It is very important to know that “When is it socially acceptable for a man to wear a kilt?” Any damn time he feels like it. Seriously—a kilt is a perfectly acceptable garment for most any occasion except for swimming or skydiving.
The great thing about a kilt is that it is always appropriate—you just accessorize appropriate to the occasion.
If you are just going down to the pub with friends, a simple belt and plain sporran (to carry your keys and cash) is great.
For a formal event, the same kilt could be worn with a dress sporran, formal hose/socks and a variety of coatees/jackets/waistcoats appropriate to the occasion.
Just get one that fits—it should never hang past the top of your knee. That’s the usual mistake people make with kilts—they wear them too long.
Otherwise, kilt on!
A skirt, in the end, is just a skirt. Besides, as far as kilts go, my own traditional Scottish number was far less controversial than Kanye West’s leather one. Nor am I the very first person to wear a loose-hanging conical garment around his waist in New York. The literary man-about-town Jon-Jon Goulian chronicled his childhood and emergence on New York’s cultural scene in 2011’s The Man in the Grey Flannel Skirt. He did not, however, want to discuss kilts, telling me last week, “there’s only so much brain space I can spare for any one thing in my life, and dudes in skirts has taken up far more than its share.” To which I say, fair enough. The man has paid his dues.
When is it socially acceptable for a man to wear a kilt? Nevertheless, I encountered some skepticism from my male colleagues to the kilt as an everyday choice. While they were perfectly fine with my having donned one, they did not appear ready to follow my lead. The political reporter Philip Bump told me “Nope” when I asked him if he would ever consider wearing a kilt. Alexander Abad-Santos, a culture reporter, was curious but ultimately unconvinced: “I guess the only situation that might goad me into wearing a kilt is if it were very hot outside, and the kilt could give my sweaty thighs some kind of relief. But, aren’t they made of wool? Isn’t that warm? Yeah, no thanks.” Others expressed similar reservations – though nothing more serious than that.