Do Scots men really not wear anything under their kilts? The truth behind the tradition about real Scots and no underwear | The Sun

WHEN it comes to kilts, a question many ask is ‘’what do men wear underneath?’’

From what is worn underneath a kilt to where the popular garment originated – here’s everything you need to know.

Do Scots men really not wear anything under their kilts?

Traditionally, men wouldn't wear anything under a kilt – and many still don't.

In 2016, YouGov asked 315 men what they wore under their kilt.

The survey found that 55% of men said they wore underwear and 38% admitted to wearing nothing. Whereas 7% said they wore shorts or something else. 

The survey also found that younger and older Scots are much less likely to wear nothing under their kilt with 21% saying they would go regimental compared to 45% of men aged 25 to 64 opting for the “true Scotsman” option.

An excellent example of when underwear is always worn is during the Highland Games – where the athletes will wear shorts under their kilts.

Scottish country dancers are also required to wear shorts when competing.

And it’s not just sports where wearing underwear or shorts underneath a kilt is required.

Almost all kilt rental companies ask their customers to wear underwear with the kilt.

Where did the kilt originate?

The history of the kilt stretches back to at least the end of the 16th century.

Since the 19th century, the kilt has become associated with the wider Scottish and Gaelic cultures and is often made of a woollen cloth in a tartan pattern.

Like most items of clothing, the kilt has undergone a process of evolution over time.

At the end of the 16th century, the kilt first appeared as the belted plaid or great kilt.

This was a full-length garment, in which the upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder or brought over the head as a hood.

The kilt many are familiar with today closely resembles the small kilt or walking kilt, which did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century.

The smaller, tailored, "walking" kilt was adopted by the Highland regiments of the British Army – passing into civilian usage during the early 19th century, and has remained popular ever since.

One example of the popular kilt still being worn was in September 2023, when King Charles showed off his new tartan as he was joined by Queen Camilla and Princess Anne at the Braemar Gathering Highland games.

Named after the monarch, the King Charles III tartan is green, blue, and red and was designed by the Scottish Tartans Authority earlier this year to mark the coronation.

The Scottish Tartans Authority said: "The green, blue and red tartan was designed by The Scottish Tartans Authority earlier this year to mark the occasion of the coronation and in recognition of His Majesty's strong support in preserving the culture and traditions of highland dress and Scottish tartans.

"The unique design presented to His Majesty, is based on the Balmoral tartan set which dates from 1850 and continues to be worn by the King and members of the royal family today.

"The new tartan has been officially registered with the Scottish register of tartans which is administered by the National Records of Scotland.

"The cloth, woven in 100 per cent Scottish wool by Lochcarron of Scotland in Selkirk, includes a central triple stripe motif – one broad and two narrow.

"This is a feature of royal tartans previously worn by His Majesty including the Duke of Rothesay, Duke of Rothesay Hunting and Lord of the Isles Hunting tartans.

"The colours have been matched to the natural dyes of 18th century tartan specimens in the collection of the Scottish Tartans Authority."

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