I make no secret about the fact I love kilts. Seriously, a man in a kilt is among my wonders of the world; there’s no finer or prouder sight.
But when I think of kilts, I think of the modern-day kilt. I’ve not seen a lot traditional kilts in my life, except for the occasional television show.
Plaid Versus Kilt Versus Tartan
Note to Americans: the correct term for what Andy is demonstrating being put on is actually “plaid”, not “kilt”. The kilt would be more like what we see modern Scots wearing, the single piece that wraps around the waist, and does not have the “whole 9 yards” to wrap around the shoulder.
The “tartan” is the pattern on the kilt or plaid. This is another area that can be tricky for Americans to realize, as to us, “plaid” and “tartan” have the same meaning. In America, when one refers to “plaid”, they’re referring to the pattern; when in the States, if you Google “plaid”, all that comes up are tartan colors.
Many might attribute this to ignorance or an unwillingness to learn, but I would equally argue that it could be something we see a lot of in America: an intermingling of different languages and cultures coming together, which can sometimes make things blend. So, a Scottish immigrant comes over to the US in the 1700s, talking about plaids and tartans, and perhaps the definitions get confused as they’re passed down through generations.
It’s a possibility. The reason I’m stating all of this—and for my own use of “kilt” and “plaid” above—is to help ensure that Americans equally understand what they’re getting to see in the video, but also to provide a bit of extra language insight.
My friend, Amy, tagged me in this video and I was thrilled to see someone demonstrate how to put on and wear a traditional plaid—fully making the pleats from the yards of fabric, to laying down and belting it all on, to how to use the excess fabric for cover and blanket from the cold.
It was so awesome to see how it was done—and what a process it looks like!—and to see how it could function in daily life, which would’ve been an important consideration for anyone who’s considered Highland life.
I would love to create my own video of wearing my own version of the plaid at some point (though I may not have an actual tartan to wear!), so I’m saving this for future reference to try myself when I get some fabric, but in the mean time, I wanted to share this video with all of you.
For your viewing pleasure and education, Andy the Highlander on How to Wear a Plaid: