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Issue 11 - The perfect fit

Scotland Magazine Issue 11
November 2003


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The perfect fit

DOMINIC ROSKROW praises the benefits of the kilt

I have just picked my own highly personal kilt, and I don’t think I have ever looked forward in such eager anticipation to a piece of clothing in my life.

To those of you who know me, hearing that clothes aren’t normally high on the agenda will come as no surprise. I don’t do sartorial elegance well at all.

I do hot and harried brilliantly. Put me in anything more than a t-shirt at any time between March and November and I’ll make singer Tom Jones look like the Sahara Desert by comparison.

I never look cool. Ever. Nor do I ever look dapper.

I like to think that it’s deliberate; that I’m staying close to my scruffy rock ‘n’ roll roots, when I had long hair, earring, ripped jeans and battered leather jacket. When I tended to go to bed at the sort of time I now get up at. And mocked people in suits for being sheep as I hung out with all my long-haired, rip-jeaned, scruffy jacketed friends.

But I’m kidding myself. I’m just scruffy. Or was, until I picked up kilt and accompanying outfit.

And now, not only do I look great – even if I say so myself – but every time I put it on I feel I really am displaying a certain nonconformist and rebellious streak. I swear I grew two inches just walking up Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to collect it.

Now the subject of kilts can spark controversy and debate. I’m English for a starter.

But here’s the killer – I have every right to wear this kilt, and I’m very proud of it.

The reason? It’s a Cornish national kilt, and I’m a Celt. Roskrow is a Cornish name.

I wouldn’t even have considered wearing a kilt if I hadn’t got into a conversation with Howie Nicholsby of 21st Century Kilts, who created it for me.

You may remember that earlier this year I reported how Howie insisted on dressing me in a kilt before he would accept an Icons of Scotland Award from me in New York. In conversations that followed he persuaded me that not only would it be acceptable for me to wear a tartan, but that I was all but duty-bound to do so.

And his view on the subject of who should and shouldn’t wear kilts? That whatever the purists might say, the more people wearing them, the more it will be accepted by a younger generation of people, and the higher likelihood that it will survive in to the future. If Madonna and Samuel L. Jackson wear one, he argues, anyone can.

I agree. But my advice is, don’t do this in halves. If you’re thinking of buying one then buy it from the bigger shops in Scotland and accept no substitutes.

You get what you pay for, and if you go for something from one of the top shops in Edinburgh or elsewhere in Scotland, it will last you a lifetime.

In this issue Kate Patrick provides a guide to the best outlets. And for what it’s worth, I think if you haven’t already done so, you really should think about it.

For me it means never having to dress up as a penguin again for dinner. I’m contemplating wearing the kilt for semi-formal events as well formal ones. Kentucky has already had the benefit of seeing me in full flow, and everywhere from Glasgow to Greenland is in my sights.

Just one small problem though – what does a Cornishman wear under a kilt?

Better get on the phone to Howie…