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Plaids: A Checkered Past, Present And Future. Jenn Su Tells All

The one thing that all Temper authors have in common, is that we like to go tempestuously bold. Whether it’s oversized #Normal jewelry, shameless Shanghai street style or stripes all the way, in every way… We relish the spotlight, not the taillights.

Patterns at large are one particularly useful tool when you want to add some zest to an otherwise dreary day. Temper proudly gives you this “plaided” post by guest author and Blogger Extraordinaire Jenn Su of The JStyle. Either check in or check out!

Plaids FI

With so many fashionable men and women roaming the streets of China, there is no need to flip through any fashion-mag checklist to find out what’s trending in Style World. So who and what is that “you” I mentioned in the title of this post?

The answer to that question is “plaid”; one stylish phenomenon that you cannot not see when out and about on your daily dashings. Though we admittedly tend to rake up the myriad of patterns under the generalized “plaid” denominator, fashion exhibits a plethora of patterns to pick and choose from… Each and every one of them representing or delivering an entirely different feel.

Now, let’s go through that checklist!

From clan to safety pin man, Tartan in the 1980s had become a hallmark of the era’s street punk vibes.

Tartan
Tartan

Tartan

Tartan, aka the most familiar one of them all. The tartan plaid originates from Scotland and throughout signified the wearer’s aristocratic or royal lineage. The clans each bore their own checkered pattern to set themselves apart from one another – style statements avant la lettre. Tartan was also used to differentiate between the various stars and stripes among soldiers. Nevertheless, and perhaps befittingly so, Tartan in the 1980s became a hallmark of the era’s street punk vibes. Either way, when you aim for that “God Save The Queen” look, both in the royal and punk sense, “Tartan” is your clan.

Windowpane
Windowpane

Windowpane

Windowpane. The Windowpane check is a very modern one and, in going by the letter, the look resembles that of … well, a real-life countryside windowpane. This particular type of plaid is very simple, usually made up of two colors and crossing lines. Windowpane plaid best expresses the style of the modern woman: Urban and elegant.

Tattersall
Tattersall

Tattersall

Tattersall often makes its noticeable appearance on men’s shirts. Resembling its windowpane brother, the tattersall’s check is one of slightly more complicated descent, usually formed by lines of two colors creating smaller plaids than they do on its windowpane sibling. This kind of pattern gives off that old-school gentleman feel, sending a formal yet simultaneously casual message. Yes, it’s highly contradictory, but that is what fashion is all about, after all! Things never make sense; nor should they. Anyway, if you want to opt for that cheeky tomboy style, Tattersall is your man!

The Gingham pattern has become a big thing with fashion lovers walking the streets of China’s first- and second-tier cities.

Gingham
Gingham style

Gingham

Before anything else, when you see this pattern, images of “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, or just a simple table cloth, spring to mind. But bear with us! Gingham has become much more of a style player than a mere table decoration! The pattern has become a big thing with fashion lovers walking the streets of China’s first- and second-tier cities. What’s more, when this medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric first made its way into Europe several hundred years ago, it wasn’t plaid; in fact, it was one big stripy fash fest. As time went by, the print in the 18th Century evolved into plaids. Because Gingham was a woven one, it was often used as test fabric for fashion designers to physically sculpt their creative notions. Moving on to the 1960s, then, Gingham became a legit trendsetter among the Mod scene. The trend only continued to grow throughout the era, especially after French bombshell icon Brigette Bardot was spotted wearing a Gingham-marked dress at her wedding. So before one snickers at those who wear Gingham… Baby, think twice! It’s history in motion.

Houndstooth
Houndstooth — what’s in a name.

