Whether you know it as check, plaid or tartan, this pattern is very on-trend this season. We delved a little into the history of check and found some interesting snippets of fashion history:
Tartan is a pattern associated with a Scottish family (or clan), traditionally the clan owned the tartan and it could not be used by anyone else. Certain royal and 'free' tartans can be worn by anyone.
Plaid finds its roots in the Gaelic for 'blanket', referring to the long piece of tartan worn over the shoulder in traditional Scottish dress (see below). Although now primarily used in America and Canada to refer to tartan, plaid is another way to describe the tartan print and removes connotations from familial connections.
Check is in common usage here in Britain. However, check is not technically correct, as it actually derives from 'chequer' referring to the arrangement of a chessboard - check patterns are two different coloured squares that do not overlap.
The check pattern can be traced back much further than one would first guess. An archaeological dig dates the first check at 1200BC, found on the mummified bodies of Caucasians in Urumchi, China!
A Greek historian is the next to reference check in 100BC as being worn by the Celts, in the millennia preceding this, the Celts ancestors migrating across Asia, across Europe, to the British Isles.
It is a staple of the Celtic and subsequently Scottish dress until 1745 (AD) when the Scots were defeated at Culloden and George II banned the wearing of checks.
It suffered nearly a quarter of a century ban until the act was repealed in 1782.
Several figures of society and royalty paved the way for the popularisation of tartan but it was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1842, when they first visited Scotland, who set about making Scottish culture universally appealing.
Lumberjacks popularised the pattern in America & Canada, with Scottish immigrants wishing to reassert their heritage and the familiar onto a then alien land.
In the 20th century, fashion houses began developing and registering their own unique tartans, for example, Burberry. Checks soon became a fashion staple. Nowadays even hotels and businesses have their own tartans or checks!
Have we left you feeling inspired for all things check? We hope so! Our Winter Collection features many stunning check pieces, guaranteed to add a dash of colour to your wardrobe and to keep you looking stylish with these iconic patterns.
Checks really liven an outfit, which can be hard to do, especially in the winter months. Shop these easy to wear check pieces for an instant pick-me-up.
Featured pieces: Frill Front Blouse, Heritage Woven Scarf, Bouclé Coat
Mix check skirts with block-colour tops for a stand-out, yet classical ensemble. The best thing about these skirts? They are all made in British heritage mills.
Featured pieces: Checked Pleated Skirt in Rust, Checked Straight Skirt in Charcoal, Checked Pleated Skirt in Kingfisher.
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