Contemporary kilts (also known as modern kilts and, especially in the United States, utility kilts) have appeared in the clothing marketplace in Scotland, the US and Canada in a range of fabrics, including leather, denim, corduroy, and cotton. They may be designed for formal or casual dress, for use in sports or outdoor recreation, or as white or blue collar workwear. Some are closely modelled on traditional Scottish kilts, but others are similar only in being knee-length skirt-like garments for men. They may have box pleats, symmetrical knife pleats, or no pleats at all, and be fastened by studs or velcro instead of buckles. Many are designed to be worn without a sporran, and may have pockets or tool belts attached.
In 2008, a USPS letter carrier, Dean Peterson, made a formal proposal that the kilt be approved as an acceptable postal uniform—for reasons of comfort. The proposal was defeated at the convention of the 220,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers.
Female athletes, especially lacrosse players, often wear kilts during games. These athletes typically wear compression shorts or spandexunder their kilts because during the contact sport, players often fall over and potentially expose their underwear. Kilts are popular among many levels of lacrosse, from youth leagues to college leagues, although some teams are replacing kilts with the more streamlined athletic skirt.
Men’s kilts are seen in many places in popular contemporary media, without attention necessarily being drawn to them. For example, in the Syfy channel (US) series, Tin Man specifically in episode 2, at time index 53 minutes, a tertiary character of a farmer who gives the main characters shelter is seen to be wearing a tan leather kilt, of modern fashioning, with large pockets, and a button front. Other side characters later in the miniseries are also shown wearing kilts, as a sort of working peasant garb. This, along with trends in the fashion and Gothic communities have led to a popularization of the kilt as an everyday form of attire, appropriate for any man or woman, wishing to choose an alternative to pants, shorts, or skirts. Some of these (marketed by companies like Utilikilt, Freedomkilt, Lip Service, and Tripp NYC) are made of PVC or Polyester-Cotton blends, however, this also makes them more affordable to the average consumer.