Tartan Print Pants
Price: Wool Itch Where You Want It Least
If eggnog, mistletoe, tinsel, Grandma’s flask and the lingering scent of pine needles sounds familiar, you know the holiday season is upon us. In many households, Dad’s tattered and occasionally revealing terrycloth robe has contributed to psychological trauma during the holidays, in other homes it is Mom’s “blackened” turkey that has scarred the children’s memories. For the children of rich people, the ghost of holiday trauma manifests itself as the donning of tartan print pants. These holiday favorites are thought to strike the perfect balance between formal and festive but in fact walk the line between hideous and ridiculous, more so for families without a hint of Scotsman in their storied lineage.
Traditionally, tartan prints have bound clans and identified kinsmen to one another through the intricate patterns designed exclusively for their family name. As the Scottish boast an unrivaled history of war, the tartan played an integral role in identifying the unrecognizable fallen warriors of battle. Today, far from the vaunted lochs and moors of Culloden and Bannockburn these same tartans, as pants not kilts, represent cliché advertisements and the mark of a healthy net worth. For the wealthy it is a subconscious announcement that they are loud, proud and can make any item fashionable by spending excessively. In fact, there are fashion historians who believe the grunge movement in Seattle and today’s explosion of plaid prints at leading American clothiers can be traced back to a tartan cummerbund worn during holiday festivities hosted by the Vanderbilt family on December 19, 1872. This brash display spawned a “fashion” revolution despite the underlying rationale; young Alistair chose tartan over haggis following a lost wager to a member of the MacLean family.
Nonetheless, tartan prints are an excellent means to kick start a wealthy friendship. While purists would recommend honing your ability to identify the more than 13,000 tartan patterns, this is time consuming and frivolous. It is highly unlikely that your plaid sporting friend’s knowledge of Scotland extends beyond Braveheart, whisky and the Loch Ness Monster and could not identify the tartan they are wearing even if you could. In fact, it would make them uncomfortable if you asked them anything about the history of their woven cloth given their ignorance of the topic. Instead, draw on the strength and power that a tartan represents. Asking if wearing such a print reminds them of their own success and prowess in life could be magnificent. You will be tiptoeing through the DMZ that separates blatant brown nosing and world class flattery but when it works it really works! Fine tune this skill and you’ll be sipping single malt with the upper crust, otherwise you will face the social guillotine without the historical significance attributed to Mary Queen of Scots. Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan!