We can’t really call wearing Tartan a trend, if Tartan has been ‘back’ for the past few seasons… Maybe it’s because any pattern with stripes that meet at a 90-degree angle are being lumped together as Tartan. If you factor in the number of colours, width of the stripes and spaces between the stripes – that makes ALOT of variations all similarly called Tartan.

This raises the question: What is the difference between Tartan, Plaid, Gingham, Checkered AND Flannel?!

We’ve done the research for you:

  • In the US, Plaid (left pic) is usually two colours and the width of the stripes can be the same or not.
  • Tartan (right pic) is usually more than two colours on a solid background. The widths of the stripes change. It is most commonly associated with Scottish kilts. All tartans are plaid, but, not all plaids are tartan.








In the UK, Plaid is not a design but a garment. Plaide in Gaelic in roughly translated to mean a large wrap or blanket, also known as ‘The Belted Plaid’.  In short, Plaid is a blanket that has been gathered and belted around your waist, while Tartan is the actual pattern of cloth the garment is made from.


Liam Neeson with a Plaid in Rob Roy (1995)


Gerald Butler in a Kilt

  • Gingham is two colours of stripes, usually the same width. One colour is usually white. Dorothy Gale wore a blue gingham dress in the Wizard of Oz book and film.


  • Checkered is a pattern made up of squares. Gingham usually comes in a checkered pattern
  • Shepherd’s check is a twill-weave of small white & coloured checks of the same size. Its visible twill weave is what differentiates it from gingham. The hounds tooth pattern originated from the Shepherd’s check.


  • Tattersall is a check pattern of thin, evenly spaced stripes in alternating colours. The stripes are often in two different colours and are usually darker than the background colour.


Taylor Swift (left) is wearing Tattersall, Karlie Kloss (right) is wearing Tartan

  • Flannel is a fabric. Any fabric can be plaid printed, but Flannel is often printed on with plaid (which gives off that back-to-basics vibes to me)


While the story of Tartan goes all the way back to the 18th century with connections to Scottish and Gaelic Culture and to the 19th century when Queen Victoria’s made Tartan dresses popular, Tartan is also a fashion chameleon that was popular through the era of 70s punk and 90s grunge. Till today, Tartan is often seen to suit both preppy and rebellious looks.



The mother of punk, Vivienne Westwood (right)


90s grunge


Clueless (1995) created many memorable looks including this matching blazer and mini skirt set, recently replicated in Iggy Azalea’s music video Fancy 


As we can see, its unique history shows that it is more than just a trend. For folks that don’t really care to much about history or fashion, it is not difficult to have an undying love affair for Tartan too, seeing as it is one of the easiest way to add pattern and colour to your outfit without thinking too much.


(images sourced from,, Teen Vogue, MGM,


How are today’s fashionistas wearing Tartan? Check out our Pinterest board below for style inspiration!
Follow Tea For Three’s board Clash of the tartans on Pinterest.



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#TBT 1960s Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

#TBT 1960s Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

An invitation to Truman Capote’s Back and White ball was the ultimate social validation.

Held on November 28, 1966 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, the ball was hosted by Capote to celebrate the success of his novel In Cold Blood. It would have been arrogant to organise a ball for himself, so he threw it in honor of The Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. (Though she later said, “I was…sort of baffled….I felt a little bit like Truman was going to give the ball anyway and that I was part of the props.“)


Truman Capote dancing with Katharine Graham at the Ball

Truman who had been catapulted to stardom for his book Breakfast at Tiffany’s made sure that the ball would be the most talked about party of the century. He edited his guest list for months, adding and removing names written in a pocket book that never left his side.

Eventually, the number of guests swelled from 480 to 540, more names were added in after desperate pleas and telegrams sent to Capote. Those on the guest list were some of the most famous in the world – Prince and Princess Stanislas Radziwill, Mrs John F Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Andy Warhol, Oscar de la Renta, daughters of Presidents, and socialites (lovingly called “Capote’s Swans”).  Other guests in this eclectic mix of people included Hollywood stars, artists, authors and Capote’s own doorman. The dress code for men was Black tie and Black mask, while the dress code for the ladies was Black or White dress and White mask.

