Tartans—or plaids, as we call them in North America—are everywhere in Scotland. Everything you could possibly think of most likely can be found in a tartan pattern here, from blankets and kilts to stuffed animals and cookie boxes. Tartans date back to between 400 and 100 BCE! They evolved over the centuries to represent certain clans (families) in the British Isles. Now they are often thought of only as what bagpipers wear.
However, tartans are still very current. I myself have a close relationship to tartans because I have to wear a green-and-blue plaid kilt to school as part of my uniform. Not to mention that my mother’s side of the family is Scottish, so we have our own family tartan. Some designers even embrace their family tartans. For example, Alexander McQueen designed several collections featuring the McQueen family tartan. (Stars like SJP, Emma Watson and Rihanna have all rocked it.)
But tartans are not just for school uniforms and celebrities. Plaid shirts are a universal wardrobe staple. They’re versatile, comfortable and chic—the ultimate layering piece. What could be better?
Lately, plaids have been popping up in innovative new styles and colors. This Mimi Chica Lace Trim Plaid Bralette is a perfect example. It looks so cute with these skinny jeans and slouchy cardigan, but it could easily be paired with a white skater skirt or a pair of high-waisted jean shorts.
Tartans are especially appropriate now, with fall around the corner and the resurgence of the punk or anarchic trend. Several designers showed strong tartans on the runway recently:
My advice for fall: treat yourself to some tartans!