There are some styles that seem to transcend fashion trends, staying popular season after season, generation after generation. Plaid is one of those styles. With a rich history, this distinctive pattern has become a symbol of class and history, while still sought after as a comforting accent in the family home.
Plaid is a staple of home decor inventory. It is found alongside those plain white sheets as an item that consumers expect to always find: except some retailers choose to bring it out only as a holiday item. Given the evolution of this pattern, stores might want to consider stocking plaid blankets and throws all year round.
Plaid’s Enduring Popularity
The evolution of plaid has occurred over many centuries. It began as the tartan in what’s now called Scotland. In 1978, archaeologists discovered the 3,000-year-old mummified remains of a Scottish man. He was wearing tartan leggings. That’s pretty good evidence that those distinctive checkers are far from a modern invention, and certainly not developed in the fast fashion mills of modern times.
Indeed, tartan was originally used for heavy winter cloaks. The colors were made from local vegetable dyes, therefore distinguishing each local Scottish clan by the look of their clothing. It was in the 18th century that the tartan became a well-recognized military uniform. Plaid evolved from tartan once British and American textile makers were able to replicate the patterns with a fashionable take — minus the historical significance.
Stylish Variations on a Simple Pattern
Plaid, of course, doesn’t look the same all the time. There are many takes on those multi-layered squares, with each one apparently reflecting not only personal taste but personality. So if a customer indicates they are not a fan of plaid, it’s not always safe to assume they have the same image in their mind as you do of how the pattern looks.
The tartan, with its red base and blue and green layers, says you’re a traditionalist, according to Town & Country. Tattersall was a popular horse blanket and indicates versatility. Windowpane Check, Madras, Gingham and Glen Plaid are all other types of plaid, each with more than a century of history. In short, there’s a plaid for every taste and aesthetic sensibility.
Why Plaid Should Be a Staple of Your Inventory
Since plaid is so well-known, it can be overlooked as a distinctive style piece. Retailers may not immediately see plaid as a good fit for a modern trend. There are major reasons why e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores may want to keep available a healthy selection of plaid blankets and throws, in order to meet consumer demand.
1. Multiple Home Decor Uses for Plaid
Regardless of where consumers want to put their new bedding, it’s a safe bet that plaid makes a good fit. As warm wraps, plaid blankets and throws are perfect for the summer cottage during evenings around the campfire or by the lake. They are the expected complement to December home decor, which is often red and green — a plaid throw over a chair next to a mantle christened with a poinsettia would be an appropriate pairing. Plaid is also comfy enough to have a place in a low-key den, family room or bedroom.
2. Gifts for the Holidays
Because plaid is such a versatile pattern, it fits on clothing, housewares or any other consumer good. Over the holidays, at anniversary parties, summer gatherings, birthdays, or back-to-school, plaid blankets and throws make ideal gifts. Depending on the price point, they can be the mark of luxury or become a relaxed, down-home piece. Consumers can give plaid blankets to family they cherish or acquaintances they don’t know well; it’s potentially a staple gift item for consumers to have on hand in case they need a housewarming item at the last moment.
3. Timeless Classic That’s Never Outdated
Plaid continues to be a staple on store shelves because it never becomes outdated. It’s as universal as other patterns consumers know and love. When people buy plaid, they don’t have that fear that it will appear old-fashioned in a year — except in the sense that the tartan is already seen as traditional. Almost any home decor, from classic to modern, fits with plaid. Homeowners can put it out again season after season, even when they decide it’s time to switch up a room. The pattern is somehow always in vogue, therefore consumers will never hesitate to buy it.
Plaid Options for eCommerce
Despite the fact that there’s year-round interest in plaid blankets and throws, some stores may be reluctant to dedicate shelf space to these items in favor of newer trends. That’s where retailers who also run an e-commerce operation may be able to take advantage of consumer desire for plaid. By partnering with a dropshipper, they can make plaid items available for sale without having to keep in-store inventory.
Regardless of your operational choices, it may be wise to take a second look at plaid. In particular, if you’ve written off the pattern as out of step with modern tastes, you may find you’re pleasantly surprised by the consumer interest in this style option.