I love plaid, it is my preferred way of wearing stripes. I inherently like it’s history and the connection to my small component of Scottish ancestry and I like it’s role in my life. My Great Aunt, whom I was very close to, took great pride in wearing her family tartan, it was mainly forest green and I associate Black Watch tartan with her.
As a child of the 70’s and 80’s I never wore a plaid flannel shirt, that was the domain of the kids who listened to AC/DC and wore desert boots and tight black denim. It just was not my tribe and we all dressed in ways so it was easy to spot fellow members of your tribe. My plaid was a red tartan mini kilt with matching scarf. I wore plaid in a dressy, slightly alternative way which reflected who I was, a good girl and a good student who liked the boys wearing the Joy Division t-shirts. I was a bit fearful of those kids listening to AC/DC who always seemed to be the best speed skaters at the local rollerdrome.
Plaid shirts really came into their own in my city in the 1990’s in homage to the Seattle music scene. I was fresh out of university and keen to make it in the business world. Whilst I enjoyed the music, the part of the look I was wearing was silk slip dresses with slouchy cardigans and only on weekends. I was influenced by the fashion on Melrose Place, trying to make it as a young professional. I had a fabulous black watch tartan woollen skirt suit, I always felt great in that suit.
In the late 1990’s I visited Japan for the first time. I remember how popular Burberry was and how lovely the women looked in their trenches and matching accessories. Tokyo was such an eye opener for me and my husband, we felt like we had landed in a cross between Tomorrowland and Blade Runner. I remember buying a short black trench from the Burberry store in Paris in 2004 and feeling so chic. I still have that beautiful coat.
So today I wear and enjoy plaid because it holds nice memories for me. I have a blackwatch jacket, that reminds me of Aunty Marj, a Burberry trench from Paris, and a tartan skirt, not a mini, that takes me back to that 15 year old who wore a red tartan skirt to her school social and danced with a handsome boy. I’m no longer afraid of wearing a plaid shirt and black jeans with my doc Marten boots with the lyrics of Back in Black ringing in my ears. I married the boy who occasionally wears his Joy Division and AC/DC t-shirts. I am a faster roller skater than him.