My godmother inspired my love for great plaid

mature woman wearing mixed patterns in a work outfit
GNW leopard print cardigan over Vintage Silk silk floral top with plaid skirt, GNW tights, Steve Madden Mary Janes, and Kate Moss for Longchamp bag (all own)

A too big tartan pleat skirt got it started

My love for tartan goes back to my childhood. My Great-aunt and Godmother “Tante Berta” gave me a great green tartan pleat skirt that I wore all time in winter in kindergarten to second grade. She was of the Great War generation and always bought clothing for children too big so the child could “grow into” it as she would say. Thus, this skirt was first a little (way) too big my mother had taken a pleat in on the left and right side of the skirt. Later when this was too tight, she let one out and then again later she let out the other. I loved that skirt especially with a white turtleneck. I remember that for a school photo I wore this skirt with the white turtleneck and my mother was later upset that she had to pay for a portrait of mine that was black and white as she said.

Wrap tartan with big safety pin

Once I had grown out of the skirt I wanted a new one. It was not before fourth grade that this happened. My second tartan skirt was actually more authentic because it actually was a wrap skirt. It was closed by a big safety pin, two leather buckle closures and a hidden button at the waist band. The skirt was winter white wool, and the tartan pattern was made up of red, hunter-green, blue and yellow with some black. I used to wear it with red, black, green or blue turtlenecks turtleneck sweaters, winter white tights and Mary Janes or lace loafers. At that time, I was not allowed to wear heels.

midlife woman wearing a work outfit with two types of plaid
Burberry plaid blazer over bias A-line plaid skirt with sheer scarf, GNW tight, Steve Madden Mary Janes, gloves and Kate Moss for Longchamp bag (all own)

Further plaid skirt replacements

The skirt in the photo is the third tartan skirt. I loved it so much that I bought a similar in fuchsia with purple. It has a bias cut with slight A-shape. The fifth plaid skirt was similar to the second, but just in winter white, blue and black weave. I got it in Fairbanks when there was still an Eddie Bauer in town. 🙁

Plaid blazer and mixing prints and patterns

In the outfit below, I wore my plaid Burberry wool blazer for the commute. Thus, two tartans at once. Underneath the blazer I wore a floral silk top and a leopard printed cotton cardigan as seen in the photo above. To ground the pattern and prints I added black tights and shoes. The black picks up the black in all three other pieces and ground the mixing of print and patterns. The wild combination of patterns and prints works as they are all in the same color family and have different size.

Do you buy a type of clothes over and over again? What is it? Do you mix prints and patterns? Let me know your style challenges by email, so I can help you.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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