The Rich History of Plaids

Tartan Bow Tie

When we first saw this trend in 2009, we thought that it was just a passing fad. Guess what, it’s here to stay!

Did you know that Plaid has been with us for 5 centuries? The earliest purchase of this clothing was recorded by the treasurer of King James of Scotland. It was said in the records that the King purchased a Tartan Plaid in 1497. Plaid was considered a royal fabric until in 1746 it was used in Rebellion against the British Crown. There was even a point in time where an Act of Parliament made it unlawful to wear one.

Plaid Rebellion

Rebellion of dapper men!

In India, Plaids are referred to as Madras. These textiles are hand-weaved and perfect for spring and summer. They create this fabric in a certain way to make it very lightweight. The process has been handed down from generation to generation where the yarn was spun from the tip-skin of ancient trees called Karvelem Patta. Archaeologists reckon that the site of these trees has been inhabited since 3,000 B.C. Now that’s a very long time ago.

When the east met the west in the Age of Exploration, it was love at first sight. The plaid fabric became the hottest textile during the 17th and 18th century.

Picking your Plaids


The signature plaid of Burberry: one of the most distinguished patterns in history.

There are many types of plaid. The most common ones are the Tartan, the Gingham and the Tattersall (checkered).

Tartan Plaid

Tartan Plaid is commonly used as kilts in Scotland.

Gingham Plaid

Gingham is very popular with preppy kids nowadays

Tattersall Plaid

Tattersall is usually called checkered. It is perfect for casual Sundays.

Tattersall Plaid 2

Tattersalls are the hottest plaid right now.

There are generally two types of plaid according to how it’s made: the printed and the woven. Printed ones are usually cheaper but the woven plaids are generally reversible. You should remember that a plaid’s quality can be viewed from a distance. At first glance you can see if it’s substandard or high-end. The proportion of colors should be appropriate with each other. Remember, you should always consult different color palettes.

Large Print Plaid

Large printed plaids are perfect for thin guys

You should also consider the size of the print in relation to your body. Smaller prints give an overall positive effect to the horizontally challenged. Medium and large size prints are perfect for lanky guys as it can make you seem to gain pounds. Heavy vertical bars add to the illusion of height while heavy horizontal ones will add to the appearance of width.

Colorful Plaid

It’s all about color coordination

You should also consider your present wardrobe. Always ask yourself, will you need a wardrobe revamp? Will you need new accessories? New trousers? Plaid can be very tricky that is why you should be very careful when wearing one.

Subtle Plaid Suit

Subtle plaids on a suit.

Plaid Double Breast

Plaid suits are back!

Plaid is very laid back and informal. Nonetheless, wearing plaids doesn’t always connote casual setting. With the right color coordination and matching, a plaid shirt can be used in the office or in a formal event.

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