Tartan - Plaid on Parade!

For a more subtle approach, go for dark blue or bottle green tartans, which look great in macs and overcoats.

Feature by Fashion Addicts Anonymous | 12 Dec 2006

Tartan has clad highland clans since the 3rd century AD. For this reason alone it should surely be relegated to the rear pages of history textbooks. From kitsch tartan tablecloths to your granny's shortbread tin, tartan has never been, well, cool. But the national plaid has risen like a haggis from the heather-bed and is currently experiencing a mammoth global revival. Everyone from Bottega Veneta to Alexander McQueen featured tartan in their autumn/winter 07 collections, paying tribute to the potency of the iconic patter. And it is slowly but surely seeping onto our high streets and into our wardrobes. Just make sure you get it right, as it's a tricky wee bugger to pull off.

Keep it simple. Strapless tartan dresses with matching tights and mini kilts worn with statement tartan capes is several steps too far. Full-on tartan certainly has its place, but this is usually in Harry Potter or glossy American golf magazines. Tartan is best restricted to one item per outfit. Embrace this rule. Opt for tartan tights with a simple black jumper dress or a snug, tailored tartan suit jacket with your favourite jeans. For a more subtle approach, go for dark blue or bottle green tartans, which look great on macs and overcoats. Check out Topshop's Tartan Smock Coat by Boutique (£85.00). [see picture]

The tartan clad Highlander-look is slightly off beam, so avoid the traditional kilt and obvious accessories such as bagpipes, the sporran and the 'Oor Wullie' bunnet. Let's face it, a bulky kilt is far from the most flattering of fashion items for women. Think sexy splashes, such as an outsized tartan scarf, as opposed to full William Wallace battle get-up. Also, try to avoid garish tartans designed for the likes of military forces, special interest groups, religious movements (including Krishna's), football clubs and whisky-drinking societies. Keep it simple and stick to the good-old fashioned red MacKenzie tartan. Oh and avoid Burberry, a.k.a. the Chav's tartan. Do I really need to explain?

Well, let's not beat about the bush: the ultimate tartan item would have to come from none other than Queen Vivienne Westwood and her 'Red Label' collection. Westwood first transported tartan from the depths of the rural Highlands back in the eighties and continues to wow with her sexy plaid swing coats, pencil skirts, cropped jackets and corsets. True genius and just so damn sexy. However, for those of us on a more modest budget, amble along to Dorothy Perkins and pick-up their cute little red tartan mini kilt with a naughty under-layer of lace (£20), or head along to H&M for a selection of bold red and yellow tartan tights from £4.