Trend Watch: Retailers are Banking On... Plaid?

Yesterday on NPR's Marketplace, we heard a story about apparel retailers who are trying to pull themselves out of the current economic slump by betting on plaid as a "must-have" for fall. Unlike mark-downs, must-haves are so highly in demand that stores can get full price and make bigger profits. Part of what makes plaid a strong sell is that it works for both genders on any type of fabric or surface. Here at Apartment Therapy, we've noticed that plaid has been a fashion and home decor trend for a while now, but...

...we're a little surprised to hear it heralded as a must-have. In January of this year, an Apartment Therapy survey revealed that a slight majority of you (47 to 39) believe the tartan trend is on the way out, although many of the commenters noted that it all depends on the way plaid is used, and whether it looks tasteful or tacky.

What do you think? Is plaid a safe bet right now or are retailers way off? Is it all right for fashion, but not so much for the home? Or is it a pattern that works almost anywhere?

For a little perspective on the trend, here are 10 plaid-themed posts:

FIRST ROW
1 Mosaic Tile Patterns from Trend
2 Roundup: Modern Plaid
3 How To: Make a Plaid Pillow from a GoodWill Jacket
4 Home Design Trend Forecast 2010: Feminine Menswear
5 Hot or Not? The Tartan Trend for Decor

SECOND ROW
6 Plaid Walls from Crown Paint
7 Preppy Plaid Rugs from Dash & Albert
8 Decor Goes Plaid
9 Plaid Rug in a Blue and Black Room
10 Highland Hallway from House to Home

>> To hear the Marketplace podcast, "Plaid may help checkered retail sales," from 8/5/09, click here.

Photos: Trend, Homebug, Shelly/Flipt Studio, Janel Laban, Caravane, Dash & Albert, Crown Paint, Flipt Studio, Ideal Home, House to Home

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