6 Ways to Wear Plaid, from Super Subtle to Big and Bold
Further proof that plaid might just be the perfect pattern.
Plaid is to fall as stripes are to summer. Did that phrasing just give you flashbacks to the SAT? Sorry—I’ve been reminiscing about my high school days, thanks to our plaid pieces, which make me think of Clueless and Avril Lavigne. But plaid means something different to everyone. What does it make you think of? An erudite English professor? A ‘90s punk rocker? A Scottish bagpiper? There are no wrong answers here, because plaid fits into practically everyone’s personal style—even yours. Whether you prefer your outfits streamlined and subtle or complex and creative, there’s something for you in this roundup of six different ways to wear plaid.
Want more M Dash?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Sleek & Sporty
If movement-friendly minimalism is your goal, this nimble, no-fuss outfit is sure to win you over. The 365Knit Charli top and Better Than Denim Archie jeans team up to form a stretchy yet structured uniform you can wear on repeat, and the Allison anorak scores major style points as a laid-back yet luxurious layer. Finish it off with polished sneakers, and you’re off to the races.
The French Formula
For an instantly dapper everyday ensemble, there’s this equation: structured blazer + crisp button-down + blue jeans + polished flats = Parisian perfection. Wear the plaid O’Hara blazer to serve as the focal point, and complete your classic combination with a poplin underpinning, medium-wash skinny jeans, leather loafers, and small gold hoops. Très chic.
If this look had a PhD, it would be in the art of pairing textures. The matching O’Hara blazer and Mejia pants create a professorial plaid suit, while the washable silk Tatum top adds a lightweight, lustrous contrast. Whether or not you’re actually in academia, go with not-too-high heels like the Lillian pumps if your day involves a lot of standing, and invest in a durable tote if you regularly transport a laptop or papers between work and home.
Prim & Preppy
Is your style perfectly polished and particularly pearly? A skirt suit will do. Try the matching O’Hara blazer and Whitney skirt for a proper plaid pairing, and layer the Darcy top underneath—styled in a bow, of course. For the country club seal of approval, appoint refined accessories such as the pearl Ponza earrings and Ginger pumps in rosy taupe.
Punk—But Make It Professional
Your mosh pit days may be well behind you, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your edge. Reconnect with your punk-rock persona via black leather leggings and the plaid Eudora top, which features sculptural sleeves that make a statement. Further amp things up with mixed metallic accessories like the silver Ella sandals and black Claressa earrings.
Playful in Plaid(s)
Layering multiple plaids isn’t for everyone, but that won’t stop us from inviting you to try it out. The rule of thumb: As long as you stick to a cohesive palette, your result will be delightfully creative—as opposed to questionably clashing. Start with a solid-colored base like the Paige tank and Zhou culottes in black, and then pick your plaid pieces. The Allison anorak features a clean, bold gingham, which balances out the classic, fine lines of the O’Hara blazer. Both layers are black and white, but the O’Hara has a subtle yellow stripe, which you can emphasize with coordinating accessories like the turmeric Rowan flats and eye-catching gold studs. Look at you, venturing outside your comfort zone!