Mad for Madras

Madras is not to be confused with plaid—but it can come in plaids. Madras (MAD-dras, not mah-DRAS, as I’ve discovered) is a loosely woven cotton fabric from Madras, India.

Fun fact? Apparently Indians in Madras were fond of Scottish tartans in the 1800s and appropriated them, adding their own spin and colors on it. Later, madras made its way to America in the early 1900s. Also, Madras typically fades with time, which makes it an ideal fabric for preps (or anyone else who believes in buying quality but with less frequency).

Mad for Madras // Curating Style

L.L.Bean patchwork madras tote // Cape Madras fun skirt // Cape Madras men’s pants // J.Press sport coat // L.L.Bean Kennebunkport dress // Brooks Brothers slim-fit oxford with madras elbow patches // Brooks Brothers boys’ madras sport jacket // Just Madras neck tie // Just Madras bow tie // Just Madras madras ballet flats

I had the good luck to meet Jenna Sisselman, the founder and owner of Cape Madras last summer when we were in Freeport, Maine. I own the Cape Madras fun skirt in a Lilly-inspired pink and green madras that I love, though I may branch out into some darker shades that will get me through fall too.

Want to start from scratch with some madras fabric? Check out Just Madras’ fabric by the yard.

Do you own any madras items? Madras is a great fabric, and perfect for summer. Don’t let the patterns scare you away!

Keep an eye out next Wednesday—Preps Out of Place will be back!

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6 Responses to Mad for Madras

  1. Did you know that “plaid” comes from the word for blanket in Gaelic? It’s a large clothing wrap that Scottish men would belt around their waist (another form of kilts) and could be wrapped around the torso. So happens that most kilts were designed in the tartan pattern which is why there is confusion between the two.

    Plaid is a piece of clothing. Where a tartan is a pattern. ;)

  2. joy says:

    I love love madras! I think it would be really cool if i could find a one piece swim suit in a cute light madras print :)

    • Jess says:

      Ooh, a one-piece (or tankini) would be great. I always have issues getting one-piece bathing suits on and off though. I’ll let you know if I find something!

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