Kilts vs. Lederhosen

I have always seemed to identify more with my father’s Scottish ancestry than my mother’s German ancestry, and I’m not sure exactly why. I have three kilts representing two different versions of my clan tartan, and a wide variety of accessories. As Oktoberfest approached this year and my wife & I decided to set up a stand selling soft Bavarian-style pretzels, I decided to get more in touch with my German side. This, of course, meant purchasing lederhosen.

Since I’ve obviously covered all of the really important subjects of our time in this blog, I decided to share with my loyal readers how I feel about these two very different outfits.

Lederhosen and Kilt

In the picture on the left, I am wearing my Clan Gunn weathered modern kilt and a Prince Charlie at a Rabbie Burns supper in 2008. I have absolutely no idea why I was holding my beer like that. I must have been making an important point.

In the right-hand picture, I am wearing my new Bavarian lederhosen at an Oktoberfest celebration. My lovely wife is sporting a traditional dirndl. I have absolutely no idea why I was not holding a beer in this picture. It was Oktoberfest, for goodness’ sake.

I think the best way to rate these two traditional outfits is an issue-by-issue comparison, summing up the points to determine the victor at the end. Let’s get down to it.

1. Cost

Kilts are really expensive. A proper traditional tartan kilt will run hundreds of dollars. By the time you add in kilt hose, ghillie shoes, flashers, sgian dubh, sporran, dirk, belt, buckle, and lace-up ghillie shirt, you’re probably at $750. Make it a Prince Charlie jacket, waistcoat, and tie, and you’re well over $1,000. You can get started with lederhosen, on the other hand, for under a hundred bucks. If you already own an appropriate button-down shirt and halfway reasonable shoes, all you have to add is some long socks and you’re golden. Sure, you can spend a lot of money on lederhosen and accoutrements, but you don’t have to.

The point goes to the lederhosen.

2. Comfort

Kilts are very … freeing. Lederhosen can bind. They’re made of leather, after all. For general walking around, the kilt wins. No question. On the other hand, when wearing lederhosen you don’t have to worry about your clothes when you sit, squat, climb a ladder, or do the keg-toss at Oktoberfest. That’s a big advantage.

Nonetheless, this point goes to the kilt.

3. Bathroom breaks

The point goes to the kilt. This should not require any explanation.

4. The ladies

Women don’t tend to ask what’s under your lederhosen. Nor do they try to peek and find out. You might consider this either an advantage or a disadvantage. When you add in the fact that women at German events wear dirndls, it makes the decision pretty obvious, though. Dirndls are clearly the sexiest indigenous native garb on the planet.

St. Pauli Girl beer label

You might argue that it’s easier to pick up girls in a kilt. This will depend entirely on where you are and how you look in the outfit. Since this isn’t exactly a scientific comparison, I’ll go ahead and quote the Wikipedia article on lederhosen:

“Lederhosen have remained regionally popular and are popularly associated with virility and brawn.”

Virility and brawn! Got that? I’m going to give this one to the lederhosen.

5. Authenticity

Both outfits are authentic garb of their native countries, and neither has a history as long as folks would like you to think they do (see my “History of the Kilt” post).

I’m going to have to call this one a tie.

6. Hats

Hats are entirely optional both with a kilt and with lederhosen. The hat I’m wearing in the picture above may not look all that German, but shortly after the picture was taken, I added a feather and a beer bottle cap to the hatband. My fedora immediately became an authentic Bavarian hat. So there.

Another tie.

7. Pronunciation

I’ve heard quite a few people struggle to pronounce “lederhosen.” I’ve never heard anyone mispronounce “kilt.”

Pretty minor issue. Half a point to the kilt.


This was a tough contest, but the kilt won by a half a point. And it’s a good thing, too, because I need to go convince my wife that I need a new pair of kilt hose and a new buckle. I’ve been eying this awesome new sporran, too…


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