Haute Historian: Check It Out – The Tartan

September 19, 2011 • Haute Historian, Magazine

The Tartan, it’s a must have pattern for any hipster wanting to look…well, hip this season. And while the 90 degree angled criss-cross woven threads of varying colors is a fad among those who want to look effortlessly cool, the tartan is actually a fabric that was once worn exclusively by royalty; although, that’s not exactly its origins.

While the act of weaving dyed woolen threads into varying sized squares, dates back much further than modern times, the Tartan, or plaid as it is regularly referred to today, is most commonly thought of as a Scottish tradition. Prior to the 1800s, each area in Scotland would have a popular tartan and although it is assumed that each clan had its own plaid, certain tartans were popular in certain areas only because of preference and the dyes available to them. It was only later when tartans were adopted into women’s clothing and military uniforms that tartans became something to distinguish oneself as wealthy and affluent. The Victorian Age had many clans, military divisions, families and other groups register their official tartan. Popular tartans during this time, were the ‘Stewart, McDonald, McGregor, McDuff, MacBeth and Prince Charlie’ and could be found on anything from fashions and accessories to home décor, much like they can be found today.

However, none of these plaids will be as recognizable or popular than the Burberry Check. Originally designed for the lining of their ever popular trench coat in the 1920’s, the large navy, red and tan check pattern is used on just about every item Burberry sells and is even more recognizable than their actual logo, the Equestrian Knight. Unlike the other plaids hipsters will be wearing this season, the Burberry Check will be worn by men and women alike to show their wealth and affluence. While the plaid can be found on shirts, it’s much more likely to be seen in the colder months wrapped around men’s and women’s necks or on bags, ties and other accessories. Yet while Burberry Check seems to have a much grander beginning than that of its look-a-likes, Thomas Burberry began his clothing house as one of outdoor wear. Burberry became popular thanks to its technology behind their trench coat which used pretreated threads to keep the rain out. So with such a beginning, maybe hipsters will opt for the more popular plaid, but probably not.

1. Burberry Fall Ready to Wear 2011
2. Burberry Trench, $995
3. Burberry Mega Check Shirt, $350
4. Burberry Check Shirt Dress Fall 2011, $450

— Bonnie J Brown

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

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One Response to Haute Historian: Check It Out – The Tartan

  1. Alisia says:

    I really like the first jacket. It’s very hip, but still has traces of its origins.

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