tartan plaid

Tartan Plaid

80's Tops Feb 10, 2022

During the 1980s Tartan Cloth (better known as plaid) was a popular fashion trend throughout pop culture. These days we normally associate plaid clothing with stereotypes like lumberjacks, however during the 1980s it was a very popular fashion and almost everyone owned at least one plaid piece of clothing of some sort.

Judd Nelson Wearing Plaid In “The Breakfast Club”

Tartan is an ancient Scottish pattern that has been popular for centuries. Tartan is the earliest known woolen textile to be woven in a distinctive repetitive checkerboard design. The term is most commonly used today to refer to the plaid pattern of checkered squares or lines in various shades of deep or light colored wool yarns, made with interlacing threads and worn by both men and women, usually over one shoulder.


It became fashionable during the 1980s, just as kilts were becoming less common as a traditional Scottish garment.

Tartan Plaid Has A Scottish Origin

However despite it’s Scottish origin, plaid became wildly popular as a pattern of clothing during the 1980s in the United States. This was due in part because it was featured in pop culture such as music and movies.

Molly Ringwald & Michael Schoeffling in “Sixteen Candles”

Interestingly enough tartan plaid had an appeal to a wide array of people during the 1980s. For example you could wear plaid clothing as a clean cut button up shirt, or you could wear it as part of a 80s punk fashion ensemble. In fact plaid was hugely popular amongst the punk crowd during the 80s.

Tartan Plaid Was Popular In 80s Punk Fashion

Although tartan wasn’t popular before the 1980s, people started to wear it during this time because of the prominent cultural events that was happening at the time. During this era, there were many films being released about Gaelic culture and Scotland, as well as books being published about it.

There were also many advertisements placed in magazines, which promoted tartan clothing. Tartan was a prominent aspect of this cultural phenomenon. It was new and trendy for both men and women to wear it during this time frame.

Plaid Is Featured Regularly In “Stranger Things” Which Takes Place In The 1980s

Despite the fact that tartan plaid was wildly popular during the 80s, these days it’s not really as much so. Tartan plaid seems to be one of the mainstream fashion trends that we saw regularly during the 80s that appears to have been left behind.