If you live in the Pasadena, California area, you may have noticed a very distinguished-looking clothing store recently open on East Colorado Boulevard. And even though the store is fully-stocked with stylish clothes of all shapes and sizes and colors, there’s one article of clothing you won’t find anywhere on the premises. Pants. The store, Off Kilter Kilts, is Southern California’s first multi-brand retail destination for modern kilts. Owner J.T. Centonze pulls no punches about why he opened the store. “I’m on a quest to liberate the world from the tyranny of pants.”
Centonze himself converted to a pantless way of life several years ago. “I bought a kilt and said ‘you know, this is the direction I’d like to go’ and I was right. It was extremely comfortable, convenient and it just made sense.” After tiring of the wait to purchase his kilts at occasional Renaissance fairs and Highland games, he decided to open his own kilt store where he could begin freeing the common masses and spreading his kilt gospel to the ordinary citizen. “We can put you in a kilt for construction work. We can put you in a kilt for office work. We can put you in a kilt for the golf course or basically anything in between,” says Centonze.
One of the more unique aspects of Off Kilter Kilts is its focus on modern kilts, utility kilts and work kilts rather than just traditional wool tartan kilts. “The store focuses on modern kilts, for two reasons,” Centonze says. First, we’re in southern California, which is not conducive to wool and second, modern kilts have a wider audience. This isn’t to say that we avoid the tartan or the Scottish world, but I’m Italian and there aren’t a lot of traditionally-made Italian Kilts,” he says. While remaining sensitive to the fact that many people see kilts as a symbol of national and family pride, Centonze admits “We are an inclusive mission, respecting the past while building the future. Since getting kilted about eleven years ago I have worked towards getting the kilt accepted as a modern garment. Off Kilter Kilts is the natural outgrowth of that mission.”
If you’re familiar with the kilt world, you’ll recognize plenty of the familiar name-brands hanging from the racks at Off Kilter Kilts, including Utilikilts, Sport Kilt, Damn Near Kilt ‘Em, and StumpTown Kilts. Additionally, you’ll find all the needed accessories to complete your kit set-up, from sporrans and sgian dubh to socks and hose to sashes, fly plaids and belts.
Finally, if your new kilt isn’t enough to put you into the Celtic spirit, Centonze has collected his favorite independent bands from across the country and curates an impressive catalog of CDs for purchase, including Marc Gunn, Barleyjuice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Poxy Boggards, The Belles of Bedlam, Three Pints Shy, and the Humble Hooligans just to name a few. On Saturdays you can even join Centonze and his staff listening to Marc Gunn’s Irish and Celtic Music Podcast.
In the spring of 2016, you can stop by and meet J.T Centonze and the crew of Off Kilter Kilts at California’s Renaissance Pleasure Faire. “We’re really looking forward to this opportunity, and a few other big faires, festivals, and games in the upcoming year. We’re always on the lookout for other places to spread liberty from pants!”