New You Gov research reveals that nearly four in ten Scotsmen are going commando under their kilts
It is an age-old question, the butt of saucy postcard jokes and movie innuendo the world over: what does a Scotsman wear under his kilt? In Scotland, the notion of the “True Scotsman” has long applied to one who does not wear anything beneath his kilt.
Nevertheless, Scottish sports stars like Andy Murray have admitted to wearing underwear beneath their kilts – indeed Highland dancers and athletes are obliged by the rules of their various games to compete with the underwear beneath their kilts. But what does your average Scotsman do?
You-gov can now lay the issue to bed. Overall, two thirds (67%) of male Scottish adults say they have worn a kilt, rising to three quarters (74%) for those born in Scotland. Of those who have worn a kilt, just over half (55%) say they tend to wear underwear under their kilts, whilst 38% go commando. A further 7% wear shorts, tights or something else.
Those who support Scottish independence are clearly a hardier sort and are more likely to wear nothing underneath their kilts (45% for those who voted Yes in the 2014 referendum vs 32% who voted No). The youngest and the oldest Scots are much less likely to wear nothing under their kilts – 20/21% compared to 44-46% for those aged between 25 and 64.
Those Scottish gentlemen who do wear kilts will doubtless be pleased to hear that Scottish women are big fans. As many as 91% of Scottish women say that men wearing kilts is an attractive look (67% of Scottish men agree). They are also in rough agreement with men on what should be worn underneath a kilt – 40% of women think nothing should be worn, whilst another 40% say underwear (the remainder are mostly don’t knows).
Scots overwhelmingly see kilts as an important part of their heritage, with nearly nine in ten Scots agreeing on this point. But there is an appetite to normalize kilts for everyday wear – 57% of Scots say that kilts should not be worn on special occasions.
Young Scots are slightly less enamored of kilts than their older kin, however. Scots aged 18-24 years old are twice as likely to say that wearing kilts is an outdated tradition (19%) compared to older age groups (9-10%). Perhaps this is because it doesn’t appeal to their sense of fashion – whereas older age groups are 79-88% likely to say that men wearing kilts is an attractive look, this drops to 62% for the youngest Scots.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons