Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let me be plaid!

Sorry to go all stereotypical on you, but I can't post about Scotland without mentioning that exceptional piece of a Scotsman's wardrobe referred to as "the kilt". Well, you can't ignore them, they are all over the place.  I, for one am a huge fan of anyone wearing something a little different than the norm. If I were a man I would be bored to tears wearing pants (sorry) trousers all the time!
  Of course we all wonder what might be hidden underneath the kilt.
Any idea to which clan these tartans belong?
Our guide to Edinburgh Castle
Street music
I realize that in North America the terms tartan and plaid are virtually interchangeable, but in the land of the kilt, this is definitely not the case. So in the interest of clarity, here is the actual meaning:
a design of straight lines, crossing at right angles to give a chequered appearance, esp the distinctive design or designs associated with each Scottish clan. 
1. A rectangular woolen scarf of a tartan pattern worn over the left shoulder by Scottish Highlanders.
2.  a. Cloth with a tartan or checked pattern.
     b. A pattern of this kind.

So a plaid would be a scarf or blanket worn (perhaps with a kilt) in Scotland, but elsewhere plaid simply refers to the chequered design of the fabric.

 Clear as mud? Yeah, I thought so! Moving on....

Hunter plaid
My husband wanted to purchase a kilt (until he realized that the full regalia was over a thousand pounds!).  There seemed to be nothing in between this exorbitant amount and a cheap Halloween costume version.  As we didn't really have time for comparison shopping, a bit of wishful window shopping is all it amounted to. As his mother's maiden name was Hunter we would like to consider this his family tartan.

Ghastly Gaskell plaid

Molly Gibson (played byJustine Waddell) in the BBC's production of Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters. When she is unexpectedly invited to Hamley Hall, she finds her wardrobe is not up to snuff. Her father suggests she should buy a few new store-bought dresses.

'Well, but it seems people consider you as a young woman now, and so I suppose you must run up milliners' bills like the rest of your kind. Not that you are to get anything anywhere that you can't pay for down in ready money. Here's a ten-pound note; go to Miss Rose's, or Miss anybody's, and get what you want at once. The Hamley carriage is to come for you at two, and anything that is not quite ready, can easily be sent by their cart on Saturday, when some of their people always come to market. Nay, don't thank me! I don't want to have the money spent, and I don't want you to go and leave me: I shall miss you, I know; it's only hard necessity that drives me to send you a-visiting, and to throw away ten pounds on your clothes. There, go away; you're a plague, and I mean to leave off loving you as fast as I can.'
'Papa!' holding up her finger as in warning, 'you are getting mysterious again; and though my honourableness is very strong, I won't promise that it shall not yield to my curiosity if you go on hinting at untold secrets.'
'Go away and spend your ten pounds. What did I give it you for but to keep you quiet?'
Miss Rose's ready-made resources and Molly's taste combined, did not arrive at a very great success. She bought a lilac print, because it would wash, and would be cool and pleasant for the mornings; and this Betty could make at home before Saturday. And for high-days and holidays - by which was understood afternoons and Sundays - Miss Rose persuaded her to order a gay-coloured, flimsy plaid silk, which she assured her was quite the latest fashion in London, and which Molly thought would please her father's Scotch blood. But when he saw the scrap which she had brought home as a pattern, he cried out that the plaid belonged to no clan in existence, and that Molly ought to have known this by instinct. It was too late to change it, however, for Miss Rose had promised to cut the dress out as soon as Molly had left her shop. 

Mall-teasers plaid
Another Gaskell plaid below. Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton wears this plaid monstrosity to visit Margaret Hale in North and South.
Big bad plaid

While trying to board the Royal Yacht Brittannia (which we were unfortunately  too late to do), we hoofed it through a shopping mall in Leith (Edinburgh's northern port) where I took this picture at a ladies clothing store sporting quite the selection of plaid clothing items. (I couldn't resist the pink deer's head either! LOL)

Now, excuuuuse me while I go off on a bit of a tangent, but I had to include this trailer for comedian 
Steve Martin's homage to Film Noir just for the title alone -- "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"!
It's a pretty funny movie, (if you like that sort of goofiness -- I DO!) from back in 1982.

Now ... here is Canadian comedian Mike Myers wearing a kilt and toasting that inimitable Scottish actor Sean Connery at the American Film Institute awards show.  I couldn't have found a better film clip if I had paid these people! (If you look carefully, you will catch a glimpse of Pierce Brosnan too!)

Thank you loyal readers. If you have read this far you certainly deserve a treat.
So here you are...

Lucas McNorth clad in plaid

Thanks to my dear friend TeeTotallyNot for her wonderful artwork!


Traxy said...

*manages to avert her gaze from Lucas in a kilt long enough to leave a comment*

Interesting post. Absolutely loved the link to the Recycled Movie Costumes! Argh, but I have work to do, so can't stay there all afternoon!

JaneGS said...

Great (and funny) post. Loved the Mike Myers tribute, and the RA photo, of course. Plus poor Molly's dress, and nasty Fanny's dress. You know, of course, that Anne Eliot is subjected to a plaid dress in the BBC 70's version of Persuasion. It's worth watching just to cringe at the costumes.

One of my favorite memories of my trip to Edinburgh in 2009 was coming out of the train station and seeing a man in full regalia walking across the street as if on the way to a business meeting. He was a tourist prop, he was a citizen just wearing what he wears.

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

Have you seen the play "Forever Plaid"?

Lucas McNorth... haha! Tee is great.
You know, there is a REAL pic of RA wearing a kilt in a promo shoot he did, although it's not plaid and his face is covered. In case you haven't already seen it, it's here: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/album/Promos/RA_JRM_MCphotoshoot/slides/photoshoot07.html

Unknown said...

@Traxy -- C'mon back when you have time. There are lots of little links to try if you like. :)
@Jane --I haven't seen that version of Persuasion yet. Only the 1995 and 2005 versions. (Not sure if dates are right.)
Seeing a Scot dressed in full regalia is par for the course in Edinburgh, they really are all over the place! Very nice to see too!
@Nat -- Wow! Thanks for that tip! I checked out Youtube for "Forever Plaid" and although I had never heard of it before, just from the clips I won't hesitate to give it the Phylly's Faves stamp of approval! :) If I ever get to see it, you can bet I will add it to this page!

Avalon said...

It is ironic you would mention Molly as I am currently viewing Wives and Daughters.
Love the photo of RA...lol

Unknown said...

Wives and Daughters is an excellent miniseries. Justine Waddell is just right for Molly and Squire Hamley is wonderfully played by Michael Gambon (who was also in Cranford and played Mr. Woodhouse in Emma.) Francesca Annis as Molly's rather vain step-mother also had a small (but important part) in Cranford.
I am still reading the book, savouring it actually. Since I saw the DVD first I am imagining those actors in all the scenes and so far it is exactly the same -- right down to the dialogue!

Anonymous said...

This is great, and I didn't know about tartan vs. plaid. Very instructional!

Unknown said...

Thanks Servetus, I am happy to be of service if I can enlighten anyone with a bit of trivia, and if you have found something to give you a bit of amusement too, then I will be very pleased. :)