For me, the corniness of The Fifties and Sixitied ruined plaid for me. My childhood was spent seeing reruns of Leave it to Beaver, Brady Bunch and Father Knows best - shows populated with apple-cheeked lads in requisite plaid shirts. At the same time, there was a cedar chest upstairs full of hand-me-down shirts from my brothers just waiting to plaid me up as soon as I fit into them. Bad luck for me that there wasn't a collection of Evel Knievel t-shirts ready to be worn, which is what I would have preferred.
Plaid existed before 1950, of course. It's super old, and in case you've spent your life up to this point with your head stuck in a barrel, it's generally associated with Scotland, where it could be generally used to distinguish one clan from another - or at least what region you were from. However, the earliest known tartan fabric was found in western Austria, Scandanavia, and even... China? Whatever.
In The Seventies, plaid was the livery of used car salesmen and wieners like Herb Tarlek, which did nothing to improve it's coolness. So, to this day, I prefer stripes. For a while, Braveheart brought tartan close to coolness again, but Mel Gibson's "personal interestingness" has put it back cultural short bus, I think.
Plaid definitely prefers to be applied to square surfaces, like the geek in this Marlboro ad. He's about as square as it gets.
|"Hey Tad, your assless dockers really accentuate your ass!"|