There are Few Words More Depressing Than “Utilikilt”.

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, this…

Kilted Connery

The reason the kilt was invented

Does not equal, this…

Yes, yes, the Manolo gets the idea. You are the unconventional, free-spirited, manly-dude, who wishes to show the world that you march to the beat of your own Iron John drum circle, even as you not-so-surreptitiously air your junk out in public.

However, the Manolo would like to point out that your self-conception is dramatically at odds with how the rest of the world sees you. As the Manolo’s internet friend, the Lori, put it, “What is it about utilikits that take all of the sexiness, majesty, and coolness out of the regular kilt?”

Exactly. In the other words…

Real Scottish kilt, worn properly = The Sexy.
Utilikilt, worn by you = The Dorky.

The Manolo does not care how handsome you are, trust the Manolo, you look like the dork in the utilikilt.

Even Fabio, who looks good in the loincloth, would look like the dork in the utilitikilt.

No, just no.

Please, sir, put your pants back on.

So, for the sake of the rest of us, confine your unconventionality to strangely shaped mustachios, carefully sculpted beards, thinning ponytails, and bowler hats with steampunk goggles on the brim. Do not show us your bony knees, and do not potentially expose us, should you slip and fall, to the sight of your hairy bottom.

For the rest of us, please, do not wear the utilitikilt.


34 Responses to “There are Few Words More Depressing Than “Utilikilt”.”

  1. Toby Wollin Says:

    My husband and I, for reasons I will NOT go into at the moment, once worked in a Utilikilt booth at a (wait for it) gay rodeo in Maryland. In August. The official rep from Utilikilt Central showed up in a black leather Utilikilt (in August..remember that), complete with chains, a spiked dog collar and more tattoos than I had ever seen other than in an exhibit about Maoris. He looked us up and down and said, “You know this is a GAY rodeo, right?” Because we’d just driven 6 hours for what we thought was going to be some fun, we went along with it and did the job for two days. I can tell you that 99.9% of guys who buy Utilikilts are not guys who’ve got Scottish or Irish family connections and who’d go out of their way to invest in the whole rig. Or even get a proper tarten kilt and wear it Prince Charles casual style with boots, a wool sweater and carrying a walking stick. I’m not exactly sure why these guys were buying them (the try on technique was a hoot and my husband was getting hit on about every 5 minutes), but they were moving like hot cakes. We even had guys from the Pentagon there who were buying the ones in camo.

  2. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    You have made the Manolo laugh!

  3. Phyllis Says:

    Toby that’s a good one!

  4. Sarah G. Says:

    The pleats make them dorky.

  5. Monica Says:

    Esteemed Sr. Manolo, I have been loyally reading your blogs for 6 years, and for the first time ever I am at a loss. I would agree that yes, 95% of the time the Utilikilts looks like an accident of fabric; however, my husband married me in a carefully-pressed, flat-front, black Utilikilt accompanied by silk cravat, tuxedo jacket and Scottish wool vest; he also sewed 18-button spats to match. It worked beautifully. I hope you will not ban my IP address hereafter! Besos from your longtime fan.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Toby’s comment above is 100% win.

  7. jvon Says:

    They’re dresses for men. Putting pockets on them doesn’t make them not-dresses.

  8. BM Says:

    I wear a utilikilt when working around my 5 acre backyard where no one can see me. Why? Because I look dorky in anything and it is extremely cool on hot days. It also allows me to carry around lots of tools and supplies without the extra layer of a work apron. It’s a utili-not-a-fashion-kilt.

    I was invited to The Scottish Games in New Hampshire once and the dorks walking around in traditional kilts look ridiculous also. I’m sure I’d look the same.

  9. John Bragg Says:

    It is not the work “utilikilt” that is depressing. When I clicked the link from Instapundit, I was imagining a combination of Batman’s utility belt and a fully stocked Ranger vest worn over the legs, and waiting to see what gadgets had been designed into it. That may not be fashionable, it may be extremely dorky, but it is not depressing.

