School Uniform Kilts

The school uniform kilts that we see today, have been in existence since the mid to late nineteenth century, and are still popular with many schools around the world.

When I say many schools I am referring almost exclusively to private schools, and not state run schools.

Many schools in what was the former British Empire, now more commonly referred to as the commonwealth adopted kilts, often due to the fact that the schools were founded by Scottish teachers.

The reasoning behind this is of course easy to understand, all children dressed in the same attire made it easy for the school to establish an identity, which in turn could foster a sense of belonging and pride in their school amongst the students and staff.

The kilt would have been chosen for this purpose for several reasons, not least of which would be the obvious connection to the school's Scottish educational foundations which many educationalists even today, still believe to be amongst the finest in the world.

It seems to be the case that the majority of these schools tend to be Catholic, one reason is that they can often be that bit more conservative, and a kilt properly worn is a somewhat modest garment.

That said a modern problem that many schools seem to be facing, is that the girls often shorten their kilts, perhaps having being influenced by pop videos (Brittany Spears tends to spring to mind perhaps) and peer pressure is also clearly an influence.

A good example of this is the photo below, showing two girls in their school uniform kilts, and as you can see, one of them has seen fit to shorten hers.

school uniform kilts

School Uniform Kilts

It should be remembered that a school uniform kilt is often worn by both sexes, this is somewhat unusual as the garment is normally only worn by males.

In fact many traditionalists fervently argue that under no circumstances should girls be allowed to wear kilts (I might add this is not my personal opinion) as it is strictly male attire.

However when you take a look at the average school uniform kilt, and this applies to the boys as well as the girls, they tend not to be, what would be considered proper kilts. What I am referring to here is the construction of the garment, most boys kilts as a uniform have only a small amount of material compared to that of a traditional hand made kilt.

And this is not only because your average schoolboy is smaller than an adult, I am making the comparison between a hand made boys kilt and a school uniform kilt.

Also the garment is usually worn without the normal accessories associated with the kilt, the sporran for example is normally not worn as part of the uniform (in fact it is common practice to sew a small pocket to the inside of the waistband, for money etc) this would be unheard of with a traditional kilt.

The Sgian Dubh would not be worn for obvious reasons, and you would not expect to see flashes being worn in the socks. Shoes would be normal black school shoes, and not traditional kilt brogues. The "kilt" is usually teamed up with a school pullover and white shirt (school ties are often optional) and the reason for all of this is clearly financial.

Most parents would not be prepared to pay the cost of a real kilt as a school uniform, and I would not blame them for that, as kilts are far from being inexpensive.

And given that a child may need two or even three as they grow, by the end of their school career it would have cost the parents an awful lot of money.

Most schools which do have kilts as a uniform will advise parents as to where they may be bought, as it is will be important to the school that all the kilts are the same.

The girls version is different yet again, it is usually a knife pleated skirt, made of tartan material (which is often not made from pure wool) but nevertheless is called a kilt.

It makes a very smart and as I said modest look for school, and is perhaps why it has been so readily adopted by so many private schools across the world.

The countries where you are most likely to find "kilts" being worn as school uniform include Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong.

One visitor to the website, Natalia, wrote to me from Russia, to say that kilts are very popular as school uniforms in many primary schools there.

If you know of any other countries whose school pupils wear "kilts" and would like me to add them to this page, then please get in touch using the "Contact Us" page.

Similarly if you have any questions or comments on any of the content of this web-site please get in touch, I would love to hear from you.


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