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The Tailor's Art


Creation of the Manís Suit
The Suit in the 19th Century
Menís Dressing Gown and Waistcoat Fabrics
Menís Accessories in the 19th Century
Neckties and Cravats
Menís Accessories in the 20th Century
Tailoring for Women
Appropriating the Dandy
Contrast Between the Modern Suit and Feminine Fashion
Mid-Century America: Conformity in Suburbia
Mid-Century Humor: Conversational Textiles
Counterculture Menswear
Contemporary Tailoring for Men
Menswear Fabrics - A Glossary



Tartan is a multicolor check or plaid twill woven wool fabric associated with often-romanticized notions of Scottish identity. Contrary to popular belief, specific tartan patterns, such as Dress Stewart and Black Watch, can not be empirically linked to specific Scottish clans or families. Still, tartan has played an important role in the history of Scottish nationalism. By 1600, tartan was a distinctive part of Highland dress, but after 1745, when the Highlanders supported the Stuart prince ďBonny Prince CharlieĒ against King George II, the wearing of tartan was forbidden. The rebel nature of tartan can be traced back to this time. This illuminates tartanís appeal to the punk rockers of the 1970s, and to fashion designers in search of subversive style. Paradoxically, tartan can also be conventionally fashionable and, in addition to being a favorite for both menís and womenís clothing, it is widely used today for interior fabrics.


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All photographs by Irving Solero, courtesy of the Museum at FIT, unless otherwise noted.