The word “kilt” means different things to different people. To me, it’s a Clueless style mini-kilt worn, possibly, with Cher-approved over-the-knee socks and accessorised with satin shoes later sacrificed to the party gods. To a Scotsman, it involves clan tartan, a sporran, socks and optional underwear. To Miuccia Prada, long a kilt wearer, it’s over-the-knee, thick wool, plain and slightly schoolma’amish. And to Marc Jacobs it’s just the thing for a stroll around New York.
Kilts are now what you might call a proto-trend. On the cusp of becoming a thing but not quite at their tipping point yet. More experimental frowers such as Laura Bailey and Alexa Chung are already on them, but the likes of, say, Kim Kardashian have yet to give them the time of day. There’s a smattering on the spring catwalk – on men at Sibling, and women at Proenza Schouler – and a few on the high street (Topshop has a very Mrs Prada wrap kilt for under £50). But, really, kilts actually quite thin on the ground.
This is actually a good thing – I say adopt now and feel smug, because the kilt love really will ramp up into autumn. Mrs Prada wore her kilt backstage at her show in February and kilts are endorsed as part of the collections too, spotted in various forms at brands from Christian Dior to Margaret Howell. Shrimps, the London brand known for the funnest of fun fur, had a very covetable glitter mini-kilt in the autumn/winter collection that quickly went to the top of my “want it” list. It was newer brand LeKilt that – as you might expect – nailed the trend. Designer Samantha McCoach plumbed her childhood memories of watching her Scottish grandmother make kilts into her collection of kilts, tartan and kilt-friendly accessories, worn by the kind of cool girls you had a friend-crush on at school. That adds up to a kilt for every fashion persuasion – expect, perhaps, that Scotsman at a wedding. You get the feeling he may not approve.
As for how to wear a kilt in summer, I like the way Laura Bailey clashes the tartan with a printed shirt, and Mrs Prada’s simple sweater was lovely, especially with her signature chandelier earrings. I think bare legs rather than thick tights probably give the fustiness of a school uniform favourite a bit of an edge, and also will handily prevent overheating. Shoes-wise, sandals or ankle boots (I wear mine with Chelsea boots) are good. But you’re a season ahead, so you have the luxury of time to play around with the “what to wear with a kilt?” question. Enjoy it – proto-trends like this don’t come around too often.