In the words of the amazing Myrtle Snow...
I'm just mad for tartan!
Frances Conroy in American Horror Story: Coven
Her character is basically Grace Coddington if she practised witchcraft
My obsession with tartan could be attributed to my Ulster-Scots ancestry, but it is probably just as much a result of my mother's love of Rod Stewart and the Bay City Rollers.

This much maligned and stereotyped fabric is experiencing a renaissance, moving away from the cliches of biscuit tins and tourist tat into a revered and respected piece of fashion history.

Both my maternal and paternal families have Scots heritage, each with their own clan tartans:

my family/clan tartans: campbell & foster 
my campbell tartan shirt
(£8.00 from primark & my 50p river island sale bow tie)
Tartan is a woven pattern rather than print and while often referred to as plaid, plaid actually refers to the tartan blanket worn over the shoulder in traditional Highland dress. Don't you feel better for knowing this? Aren't you going to feel smug when you can correct someone? You're welcome.

Tartan has been used in some of the most iconic fashion trends of the 20th century, when it was adopted by the British punk movement as a motif, using what was once the fabric of the gentry as a sign of rebellion. It is here we saw the Stewart tartan (the official tartan of Queen Elizabeth) turned against the perceived upper classes.
malcolm mclaren & vivienne westwood were the pioneers of punk fashion
Tartan was seen in many collections at the recent London Collections:Men, Paris and Milan men's fashion weeks. Using tartan in unusual ways such as bold accents, oversized prints or in modern colours means it can be reinvented season after season while still maintaining its heritage.

tiger of sweden spring 2014

agi & sam spring 2014

Nowadays we can embrace this fabric for whichever reason we want. Whether you want a bit of anarchy or some genteel cool, this versatile and timeless fabric is perfect. A recent sweep of the high street sees tartan in abundance so there is ample opportunity to add some to your wardrobe.
topman spring tartan accessories

A scarf or tie is an easy and understated way to bring tartan into your wardrobe. I advise wearing a tartan tie with a darker shirt or it could end up looking a bit school uniform-y.

I have been on the search for a pair of tartan trousers since before Christmas but to no avail. The closest I can find were these (they are cropped but would probably be a good length on my little legs); but my local Topman didn't have them in stock. Gutted.
topman red/black tartan check trouser £34.00 £17.00
river island spring collection

River Island is leading with red tartan, but one of the best things about this fabric is the vast array of colour combinations. While it is interesting to explore your roots with a family tartan, by no means should this limit your choice! 

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  1. Hi Ian, I have nominated you for the Liebster Award I hope that's alright! x


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