Mad for Plaid


By Michelle Crowe


Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen on the red carpet of the Met Gala, 2006.


Admit it, if you personally don’t have a treasured bit of holiday tartan somewhere in your wardrobe, someone in your family does and it wouldn’t be the season without Aunt Helen’s skirt or Cousin Chip’s flat-front pants. For me, it’s not the holiday party whirl without wearing my Royal Stewart Manolo Blahniks.



A dashing jacket from GANT.


Bold and cheerful, holiday checks are just as welcome as cookies and eggnog. The patterns transcend age, looking as charming on a child as on a great-granny. Likewise, men and women can rock tartan with equal aplomb.

While some dial it up with a full suit or long dress in their clan’s colors, others are content to add a dash of plaid with a tie, shoe or other accessory.



Helena Bonham Carter receives her Commander of the British Empire from HRH Queen Elizabeth II wearing Vivienne Westwood.


We especially love the combination of a traditional shape like a hacking jacket dialed up in a gorgeous Royal Stewart. Dress Stewart is another favorite for both wearing and setting the holiday scene at home. Where we recommend a strong point of view when wearing tartan, layering several on a tablescape or tree is always charming. For inspiration, look to marvelous San Francisco designer Scot Meacham Wood and his home collection; he’s a master of layering tartans. Ralph Lauren Home on the fourth floor of the Chicago flagship is always a respite from the crowds on Michigan Avenue, or the perfect place to wander after lunch at RL.



Scot Meacham Wood’s charming dog bed, stockings and chest. SMW photo.


Beyond tartan, the bold black and white or black and red buffalo check plaid pattern is also having a moment. It’s not as refined as tartan, but it works for more rustic celebrations or when seeking something a little less traditional.

Dress yourself or your home in bits of tartan this December and be the person who brings a much-needed smile to everyone around you!




Tartan ribbon for wrapping, winding into garland or an impromptu belt.