Houndstooth

I think lightbulbs are beaming all around with this one! What’s in a name, one might ask. The print does in fact have something to do with its K9-sounding name as it was allegedly inspired by the uneven shape of a hound dog’s teeth. Nevertheless, the patterns in reality consists of broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes. Houndstooth often comes in black and white, but every now and then appears in different colors and shades as well. This plaid finds its roots in 19th Century Scotland where it was originally worn as an outer garment of woven wool cloth by shepherds. Thank you, WikiFashion. Houndstooth firmly planted its footprint into the fashion field after Christian Dior himself used the print to decorate a pair of shoes back in 1959. Houndstooth exudes a sense of elegance and is often used on coats and their outerwear family members.

One particular Duke of Windsor (aka Edward VIII aka husband to style maven Wallis Simpson) could boast a unique taste of style and was particularly into plaid. Glen plaid, mind you.

Glen Plaid
Glen Plaid prints in the 1930s received the royal seal of approval.

Glen Plaid

Glen plaid is formed by different sizes of checks and is usually based on muted colors such as grey, white and black — with a bit of red woven in. This plaid was born in the 19th Century, supported by the penchant for plaid hailing from Britain’s upper class. The earliest iconic figure to bring Glen to the top of the fashion charts, was the Duke of Windsor (we’re talking 1930s here). This particular Duke of Windsor (aka Edward VIII aka husband to style maven Wallis Simpson) had a unique taste of style and was particularly into plaids. Subsequently, under his demonstrations, people became drawn to the print which eventually would go down in history as the “Prince of Wales check”. Until this very day, the Glen plaid continues to take a royal stance and is often seen on suits. Oh ye timeless elegance of days long gone… Return to us, we beg of one!

 

Feeling a little dizzy and numb after taking in all this new information, are ya? There truly are many different kinds of plaid patterns floating around the textile scene– and then those plaids you assumed to be one and the same upon first gaze turn out to be cousins of different last names. We know, we know… It’s a “WHAT DA?!” fashion universe out there! 

Take your time to digest these freshly printed updates and, in the meantime, take a look at some inspirational street snaps of how China’s fashionistas are putting their plaids to play!

 

When all is said and done… Whether it’s menswear or womenswear, if you don’t want to be left so far behind that you can’t even see the fading taillights of fashion anymore… Go get yourself “plaided”. Check!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Jenn Su of The Jstyle for Temper Magazine 2017. All rights reserved
Edited by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
About Jenn Su and The JStyle:  Jennifer S. is a freelance fashion stylist and wardrobe consultant since 2012. As a fashion stylist, her works spread through TVC, commercial, fashion brands, editorial, still life and celebrities/public figures. As a wardrobe consultant her service includes seasonal wardrobe consulting (personal shopper, wardrobe management, wardrobe album) and occasional wardrobe consulting (head to toe fashion styling for the occasion/event). Jennifer was one of the few selected stylists accepted to attend the ‘Fashion Styling’ program by Conde Nast Center in 2016.
Find out more on Weibo: The_Jstyle; WeChat: @thejstyle and Instagram: @itsjstyle !
All images come courtesy of Haibao/ Gofaner/ That’s It Mag

 

 

Copyright@Temper Magazine, 2017. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elsbeth van Paridon

China Fashion/ Urban Lifestyle Expert, Editor-in-Chief at Temper Magazine
Elsbeth van Paridon holds a degree in Sinology from the University of Leiden (Netherlands) and additionally is just another run-of-the-mill fashion aficionada.

After tackling Beijing for some six years where she worked for China International Publishing Group, she spent a moment in time moseying down steep alleyways and writing about their fashionable and underground features in Hong Kong.

Van Paridon most recently managed to claw her way through a Europe-based academic endeavor called "Journalism". 'Tis in such fashion that she has now turned her lust for China Fashion/ Lifestyle and Underground into a full time occupation.

Van Paridon hunts down the latest in Chinese menswear, women’s clothing, designer newbies, established names, changes in the nation’s street scenery, close-ups of particular trends presently at play or of historical socio-cultural value in Chinaplus a selection of budding photographers.

Paired with a deep devotion to China’s urban underground scene, van Paridon holds a particular interest in the topics of androgyny, the exploration of individuality and the power that is the Key Opinion Leader (the local term for “influencers”) in contemporary China.
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