Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Something Funny Going On Here

You might think it takes some bravery to wear a kilt around all day but I gotta tell ya real bravery is deciding to wear a kilt to a comedy club. Especially when it's a very small comedy club down south. And even more so if you plan on sitting in the front row right there in front of the comics. Having spent 10 years as a stand up comic myself, I knew it would be a dangerous maneuver. I also knew it had to be done since I wanted to see Marc Maron perform at the Laughing Skull Lounge in Atlanta on January 21 and so I made the trip down. I wore my Irish tartan kilt from Heritage of Scotland. A good looking kilt for a night in Atlanta.

It was my first visit to the Laughing Skull Lounge so I was a little surprised at how small it was. I think it seats 75 people at capacity. But it was a very nice atmosphere and I can see why many comics like to play the room. Four comics opened for Maron and fortunately only the MC decided to mention the kilt. Not as bad as it could have been so I considered myself lucky.

Maron did a great set and afterward I chatted with him. I told him about my year in the kilt and gave him a really nice Scottish tartan yarmulke I purchased from DesignKippah. I don't know, maybe he'll need it next time he goes to Scotland. Thanks, Marc. Great show! Enjoy the head kilt.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Many Is Too Many?

My last two kilts were delivered today and they are my first non "family clan" tartans. I didn't have plans to acquire any more kilts but two of the kilts I purchased from one company are so much fun to wear I had to order a couple more. I'll review the kilts and reveal the company very soon but as for now I'll just say that one of the new kilts is a "Black Watch" tartan and the other kilt is a generic Irish tartan. The Black Watch looks very classy and I wanted to honor my Irish heritage with the other kilt. Stay tuned for photos and reviews!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Awkward Questions And Comments

I've been wearing a kilt for 15 days straight now and today was the first time I got the "What's under the kilt?" question. Oddly enough it came from a man yelling it to me from across a parking lot. I responded with "You'll never know!" but afterward decided I should have yelled back "Same thing that's under your pants, only larger!" There will always be a next time.

In addition, two young ladies at different times said to me "I like your skirt" as I passed them. Both were corrected by the people they were with who informed them it was a "kilt." Honorable mention goes to the girl in the ice cream shop who asked me, "Aren't the purses called 'sporrans'?" I'll give her a few points since she actually knew that and because she fixed me up a delicious peppermint ice cream cone.

I have gained a new respect for women who sit down in skirts without flashing everyone in the room. I still have to master this maneuver. During these next few weeks, if you happen to be in a restaurant or coffee shop when I come in, I apologize in advance.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

That's Cold

I'm in Walmart, standing in line waiting to pay when a Walmart employee sees me from across the room and approaches...

Walmart Girl: Aren't your legs cold?
Me: Not at all.
Walmart Girl: I know if I was wearing a skirt my legs would be freezing.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Facing Fears

One thing I recognized early after I decided to spend a year in a kilt was that the experiment would be useful in helping me to face some of my own fears and insecurities and teach me some new skills in dealing with some of those issues. For much of my life I have performed as an actor and I even spent several years as a stand up comic. Despite that, I'm still a pretty shy and withdrawn person and I generally don't like to draw attention to myself from the general public. So why on earth did I choose to do something that would guarantee I would draw attention to myself when I'm in public?? It seems strange I know and I have to say the worst part of this experience so far has been having to face those uncomfortable feelings of being stared at. It's not something I think one bit about when I'm on a performing stage but off stage that fear has at times kept me from going into some public spaces.

Today I took on one of those fears. For some reason I've had this huge anxiety about wearing a kilt into a Walmart store. I'm sure it sounds silly and I know it doesn't make a lot of sense now that I've been in several other public areas in a kilt. But there has been something about going shopping at Walmart in my kilt that has caused a lot of anxiety for me. Well, today was the day I needed to make it happen so, ready or not, I took on the fear. As you might suspect, nothing really happened. I heard a couple of comments about kilts (nothing derogatory) and noticed a few stares but that was it. It's quite possible only a handful of people even noticed I was wearing a kilt. I want to say it was a success but I also know There's still a lot of anxiety there and it will take several visits before I can be comfortable with it. It must be done.

One podcast I listen to on a regular basis is Marc Maron's WTF Podcast. The podcast is essentially Maron  interviewing comedians and discussing the issues of the stand up comedy world and business. On one particular show Maron mentioned how his number one fear in life was embarrassing himself and yet it was very odd that he picked a career that almost guaranteed he would spend a good amount of his time embarrassing himself. I think that's the way I feel with the kilt. I've chosen to do something that will guarantee I draw attention to myself in public and yet that happens to be one of my great anxieties. This is why I think this year will help change me for the better. It will force me to confront some irrational fears and stare them down. Exciting but a bit scary too.

