8 Known Types of Plaid

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Plaid comes from Scotland and it refers to the traditional outfit Scottish men wore. Each one was different and had some form of insignia or a crest on it. This was based on the family history and the unique pattern they had. All of this means that there are countless types of plaid you can see today.

Types of Plaid

There are 8 main types of plaid which are still popular today. Below, we will explain all of them and we will help you understand the difference between them.

1. Tartan Plaid

Tartan is one of the most popular types of plaid today. It is also known as Scottish plaid and it is characterized by horizontal and vertical lines that create different squares.

tartan plaid blanket scarf

Tartan Plaid Blanket Scarf Winter by Urban CoCo

This form of plaid has been the most popular in Scottish history due to the fact it was used commonly by most families and most men living in the Scottish Highlands. What’s even more interesting is the fact there are 4 main types of Scottish plaid or tartan. They are:

  • Royal Stewart Tartan
    It is the best-known and probably the most popular even today. It has a bright red color and plenty of aforementioned lines.
  • Burberry Check
    It has equal squares all around it and it has been used for cloaks.
  • Clan Wallace
    You can see this pattern on the 3M brand products. It is red and has smaller squares.
  • Black Watch
    This pattern has blue and green colors and it was used by the Scottish army.

2. Gingham Plaid

Gingham is a type of plaid that became popular in the 18th century in England. Even today it is a popular type that can be seen in countless creations. It has large and thick lines that create small squares.

gingham duvet cover set

Gingham Plaid Geometric Checker Duvet Cover Set by Wake in Cloud

However, most of you will say that this type is the same as check plaid. The main difference is in the transparency of the squares. Gingham has transparent squares.

3. Houndstooth

The Houndstooth is one type of plaid you can’t mistake when you see it. The sharp edges are all around the cloth and you can see that each square is layered with them.

Houndstooth blanket throw

Houndstooth Blanket Throw by DII

It actually dates 300 B.C, but some believe that it still originated in Scotland. Anyway, it is popular among some designers and it is one of a kind plaid you can use today.

4. Check

We have mentioned that this form of plaid is commonly mistaken as gingham but now you know the difference. The check has one white and another color and has much smaller squares.

Buffalo check plaid tablecloth

Buffalo Check Plaid Rectangle Tablecloth by DII

This is the main difference so you can make a clear difference within seconds. However, there are several sub-types here.

  • Shepherd’s Check
    It originated in rural parts of Scotland where shepherds used it to cover their sheep. Later it became a popular piece of cloth which was worn by men. It has small and straight squares. Usually, the colors are white and brown.
  • Buffalo Check
    You will love the history behind this plaid. It comes from Jock McCluskey who lived in Montana in 1800s and used his plaid to trade with the natives. He used it as his currency. It has large lines and squares and they usually come in black and red colors.
  • Graph Check
    It has small black and blue lines which are identical to math graphs from school. The name and the design actually come from math graphs used in school. Don’t mistake this plaid for a windowpane. It has much smaller squares.
  • Gun Club Check
    It was used by the American Gun Club in 1874. It is commonly known as plaid designed to make a difference and reveal to others that you belong to some club or some movement. Today, it is still popular in the United States.

5. Madras Plaid

Madras actually comes from India and it is completely different than any other type of plaid. First of all, it has bright colors such as yellow, orange and white.

madras mens shirt

Men’s Madras Plaid Shirt by Goodthreads

The name refers to Chennai and we can add that this plaid first became popular in the 1800s. Even today it is considered as one of the most desirable, lightweight forms of plaid.

6. Tattersall

Tattersall plaid was invented in London and was used for covering horses. However, it soon became a popular and desirable piece of cloth that everyone must have.

Tattersall fabric

Plaid Tattersall Fabric By The Yard

Today, this plaid type is popular and considered as casual. Try to remember that it is also worn by people who like horses and own a lot of them. It is one of the most popular types of plaid you can see today.

7. Prince of Wales Check

Prince of Wales Check is also known as Glen and you were able to see it in many fashion designs in 2017 and in some in 2018. Chances are high that it will stay popular and common choice of the designers.

Prince of Wales Check table cloth

Prince of Wales Check tablecloth by Emvency

The Glen or Prince of Wales Check got its name after Sir Edward VIII or Prince of Wales Check who wore it. This was the initial research that suggested he worn clothing made of this plaid.

Further research is slightly different than the original one. It is now believed that he actually wore similar plaid that isn’t the same as glen. Nevertheless, the name remains and we can see that most people refer to glen as Prince of Wales Check.

8. Windowpane Plaid

It got the name due to the obvious reasons. It also looks similar to graph check with larger squares. Keep in mind that if the colors are brighter, this will be a formal cloth.

Men's Navy Windopane Plaid Shirt

Men’s Navy Windowpane Plaid Shirt by Goodthreads

If the colors are darker, then it is more casual and less formal.

The Final Word

There are probably many more types of plaid out there and we will never find them. However, these 8 are the most common, the most popular and the most interesting, so you can add them to your life.

Keep in mind that each type has its unique story, looks different and was made for the different purpose. We know that you can use this in your benefit.