I've noticed an influx of tartan prints on the high street and have decided to buy into the trend. I can remember a few years ago being in New York in a store (think it was Saks, not sure) and 2 American women deliberating over a few different tartan scarves to buy, clueless about their heritage...
Carven and Vivienne Westwood 2011
There is something very empowering about wearing Tartan - it is after all, the dress of the Scottish armies of old (I've put a little more about it's heritage below). It is no surprise that fashion houses like Westwood use it - it's iconic Brit-wear on a high level. Lovely to see french brands like Carven using it - and well too, I love some of the pieces in their AW11 collection. It won't either be surprising that my first favourite piece is by Alexander McQueen, another label that embraces it's Scottish routes:
Alexander McQ at NetaPorter - £470
Secondly, ASOS have intepreted the trend differently - in the form of Braveheart style capes - there are lots of different colours. And they're only £17.50 so well worth the money - stamps on trend straight away and perfect for autumn walks on weekends. Get yourself one here.
Also from ASOS, I really love these two skirts. Same print but say totally different things. The longer one, has tailoring very similar to a Vivienne Westwood piece. The yellow is very out there, but so it everything this season and it does look fabulous on. At £30 or £45, they won't break the bank either. Buy the short one here, and the longer here.
Trousers are harder to pull off - these prints are big and wearing too much on it can look a little OTT. But I've found two pairs that look good on, both is blues which are less of a statement and also more flattering. The 'Rothwell Trousers' by NW3 is in my family's tartan (Gordon, see below) and so I have a little affinity with it. The shape works well on a range of body shapes too - even me and my 'chicken thigh' legs looked pretty good in them. Buy them here for £119.
And then a pair for the slighter frame, at American brand Tripp NYC. Buy them here for £75.
Accessories wise, you really can't beat this little bracelet from new name J W Anderson (one to watch, keep an eye). Buy it here from the Young British Designer's site for £45. Great little Christmas present, and a billion pounds cheaper than a Hermes, and you get to support an up and coming name in British fashion.
Any way, I got talking to the two women in New York and was really surprised to hear that they (and apparently to them, most people) didn't know the heritage behind a tartan. Tartans are age-old prints that were originally worn being part of a particular clan (group/tribe) in Scotland, and then spread to each family having a different check. In Scotland, they're still really popular - and are worn as kilts.
In the rest of the UK, the prints are used more for decorative means often on the inside of coats and as scarves. To see if your family name has a tartan you can do so on The Scottish Tartan Register here. Might be a good Christmas gift for a family member with a difference. My grandmother was from the Gordon family, who's tartan is used all over the place - the primary school around the corner from my house uses it in their uniform!
Finally, I couldn't mention tartan without bringing up this pair of flats I saw a lady wearing yesterday in Selfridges. Christian Louboutin (what else) and £635. Buy them here (if you have lots of money and no sense).
South Molton St Style