I have heard stories of a mythical kilt fit for Hephaestus' relentless toiling with fire and iron, a garment so hardcore, so manly, and so utterly awe-inspiring that Odin shed from his sacrificed eye a single tear of admiration when the garment was first completed. This mingling of pleats and power became known as the legendary Leather Utilikilt, and it was thought to have vanished from this world with the cessation of its production so many moons ago...
You could imagine my excitement at having the honor of seeing one of these beauties, discontinued for an undisclosed amount of time at UKHQ. Luckily, I was introduced to one of the famed kilts and its owner, a new friend of mine who was fortunate enough to procure one a few years back, and I got to see it in action at the gathering where we met.
I'll try my best to let the awesomeness speak for itself, but if you've been reading for any period of time, you know I have to throw in my praise. Apart from the thousand-and-one hardships this garment can withstand given the durable nature of leather, it is also quite insulating. On the particular night I was introduced to its wearer - who, by the way, is active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, a testament to longevity of medieval proportions itself - it was particularly chilly outside, and he was without a worry in his cozy leather leg-tent. That is normally one of the only downfalls of living a kilted life: the cold can be bitter, unless you're a mind-over-matter kind of guy (as I claim to be, when my Texan genes aren't screaming "You're from the south and you suck at winter - get yer ass inside!") Usually I find that a nice, long pair of socks fixes the problem and rather detracts from the overall cold, but we'll see whether or not I'm forced to invest in a pair of long-johns this season.
One of the advantages of my Survival, though, was the ample pocket space. I think my friend was just as excited about my kilt as I was about his. At any rate, one of the only downsides of the Leather model was the lack of storage space - notice the sporran (granted, he pulls it off nicely, and part of me thinks it adds some measure of character and tradition.) If I'm not mistaken, it comes with one back pocket for billfolds or cigarettes or what have you.
And of course, what's a kilted gathering without hammer and claymore? (Why I've seemingly begun to stick out my tongue is beyond me. Perhaps I was trying to satiate a subconscious need to taste the awesomeness drenching the atmosphere of the room.)
I figured at the time this photo was taken that it might present a little too much testosterone for some readers, so I made sure to include the following:
Nothing like a cute little puppy to help calm things down. That flash almost ruined the opportunity... lucky you, eh?
So now that that's all said and done, any guesses as to how much a leather kilt would go for? Last time I checked, they had been asking about $800 per Utilikiltarian, but at one time they may have been as low as $700. Again, they're off the market (for now), so until production begins again we can't know for sure. I'd be interested to see if any improvements are added or if anything changes. Meanwhile I'm happy with my collection so far. Speaking of which, I'm planning to dye my black Original soon, so expect some before-and-after shots so you can get a good comparison of what a year-and-a-half's worth of wear-and-tear will do to the color (I don't think I've ever used that many hyphenated phrases in a single sentence before.)
I'll leave you with a token of my allegiance to They Who Clothe Me, who also sell many other garments, if you're interested in showing some spirit but maybe can't afford a kilt just yet. I believe the hoodie I'm wearing goes for $32 without shipping, but you're welcome to browse their site again and find out for yourself.
See you next time, and let the legend be remembered!