Temperatures here in America are plummeting these past few days as an arctic cold front moves in. It was six degrees this morning at my home in western NC! Many places across the country are reporting lows of 40 below or more!
All this has got me thinking about cold weather kilt wear. It seems that whenever I have my kilt on as I walk down the street in the winter months I get the same comments -- "Aren't you cold in that?" The truth is, I am usually quite comfortable.
Before the holidays I was walking down the sidewalk on the WCU campus on a particularly chilly day. I think the temperature was in the 20s. I was wearing a very heavy wool sweater (so warm that I can only wear it on the coldest days); a heavy knit wool bonnet; leather gloves; wool hiking socks and boots; and (gasp!) pants.
Now my head, hands, feet, and upper body were perfectly warm. But my legs were freezing. It was obvious as to why, the only thing between my legs and the frigid air was a single layer of cotton cloth. I couldn't help but thinking that I would be much warmer if I had my kilt on!
I would have, of course, chosen one of my warmer kilts for the day. My warmest kilt is actually a four yard box pleat, made from ultra-heavy Harris tweed. From my waist to the knee I would have been insulated in multiple layers of the heavy woolen cloth.
Below the knee I would have had on my kilt hose; again, I would have chosen one of my warmest pair, heavy knit wool hose. They would have kept my feet just as warm as my wool hiking socks, but my entire lower leg would have been warm in addition.
The only exposed part of my body would be my knees. And if I had on my tweed inverness cape, as I probably would have in those temperatures, my knees would have been covered, as well -- plus my entire body would have had an additional layer or two of insulating wool.
All in all I would have been much warmer in my kilt than I was in my trousered state. I thought about this again yesterday, as the highs did not get out of the low 20s in my area, and I was dressed pretty much as I described above, sans the inverness cape, and was quite comfortable -- a bit too warm, even at times.
So don't let people who suggest the kilt is not appropriate as a cold weather garment fool you. Just look at the country that the kilt originated in! Scotland is not exactly known for its tropical clime! If you are cold in your kilt, I might suggest you need a heavier kilt, or you need to accessorize better for the weather. Thick woolen hose, heavy wool bonnet, tweed jacket or inverness cape, and you'll be snug as a bug in a rug!