Thursday, 9 January 2014

The Kilt Returns

Kilts are back. Don’t question me, darling. They’ve returned. I mean, they were out of season for a whole year or so! They had to be rehabilitated. Who doesn’t want a slice of tartan goodness as the chilly months roll on? Totally on trend. I’m sure I can find some catwalk image or another to confirm how absolutely-utterly-and-completely they’re back on the fashion radar. If anyone questions, just cite McQueen. McQueen! Never goes out of style. Well, I mean, they are back. I think they must have gone somewhere for a while. Maybe back to Scotland for a little holiday, a break from the continual exposure and features extolling the virtues of pleats and plaid. But, wait, bear with me. Kilts are both timeless and season-less and yet also bang on trend right now? The paradox, the headache. Someone fetch me my kale and chia seed smoothie. Actually, I need a break! I’ll return in six months.

The phrase ‘X, Y or Z is back’ is one I find infinitely amusing. It’s just another example of ‘fash-speak’, the continual renewal and re-packaging of concepts that last surfaced six months ago. The proliferation of RTW collections, resort collections, haute couture and all the other stuff in-between means that it’s possible to cite almost anything as being ‘back’. For example, it seems that ‘sex’ returns at least every two years (as if it ever went away?). Sexy is thus allegedly brought back the minute a bra, transparent shirt or leather skirt makes it onto the runway, like it had been hiding somewhere in the meantime.
For me, my kilts come back every year at the point where I open the door to be greeted with a blast of wind and a low enough temperature to require several pairs of tights. They are pulled out from the depths of my wardrobe and hung in a more prominent position. I used to have more of them, buying one after another in charity shops, between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. Most of them resembled items that far-reaching previous generations of my family might have worn, but then I did wholeheartedly embrace ‘granny chic’ when that was still an acceptable phrase (and phase). Now it’s been reduced to a capsule collection of kilts – a full length one in red, green and white from a jumble sale (seen here), a knee-length blue and cream one and a St Michael black and white short one from a charity shop. This yellow and black one worn here is its twin, found in Oxford in one of Cowley’s incredible charity shops for the grand total of £6. Same size, same pattern, same origin. St Michael – it’s the best.
I’m naughty, in that I often wear my kilts the wrong way around. Practically blasphemy, I know. Yet I prefer to have the pleats at the front. I think it gives a better shape. I even have one imposter that doesn’t have pleats at all. Although it hangs among the kilts, it’s actually just a long, red, tartan skirt. Corrie Nielsen meets Vivienne Westwood, as found here.
See, they never go away. 

This yellow kilt's origin is covered above. I've stolen the black vintage mohair jumper from my mum (hopefully permanently), though it originally belonged to my late great grandma. The black sixties wool coat was one of my first ever vintage purchases from a local market. It was the best £20 a thirteen year old could spend. Chelsea boots from a charity shop. 

In other news, the lovely Kay Montano featured a poem I wrote for her birthday in a wonderful ThandieKay post on the importance of celebrating others. There's a great story about Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald that she relates.


Willow said...

Wonderful photos! particularly that first one.
I just loved the start to this post and of course couldn't help but read it in the voice of Eddy from Ab Fab.

I don't really care about trends and what's 'back in' (although sometimes wish it wouldn't be things like socks and jelly sandals, creepers, 90's grunge, 80's tropical print or jeggings) I've always loved kilts and probably always will. That yellow and black one is an absolute beauty! Your kilt collection sounds rather enviable, unfortunately I don't happen on many of them in the charity shops I visit.

Just visited the post on the ThandieKay site, that poem is beautiful, such a thoughtful and special gift in that vintage compact case. Gorgeous photo of you too, you are an absolute stunner!

Closet Fashionista said...

I don't think I could pull off a kilt or tartan, but it does look good on you :D
I think its funny when we say things are "back" too, its just a cycle and we don't need to say things are back...but I guess it helps sell the new versions

Frankie Savage said...


Melanie said...

A kilt worn backwards - I like the idea of pleats in front. Your photos are again so inviting but I think my favourite is the portrait of you.
I had a good laugh at your first paragraph too. To show you how far behind the times I am, I have never had a chia seed smoothie. Gaaa.
Thrifters have the advantage of everything being back, as you say. I wouldn't have it any other way. Happy New Year to you. xo

Kristabel Plummer said...

Ah I wholeheartedly agree, I hate hate those type of columns where they say things like 'platform shoes are out', when they're still in shops and people are bound to wear them. Trends are a lot more fluid these days. Tartan always resurfaces every Autumn in some way, when it comes to mag-speak everything is massively generalised. Each designer has a unique concept but instead it's lumped into something like 'Tribal.' That being said, it's great when things you like are widely available, such as pink coats and the like. I need to get hunting for the perfect mini kilt.

Emalina said...

Your leaf covered portraits made me smile, and that first paragraph made me laugh out loud! Sod trends, kilts will always have timeless appeal in my book.

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

So gorgeous, love! And yay for kilts coming back! I've always liked tartan but since I went to Scotland last year, I've just been obsessed with anything remotely Scottish! :) xx

OrigamiGirl said...

I always find the declaration that something is 'in' quite funny. Especially as it is often so far off the mark of what people are actually wearing. On the other hand I had a tartan dress in my wardrobe that I'd got bored of and when everyone was wearing tartan on the blogs I thought I'd give it another look. I decided to ignore the reason I'd not bothered (its super short) and just go for it. Sometimes these things can be inspiring whilst a little silly.

I hope you had a good Christmas and got lots of lovely books!

Rosalind Ford said...

Hi Ros! I have joined the virtual world and thought I'd leave you a comment :) you're looking wonderful and writing marvellously as always. I particularly love the post you have linked here with the white, red and green kilt in the snow. Many of your posts will always make me miss our village! (Even if those photos weren't shot there...)

Cameron Adams said...

Vive le kilt! Cheers to the lilt in your prose and the leaves on your lap.

Fashionistable said...

Oh how I do love tartan. And a pop of yellow on a grey,cold, winter day is always a pick me up. Xxxx

Fashionistable said...

Oh how I do love tartan. And a pop of yellow on a grey,cold, winter day is always a pick me up. Xxxx

Ivana Split said...

I've never worn a kilt but I assure you that is entirely due to the fact that I still hadn't the chance to do it!

Wonderful photographs, looking at them makes me feel very positive for some reason and there seems to be something very youthful in the rhythm of the sentences. Nothing worse then then that happy feeling being imitated and nothing better then when it is there...but impossible to make it appear just by force of will. I'm not sure how much sense I'm making...but I really like this post...outfit, photos and text.

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