Plaid (also known as Tartan or Check)—is everywhere Fall 2017. Seen on shorts, pantsuits, pleated skirts, coats, full-length skirts, and dresses. Most of the plaid looks seen on the runways this season take their inspiration from 70s plaid but there’s a splash of 90s grunge thrown into the mix. Where and when did plaid become fashionable and how did the style evolve?
History of Plaid
The story of plaid began in the 1500s – but the style didn’t begin specifically as plaid, but rather as Tartan. Becoming Scotland’s identity and a part of its history, Tartan and its unique cloth patterns served several functions. The design helped distinguish one Scottish clan from another. A plaid, in contrast, was a Celtic blanket or kilt.
In the 1700s the British banned Tartan because of its connection to the Scottish Rebellion of 1745 (against the union of Scotland and England). The Dress Act prohibited Tartan in the country for nearly half a century. Plaid did not become legal again until 1782.
During the 19th century, plaid made its way from Europe to the U.S. Buffalo plaid originated in the Midwest – its black and red checkered pattern became essential for outdoor workers — most commonly, lumberjacks.
In the 1970s plaid was everywhere in the US – from clothes to domestic items. Plaid originally had sweet and outdoorsy connotations, but eventually it became associated with more of a sexy look – and this vibe continued into the 1980s. The 1990s marked the association of plaid with the Grunge movement – bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana embodied the plaid look.
Today the fashion world continues to love plaid! We’ve featured dresses, tops, shorts, and skirts that embody the plaid look of Fall 2017. Look, click, shop and enjoy!