Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Textile Tuesdays : #7 Plaid

Today I feel like writing about plaid. It is autumn and, because plaid is originally made of wool, it is a good fabric for the cooler weather. Also, my husband is off to Edinburgh for 5 days so my mind is wandering to Scotland.

Plaid is about textile history but it is also about style. I usually think that a person who wears plaid has got style, a sense of history, and the courage to be bold. One of my 4 skirts is a Pendelton wool plaid. I have been getting some good wear out of her lately. It does take some confidence and a sense of adventure to put it on but I get tons of compliments on it.

Tartan plaids have been a symbol of Scottish heritage for hundreds of years. Different patterns and colors signify clans, activities, or rank. The name of the plaid often comes from the family name such as Stuart or Macintosh. In any case, the pattern is woven into the fabric in a crisscross pattern of thick or thin lines. There are hundreds of different patterns. My favorites are the ones that have light green and aqua like the Davidson, Campbell or Blair. You can still find companies in Great Britain that make and sell traditional woolen yardage, kilts, shawls, etc. in a huge variety of colors and patterns. They are quite expensive and, I think you have to be committed to the cause to go this route. One store, Donaldson's, sells yardage at about $65/meter. Kilts cost about $500.

The plaid does not stop at kilts and wool though. It has infiltrated high and low fashion all over the world. Just think of a lumberjack, a Catholic school uniform or a pair of golfing trousers. From Vivienne Westwood, to Lulu Guiness, to Burberry to Dolce and Gabana, the runway models were wearing it last year which means it is a big trend this year. You can find it at Anthropologie, J Crew, Gap, or Target or Barneys. I have to say, I wish I could have had this Maclaren Stroller when my girls were small. I did have a Maclaren. It was a work horse, but it was plain blue with green trim. I would have loved the plaid.

Let's not forget that vintage is big and vintage is probably one of the best, most cost effective, most earth-friendly ways to get plaid. Those old wools, if they haven't been eaten by moths, last forever. I love my vintage plaid skirts, scarves and jackets. You can find great vintage plaids on etsy.com. Look at this lovely plaid suit from Sally Jane Vintage. How about this scarf from The Vintage Closet? Let's not forget the dogs!!

The photo at the top is from Hoverfly.etsy.com. Isn't it fabulous!?

I hope you explore more about plaid and try it out if you are not already a fan.
I will let you know if I get a plaid shawl or blanket from the land of Loch Ness. I am crossing my fingers.


  1. Plaid shawl or blanket (with light green and/or aqua) duly noted. It would be a nice thing to wrap around the scotch bottles...

  2. Wow! There I am with my pooch :) thanks for posting our pictures!


  3. now i want little plaid jackets for my cats-- i think they could pull it off!

    love plaid-- and your post sheila!!

  4. I got a fab plaid wool bag from my husband's trip to scotland! Thanks for you comments everyone!