It was news to me when I discovered I'd been misusing
the word 'plaid
' (the actual cloth) when I really meant to say 'tartan
' (the pattern). In the same way, when you really think about it, most people use the terms 'gingham
,' 'buffalo plaid
' and even 'checks' interchangeably. They all sort of refer to this square-ish, plaid-ish pattern consisting of just two colors. The only distinction I could make was that people seem to use 'gingham' when the pattern of squares is small, as with Dorothy's famous blue gingham dress
, and buffalo plaid when the pattern is large, as in a flannel lumberjack's shirt
Dictionaries and wikipedia are not much help; they say gingham is a type of cloth that's usually woven in a checked pattern, and buffalo plaid is simply defined as "a broad checkered plaid pattern usually of two colors." Which is to say, they are practically the same thing. And yet they're not!
But let's get down to the interesting stuff, which is the fact that this pattern, especially in black-and-white, has been popping up everywhere.
I was only moved to blog about it when I saw the beautiful way designer Christopher Kane
applied the pattern in his Spring 2010 collection
. The cuts, the silhouettes, the drape of the fabric, they are all gorgeously and daringly executed. But what really makes Kane's collection interesting to me is that he cut the fabric on a bias
, so the pattern falls diagonally instead of up-and-down. I've never seen buffalo plaid (or gingham, as most people are referring to Kane's dresses) so graceful, so ethereal. It's an interesting juxtaposition of luxuriously delicate fabric and really down-to-earth practicality
Of course, I don't expect to afford the real thing so I went off in search of some suitable plaid/gingham dresses that could substitute. Here's what I found, though I have to say only a couple of them even come close to Christopher Kane's frocks (Scottish designer Zoe Watt's Brass Label
being one of them- discovered on fashion-stylist.net
). Also included some fun accessories featuring the buffalo plaid pattern, from a blanket to slippers to an adorable dog vest.
Brass Label collection 2. 80spurple.com 3.
Forever 21 4.
Small Earth Vintage 6. Oasis 7
. Philip Lim 8.
Tambukiki on eBay 9.
Urban Outfitters 10.
Marks & Spencer 11.
American Eagle 13.
Forever 21 14.
. Paul Smith 16.
Hot Topic hoodie 17
. PixieMarket coat 18.
Plastic Island sweater cardigan
Accessories: 1. Old Navy umbrella2. Urban Outfitters throw blanket. 3-4. Aeropostale bikini top and bottom 5. Anthropologie bra 6. Etsy dog vest 7. Forever 21 hi-tops 8. Forever 21 slippers