I Wore A Kilt On A Building Site And I Loved It

Hard hats, safety goggles and sun tan lotion seemed unlikely on a building site not so long ago, but a hi-vis kilt?
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Let me start by saying that, I am happily married (to a woman), am the father of four children, and aside from one drunken but worryingly memorable dalliance with a silk nightie when I was about 17, I have never harboured any transvestite leanings.

However, I must admit that my curiosity was piqued when I first heard that Swedish workwear manufacturer Blaklader had added a heavy-duty black denim kilt to its product range. In fact, I was so taken with the item that I actually invested in one with my own hard-earned cash so that I could test drive and review it without in an independent, unbiased and deeply butch manner.

First off, this kilt is seriously well built. It’s heavier and thicker than a pair of jeans so straight away any concerns about stray breezes causing an unplanned unveiling were put to the back of my mind. Putting it on proved to be rather more of a challenge, however. For the past 40+ years, I have grown accustomed to the well-proven zip/button combination so the process of wrapping this kilt around my waste and then fastening it with two big, heavy buttons felt oddly unnatural.

However, once it was on, I must admit that I quickly acquired something of a swagger; not quite Braveheart but certainly heading in that direction.


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The kilt is remarkably comfortable and, after a few hours of intense self-consciousness, I largely forgot that I was wearing it. However, the presence of the kilt flashed back into dramatic clarity the first time I sat down. Even though I had eschewed the traditional Scottish “not for me laddie” approach to underwear, I was suddenly very aware of just how exposed I was in the undercarriage department. And rather more quickly than I am happy to admit, I settled into smoothing it to the back of my legs as I sat down which, when paired with three days of beard growth, gave me the air of the world’s least convincing transvestite.
The pockets (and oh my, does this thing have pockets) were superb and plentiful. In fact, my mobile phone, camera, wallet, asthma inhaler, and notepad each had their own pocket and there were more to spare.

But will it ever become a common sight on UK construction and demolition sites?

Given the level of banter and abuse among construction and demolition workers, it seems unlikely. However, the wearing of hard hats, safety gloves, goggles and the issuing of sun tan lotion seemed equally unlikely not so long ago, so I certainly wouldn’t dismiss the concept. And while I opted for the tres chic all-black model, it is also available in ultra-high vis yellow which makes it even more suitable for site work (though not, perhaps, in winter).

I am reliably informed by the good people of Active Workwear who sold me my kilt that there have been less than a dozen of them sold in the UK so far and that, to the best of their knowledge, mine was the first to be sold to the South of England, which I guess makes me something of a trendsetter.

So if you pass a construction site at any time in the future and you see a worker wearing a rather fetching black denim kilt, just remember who started the trend.