According to The Washington Post, argyle didn't actually start out as the strait-laced preppy staple it's become over time. In fact, the pattern we know today started out to be indicative of rebellion and revolution. The diamond pattern originated in 1940s Scotland, but drew inspiration from the tartan of the 17th-century Clan Campbell of Argyll in western Scotland.
Reportedly, after the dissolution of Mary, Queen of Scots' marriage to Lord Darnley in 1565, the fifth Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, remained Scotland's only rebel at large. He returned to his castle at Dunoon, but the tartan of his lineage had since become associated with anti-establishment ideology. By the time clothing company Pringle of Scotland picked up on the pattern after World War I, the once alternative style became tied to royalty and leisure, and eventually a popular look for golfers galore [source: Urken].