    The reality was depressing.

    I think this is the fashion equivalent of the cargo cults after World War II, were PAcific islanders would weave “airplanes” out of local plants and clear airstrips, hoping that the magic birds from the sky would return and drop stuff. Copying the form while having no understanding of the function. A kilt works because it connects to a martial tradition–it is specific, it is difficult. Kilt-wearers connect to a specific family or regimental tartan (real or imagined), claiming a specific heritage.

    The utilikilt makes the same mistake–copying the details of the form while completely misunderstanding. They seem to be in khakis, a very generic fabric. Now, I wear khakis–but I buy them at Walmart, they are cheap, they don’t clash with anything and they’re less hot than jeans in the summer.

    The people in the pictures seem like the kind of folks who would wear khaki shorts–I would. But I think that they think they have somehow upgraded. They haven’t. From a poor fashion choice that blends in, they how have a poor fashion choice that stands out.

  10. Owen McCall Says:

    The original Utilikilt is very practical. It was invented by a roofer in Oregon and is a combination tool belt and kilt. Cool and functional.

  11. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    Roofer? One feels sympathy for the poor assistant who must hold the ladder.

  12. tommy Says:

    To quote detective Drebbin, “Nice beaver!!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I came from ‘Instapundit’ too, so 1)Hey! and 2) This must be a mini-Insta-lanche and agree with your thoughtful and well-written post.

  14. ErikZ Says:

    Well yes they look dorky. It’s not a fashion item, it’s for “Work”.

    Just like when blue jeans started.

  15. mwpiper Says:

    I started playing the great highland bagpipe when I turned 50. If you play bagpipes, you wear a kilt. It’s the law. Trust me. I joined a military heritage band. So I have a heavy wool kilt in Royal Stewart tartan and horse hair sporran. For winter and formal occasions, the band’s uniform includes full piper’s doublet, crossbelt and plaid (pronounced ‘played’) which is essentially a bedroll wrapped around you chest and draped over the shoulder. Oh, and let’s not forget the foot tall ostrich feather bonnet. Walking down the street in that getup took some getting used to. I still have absolutely no desire to wear a utilikilt. The scottish military uniform serves to honor a proud historical tradition. The utilikilt is for something else and I don’t swing that way.

  16. RebeccaH Says:

    I must thank the Manolo for this article. Until today I had no idea that utilikilts even existed. I don’t think even women could pull off that fashion piece, and now my nights will be haunted by bad dreams, but at least I’m forewarned, should I ever spy a utilikilt in the wild.

  17. Dave Says:

    One – they’re comfortable.

    Two – they’re easy access for the Mrs.

    Three – they carry a butt-load of gear.

    Four – the make anal-retentive people all around the world lose their mind.

    I love ’em.

  18. Mike James Says:

    Pictures, or it didn’t happen, Dave. I will considerately refrain from speculation about just how dorky you look wearing one.

    For my money, the only people who can get away with wearing kilts outside of the Royal Regiment of Scotland are players on a girls field hockey team.

  19. Dave Says:

    Ask, and you shall receive!

    FYI, if you’re not Scottish, or at least of Scottish ancestry, wearing the tartan of a Scottish clan is bad form.

  20. Jeff Says:

  21. ossian Says:

    As a first-generation Scots-American out of Lanarkshire, may I advise you that you may wear any tartan you wish? The identification of a specific tartan with one clan was a brilliant piece of marketing in the 19th century by the Sobieski Bros. [Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cradle language was Polish since his mother was a Polish princess Sobieska.] Tartan was originally a specfic weave by a local weaver, so folks from a particular area might well be wearing the same pattern. But the first notice we have of a clan’s identification with a tartan was at the horrendous Battle of Culloden. If you like and have the cash, you can have a tartan woven to your specification and bearing your name thereafter. As to the plaid, the blanket caught at the waist is only pronounced by Scots with a long letter i and rhymes with “hide.”‘ And the true kilt is already a utility garment in the event of diarrhea or fornication.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Dave, I consider my bluff called, and I for one will never call you a bad sport.

