National Argyle Day
Scotland’s culture holds us rapt at times, as we wonder why haggis exists or consider Sean Connery’s enchanting Scottish brogue. But these are the lesser-known tidbits that reflect the Scots. When it comes to fashion, there is a well-known influence that cannot be denied, and it comes in the form of argyle.
This familiar diamond pattern all at once conjures thoughts of bagpipers, kilts, golf, socks, the preppy influence of the 1980s, Mike Meyers, and for some, Bugs Bunny. As a design element, it may appear on a throw pillow, in wallpaper, on a blanket, or even a thermos.
On this day – National Argyle Day – we are bound to consider the ultimate bottom line in regards to this classic pattern: you either love it or you hate it. That’s right, kids, argyle is polarizing. All you have to do is start a conversation about it. Opinionated commentary awaits you, and will run the gamut between “kind of fun” to “it is so tacky, I just don’t get it.” There are many who land in the “it depends on the colors” camp, while others insist that they like it, but only on socks.
From Kilt to Golf Green
To truly celebrate argyle, socks may be the best place to start. The Scots started wearing “Tartan hose” in the 17th century. These accessories of course went along with the tartan kilts that branded each clan. The argyle pattern – intersecting diamonds with overlapping line motifs – comes from the tartan of Clan Campbell, which originated in Argyll in Western Scotland (Kilchurn Castle, Argyll, Scotland, is shown above).
Once the Duke of Windsor started decorating his golf gear with the argyle pattern after WWI, its popularity took off. Argyle went from kilts to golf greens, and has morphed into what is now considered a preppy fashion choice. Once again, the 80s come to mind. With its popped collars and splashes of garish overstatement, argyle was applied with the use of pastel and neon hues. Seemingly, the pattern itself needed to get out of its own way.
Argyle Never Fades
Today, the argyle pattern drops here and there when we notice anyone who has made a tasteful choice with it, and when we notice someone who has not. Let’s face it, pairing together colors that don’t match in a very distinct pattern can be completely jarring to the eye. Not only that, but the argyle itself is so distinct, it can remove notice from anything else you are wearing. If the eye is going to be drawn to it, let’s hope it’s a pleasant experience.
It’s easy to understand why socks continue to work as the most obvious choice in which to embody argyle. They come across as a fun surprise when noticed, and colors can be playful without being a harsh invasion upon one’s aesthetic.
However you decide to celebrate National Argyle Day – with a round of golf, the trill of a bagpipe, the choice of an argyle hat, the wearing of your favorite sweater, or sorting your socks so you can celebrate all the time, we do not bestow judgment. Instead, we offer words of encouragement to continue to make choices in personal taste that make you feel good. Whether it be head to toe argyle, or just a splash of it, it’s all up to you.
Crocheters: learn to color pool the argyle pattern.