Lee & Stanislaus Radziwill At Mask Party

Princess Lee Radizwell (sister of Mrs. John F. Kennedy) accompanied by her husband Prince Stanislaus Radziwill 


Andy Warhol – the only guest who turned up without a mask

On the day of the ball, the Plaza Hotel was crowded with onlookers, cameramen and paparazzi who were monitored by policemen and the Secret Service. Apparently, a henchmen was also sent to keep an eye on the diamond Princess Luciana Pignatelli borrowed to suspend from her headdress.


Spot the walnut-size diamond on Princess Luciana Pignatell’s headdress (left)

As evening came, Guests turned up in spectacular black and white gowns/suits, designer masks, extravagant jewellery and updos. (Most tresses were freshly coiffed in the morning by the city’s most fashionable hairdresser, Kenneth Batelle, on East 54th Street.) Leo Lerman told the Life photographer Henry Grossman that ‘he had never seen so many beautiful women in one place at one time’.


The Black and White Ball held on November 28, 1966 at the Plaza Hotel


Interior Designer Billy Baldwin (left) in his unicorn mask, created by Gene Moore

One of the biggest stars was Penelope Tree who caught the eye of every person in the room with her unique outfit and unusual looks that dramatically wowed everyone when she took off her mask. Tree was discovered by the fashion world, particularly Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon, that night.


Penelope Tree at the Ball

Then came the media maelstrom the next day. Every newspaper, TV and radio station went on and on about the Ball. Guests were unsurprisingly analysed and rated for their fashion sense.Women’s Wear Daily bestowed Gloria Guinness with four and a half stars while Diana Vreeland earned just one star. Penelope Tree booked a Vogue cover shoot the next day. Capote was rumoured to have given the master list of invited guests to the newspapers who printed it – much to the delight of the public who begun scrutinising those names. Guests were swarmed with questions about the Ball, and Truman became “omnipotent” as declared by Women’s Wear Daily. 

Truman got what he wanted – the Ball was labelled by the press as “the Party of the Century”. Even today, this accolade still remains for we’ve yet to seen another party as iconic as The Black and White Ball.


(If you’ll like to know more, I would recommend reading the book ‘Party of the Century’ by Deborah Davis!)

Sources: Vanity Fair ‘A Night to Remember’, Women’s Wear Daily, The Independent, Party of the Century by Deborah Davis, The New York Times by Mary Jane Park

#TBT 1960s: Penelope Tree

#TBT 1960s: Penelope Tree

Penelope didn’t look like anybody else.

In 1966, 17 year old Penelope Tree went to Truman Capote’s famous Black & White Ball where she was ‘discovered’ by Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, and Diana Vreeland. The next day she was asked to be featured in American Vogue, photographed by Richard Avedon. Avedon was so taken by Penelope’s unusual appearance he said; ‘Don’t touch her. She is perfect’.

In a short time, she skyrocketed straight to the top, becoming one of the most famous of that era – the ultimate 60s It Girl. However, her career ended as quickly as it had begun due to a late onslaught of acne. ‘I went from being sought-after to being shunned because nobody could bear to talk about the way I looked.’ she said.



Who’s that girl?: Hollie May Saker

Who’s that girl?: Hollie May Saker

20 y/o British Model Hollie May Saker is such a stunner with her cheekbones, folded-in double eye lids and hair that can look light brown, blonde and reddish at times. Currently on’s Top 50 list, she has graced the catwalks of Versace, Burberry (of course, she’s Brit), Victoria Beckham, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli, DSquared2 and more. Apparently she used to get really emotional and cry after every major show while the people backstage had to fan her eyes to prevent the makeup from running!

Here’s her latest major shoot for Marie Claire Italia February 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 2.21.00 pm

Can’t wait to see what’s next! In the meantime, here are some photos to girl-crush over:



After Moschino


She is often seen in Moschino’s ad campaigns


Elle Japan 2014


iD Magazine


(That’s her boyfriend. His grandmother introduced her to a booker from Models 1 who kickstarted her modelling career.)

hollie-missvogueMiss Vogue


At Versace


(Photos from,, Elle Japan, Miss Vogue, iD Mag)


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