My School Kilt: An American Boy in Scotland

I was 11 years old when my dad got a job in Scotland in 1983. I was a typical American boy in the 1980s. I grew up in jeans and "T" shirts. I did occasionally wear short pants during the summer, but I never had a short pants suit or ever wore kneesocks. I had never even heard of a kilt. I grew up in Houston, Texas and knew nothing about living abroad.

My dad worked for an oil services firm and the North Sea oil boom created a lot of job opportunities in' Scotland. Was I in for a surprise when we moved. It all sounded kind of exciting to me, moving to a foreign country. We had never even traveled abroad for vacations. I was a bit unhappy about leaving my friends, but off we went to Scotland.

I was enrolled in a preparatory school, a sort of private elementary school. I was really surprised when I saw the uniform. I was soon decked out in a bright red blazer, but to my surprise also a pair of short grey pants (which they called trousers) and knee socks. That was bad enough as basically grew up in jeans. As I said, previously I had only worn shorts even to play in--and even then not to often. So the idea of wearing shorts with those knee socks didn't appeal to me one little bit. I felt like "a right cissy" as my Scotish school mates would have phrased it. I was really glad none of my fiends back home ever saw me dressed like that.

The short pants, however, weren't the worst of it--not by a far shot. The blazer, tie, and shorts were just for every day school wear. No going to school in comfottable jeans over there. For special occasions we had to dress up in a kilt. Well you can imagine what good old Texas red neck boy thought of that. I knew nothing about Scotland, all I knew was they were making me wear a dress! There wasn't a lot I could do about it though. My mom thought I was being silly and told me how "nice" I look. (I can tell you that 11-year old boys are all that excited about looking "nice"!!) My sister was rather amused by it.

I remember the first time I had to wear them. I put my grey school shorts on underneath. Well you would thought I had commited some sort of henious crime when I got to school. As far as I was concerned it wasn't any ones business what I wore under my stupid kilt. But apparently in Scotland it is just not done.
Mark Andrews

Christopher Wagner

Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Web Site:

[Main kult page]

[Introduction] [Chronologies] [Style Index] [Biographies] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Frequently Asked Questions]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Last updated: March 29, 1998