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Tartan-tastic Tees and Trews

By 17th September 20082 Comments

It’s more Scottish than a plate of steaming haggis, and like those Sunday night re-runs of Monarch of the Glen: tartan is back, and this time it’s got checks appeal. Whether it’s “preppy”, “grunge chic” or a “twist on traditional Nordic styling”(??!!) I’m not quite sure, but I do know that fortunately you don’t have to be completely clad a la William Wallace to model this trend.

Ladies tartan wrap, for chilly days

Ladies tartan wrap, for chilly days tartan tartan

As you can see from this primitive plaid form, only few can pull it off…make that very few, but as tartan comes back this season in the world of high fashion, it’s less about functional highland dress and more about sentimentality, with nods to the nationalistic checks being picked out here there and everywhere. But don’t let yourself be lulled into a false sense of nostalgia, there’s nothing retro about it, in fact there’s something about the reinvention of traditional tartan that makes this trend that little bit rebellious, almost like the kilt clad man who claims to be a true Scot whilst raising his eyebrow in a knowing manner. Vans have translated tartan into skate-Scot with lettering picked out of a tartan skateboard, and other skate style brands have followed suite by neon-izing the colours. Zoo York have even given tartan a gangster style remake. This time tartan is less Balmoral, more Billy Connolly.

Vans T-Shirt

AM T-Shirt

Zoo York T-Shirt

But there can be too much of a good, or in its rebellious reinvention – bad-ass, thing. Like all the pleasures in life, tartan is best served in small and select doses, kept simple to avoid tartan army checkmate. When sporting the tartan trend, it’s perhaps best to avoid any other form of ‘old person’ wear such as crocheted cardigans, tan stockings and the humble ear trumpet, otherwise you could fall into the dangerous territory of senior citizen in a kilt syndrome. One another word of warning before anyone gets too overexcited; at present it’s only the tartan element of Scot-wear that has returned to the catwalks, though I’m sure the tam o’shanter and Rab C. Nesbitt’s sultry string vest will have their time at some point. And if, despite my most serious warnings, you do decide to go the whole hog…I’ve seen some devilishly handsome tartan trews…

Check out his checks

Check out his checks


  • Fashion Design Contest says:

    I’m a sucker for checks. Specially Tartan. I feel that the whole look is cool.

  • marisa says:

    do you have t-shirts and beanie hats made from tartan. If so what styles are available and at what cost?