Kiltmono for Robbie Burns

Yesterday, January 25th, was Robbie Burns Day, a celebration of the life and work of Scottish poet Robert Burns. Traditionally, a Burns Supper is held, an evening filled with bagpipes, haggis, poetry, whisky, and laughter. A few weeks back, a family friend came over while this outfit was on the mannequin, and he jokingly asked if it was for Robbie Burns. It got me to thinking, how could I combine the two, and this “kiltmono” is what I came up with! I’d intended to do it yesterday but this flu season has been kicking my butt over and over again, and I could barely get out of bed. Thankfully today was better.

I hiked the kimono up quite high, to what would be roughly the length of a kilt. The white obi is to echo a crisp white dress shirt, and the black haori calls back to the formal black jacket typically worn with a dress kilt outfit. I chose the red accessories to tie together the red accents in the haori and in the tartan of the kimono. The sporran is my father’s, as is the sgian-dubh (dagger). Traditionally, the sgian-dubh is worn tucked into the sock with a formal kilt outfit, but it reminded me of the traditional kaiken dagger worn by Japanese brides, so I tucked it into the obi. The shoulder fur is reminiscent of both traditional fox fur kimono shawls and a pelt that would have been worn for warmth in the Scottish highlands.

Honestly, I’m kind of shocked at how well this whole experiment came together. As much as I love traditional kitsuke and “proper” kimono coordinations, I also really love demonstrating how modern and versatile these garments can really be. When we stop viewing kimono as rigid, regimented garments with strict prescriptive rules, and start remembering that they are first and foremost clothing and were once worn every single day, we’ll all be able to have a lot more fun with them while still remaining respectful.