Traditional and Contemporary kilts sewn to order
It's difficult to know where to begin if you've never had a kilt before and want to buy one.
Here is a list of a few things to think about and hopefully might give you some ideas.
One thing worth considering early on is to think on how you are going to wear the kilt, is it for mainly casual or is it perhaps for special or formal ocassions. Although there is considerable overlap and kilts can be dressed up or down, a contemporary casual style is never going to be quite the part at a dress function , and a full posh traditional kilt may well look out of place in a much more down to earth an casual event. To be fair a kilt is a very versatile garment and with a few accessories the look can change dramatically, but I think it is always easier to dress a traditional kilt down than a contemporary kilt up.
Fabric is the next thing to consider, a traditional kilt would normally be in worsted tartan and there is a huge list available. It can be hard to know which to choose, but I often suggest a family name if known, then perhaps look at a district or area tartan, then a society,organisation, or club; and last but not least one which has the colours you like. Whatever cloth you pick it should be one you would be happy to wear, it would be a shame to pick a tartan and then not want to be seen wearing it. With a contemporary kilt the choice is often denim, cotton, or canvas but there is no reason why you shouldn't have tartan or tweed as well.
Tartans come in a range of colourways, the actual design will be the same, but with a "modern" tartan the colours are bolder and brighter, an "ancient" tartan will be softer lighter colours, a "weathered" will be full of greys and a "muted" wil be slightly more mellow colours. All these variations give you an oportunity to have something very special and made just for you.
Worsted wool holds a pleat very well and any creases fall out easily, tweeds are generally a little softer in look, and cotton usually needs the pleats sewn in to help the pleats keep an edge and creasesneed to be pressed out. In a curious way a more expensive cloth is much easier to look after than denim.
Traditional kilts are normally almost entirely hand sewn and gently soften to shape with wear easily, contemporary kilts are largely machine sewn and take a long time to soften. Most kilts are knife pleated but there are other options as well .
Once you have picked a style and a fabric things become much easier, you will have to choose the leather and the buckles. My kilts are usually lined with something appropiate to the owner and I like to get a few ideas during any discusions.
Once all that is done then I ask for a deposit and I order the cloth, there are only a few tartan weavers, they don't all do the same range so it is important to choose the right one, sometimes there are subtle differences and price as well.
Once you get a kilt, you have to wear it whenever you can, but remember that key rule, pleats at the back, after that it's really up to you, and although there aren't any true kilt police there are many who will feel that they have the right to tell you how to wear a kilt, most of the time it's best to smile and ignore them, but the most important thing is to enjoy wearing your first kilt , it won't be long before you will want another one.