View Full Version : Buying a used kilt, ladies fit

12-11-2005, 03:32 PM
Okay --- so here is an interesting question...

I usually wear men's trousers (jeans, etc) and find that most cuts fit me just fine. So, I figured that sizing for a kilt would be about the same for me as for a guy. But, when a bunch of us were measuring for kilts, they always ask about waist, ledge seat, etc......and I find that if I measure my "True" narrowest part of the waist and my true seat, my figure shows a bit more.....uh....hourglass than the guys. This is generally a good thing, BUT....

I am trying to buy a used kilt. While I have a full set of measurements for a made to order kilt, I am going to need to simply buy one used so that I have something to wear for the next year or so until I am actually good enough to play consistently in public figure out how to fund a "real" kilt made for me.

SO -- if I go to buy one, say ebay or on the forum....do I advertise for a 31.5 or so waist ---- am I going to get a kilt that is too tight in the butt b/c it is a men's cut, or should I order an inch or two larger waist so that the hips/seat fit (in my Wranglers and Carhardts, I wear a 32" to get the seat/hips fit but have a bit of a gap at the waist that I take up with a belt).

Ideally, I would be able to try these on, but remoteness isn't going to let this happen.

Lastly -- anyone have a source for used, decent kilt for <$100 that would work okay to play in public with ? Doesn't need to be top notch, just not embarrassing to "real" pipers. Tartan patter, at this point, just doesn't matter.

Thanks all

Trailing Drones
12-11-2005, 05:00 PM

I think you need to give priority to the waist measurement. The kilt will give at the hips, because there is no buckle at the butt level, so the kilt will simply open up to accommodate you. If the hip buckle is causing you problems, you can simply remove it!

Another important measurement is the length. A proper length kilt will actually be 1-1/2" to 2" longer than the measurement from your natural waist to the top of your knee. This is because a "rise" is added above the waistline. It should be 2", but some kilts are made with a "skimpy rise" of 1" to 1-1/2". The best way to measure is from the middle of the waist buckle to the bottom of the kilt. If you have to choose, I prefer slightly short to long. I really don't like it when the kilt practically touches the top of the hose. Believe it our not, men's kilts are frequently shorter that women's, because the measurement from waist to knee is frequently longer for women than men. Isn't that surprising?

If you're going to get a custom-made kilt eventually, you might just want to look into getting a kilt from sportkilt.com or Stillwater Kilts for now. They make kilts for under $100. It may be preferable to a badly fitting used kilt, and you have a good selection of tartans from which to choose.

12-14-2005, 01:30 AM
Some Kilt suppliers will also send used kilts out for alterations or have the ability to make correct alterations themselves. Most kilts regardless of size are usually 8-9yds of cloth and thus alterations and adjustments can be made from time to time.
I would save my pennies and buy a good 16 oz heavy kilt when time (and finances) serve.
A good kilt and uniform is part of your presentation, and should not suffer in the long run. Many kilt rental services have reasonable discounts on used kilts, and many can alter them for your measurments. Tartan selection however is limited to mainly open or band tartans (Black Watch, Royal Stuart, Scottish National etc.)
Kilts can be a very personal garment, if you are a solo piper you may want one in your family clan or district tartan, far be it for me to despute a fellow piper but you may want to save that 100 dollars for a good kilt that will last forever. :idea:

Tommy P.
12-14-2005, 06:30 AM
Terri, I bought a used kilt not too long ago and ended up with one that fit perfectly.

Here's what I did;
Having a band kilt that fit me just fine, I contacted the owner and asked him to compare the measurements I was sending him to the measurements of the kilt he had.
In order to make sure we were both on the same page and speaking the same "language", I layed the kilt out on the counter-top and using a yardstick to measure the band kilt from top edge to bottom edge, and end to end at the waist band. I also measured from the slit where the belt goes through the waistband, to the the opposite edge. The belt tongue can be moved so that one didn't matter much.
Asking him to measure his kilt exactly the same, I could compare them, to see if alterations would have to be made. Fortunately after a hem was removed and a belt was replaced, it was a perfect match.

If you have band kilt or can borrow one, this may save you a headache or two.