  23. Mike James Says:

    My name did not post along with my comment above, addressed to dave, 4:43 pm.

    Dave, you are in fact a good sport. Not even overly dorky looking in a Utilikilt.

    But since I am skirting the boundaries of inappropriateness, I will leave it at that.

  24. DonM Says:

    Considering that the kilt was invented by an English lowlander and patented in 1729, there shouldn’t be too much guilt associated with the wearing of a different clan’s tartan, esp. since the historicity of the various tartan pattern is completely apocryphal.

  25. North Dallas Thirty Says:

    I think part of the problem is that people insist on wearing them with regular socks and shoes. Nuh uh — either go Roman (sandals) or full Scottish (knee length wool socks and proper formal slippers).

    Work boots (ankle length) are OK. Athletic shoes are an abomination unto the Lord, and cowboy boots (yes, I’ve seen it) are an abomination unto Dale Evans.

    Full disclosure: I own three (formal black, fall olive, and khaki, aka “Mormon plaid”) and am wearing the black right now. With sandals.

  26. Charlotte Allen Says:

    Real kilts are Scottish dress attire. Utilikilts are skirts for guys.

  27. Jeff Says:

    Actually, as I understand it, there are a lot of Scots who wear kilts casually as well – not just for formal occassions.

  28. Guglielmo Boogliodemus Says:

    Not really. Weddings, formal functions and such that in the US and CA you would normally wear a tuxedo to. Some young and goofy Scots wear them out on the town when getting pissed and to impress American tourists. I’ve spent weeks in Scotland and Northern England without ever seeing anybody wearing a kilt. As has been already stated by others, kilts are really not as dear to the Scots as most Americans think. Prince Charles (yes, the kooky one)can be seen regularly poncing about in his kilt, but you probably won’t see William or Harry doing so in informal gatherings. All that said, those who wear a “utili-kilt” not only look like tossers, they are tossers.

  29. forrest Says:

    When I was in the army down in Texas we had a unit function out at a pizza and beer joint in town. We had one guy in the unit who really was “not quite right” who decided to show up in a big black cowboy hat, black cowboy shirt, black cowboy boots and a pleated black utilikilt! We were speechless, as he looked like a cross-dresser gone completely awry. It was embarrassing for all of us, as you should have seen the shock on the faces of the locals. I only wish he’d come wearing a bowler with brass goggles, because he’d at least been wearing pants!

  30. Mark Says:

    As a member of the Middleton Clan, I used to have a proper Kilt in the family Tartan. I have also ordered a couple of Utilikilts which haven’t arrived yet. My reason I will have for wearing the Utilikilt when they do arrive? Number 1 “Kilted To Kick Cancer” and number 2 a Kilt is much more comfortable in the hot humid Texas summer near Corpus Christi where I live.

  31. Madoc Says:


    Just more whining from those who can’t about those who can – and do!

    Uks are pretty damn comfortable. They’re pretty damn practical. AND while wearing mine I have yet to meet any woman who disliked them in the least. In fact, they almost always have very much the opposite effect.

    So, for all the whining and wailing about Utilikilts you’d best just keep that stuffed up the seat of your _pants_ where it belongs.

  32. el polacko Says:

    they are comfortable, practical, and i think that they look hot with heavy socks and boots. if they offend your eye, look the other way (but i think that the monolo-shoe-lovin queen protests too much).
    …and when did we start referring to male genitals as “junk” ? we used to call them jewels and mother nature designed them to hang loose…born free, brah.

  33. Jeannie Dahl Says:

    The question is, does wearing a utilikilt make these men look dorky, or are they wearing utilikilts because they’re already dorky?

    I think El Polako has given us the answer.

  34. Jim Says:

    Dorks look stupid no matter what they wear. That’s part and parcel of being a dork.

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