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Mad about plaid: 5 things you need to know and 10 tips to make them your own

Check mate

Mad about plaid: 5 things you need to know and 10 tips to make them your own
Although similar, plaid, checks and tartan aren't identical

Think plaid and images of '90s grunge, Scottish history and Clueless (1995) come to mind—a diverse group of cultural and historical references. The term plaid is commonly used interchangeably with checks. Both they have similar physical traits, but are not identical. The rule of thumb—all plaids are checks but not all checks are plaid. 

#1 What is plaid? 
Today, it refers to a pattern that comprises of crossed horizontal and vertical bands of varying sizes and colours that meet at a 90 degree angle, reminscent of the criss-crossed lines on Scotland's traditional apparel—the great kilt—a garment worn on the left shoulder as part of the national costume.

#2 What about tartan?
This refers to the specific and identifying lines woven into the plaid of Noble Scottish families, who have their own signifying pattern, specific to their clan ie. tartan is a type plaid.

#3 The pattern has been on the moon
In 1969 Alan Bean an America astronaut of Scottish heritage took a piece of his family tartan during his Apollo 12 mission. Contrary to popular belief, he did not leave it behind in space.

#4 Wearing plaid was once illegal
The checkered print became the uniform associated with rebel forces after the Jacobite Risings which saw a series of wars between Great Britain and Ireland. The British parliament implicated Dress Act 1746 to legally ban the apparel and was only lifted in 1782.

#5 You may be pronouncing it wrong

If you're reading this article in order, you would've read the word 'plaid' 10 times. How do you pronunce it? Say the word out loud. Does it sound like 'played' or does it rhyme with 'bled'? Does it matter and is there a correct pronunciation? The origins of the word come from an old Gaelic term, whereby the -ai sound is pronounced as a short -a.



Now that you know a little bit more about the crosshatch print, here are some of our favourite checkered looks from Acne Studios, Dries Van Noten, MSGM and Self-portrait that graced the runway for Autumn/Winter 2018, and tips to make it your own.

On the hunt for plaid? Head to Club 21's multi-label online store for a selection of the famous checkered print. 

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Text: Stephanie Boey

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