Tartan is dead! Long live tartan! And so it always goes with this universally recognised pattern, the popularity of which may well have waxed and waned throughout history, but still refuses to die.
From 17th-century Scottish lairds and their kilted clans to the London punk scene of the Seventies, tartan – or plaid, to give it its American moniker – is both aristocratic and democratic in its appeal.
This coming autumn is no exception, as it returns to both designer and high-street collections. At Alexander McQueen, designer Sarah Burton showcased a striking bubblegum-pink tartan trouser suit, complete with kilt. However, if you’re feeling a little less brave of heart, then River Island’s three-piece plaid suit in black and dark green is perhaps the tailoring for you.
1/8 River Island
Waistcoat £40, riverisland.com
2/8 Junya Watanabe
Shirt £345, Junya Watanabe, mrporter.com
3/8 River Island
Blazer £90, riverisland.com
4/8 River Island
Trousers £40, riverisland.com
5/8 Alexandre Mattiussi
iPad case £130, Alexandre Mattiussi, thecorner.com
Bracelet £75, tateossian.com
7/8 New Look
Tie £6.99, newlook.com
8/8 Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
Of course, wearing plaid from head-to-toe certainly isn’t the easiest or only way to dress in this exuberant check. Accessorising with a tie or a scarf is a relatively pain-free option that doesn’t require much forethought. It’s also a subtle way of doing some autumnal neck wrapping.
Alternatively, opt for that old faithful, the plaid shirt, keeping colours subdued and tonal and fabrics lightweight for an urbane look. Those thick lumberjack-style shirts, so widespread over the past few years, should really be worn only if your chosen profession requires an in-depth understanding of how to swing an axe at a tree.