Plaid is one of those prints that always sneaks back in to our wardrobes as soon as Fall comes around.
The material reminds me of a golden time, where Sherlock Holmes solved mysteries, and women wore white gloves and dress suites, and sipped on gin and tonics while their husbands were out playing golf and the children were sleeping. For me the print is nostalgic, and holds a heritage that goes back to a historical era.
The first time I remember seeing plaid as a print was way back in 1997, when I watched clueless for the first time. Di and Cher had on plaid skirt suites with knee high socks. The look was fun and young, and a look I would love to wear if I had the confidence, the legs, and well a plaid skirt suit. Of course, this is not the first time plaid has made an appearance in fashion.
The print (I’m constantly switching between material and print because sometimes it’s a print and sometimes it s a material and its hella confusing) originated in Scotland, and is formally known as Tartan. It is recognized by the criss cross pattern of various colours and was originally made of wool but is now made in various other materials. The word plaid is used by North America, however plaid is tartan cloth worn as a kilt accessory.
The print has taken on many looks in its long history. The plaid print lent itself as the uniform for soft grunge and punk rock fanatics. A key item in wearing this look is plaid print pants, usually in a red or black pattern. I’m sure even without a visual aid you already have an image on your mind of plaid pants, doc martins, a heavy black belt and a slightly oversized shirt that may or may not be torn in some places. A simple search into Google for punk clothing with will show you exactly what I mean.
The next look that plaid has been linked to is the very same look I described earlier from that scene clueless, I am going to call it “Plaid Princess”. This look was seen during the 60s, among all kinds of women. A women wearing a full-length plaid dress in soft tone, with a cape to match, with shoes high enough to make you look live you have grown, but not entirely like you have had a significant growth spurt, is the look I conjure up.
One of the strongest eras for plaid was during the end of the 80s through 90s, in my opinion. Simple look at movies made during this time, will show an abundance of the print. Women wore it, men wore it, and children of all ages wore it. For me, the strongest piece of plaid from this era is the lumberjack shirt. The lumberjack shirt, is possible the most versatile piece of plaid you can own. It is a garment that has transcended the nineties. Pairing your plaid shirt with denims (boyfriend or skinny) with a white shirt underneath and a foot apparel of your choice is a look you cannot go wrong with for your everyday attire.
One of the most famous plaid prints is undeniably Burberry. Burberry has become a distinguishable by their beige, red, and black plaid print. You can spot a Burberry scarf or Trench coat a mile way, by just simply looking at the print that is on it. The Fashion house has been around since, 1856, and introduced the famous print in the 1920s.
The print really caught my eye during this years Chanel Fall collection. The collection firstly, was impeccable, that must be stated before I continue. The Collection featured a number of plaid prints, both a primary print as well as an accent on pieces. My favourite plaid pieces were a blue skit suite and Chanel purse, and a beige, black, blue and red print skirt.
The plaid print is one of falls favourites. For fall, we often think of warm and neutral colours, making a Burberry scarf, an ideal accessory when trying to keep the chill out. Although I have not seen plaid over here in South Africa during our fall/winter season, it is a print I have been seeing all over the trends section.