The history behind the social importance of plaid

The road from plaid’s inception to it becoming the hallmark of private school fashion shows how its cultural symbolism has evolved over time, bringing about new meaningwitheach generation. Considered a symbol of the Jacobites and Scottish culture in general, plaidsandtartan textiles were banned in England in the Dress Act of 1746 except for uses by the British military. Over a century later a specific group of Scottish people emigrated from their homeland to the United States, heading west to the prairie lands. American folklore would come to memorialise the print with the legend of Paul Bunyan, a giant lumberjack who is oftendepicted wearing a red and black plaid shirt. The print's association with the outdoors was furthered with the establishment of clothing lines like Woolrich John & BrothersandPendleton, solidifying the popularity of tartan as a uniform for working men. The British brand soon found its way overseas, appealing to rich American socialites who clung to the latest European fashion trends. Plaid's association with these uniforms aligned the pattern with privilege and piety as students of these prepschools embodied a cultivated image of the 'proper young woman'—whether or not that was the truth. While their daughter's donned plaid skirts at private school, wealthy women wore the print around country clubs, further associating it with preppy style. By muddying the image of the Catholic school uniform through shortening skirts and adding their unkempt aesthetic,punksused plaid as a symbol of social and sartorial rebellion. Movies like Heathers and Clueless were instrumental in memorialising plaid as a part of prep culture in the early '90s, and reiterating a youthful version of bourgeois style. Capitalising off of this, designers like Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta sent looks down the runway that spoke to pop culture's revivedinterest in plaid. However, the grunge movement of the '90s quickly took plaid as its own with tartan flannels seen on the likes of Kurt Cobain and Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano in My So-Called Life. In contrast to the earlier usage of colourful plaids by preps, grunge flannels were duller and worn in a way that opposed the polished look of private school uniforms. A quick Google search for a school girl Halloween costume comes up with a midriff baring look consisting of a micro-mini skirt and crop top. Brands such as Chanel, Chloé, and Celine worked plaid into their Fall/Winter 2019 collections in bourgeois styles, while Christian Dior saw a take on the trend inspired by the precursor to punk.