Welcome to my blog!

This is a place to share my many ideas, (along with a story or two), about party planning from the theme to the thank you note, organization from your closets to your kid's artwork, and home decor, from wall color to window treatments. I have a passion for graphic design, fine art, photography, interior design and a great party! Creativity and the visually aesthetic get my juices flowing and I hope this blog can be a place to have fun exchanging ideas and resources and help your creative juices flow too!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Glad There's Plaid!

Anyone who looks at childhood photos from the 70's can tell you that plaid and tartan were a popular pattern in fashion and many of us cringe at the sight of it.  But what exactly are plaid and tartan?  In the very cool, coffee table book,  about clothing designer, Jeffrey Banks' obsession with tartan, called, Tartan: Romancing the Plaid, (CBS Sunday Morning did a segment, Going Mad Over Plaid, about the book), co-author, Doria De La Chappelle, writes a great explanation of the definitions of and differences between the two:

A tartan plaid, first of all, is Scottish, as opposed to American or English. It's Scottish...
Which means the instantly recognizable Burberry pattern on the company's coats and scarves may look like a tartan plaid, but is in fact officially just "a check" because Burberry is actually English.

In addition, a tartan pattern has to be made up of perfect squares. Technically, a tartan plaid can be turned 180 degrees and is exactly the same.

You can take it and literally turn it upside down and it will look exactly the same, right side up or upside down...

A Plaid, on the other hand, can have stripes that clearly run in a specific direction. In other words: all tartan is plaid, but not all plaid is tartan.

When I was a teenager in the 80's, plaid was no longer for only associated with flannel and lumberjacks, and tartan was a big part of the street punk style which I loved, but for home decor, I thought of it as conservative and preppy.  As I entered my twenties, I developed an appreciation for the classic pattern, and at one point even bought a plaid bedding set.  When I was decorating my son's room before he was born, I decided that Gwen Stefani's style would be my inspiration, and went with a yellow, orange, red and black plaid fabric.  I don't know why they reminded me of Gwen Stefani, but I guess I just could just picture her wearing skin tight pants or a jacket in the same pattern.  The first cell phone case I bought was an imitation Burberry plaid and it made me very happy until it fell apart.  Boooo!  One reason I like plaid is because it can take on so many personalities, just as stripes or polka-dots can, but with even greater variation.  

As De La Chappelle puts it:
Whether authentic tartan or simply plaid, the stripes and squares seem to have a lasting and universal appeal.

He also adds:
Plaid is very organized.  It has grids. It's possible that these grids make you feel organized.
Is it any wonder I'm a fan?

So, in conclusion, if you've ever had reservations about using plaid in your home, I urge you to give it a shot.  A throw, some coffee mugs, dishtowels, whatever, and if you didn't like the patterns before, maybe you'll discover that you're glad there's plaid!

Red Plaid Knoll Chairs via Apartment Therapy

Retro Chair from Nest

Plaid Credenza from  Propellermodern

Rockport Ottoman in Bermuda Plaid from Company C.

Handmade Vintage Fabric Accent Pillows from MillsdesignCo

 University Caitlin Duvet from Ralph Lauren Home

Prescott Plaid Duvet Cover and Sham from Pottery Barn Teen

Madras Shade from Pottery Barn Kids

Palmer Plaid Shower Curtain from Pottery Barn Teen

Tattersall Woven Cotton Rug from Dash and Albert

Plaid Cashmere Throw from Williams-Sonoma

Plaid Storage Tins from Ikea

Multiplaid Plate Set from French Bull

Multiplaid Round Platter from French Bull

Multiplaid Storage Containers from French Bull

Porcelain Dessert Plates from Pendleton

Hand-painted Sheffield Napkin Rings from Overstock

Wax Candles from Imageglow

Drawer Pulls from Anthropologie

Addendum 1: 
Check out Gabrielle Blair's post about how "Plaid is Rad"on Babble!

And I just had to add this fun image from Katie's Stuff...

Addendum 2:
The current issue of House Beautiful has a feature on plaid rugs!  Here's the website posting:

Addendum 3:
Some more plaid finds: