of kilts offered a staggering array. Sporrans varied from basic leather bags to massive purses decorated with sealskin or fur. Stockings were embellished with tassels, and in some cases tied with garters. Tartans varied from the popular plaids of red/green, gray, orange, tan and maroon. I even saw some who wore baby pink and blue plaids!
As my new acquaintances explained that each clan has its own tartan passed through generations, I realized that, due to my Scottish heritage from my mom’s MacDonald parentage, it is only fitting that I should wear a clan tartan. When I returned to Edinburgh my host family was able to purchase a scarf with my tartan. They stopped at a variety of shops on the route. We were, however, traveling across Campbell territory. The famous feud between the MacDonalds and the Campbells could be a long-standing tradition However, asking for the MacDonald tartan within Campbell country caused a few eyebrows. It’s possible that I didn’t find an original MacDonald tartan, but I left with something more valuable thoughts of the warm and friendly country where people wear kilts with pride and style.