11 Patterns of Plaid

A fashion historian would say that the variety of plaid patterns is inexhaustible. Let us confine ourselves, however, in 11 of them, which are mostly in everyone’s wardrobe. Learn their names and their basic differences, so the next time you won’ t just call them all plaid, again.

Plaid and Tartan


Many argue that it is the same pattern, which the British call tartan while Americans plaid. As in Gaelic plaid meant “blanket” in Scotland still use this word to describe the type of clothing worn on the shoulders and tied at the waist with a belt. Although most plaids were vertical and horizontal lines in different thicknesses, pattern known as tartan (got its name from the French word tiretain, which was a kind of knit fabric with such motifs), the two terms in time were mixed. Today both denote approximately the same. This plaid pattern always refers to his homeland, Scotland, and was later associated with the uniforms in Catholic schools, the clothes of the American working class and the punk and grunge movements. If there is a little variation between them is that the tartan is purebred scotch plaid, red, green or yellow background, while plaid can be characterized all the rest.



Is the pattern usually used in sweaters and socks, with recurring motifs in diamond shape, like “diamonds” overlapping. It is named after the Argyll region of western Scotland and is connected with the sport of the high society of British and especially golf.

Houndstooth or Pied de Poule


The English word that describes it means “dog’s tooth” and the French one “the bird’s leg”. It is a recurring pattern of asymmetrical blocks with sharp edges, and traditionally in black and white (although nowadays it you can find and in other shades). In a male wardrobe, it is mainly patterned on coats and trousers.



It is named after the city of East Indian. It is a set of blocks and light lines or bright colors that intersect creating a colorful, and cheerful effect. You will see it on tents, towels and scarves, summer shorts and short-sleeved shirts.

Gingham or Vichy


This plaid is created by two equal width lines, usually one white and one in bright colors, which meet vertically and horizontally and create symmetrical squares. Mostly found in blue or red and reminds picnic and decent shirts.

Pin check


It is the extra small version of gingham, as it consists of very small symmetrical squares – so small that almost look like polka dots, as the head of a pin. Ideal for jackets and formal shirts (when the fabric is light), and the plaid is so small that the garment looks remotely monochrome.

Shepherd’s or Border tartan


It is the oldest type of plaid in recorded history, and in fact this is the most simple version of tartan, and the forerunner of houndstooth. It is consisted of small squares, stripes who create it usually are dashed diagonal and is commonly found in coats, jackets and scarves.

Glen plaid


It is known as the Prince of Wales plaid, named after Edward VIII who wore it. It is particularly loved by British aristocrats and hunters and is primarily found in costumes. Dark and light stripes intersect creating a set of large and small squares, and the colors are usually dull.

Windowpane check


It is plaid which reminiscent of a window frame (windowpane) and is consisted of clean lines with equal and large enough distances between them.

Graph check


Smaller than the windowpane, resembles graph paper, as it is subtle stripes in equal but walking distance between them. The pattern appears in both wool jackets and coats and shirts in cotton.

Tattersall check


Is the plaid pattern created by two or more dark colored lines alternating vertically and horizontally, on a light background.

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