Eva Wornette

Our new editorial intern wornette reminisces about clothing items past, and balancing the bold with the basic

Growing up in the suburbs of Ottawa, I used to ride my bike to the Quickie Mart and the video store to buy Bop and Teen Beat and rent Clueless. I loved Cher’s plaid mini-skirts and knee-high socks but felt most at home in the baggy jeans and flannel shirts of my ’90s generation. I’ve felt torn between contrasting styles ever since. From preppy to bohemian, punk, and vintage, I’ve experimented with many looks but rarely felt confident enough to pull them off. Instead, I’ve settled on a wardrobe of neutral basics in which I always feel at ease.

Reconciling my casual personal style with the more adventurous fashion items I admire is where my love of fashion media comes in. Magazines, blogs, memoirs, and friends allow me to explore my love of bolder pieces vicariously. As someone who works out the world through writing, telling stories about fashion has given me an outlet for working through my bold vs. basic conflict. Every once in a while, it has even pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the beautifully tailored studded-shoulder romper that sits in my closet far too many days of the year. I can’t think of anywhere better than WORN to (ever-so-gently) push me even further.

Current Inspirations

Menswear Dog
Usually I don’t condone exploiting your pet for the sake of entertainment, but this website combines two of my favourite things (dogs and fashion) impeccably. Funny as it may sound, the outfits are a great starting point for a menswear-inspired look, and Bodhi’s re-creation of outfits from Ryan Gosling’s leading movie rolls are eerily on point.

Anthology Magazine
This quarterly home décor and entertaining magazine embraces the fact that people still appreciate a physical print publication and, like WORN, its beautifully decorated and photographed editorials are timeless. As someone whose love of design goes far beyond fashion, I find Anthology’s coverage of creativity in all facets of living inspiring, and reading it has encouraged me to take more pleasure out of everyday activities like cooking dinner and organizing my work space.

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts
Over the past year I’ve found myself drawn more and more to public broadcasters and the unique stories they bring to us. I also love intimate concert sessions à la Black Cab Sessions and La Blogotheque, and this set from NPR is just as addictive. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk is the perfect venue to showcase the voices of musicians like First Aid Kit, and the shows are the perfect soundtrack for a lazy summer afternoon.

National Geographic Found Tumblr
Pulling from 125 years of archived National Geographic photographs, this Tumblr includes everything from portraits to travel photography and key moments in history. In doing so, it manages to document fashion from all around the world over the past century without even trying.

Cupcakes and Cashmere
This blog has been around for ages but it never stops putting a smile on my face. Emily is like the cool older sister I never had, and starting my day off with her newest post just feels right. Her style is casual and accessible and her posts about food, fashion, and her home inspire me to appreciate the everyday.

text // Eva Voinigescu
photography // Paige Sabourin

A Checkered Past

Why tartan was banned in 1746, and nine other things you never knew about plaid

Tartan (or plaid in North American speak) is instantly recognizable by its mesmerizing, layered lines. We know it as the swatch of choice for schoolgirls and suburban dads, but long before that it was (and still is) a symbol of all things Scottish. Tartan has transcended tradition, going from a humble cloth of the Scottish Highlands to a timeless print with far-reaching appeal and a place in nearly every Canadian’s closet.

Back to school bonus point: there were fifty-three different kinds of plaid used in Clueless. See how many you can count on Cher in one of our favorite WORN supercuts here.

1 // Crisscrossing Languages
Tartan’s linguistic roots come from more than one language. Tiretaine (French) and tiritana (Spanish) both mean a blend of linen and wool. It’s also rooted in the Gaelic word breacan, which means plaid, speckled, or checkered.

2 // Strength in Number (of Fabrics)
Tartan is traditionally made out of two fibers – linen and wool. When woven with warp and weft, this binary composition gives tartan its supreme resistance. This material also goes by (fun word alert) “linsey-woolsey.”

3 // We are Family
Among Scottish clans, the lines of tartan run deeper than wool. Members of a family would wear a specific pattern to show others who their allegiance was to. The pattern could appear on a traditional Highland dress, a kilt, or a scarf. Consider it the classier answer to wearing an “I’m with them” shirt.

4 // Rebel Rebel
Thanks to Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Scottish clansmen, tartan was banned in 1746 after they unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the British throne. Under the Act of Proscription, authorities believed tartan was an uncontrollable force of rebellion. Luckily for Scots and the fashion world alike, tartan returned from exile in 1782.

5 // Highland High
Ever wonder why tartan is ubiquitous on school uniforms? It goes back to 1851, when Queen Victoria brought her fashionable sons to the opening of the Great Exhibition. Her boys were clad in full Highland dress and it caused a sensation of Bieber proportions. Ever since, tartan has become a staple for private school dress.

6 // Slash and Burn
The British had it right. Tartan is a rebel. In the late ’70s, it became a staple among punks, thanks (in large part) to Vivienne Westwood. She and Malcolm McLaren of the Sex Pistols launched a London boutique called Seditionaries, specializing in punk clothes that defied the status quo. And it sure did. Westwood took scissors, chains, safety pins, and bin liners to the Scot’s swatch, turning tradition on its head.

7 // Springsteen Approves
Tartan is the unofficial fabric of American blue-collar worker. Paired with jeans, it has become synonymous with the hard working American. It became popular in the ’50s and ’60s after the manufacturing company Pendleton introduced the world to the plaid shirt, now a staple at stores like Mark’s Work Warehouse.

8 // Beauty is Only Skin Deep…
Designers the world over are intrigued by the criss-crossing lines – Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and Jean-Paul Gaultier have all tackled tartan, as have Japanese designers Rei Kawakubo and Jun Takahashi. The latter once had his models painted plaid from head to toe for a runway show.

9 // Cunningham Reports:
Following September 11, fashion photographer Bill Cunningham saw a surge in tartan among New Yorkers. He wrote in The New York Times: “Scottish tartans, plaid, checks, and tattersalls are a sign of fashion’s change of mood since September 11, a time when exaggerated silhouettes and theatrical flourishes have seemed out of touch. Many women reached into their closets for the toned-down style of plaids, which suggest the security of tradition.”

10 // Check Your Checks
It’s getting hard to keep up with the endless variations of tartan, so in 2008 the Scottish Parliament established the Register of Tartans, an online database that tracks every tartan ever registered. Just about everything has a tartan, from provinces (all but Nunavut have one) to organizations (Canadian Dental Association), from royalty (Princess Diana) to cute felines (Hello Kitty).

further reading // Tartan by Jonathan Faiers

illustration // Andrea Manica

Do You Prefer Fashion Victim or Ensemble-ey Challenged?

Sometimes the Internet really lets me down. You would think that by this point a video of every outfit that Cher Horowitz wears in Clueless would exist, but sadly, the Internet is all like “as if.” You would just spend hours and hours looking on YouTube before giving up and looking at cat GIFs. (Um, no, that’s not what I do with my spare time. It was totally a friend of mine.)

Our newest Wornette, Daniel Reis, saw this hole and realized it was his duty to fill it. He would’ve gotten to it sooner, but a watch didn’t go with his outfit.

text by Haley Mlotek
video by Daniel Reis