Tartan Talk

As the nights are drawing in, now is the time to get out your tweeds and tartans out! Gresham Blake’s Head Of Tailoring Nathalie May gets back to basics with some Tartan facts…….

What is Tartan?

Tartan is a woven, usually wooden cloth which consists of different coloured checks in a criss-cross pattern.

Laurie Vincent | Gresham Blake | Chime n Grime
Laurie Vincent, wearing a bespoke Gresham Blake Tartan Suit.

Tartan is traditionally associated with Scotland, specifically the highlands with colours originating from natural dyes such as berries, plants, mosses and bark. 

Early tartans usually consisted of only 2 or 3 colours but have since evolved to have many more colours woven together. 

Local vegetation produced specific colours to an area and the inhabitants would wear the same tartan which is where ‘Clan Tartan’ comes from.  Over time, as the clans mixed geographically, so did the colours and eventually the tartans. 

Types of Tartan

There were and are many tartans worn for different uses. 

Originally tartan were used on kilts and sashes. Kilts are still worn but now trousers can be favoured, especially out of Scotland.

Clan Tartans were worn by most people. 

Dress Tartans,  worn by women, traditionally were lighter in colour. 

Mourning Tartans were black and white and worn for funerals and throughout the mourning period. 

Hunting Tartans were worn (you guessed it!) for hunting and were darker and much more muted in tone, especially if the clan had a bright everyday tartan. 

Chief Tartans were worn by the Chief and his immediate family – a bit like royalty. 

Gresham Blake | Tartan Trouser
Gresham Blake Tartan Trousers

How should you wear Tartan?

Kilts are now worn as formal dress and much less popular than before. However tartan trousers have gained popularity and can be worn as a smart or casual piece. Dressed down with a T-shirt and trainers or up with a velvet dinner jacket and a patent shoe. 

Bespoke or Ready-To-Wear?

Gresham Blake offer both off-the-peg tartan trousers or bespoke tartan trousers.  

Our Off-the-peg range of tartan trousers include both loud and muted designs and are available online and in-stores with the option of worldwide shipping. 

Gresham Blake Tartan Trousers

If you are looking for something more unique or would like a garment made using a specific Clan Tartan then it is best to book in with one of the Gresham Blake Tailoring team who create a made-to-measure pair in a matter of weeks. 

At Gresham Blake we have even created our very own ‘Brighton and Hove Tartan’ which is exclusive to us. 

Brighton & Hove Tartan Certificate
The Brighton & Hove Tartan Register Certficate
The Official Brighton & Hove Tartan

To book in with one of our Tailors CLICK HERE. 

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