12-14-2005, 06:38 AM
I have to ask a question. That kinda relates to this.
Okay I HATE any appareal,pants, shorts, skirts, that come to what I would say is the waste. Just below the ribs. I feel so lucky that low rise pants are available, I'm however, dredding looking for a good kilt only because I'm not sure if these are usually fitted the same around the waste as most pants. Can anyone make any suggestions. The only woman piper I personnaly know hates her kilt. I'd rather not by something I'm going to hate. Would rather figure out some way around it. You know?

Trailing Drones
12-14-2005, 08:57 AM
Unfortunately for you, the properly made and worn kilt comes to one to two inches ABOVE the waist!! It's the top buckle that should be exactly at your waist, but there is an inch or two (should be two but some have a "skimpy rise") of fabric above the buckle. Some people wear theirs way too low, hanging off their hips, and it looks terrible because this puts the bottom of the kilt at or near the top of their hose.

My suggestion is not to think of a kilt as your daily apparel, but to think of it as part of a uniform. Uniforms are not necessarily comfy. I think you'll get used to it.

12-14-2005, 10:44 AM

Consider looking for a used Highland Dancer's (female) kilt as a temporary solution. Many websites have used items for sale. Check out
www.highlandxpress.com (http://www.highlandxpress.com)
www.toeandheel.com (http://www.toeandheel.com)
www.highlandisland.com (http://www.highlandisland.com)

Good Luck,

12-14-2005, 11:22 AM
I really appreciate being informed. Maybe when I'm not pregnant anymore and when I get an actual waste back I'll tackle the whole kilt being uncomfortable. For now I'll just deal with my maternity clothes not being comfortable

12-14-2005, 02:25 PM
Did you see the Maternity kilt I posted? We were looking for one a couple of months back -- and now I found one for someone to use in the meantime!

I have figured out why men look so good in kilts and women look like tacky upholstered furniture. They have broad shoulders (even if they have a gut) so from the back (where I stand in the drumline) they all look terrific. I, on the other hand, have the figure of a telephone pole. Wrap 8 or 9 yards of heavy wool tartan around that, attach a drum on it as well, and it is definitely an ugly upholstered chair with a side table for setting drinks. Maybe if we went for football shoulder pads under our uniform blouses...

12-15-2005, 01:32 PM
Yes I saw the kilt and was devastated when I saw the size. I'll look into the dancer's kilts. I have noticed that men with good shoulders and backends usually look the best in Kilts. I've only tried on a traditional kilt once. My husband said it didn't look good. He said that other than my very feminine legs, you couldn't tell I was curvy woman. I wasn't offended. My husband is my biggest fan and wouldn't say something like that unless I was completely horrid looking. I thank everyone for their input. I'm so glad there is a womens section on this forum. It has gotten alot of my questions answered.

12-15-2005, 02:37 PM
Hey Lassies!
Men look great in the kilt because they don't have hips like we lassies - and broad shoulders don't hurt either. Ladies shouldn't wear any old kilt that they can find. Ladies kilts are made a bit differently in the waist and hip. As far as comfort - I love wearing my kilt - it fits me properly which is very important.


12-15-2005, 03:29 PM
There was an article in Piping Times a few years back that openly questioned why women are wearing mens clothing (kilts) instead of proper womans kilt-dresses.

I can dig it up if anyone is interested. I have to admit I find it disturbing to see woman wearing a mans kilt as much as I find it disturbing to see a man wear a dress, etc.

Thankfully that god-awful padded shoulder look of the late 80's did not catch on in piping! hehe.

Tommy P.
12-15-2005, 03:32 PM
"I can dig it up if anyone is interested. I have to admit I find it disturbing to see woman wearing a mans kilt as much as I find it disturbing to see a man wear a dress, etc."

:) Man,....are you ever in the wrong place!!!

I've seen a little of each!

12-15-2005, 03:39 PM
Well I think most men (and women) would find it disturbing to see a man wear a ball gown to perform on stage.. but if you disagree that's OK.
Keep reaching for that Rainbow!

Tommy P.
12-15-2005, 03:46 PM
I'll PM you.

Marathon Piper
12-15-2005, 05:04 PM
This is moving into dangerous territory. Not long ago, lots of people were questioning women's abilities and rights to do all kinds of things (vote, play the pipes, operate locomotives) never mind wearing kilts. Don't even go there.

