The history of the kilt stretches back to at least the end of the 16th century. Although the kilt is an item of traditional Scottish highland dress, the nationalism of that tradition is relatively recent. It was only with the Romantic Revival of the early 19th century that the highland kilt was adopted by Lowlanders and the Scottish Diaspora as a symbol of national identity. People from other countries with Celtic connections, some Irish, Cornish, Welsh and Manx, have also adopted tartan kilts in recent times, although to a lesser degree. Similar clothing had long been abandoned by related cultures such as Gauls, and Scandinavians.
The kilt first appeared as the great kilt, a full length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over head as a cloak. The small kilt or walking kilt (similar to the ‘modern’ kilt) did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century, and is essentially the bottom half of the great kilt.
The word kilt comes from the Scots word kilt meaning to tuck up the clothes around the body. The Scots word derives from the Old Norse kjalta, from Norse settlers who wore a similar, non-tartan pleated garment.
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has been associated with the wider culture of Scotlandin general, or with Celtic (and more specifically Gaelic) heritage elsewhere. It is most often made of woolen cloth in a tartan pattern.
Though the Scottish kilt is most often worn mainly on formal occasions or at Highland Games and sports events, it has also been adapted as an item of fashionable informal, and formal, male clothing in recent years