Happy National Tartan Day! Yes, do keep up at the back, the 6th April has been ring-fenced by the Scottish (…Americans, obviously) to celebrate formally this most glorious of patterns.
Very pleasingly, I was already planning a rather cringey love-letter to tartan, so it’s worked out well. In actual truth, a hankering for it hit mid-December and I haven’t shaken it since. But I was a bit worried because I’ve always thought of it as a rather wintery, even festive print in which to wrap oneself, so writing about it now felt weird- thank goodness the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in early April back in 1320 eh?
Suffice to say, tartan has it all, even a whole day to celebrate it. I bet paisley and gingham are off sulking in the corner.
Because its whole character is made up of many and various colours, and criss-crossed to make you feel extra-patriotic, how you wear it is entirely up to you...
For example, I wore it in the form of a particularly delicious satin mini-skirt (no, really) with a black polo-neck when I was tripping over the dog and spilling gravy on Boxing Day (like I said, festive) but I’ll pick out a lighter accent colour come spring-time- a white shirt or bright sweater, and I’ll have some season-appropriate pep-in-the-step in no time.
I must say at this point, beware the ACTUAL kilt, i.e. authentic wrap-around, woollen, pleated, two-belt fastening etc. Depending on your thigh girth, you’ll either look like Britney slutting it up in Baby One More Time (not a bad look, but leave it to her) or the reigning Caber Toss champ (not a bad look, but leave it to him). It’s also a dodgy territory populated by those dickheads who insist on ‘going back to their Scottish heritage’ at weddings and dangle a moth-eaten sporran round their waists before showing you ‘what they’re wearing underneath’ behind the posh porta-loos. *Shudder*
So instead let’s focus on tartan as an interesting print.
I have a special (plaid-lined) place in my heart for a good pattern. Maybe even two at a time (Arrest me officer!) And believe it or not, tartan is a good candidate for clashing.
I’ll wear my (admittedly pretty out-there) tartan trousers with a red Breton-striped t-shirt when the sun comes out, while knee-down I’ll keep things unexpected with pointy white ankle boots. I bought a lightweight, tartan-esque coat in the Mango sale which, due to its slubby texture looks as great with small-scale prints like polka-dots or weeny floral designs in similar colourways as it does with plain blocks of colour.
My trusty tartan scarf (my boyfriend of impeccable sartorial taste keeps trying to steal it, which I take as a good sign) enlivens any ‘meh’ outfit. I do tend to drape it about my shoulders rather than let it hang straight down to avoid any risk of channelling Sex and the City Charlotte’s husband whose willy didn’t work. (Gosh, I do have A LOT of tartan baggage).
The point is, baggage or not, plaid really does have the power to fast-track your outfit and take it from middle-ground to highland fling. Colour me Braveheart! (now there is a man who knows about baggage), and a happy National Tartan day to you!