The Difference Between Tartan & Plaid


For many people – even Scottish-Americans, the distinction between plaid and tartan is confusing.  This guide should help take the mystery out of the difference between the two.

belted_plaid_07sv_402 Belted Plaid

The word plaid, derived from the Scottish Gaelic plaide, meaning “blanket,” was first used of any rectangular garment.

When referring to Highland dress, a plaid is simply an article of clothing, not a pattern, as is often misunderstood.  The word “plaid” is derived from the Gaelic word for blanket. That’s why the feileadh-mhor (Gaelic for “large wrap”) is sometimes also called the belted plaid since it is a blanket that has been gathered and belted around the waist.

plaid Unbelted Plaid

Historically, Scots also wore unbelted plaids – often in the form of a long shawl.  Plaid in the context of  Highland dress, can refer to any of the tailored or untailored garments worn about the shoulders — be…

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About Jonathan Caswell

Mr. Caswell has been composing poetry at least since High School. He has been on WORD PRESS for ten years and contributes to two other blogs beside this one. This blog has a Christian emphasis but all bloggers are welcome. Mr. Caswell chooses to---with permission--re[post material of interest

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