KILTS!!! I love them, what more can I say. They are an amazing piece of fashion. Why more men don’t wear them, I can’t seem to understand. At present I have 9 and it will be growing from there, thanks to Kilted Bros in downtown Cleveland. While there may be some Irish and Scottish in my lineage, my love for them is because of how they look and feel. After putting on my first one, I was hooked. I have always been fascinated with them but seemed to lack the courage and accessibility to wear one. At least until I moved to Cleveland almost two years ago. My best friend, Tammy Mellert, had mentioned that a local kilt vendor was at Pagan Pride and they had a shop downtown. I promptly replied that we needed to go. My heart was racing with excitement and fear. I laid awake thinking about the possibilities. Her husband had worn one before and said he liked it. I figured if he could, so could I. My mind was filled with the possibilities. I poured over their site studying all they had to offer. My mind reeling with options and getting ideas as to what I wanted. I tried not to get my hopes up on any particular style, for fear of them not having it. I studied the videos on how to measure and what would work. Finally, the day arrived and we went to their shop. One of the representatives Eric was working that day. We advised him that I had never worn a kilt, but I did know my size. I looked over their stock and immediately fell in love with a tartan that was mostly purple. Tammy said that should be the one I tried on, she knew that purple was one of my favorite colors. The other being black, which was also in the tartan. It is called the Pride of Scotland. So, finding my size, I absconded to the dressing room to ditch my pants. I knew that tradition stipulates to wear them regimental, so I dropped my undies and began to strap into my kilt. Once I had it on, I knew that I was in love with it. However; I hadn’t stepped out of the dressing room yet. My nerves kicked in and immediately was afraid of how I would look to others. I knew I had to come out or get dressed. I swallowed my fear and opened the curtain and stepped out. Both my best friend and Eric said that the colors worked very well on me. I stepped in front of the mirror and saw myself for the first time. I knew I liked it, but still had the fear in the back of my mind that “men don’t wear skirts.” Tammy assured me I looked good in it and I knew I wanted to, so they only thing to do was buck up and buy it. I did and haven’t looked back. I wore it out of the shop that day and her husband had also worn his in solidarity. We went to a few places before heading home, to get the feel of wearing it in public. It was freeing to wear something so comfortable. I loved it so much that in two weeks I went back for a second one. Slowly, my kilt wardrobe began to grow and I wanted to take it to the next level and start wearing them more. The next step was to wear them to work. At the time I was working in retail as a manager of a Sunglass Hut, since fashion is part of what drives their culture and the uniqueness of fashion is their mainstay, I thought I would give it a try and ask them. They wanted to see pictures to make sure it wasn’t gimmicky. I assured them that it wasn’t costume quality; in fact my kilts cost easily $150. After showing a picture they conceded to allow me to wear it. So, I donned my favorite kilt, The Pride of Scotland Tartan, and went to work There was that initial fear when I got out of the car and crossed the parking lot. The tassels on my sporran beating in time to my racing heart. Then I heard it; someone recognized I was in a kilt. “Awesome Kilt” was yelled at me across the parking lot. Immediately my confidence and ego shot through the roof and I strutted the rest of the way to work. I wore them almost every day and people would see me through the door and stop in to see me. This in turn always resulted in a sale. It was awesome. I wear them every chance I can get. When someone asks me why my response is always “try one on and feel how comfortable it is, you will never go back.” My thanks goes out to my best friend Tammy Mellert for dragging me to get my first one and to Kilted Bros (www.kiltedbros.com) for being a local small business in Cleveland. Without them I wouldn’t have this addiction. I will be reviewing their store soon, so stay tuned.