I'd like to mention that it was quite cold in Chattanooga today and once again I wore my Black Winter Kilt by Trinity Kilts. This kilt is becoming a favorite during the cold days. I decided not to john the kilt and I didn't regret it too much. Maybe in February I'll have to give Trinity Kilts another call.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dear John...

Well, it's only day 2 of the kilt wearing and I've already coined a new phrase. When it's cold enough outside that I feel the need to wear long johns under the kilt I'm saying that I must "john the kilt." Usage of the phrase would be " How cold is it outside? Should I john the kilt?" or "It's 16 degrees and I've got to work outside all day. I'm johning the kilt!" There are some who will say a true Scotsman would never john the kilt. Maybe johning the kilt makes one less of a man but It's hard for anyone to convince me you're more of a man if you have nads the size of raisins. I've read that it isn't necessary to john the kilt if you own a heavyweight wool kilt which, as of now, I don't. So until I acquire one I'll probably continue johning the kilt. For the sake of experimenting I'll even try going commando under the kilt in cold weather but I have a feeling, on the most frigid of days, I'll be johning the kilt.


Kilt Collection: AmeriKilt's AK Classic Kilt in Khaki




After my negative review about my Olive AK Classic Kilt from AmeriKilt, I decided today to wear the first kilt I purchased from AmeriKilt, the Khaki AK Classic Kilt. While this kilt is very similar in appearance to the second kilt I purchased from the company, the two kilts are made of different material and the difference is more than minor. Let me print a reminder of the description of the AK Classic Kilt from the AmeriKilt website:

AK Classic - Khaki

The only thing neutral about this AK is the color. Don’t let the soft hand fool you – it’s as hard as nails. The durability kicks ass – whether you're out having a few beers with the boys or installing that split rail fence out back. It's built for extraordinary comfort and longevity.


  • 100% pre-shrunk cotton, 8.5oz Chino Twill
  • Detachable sporran of the same fabric is included
  • Wide, tapered upper and lower aprons
  • Secures with six durable snaps
  • Extra wide belt loops for our 2in AK Belt
  • Back wallet pocket secures with a flap

Matching Detachable Sporran

We originated the concept. It’s 6in x 9in and of the same fabric as your AmeriKilt. Large enough for the usual gear... wallet, keys, phone, etc., our sporran has two snaps on the flap to help keep your stuff secure.

Back Pocket

We've included a generous back pocket with a flap that secures with a 1in square Velcro® closure.

Pleats
The pleats are sewn-in and sharp. The bottom edge is neatly serged with a lock-stitch to avoid frays and pull-aways. Our belt loops are sturdy and wide, made to accommodate our custom 2inch AKBelts.


If you did read the review of my other AmeriKilt you may remember that my biggest issue was in the heavier material the company switched to for its kilts. This kilt is made from the 8.5 Chino Twill as listed on the website description. Because of that it is comfortable and a seemingly strong and durable work kilt and fairly easy to maintain. Like most utility kilts there is some wrinkling and adjusting of pleats after sitting down for awhile but this kilt has nowhere near the issues the newer model has. I spent a good amount of time in the outdoors today with a pretty strong wind and the kilt stayed secure thanks to the six snaps. This kilt was so easy to maintain, I almost forgot I was wearing a kilt. I was reminded that this kilt was the reason I ordered another kilt from AmeriKilt.

It's too bad that AmeriKilt didn't stick with this type of kilt because it is well worth the purchase price. If I thought i could get another one just like it I'd order a black one. But with the new material AmeriKilt is using I'll have to go somewhere else.


Rating (out of 5): 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012! And so it begins!

Happy New Year from A Year In A Kilt! That is actually a wish from me, Rick Baldwin, and that year in the kilt begins today! That's right, I begin my year-long journey wearing a kilt starting today in what will actually turn out to be A Year And Four Months In A Kilt. I decided to go on with my initial plan to wear a kilt every day in the year 2012, but also still incorporate my idea to wear a kilt every day of my 50th year. That will make my journey end on April 27, 2013 the day I turn 51 and the day I rediscover my love for pants. For now though it's on so come along with me and find out what it's like to spend A Year In A Kilt!

Kilt Collection: AmeriKilt's AK Classic Kilt in Olive


This kilt from AmeriKilt is the second kilt I purchased from the company and I will review the other kilt later, however I will have to mention it here occasionally as I compare the two kilts since, in my opinion, they are quite different.

First of all, let's look at the description of the kilt on the AmeriKilt website:



AK Classic - Olive
An Olive AmeriKilt is handsome and comfortable – and most versatile. It's perfect attire for a hike on the trail or on casual Fridays.

