How to Style Plaid Pants: Five Outfits for Every Type of Occasion
Plaid represents everything that’s great about fall style. Here are our top tips on styling plaid pants.
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To me, plaid represents everything that’s great about fall. Plaid is that morning sometime in the middle of September when you wake up and the air smells crisp. It’s Cher Horowitz turning heads on her first day of school. It’s sitting by a fire pit with a glass of red and a cozy blanket, “October Sky” playing softly in the background. It’s spending the afternoon getting lost in a bookstore and only realizing you’ve been there for hours when you look out the window and see the sun setting.
Romanticized visions aside, plaid is also an incredibly versatile pattern—and one that can be a staple in your wardrobe if you know how to style it. Not that M.M. customers need the reminder: Our Mejia pants in windowpane plaid sold out in mere days when we released them earlier this month. Lucky for you (and me—I couldn’t get my hands on a pair before they flew off the shelves!), they’re back. To celebrate their return, here are my top tips on how to style plaid pants, plus five outfits to try for everything from casual weekends to business-formal offices.
How to Style Plaid Pants
1. Take Color-Pairing Cues from Your Plaid Pants
Styling with patterned pieces may seem intimidating at first, but in reality, your plaid pants include a built-in color-pairing guide. To determine which colors will work well, simply look at the colors in the plaid itself. In the case of our windowpane plaid, those colors are deep red, navy, cream, and brown. Therefore, you can wear windowpane plaid with any of those colors and know your palette is on-point. That’s not to say you can’t pair it with other colors—but taking cues from the pattern is an easy place to start.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Pattern and Texture
Mixing things up with pattern, texture, and material always makes your outfit look extra stylish. An easy rule of thumb for pattern-mixing is to combine small-scale patterns with large-scale patterns. Here’s an example: Our windowpane plaid is a small-scale pattern, while our cable knit is a large-scale pattern. Because of this contrast, when you wear the Mejia pants and Eloise vest together, they complement each other rather than clashing.
3. Dress It Up, Dress It Down
Plaid is often used in suiting and is therefore usually seen as a formal pattern. But trust me: I have plenty of plaid pants outfit ideas for every occasion. Yes, you should wear your plaid pants with a matching blazer for a super sharp suit—but also wear them on the weekend with a cotton tank, for cozy days at home with a cashmere sweater, and for date night with a vegan leather jacket.
Five Plaid Pants Outfits to Try
Academic-chic is in this season, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Chunky cable knit, classic suiting fabrics, colors that evoke fall in New England—I love it all. Pair your plaid Mejia pants with the vibrant, strawberry-red Eloise vest for a splash of color and texture. White sneakers provide a modern twist, offering a sporty contrast to the sophistication of the plaid. Finish off your look with the bold Blige necklace and Claressa earrings, which give the whole outfit an of-the-moment feeling. This look proves that it’s easy to put together a great outfit when you mix patterns and textures: With just a few pieces, you’ve created a fashion-forward look that’s sure to attract compliments. For an even cozier version of this look, try an oversized sweater like the Kiki.
You might associate plaid pants with more formal looks, but with the right outfit pairings, they can be part of your everyday rotation. One great feature of the Mejia pants is that they’re neither high-waisted nor low-waisted. Thanks to their mid-rise fit, you can easily wear your tops both tucked-in and untucked. In this look, understated pairings really allow the plaid pants to shine: The galaxy blue Paige tank brings out the navy tones in the pants, while the cognac Carter slides emphasize the pattern’s subtle brown. For an extra touch, add the black Claressa hoops, then grab your favorite tote and head out for your weekend activities. To keep wearing this outfit once the weather gets cooler, add a bomber jacket and swap your sandals for sneakers.
The easiest and most impactful way to style plaid pants for business-formal environments? Go for a complete suit. I love seeing complete plaid suits for women, and the combination of the slightly oversized, boyfriend-style O’Hara blazer with the tailored Mejia pants is just so chic. The washable silk charmeuse Tatum shirt adds elegance and provides a counterpoint to your menswear-inspired plaid suit. Finish the outfit off with classic black pumps and shiny gold earrings. Bonus: To make this look more casual, trade the button-down for a fitted turtleneck top (or even a crop top, if you’re feeling risqué) and the pumps for sneakers.
Personally, I love to wear plaids all year round—and if you want to keep cozy this winter, soft knits are just the thing to wear with plaid pants. The base of this outfit features a luxurious silk jersey shirt and plaid pants—and you could stop there. But I recommend taking things a step further by swaddling yourself the long-sleeve, cashmere Caro cardigan. The Claressa earrings and shimmery gold Grace loafers make the outfit feel elevated—although you could absolutely sub in fluffy slippers to wear around the house.
For a slightly edgy outfit, wear a pair of plaid pants with a cropped vegan leather jacket like the Nicky. The silk Vicky tank keeps the ensemble elevated, while the heeled Lana booties in burgundy bring out the red hues in the windowpane plaid pattern of your pants. Pull it all together with the chunky gold Lyra necklace. Not a fan of high heels? This outfit would look equally chic with a pair of pointy-toed flats like the Rowan. If you’re interested in pairing other jackets with plaid pants, try the Sierra shacket, the Yasmine blazer, or the Steffi jacket.