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How To Wear… Tartan

If the word ‘tartan’ brings to mind sporrans, haggis and a distinct lack of underwear (or maybe Cher Horowitz from Clueless) then you may be surprised to know that it’s one of the hottest trends coming off the catwalk this season.

But tartan is by no means new within the sartorial world. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood have been using tartan in their collections for years, but it’s only more recently that this plaid pattern has become popular on the catwalk and high street.

Vivienne Westwood Fall 2006

Vivienne Westwood Tartan 2006


Tartan comes in a whole range of colours, materials and styles, and this season it’s been taken to a new level with additions of accessories such as studs, leather and tassels to add a punk edge (although again this is nothing new – the punk-tartan connection has been around since the 70s).

Leather and chains used in Versace’s Fall collection.

Versace Tartan


A more romantic-gothic take at Saint Laurent.

St Laurent Tartan


Dapper tartan blazers at Dsquared².

D2Squared Tartan


A pastel makeover at Stella McCartney with oversized jackets and coats.

Stella McCartney Tartan


The concept of tartan is all very well when you’re walking a catwalk, but how do you wear it outside of fashion week?

I personally prefer more subtle pieces of this statement pattern, like this scarf from Primark.


© Lily Hartley 2013

Accessories allow you to give a nod to the trend without making a big commitment to tartan. For those who are more daring and want to shout ‘tartan!’ from the rooftops, larger pieces such as coats and dresses can make for fantastic Autumnal style.


A nod…

Johnny Loves Rosie tartan bow, £16 from ASOS.

Asos Tartan

This Daisy Street tartan skirt (£19.99 from ASOS) uses darker shades to keep the print more subtle.

Daisy Street tartan

A shout…

This Belle Heart jacket, £32.99 from New Look, is a statement piece that would go perfectly with a plainer outfit.

new look tartan

Plaid skinny jeans, £19.75 from Forever 21.

Forever 21 tartan


A nod…

The soft colours in this Barbour cashmere scarf, £39.95, make for a subtle (and cosy) touch of tartan.

Barbour tartan

Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn tartan sneakers, £52.50.

Ralph Lauren tartan

A shout…

Fred Perry shirt, £80

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 17.20.40

Similar to the Dsquared² blazer shown previously, this smart number is from Topman for £80

Topman tartan


With wearable colours and flattering cuts to suit all tastes, tartan is the trend to try his season. Be it high street or designer, you’re guaranteed to look more highbrow than Highland this Autumn/Winter.



4 thoughts on “How To Wear… Tartan

  1. Hi although I’m not a follower of fashion, I love tartan and it always comes across as an autumnal pattern for some reason. Possibly because real tartan is woven from wool? Warmth on cooler days/nights? I remember wearing a black watch tartan pattern in the 1980’s as a dress. I think Princess Diana had sparked the trend that year. Top Shop was still in its infancy or was it still Chelsea Girl in those days – can’t remember? Anyway I loved the colours, blues and greens and wore this dress out because it was fun and grown up in equal measure. Just exchanging info 🙂

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