Great Scot! Tartan Takes Mens Fashion This Winter

Great Scot! Tartan Takes Mens Fashion This Winter

Though tartan may immediately call to mind the image of a Scotsman wearing a kilt, the fabric actually has a larger and remarkably rich history. In “Tartan: Romancing the Plaid,” Jeffrey Banks and Doria de La Chapelle explore and interpret this history. Banks goes so far as to investigate the psychology of plaid — he describes in his book, for instance, a post-9/11 surge in plaid.


Tartan can make  dull outfits more interesting. (

Tartan can make dull outfits more interesting. (

On a basic level, tartan is a pattern of intersecting, multicolored lines. However, by changing the size of the checks and the colors, plaid can become a very flexible fabric. A tartan with large checks and loud colors is very different from tartan with small checks and soft colors; consequently, tartan can be incorporated into many styles.


In the 1970s, punks appropriated tartan for their own fashion. It was a pattern associated with a subcultural movement. Today, tartan has worked its way into mainstream fashion and can be worn on both casual and formal occasions.


Tartan can be a great way to easily add pattern and color to your style. Simply pulling on a tartan shift, for instance, can break up basic, block-color schemes.


Both tartan’s heritage and practicality make the fabric a critical staple of men’s fashion.


Do you own any tartan? Let me know below, or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness

Ryan Lawless

Ryan Lawless is an undergraduate student at Fordham University. He studies English and Spanish as majors, and philosophy as a minor. He won the Margaret Lamb Writing to the Right-Hand Margin award for creative fictional writing, and has been published in Fordham's literary magazine The Ampersand, and its newspaper, The Observer. Ryan grew up in New York, but is also an Irish citizen. He enjoys fiddles, coffee, and music.

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