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Plaid has become an iconic pattern in America. Not only has it been a fashionable print for years, it also has some holiday connotations.
Known as plaid in the US, this checkered print is actually a tartan. Historically, tartan was the print that was on a plaid, which is the Gaelic word for blanket and is commonly a part of Scottish traditional costume. However in the US, the two words are interchangeable.
Outside of its moniker, plaid has gone through a variety of phases in fashion history. From it first being a Scottish cultural item, the print traveled to America and became a big hit with both the working class and the fashion elite in the mid-1800s. Women wore the print on everyday dress, while Woolrich Woolen Mills created the buffalo plaid checkered print that became an instant hit for the male working class.
As the print continued throughout the twentieth century in the US, it saw a rise in separates during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. At the same time in England, the print became synonymous with the Punk scene with many ironically sporting the Royal Stewart tartan, which is Queen Elizabeth’s chosen print.
As fashions changed, so did the association of plaid in American fashion. Just like many of us, it went through a preppy fad during the 80s and then transitioned into a 90s grunge phase. And now today, it has become the number one print to wear ironically by Hipsters.
Besides it’s rich fashion history, there’s also a festive spin to the print. Since the popularization of Christmas in the US, plaids have become synonymous with the holiday season. This is due to the print being worn on cold weather staples, like long john underwear.
Now the print is as iconic on the holidays as emerald green or crimson red. In fact, many sport it to show their festive spirit. So whether its for the holidays or worn ironically, plaid is a print that never goes out of style.