The Occasional Woman: Plaid!

The Occasional Woman: Plaid!

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Well, we are really into Fall now! And I want to highlight one of the textiles we enjoy during this season—PLAID! Plaid is actually a pattern with many variations, originally woven in wool. It was developed in Scotland, where the temperature is low, but the sheep count is high! Plaid, technically known as “tartan”, came to prominence in the early 1700s, and the patterns and colors varied by geographic area and access to dyes. When a group of people, clans and other associations wove the same cloth, the patterns then came to identify these groups.

Tartan was not only a Scots design—evidence of the weave and its fabrics were found in Central Asia, dating back to the 8th Century BCE. And it was a symbol of Scots solidarity during the Jacobite Rising in England and Scotland, where it was outlawed by the British in the Dress Act of 1746, making it illegal to sport the plaid!

The big Scots migration to Canada and the United States in the 1800s introduced the joy and loveliness of the Tartan weave to the Western world. Lumberjacks wore plaid, as did Paul Bunyan, and farmers the continent over. And we LOVED it!

Wool plaid is very warm, and comes in hundreds of colors and compositions, and it really screams autumn. Does it have to be wool? No way! I personally own many cotton flannel items, and love them.

Plaid has never been out of fashion, either. In the 1970s, we were pelted by plaid in many forms; kilts, skirts, and some truly hideous bell-bottom pants. This does not need to be re-enacted, but a nice, subtle plaid on skirts, pants and jackets will always be fashionable. And for all of you fans of the Catholic Schoolgirl look, rock on—do your thing!!

Plaid-woven scarves are de rigeur for those in wintry climes. I have a big beautiful woven mohair shawl, in purples, grey and heather-tones. When I drape it on in winter or fall, it just feels like a hug.

So, I certainly DO recommend checking out some nifty kilts, soft wool tartan blazers, and welcome autumn with the hug of history.

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Category: Transgender Fashion


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