Trolley Molly loves the traditional Argyle pattern, but what do we know about it? Why not impress your friends with this conversation starter? ;)
An Argyle, or Argyll, pattern is recognisable by its diamond and lozenge shapes making up the overall pattern. The word can also refer to an individual diamond in the design. Usually, layers of overlapping motifs make up a rather 3D design, movement and texture. Most often there is an overlay of intercrossing thin lines over consequetive solid diamonds.
We see all combinations of colours nowadays used for Argyle patterns, but the original Argyle pattern derived from the 17th century tartan of the Clan Campbell in Western Scotland. Historically, the Campbell Clan were one of the largest and most powerful of the Highland clans. Their lands were in Argyll and the chief of the clan became the Earl and later Duke of Argyll.
The Argyle pattern was used for kilts and plaids (patterned cloth wrapped and pleated around the waist and tied with a belt), as well as the traditional patterned hose (long socks) worn by the Scottish highlanders to compliment their kilts.
The history of the kilt dates back to the 16th century. The belted plaid, or 'great kilt', was a full length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped around the shoulders, or brought over the head as a hood. Later, the 'small kilt' or 'walking kilt' was adapted from the belted plaid and was essentially just the bottom half made into a single smaller garment.
The Grant Piper by Richard Waitt, 1714
Following the First World War, Argyle knitwear became the ultimate fashion statement in Great Britain and the United States. The design was popularised by Pringle of Scotland and was identified with the chosen golfing attire of the Duke of Windsor; both for sweaters and the long socks which accompanied the 'plus fours' trouser fashion of the day.
Argyle is a popular pattern with knitters using the intarsia technique; a technique which creates a pattern using multiple colours. It is also a favourite of weavers.
Moving forward to the present day, the Argyle pattern has been sported by golfers with their plus fours, or 'knickerbockers', and Argyle socks. Sports teams have made use of the brightness of the Argyle pattern with modern interpretations. And last but not least, Pringle of Scotland, as well as a multitiude of contemporary designers are still using traditional designs with a modern twist.
Trolley Molly is an avid fan of the Argyle pattern and its roots, believing that tradition can be kept alive through contemporary fashion. And as part of her Alpaca range she has stocked two fantastic Argyle golfing sweaters in her Gifts for Him Collection. And very close to the original Clan Campbell colours I might add!
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Love from Marianne at Trolley Molly x