Plaid Vs. Tartan: Which Is Which?

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For most of you, plaid vs. tartan comparison is more than just needed. These terms have been used for explaining the pieces of clothing in Scotland, traditional of course and they are completely different, yet similar.

Plaid vs. Tartan

The thing you will need to know first is kilt. It is traditional Scottish outfit for men. The kilt is similar to a skirt and it is covered in tartan pattern. The upper part which goes across the torso is plaid. However, we will explain the matter in detail below.

Tartan: Basics

Tartan originated from tiretain, a French word meaning woven cloth. Originally it represented a type of cloth, not a pattern itself. In our plaid vs. tartan comparison, this is the first fact you need to understand. In 1830 it was popular as cloth without any patterns. However, Scottish people started applying patterns and made tartan what it is today.

tartan plaid blanket scarf

Tartan Plaid Blanket Scarf Winter by Urban CoCo

Back in a day, it was known as cloth, but today tartan can be seen in wall covers, paper, and many other forms. All you need to know is that it was a specific type of cloth and now it refers to patterns. You probably have been in touch with it for the entire life, you just referred to it as something else.

Plaid: Basics

Plaid today, refers to the piece of cloth with a tartan pattern. It may be confusing, but keep in mind that this isn’t its true origin. Plaid is derived from the Scottish word meaning blanket. Almost any cloth with tartan pattern can be categorized as plaid. It is even more popular in the fashion industry and over the last years, this term became more and more popular.

Of course, plaid is used for the part of the kilt outfit that goes across the torso. On Scottish Highlanders, this usually goes across the left shoulder. You can see it in the movies and on the pictures.

Plaid Vs. Tartan – Bottom Line

Plaid vs. tartan comparison has revealed all the main differences. Today, tartan is referred to as a pattern on the cloth, while plaid refers to that cloth. The real meaning is different. Tartan is woolen cloth used for kilts in Scotland, while plaid is a part of the outfit that goes across the shoulder.

They are two pieces of the traditional outfit and they look completely the same. Of course, don’t forget that most people don’t know this, so keep in mind the explanations we gave you about modern expressions.