You might know it as plaid, checked, or that criss-cross print reserved for skirts on schoolgirls. But it’s know best as tartan, and we want to talk about it.
A unique textile pattern that’s been around for centuries, with a history extending across Europe, tartan is well known for its involvement in Scottish culture. Originally personalised into designs that would distinguish people from other clans, regions and families.
While it’s been around since way back when, tartan continues to hold onto it’s place into the fashion world, no matter the century. And certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to hit an expiry date any time soon.
Because of its place in history, tartan-gone-wrong gives off a heritage vibe that can make a young girl look like an old lady. Instead, go for a short hem and modern cut to avoid looking frumpy. Finish with statement heels like Karlita for a contemporary twist.
When the 70s hit and punk began to dominate youth culture, tartan was seen as a symbol of the authority they hated. So punks began to wear it as an anti-establishment symbol. Take some inspiration from them by pairing tartan pants with military style boots like Jen. To keep it fashion friendly, ditch the safety-pin earrings and mohawk for natural waves and soft makeup.
The debut of Clueless in the 90s gave us Cher’s totally cute three-piece outfit. The Beverly Hills fashion icon showed us that there was a new tartan in town, and it was no longer punk, but preppy. For this more refined look, wear a Chanel-style tartan blazer with some strong boots, like Jackie, paired with leather short shorts.
Clashing prints isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, we encourage it. Pair a coloured tartan scarf with a monochrome houndstooth coat for the ultimate battle. To make sure you don’t go overboard, pair it all back with black, and try Patti. The zip detailing adds a touch more punk to your look.