I have a better bow tie collection than my husband. I wear a tuxedo. And yes, I wear a (gasp!) man's kilt. You see my Scottish born and raised mother put me in one from the time I could walk and she never bothered to tell me that I wasn't allowed to wear one. (Open minded Dundonian that she is). So I have several ladies kilts, and a couple that don't fit quite as well... made for that other gender. <<GRAEMLIN_URL>>/shocked.gif

Ah well, if the kilt fits, as they say.

Windasloft, I have one word for you -- eBay!!! Lots of bargains if you're patient.

I vote that all the Ladies in the Ladies Room post fetching pictures of themselves in their crossdressing outfits! :wink: :wink:


Tommy P.
12-15-2005, 05:48 PM
See what I mean? :)

12-15-2005, 06:16 PM
Well, you all actually touched on a question I had decided not to ask b/c it sounded way too ignorant -- which was, is it preferred for a woman piping in a solo comp to wear the full men's kilt outfit, or should you wear the kilted skirt and a full ladies' apparel get up.

Then I decided not to stir those waters b/c in a band I need the kilt deal anyway, and I'll learn the rest at WinterStorm.

In closing, if Tommy was the one wearing the ballgown, I might be interested in seeing it......


Trailing Drones
12-15-2005, 06:17 PM
I think everyone looks great in a kilt that FITS them PROPERLY. I have resorted to making my own. I love wearing mine...it fits me great and I feel perfectly girly in it. I have to admit I would not enjoy wearing a kilt which was all bunched up at the waist because it didn't fit right.

Try wearing a marching band uniform...hard to feel attractive in one of those.

As far as a kilt being off-limits because it's men's attire, maybe we should not be allowed to wear trousers either!

Tommy P.
12-15-2005, 06:50 PM
Terri, I would be honored to discuss this subject with you, as friends, over the drink of your choice in Kansas City.
And no offence ma'am, but you couldn't rope, tie, and stuff me in some ballgown!

Trailing Drones,.....let me tell you, as far as feeling attractive in a band uniform go,...there's been more than one woman in a kilt turn my head!

But then....as Lionel Ritchie once said; "I'm easy"! :D

12-15-2005, 06:57 PM
Tommy --- I'm pretty handy at ropin'......if I did a heel catch, threw ya, and tied two legs and an arm together with a tie that held for the requisite time, I maybe could get ya into the gown..... We'll talk about it in KC. Wear your wranglers, though.

I used to LOVE my band uniform, but it fit wonderfully! SO, guess I just need a kilt that fits. Working on that!


12-15-2005, 10:33 PM
Hey Lassies!
Men look great in the kilt because they don't have hips like we lassies - and broad shoulders don't hurt either. Ladies shouldn't wear any old kilt that they can find. Ladies kilts are made a bit differently in the waist and hip. As far as comfort - I love wearing my kilt - it fits me properly which is very important. Lee I agree with Lee, my old dancing kilt fit great (although I have so outgrown it :rolleyes: ), I was lucky when our band bought Triumph Street's old kilts years ago, I got a ladies kilt, it fits the way it should, and at one time, I could buckle it on the first holes in the leather straps.......! On the other hand, I wore my dad's old kilt when I was pregnant, and afterward, and he and I, although being related, aren't quite built the same through the waist and hips (he has a normal length waist and not much hips, I have a much shorter waist and bigger hips). The kilt works fine, but I feel more stuffed into it. Although losing the weight I keep telling myself I will eventually lose, will make a huge difference in fitting all of the above properly.

There was an article in Piping Times a few years back that openly questioned why women are wearing mens clothing (kilts) instead of proper womans kilt-dresses.
The women's kilt-dresses that are in many catalogs are so stodgy looking, I'd rather wear my dancing kilt than one of those.


12-15-2005, 11:50 PM
My police kilt makes me look big and dangerous -- especially from the 2" above my belt down to my knees. Then these tiny little legs stick out. The top of me is in a navy blue uniform shirt with a black tie and long sleeves. The pockets cover any bumps that might appear in the front.

On the other hand, my clan kilt is quite sassy and the fabric is a wonderful tight weave. It twirls -- it's got the fringe on the right like a man's, but it fits better than the band kilt that was made for me. Oh well.