  • 100% pre-shrunk cotton, 8.5oz Chino Twill
  • Detachable sporran of the same fabric is included
  • Wide, tapered upper and lower aprons
  • Secures with six durable snaps
  • Extra wide belt loops for our 2in AK Belt
  • Back wallet pocket secures with a flap

Matching Detachable Sporran

We originated the concept. It’s 6in x 9in and of the same fabric as your AmeriKilt. Large enough for the usual gear... wallet, keys, phone, etc., our sporran has two snaps on the flap to help keep your stuff secure.

Back Pocket

We've included a generous back pocket with a flap that secures with a 1in square Velcro® closure.

Pleats
The pleats are sewn-in and sharp. The bottom edge is neatly serged with a lock-stitch to avoid frays and pull-aways. Our belt loops are sturdy and wide, made to accommodate our custom 2inch AKBelts.



I purchased this kilt from AmeriKilt because I really liked the first one I purchased from them, a khaki AK Classic. Unfortunately, I can't say vary many positive things about the olive AK Classic. When the kilt arrived I immediately noticed a difference in the kilt material. The khaki kilt I purchased was a heavy material, yet still soft enough for comfort. The olive kilt is a much heavier material. It has the feel of a heavy canvas backpack or a tent even. The material is so heavy that the pleats had gotten extremely misshapen in shipping and it was impossible to get them ironed out correctly. I decided to take the kilt to the cleaners to have it professionally pressed before I wore if for the first time. That did a decent job at getting the original pleat creases back, but it still wasn't perfect. In fact, the kilt seemed to not even be sewn correctly. When I tried it on, the kilt was very uncomfortable and the heavy canvas-type fabric was stiff and had no "flow" when I moved around. I felt as if I was wearing some sort of plastic kilt. I sent an email to AmeriKilt describing my problems with the kilt and received the following answer:

A number of our customers have indicated they wanted a heavier weight fabric - the original AK was thought of as too "lightweight". As a result, over the past year we transitioned our fabric from an 8.5 oz Twill to a 10oz Duck. The new fabric is the same as is used to make the popular "Carhartt" work trousers. It's very durable and - after washing and break in - becomes quite soft and comfortable.
My advice for your new AmeriKilt is to wash it in COLD water with some fabric softener. This will reduce the stiffness. When the wash cycle is done remove the kilt while it's damp and hang it on the line - hold each pleat at the bottom and "pinch" the pleat from bottom to top. This will keep the pleat while it air dries.


Seemed like a lot of trouble to go through before my first wearing but I gave it a shot. I washed the kilt in cold with fabric softener. After the kilt dried I ironed each pleat until they were as sharp as possible. The kilt still seemed out of shape but I hung it up until I could wear it for the first time. That first time tuned out to be today, New Year's Day 2012.

I must say the washing and fabric softener did nothing to help this kilt. When I first put it on, it had a nice look to it but it was still stiff and very uncomfortable. I needed to go out and pick up a few things so it was a good time to put the kilt through the driving test. I drove down the street to the drug store and when I got out of the car the kilt was frozen in a shape not unlike a ballerina tutu. I had to try to refold each pleat back into shape before I went into the store and I think I did an okay job with that but the kilt still didn't feel right. When I returned home, again the pleats had "exploded" outward. The material is so stiff that it freezes into whatever shape it was previously. After getting out of the car, you're still going to be wearing a sitting down kilt. It's totally uncomfortable, hard to manage and not useful.

If you intend on sitting while wearing this kilt be prepared for something like this. Or worse.

I don't think I will go back out in public with this kilt. I thought I could at least use it for a work kilt but that seems impossible at this point. If I could get a refund for this kilt I would do so immediately, however, I doubt that's possible after washing it and wearing it all day. I find it odd that even after getting the email that AmeriKilt switched to a 10oz Duck material, as of today the website describes the kilt as being made of a 8.5 Twill. So even though the company is advertising a 8.5 kilt they are sending customers the 10oz. At this point I plan on running it through the washing machine several more times with fabric softener just to see if I can get the material to relax enough to be wearable. After paying almost $100 for this kilt I hate to just toss it away. Maybe in the end I will end up with a wearable, useful work kilt.

If AmeriKilt continues to manufacture their kilts this way there is no way I can recommend this kilt. This is a shame because I really liked the lighter version. My request to AmeriKilt is that they return to the lighter fabric, or at least give people a choice as to which version they would like. If that is the case I would say stay away from the 10oz Duck AK Classic AmeriKilt. If that is not the case, I would just say stay away from AmeriKilt kilts.


Rating (out of 5):