Tweed, herringbone and plaid are patterns that we typically associate with menswear, yet their history goes beyond suit coats and ties. Get a brief history lesson of these three designs, and see modern ways to incorporate them into your home:
Legend has it that the name “tweed” came about by accident when a London cloth merchant mistook its correct name, “tweel,” (Scottish for “twill”) for the Scottish river, Tweed. The fabric, made from unfinished wool, is rough in texture with a homespun, slightly unfinished look. It was popular with the Scottish the upper-class, who used it for country apparel like shooting jackets because of it’s durability. It became popular again in the 1960’s, reinventing itself in a houndstooth pattern. Today, tweed is used in menswear, particularly with hipsters who have an appreciation for vintage, but its also making its way into the homes of style-setters.
Herringbone is a V-shaped zig zag pattern that is usually made from tweed/twill fabric. The herringbone pattern dates back to the Roman Empire (Opus spicatum), where it was used in road paving systems, and in the textiles and jewelry of ancient Egyptian elite. Its name quite literally derives from the bones of a herring fish, which it closely resembles.
Plaid, a pattern that is made up of 90 degree criss-crossed lines of different widths, is traditionally known as tartan in Scotland, where it became popular with clans in the mid-nineteenth century. What we Americans call plaid is actually a Scottish tartan cloth that is worn over the shoulder as an accessory to a kilt. Although plaid is most commonly associated with Scotland, the pattern actually dates back to ancient Celtic populations of the British Isles between the 8th & 6th centuries BC, where each clan or family had their own unique plaid design. Plaid made a comeback in the 1970s with the emergence of punk music. Today, plaid is back in style in both fashion and the home.