The plaid / tartan pattern has seen many an adaption since we first penned guides to it in 2009 and 2010. Like so many trends from that period, the pattern gets a whole new lease of life amongst 2012′s fashion trends with the year’s final season carrying it into 2013. This trend isn’t just part of the spring 2012 charts, but we’re also foreseeing it as a leader in the following seasons of fall / winter 2012.
For these seasons, plaid continues to grow up from its schoolgirl days to a classy entity of skin bearing poise. To find out how to wear plaid, in the most fashion-approved manner, continue reading after the break.
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Plaid for spring / summer 2012
Changing the way the Scottish staple is worn, plaid / tartan in spring / summer 2012 comes with a huge dose of the vintage along with sensuality, layering and colour. Forget the red and black checks of 2009 / 2010, as this spring tartan / plaid is all about testing the waters with new fabrics and colour palettes all the while paying homage to femininity.
Plaid from Marc Jacobs
Take a look how it was presented across the runways. First up in New York, Marc Jacobs showed his love for the Scottish kilt and drop-waist via his spring / summer collection, where plaid-printed sheers with a modernist shine layered over chemise and crop tops. The play between a traditionally winter pattern and a summer weight is to be expected – there’s a large winter-cum-summer motif playing through fashion this season – and so it comes as no surprise that Rachel Comey’s also continued the see-through meets plaid by way of kaftans. For Comey it was less about the vintage, 1950s appeal of Jacobs and more about loosely fitted maxis which give you options should you wish to approach the plaid / tartan trend with a relaxed twist.
Plaid from Jil Sander
Jil Sanders’ collection was another to play to 2012’s love of all things vintage, introducing a figurative Grace Kelly to plaid in a modern world where feminism meets quintessential sophistication. Sheer and crisp chiffon in summery shades of lilac, blue and mint green plaid became the highlight of the collection.
Tartan clothing from House of Holland
For those of you not wanting to wear the trend with a strictly vintage twist you still have options. An overdose of pastel-hued tartan was seen in House of Holland’s spring / summer 2012 collection, adding a rock heritage to a label still relatively young and with the attitude to prove it. But here the real symphony of spring trends was seen on a single outfit. The cheeky layering of A-line skirts over tapered pants was all in tartan. Elsewhere it was teamed with a see-through mesh top and a visible metallic bra with animal print collars. You see what’s happening here – plaid / tartan is being styled through a whole mix of trends. It doesn’t have to be vintage and some interpretations might not translate 100 per cent across your wardrobe, but there are certainly elements you can still adapt.
The tartan / plaid trend for your spring / summer 2012 wardrobe is more to do with the fabrics and how you layer it, as opposed to the cuts. You want something light, verging on sheer, for the summer months. Colour wise, look for pastel shades and steer away from the clichéd red and black checked combination.
Plaid for autumn / fall 2012
When the days get shorter and the mercury drops, tartan / plaid will remain dominated by one idea: vintage revivalism.
Looking at the autumn (fall) / winter 2012 collections, Corrie Nielson presented plaid by way of midi-length tartan skirts and pyjama pants in a collection of shades of red, green, black and white. There’s definitely an air of the vintage to it, but Nielson’s collection sits differently to those of spring / summer 2012. In spring / summer 2012 tartan has a 50s / 60s air, Nielson instead gives it a much earlier vibe. And she’s not alone.
Plaid dress from Ruffian
Ruffian also made a statement with their countryside adaptation of plaid. Wide-legged trousers, A-line coats and immaculately tailored wide-legged pants highlight the collection, but the use of plaid is discreet. It has been panelled with plain-woven fabrics and strips of red, copper and military green performing a ‘peek-a-boo’ with the otherwise repetitive prints.
With tartan / plaid for autumn / fall 2012 , the change in fabric is a given alteration, but the change in the silhouette for the season is what is most prominent. As 2012 closes and 2013 opens, tartan / plaid moves away from its mid-20th century overtones, looks to an earlier period, and weaves in a spark of femininity and the season’s soft androgynous silhouette.
This pattern trend is most viable here, as plaid is essentially an adaptation from the men’s wardrobe. For fall 2012, don’t just wear a thick plaid button shirt with skinny jeans and a trench coat. Reinvent with the way you include plaid in your wardrobe. Go bold with plaid print pants or accessorise with tartan scarfs, shoes, collars or bags. Layer with heavier tartan items and don’t be afraid to wear print on print.
One plaid for all seasons
The curated wardrobe allows for trend pieces to be carried from one season to the next. So how to do that with tartan / plaid?
The tartan pantsuit, see Jil Sander for an example, can be an ideal for both summer and winter; wear it in solidarity for summer and layer with heavier plaid overcoats, capes or wraps in winters.
While the plaid / tartan silhouette evolves away from 50s / 60s vintage, that’s not to say that you can’t continue to wear the look into 2012 – it mightn’t dominate the trend, but the appeal of all things vintage will remain. For example, plaid high-waist skirts, ‘60s-style dresses and tapered pants are the amongst the looks that can travel with you for the next 12 months.
Some tips then;
- When buying plaid for your wardrobe, keep in mind the fabric you’re choosing and its wearability. Sheer silk, chiffon and other transparent fabrics are great for the heat, but if you spend the majority of your time in wet and cold regions, you might consider looking at heavier cloths as an option.
- Layering, be it in spring or fall, is a huge supplement to this trend. See our guide to summer layering for more ideas.
- Plaid pencil skirts are worth an investment, irrespective of what season you’re in. The look can always be updated by pairing it with other trends from that particular season.
- Experiment with colours and don’t just stick in the safe zone of Britain-approved red and black plaid.
For more inspiration on how to style plaid/tartan direct from the 2012 runways, head to the gallery above and click on the thumbnails.
Grunged up layering (7 Feb 2013)