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How to Pull off Plaid Without Looking Like a Nirvana Band Member

In styles including buffalo check and tartan print, plaid has been around for centuries. This season, the classic pattern re-emerges as a versatile option for adding an unexpected twist to your wardrobe.

By Jennifer Adamson

Mar 2018

How to Wear Plaid
Photo by Brandon Alms

Get the Look

LOOK 1: 
Felt hat, $14.99; Listickle knit waterfall cardigan, $39.99; Gilli Karemn dress $44.99, all at Shaila’s Boutique; Blank Paige Bye Felicia T-shirt, $38 at MODERN Society Apparel; Cello Lilly skinny pant, $49.99 at Shaila’s Boutique; Pucks loafer mule, $48 at Torn Boutique

LOOK 2:
En Creme Driver stripe plaid button-up top, $44; Blank Paige Dreamy T-shirt, $44; Listide side-tie denim skirt, $44; Breckelle’s Cyber silver platform sneaker, $42, all at MODERN Society Apparel; Plaid Ttime ball cap, $8 at Shaila’s Boutique 

LOOK 3:
White Birch Pointing to Plaid buffalo plaid off-the-shoulder top, $32; Funtastic Fawn black denim cropped overalls, $51; Pucks loafer mule, $48 all at Torn Boutique



DO: Think of it as a Neutral

“It can be mixed and matched so many ways. Wear it layered over your favorite graphic T-shirt, with a skirt and boots, as an accessory, like a scarf or wrap or under a sleeveless dress.”—Carissa Greenlee, Torn Boutique

DON’T: Overcomplicate Things
“The easiest way to style plaid is just with a pair of jeans and booties. Otherwise, if you’re wearing a plaid jacket, an on-trend way to style it would be with a graphic tee or a band tee.”—Andrea Pena, MODERN Society Apparel

DON’T: Mix it with Other Patterns 
“We prefer using it with a graphic tee or a solid [color piece] instead. You could maybe wear it with another texture but not another pattern. You don’t want to make it too distracting. Sometimes, too many patterns take away from good statement pieces.”—Ashley Holt, Shaila’s Boutique

DO: Embrace its Versatility
“Pair plaid with denim in the day, and then transition to evening by pairing it with leather leggings or by throwing on a leather jacket.”—A.P.

DO: Buy a Button-Up
“A button-up plaid flannel is a must-have for everyone’s wardrobe. You can button it up, tuck it into your jeans or wear it unbuttoned over a graphic tee. It’s a piece that can kind of be manipulated with every kind of outfit in the winter. And no matter what size you are, there’s a fit for everyone, even if you just tie it around your waist and use it as an accessory.”—C.G.

DO: Pay Attention to Fit
If you’re going to be layering plaid under a sweater or vest, you want something more fitted. If you’re going for a more casual look that’s cute with jeans or leggings, try a boyfriend slouchy cut.”—C.G.

DON’T: Channel Your Inner Britney Spears
“To not make plaid look too schoolgirl, the material of the piece is the key here. Adding a great plaid wrap to some white jeans with a good [pair of heels] is a good example of how to do it right.”—A.H.

DO: Keep it Classy
“Choose a more tailored piece with a straight fit instead of something that’s flared, whether it be a jacket or skirt. If it’s a skirt, pairing that more modern shape with an oversize sweater can add sophistication, too.”—A.P.

DO: Make it Work Worthy
“A white, plaid long jacket is great to add as a touch of class to your favorite black business dress. There’s nothing casual about that.”—A.H.

DON’T: Underestimate Outerwear
“Our current bestsellers for women include an oversized plaid semi-structured jacket with super trendy, crazy patches and a classic buffalo check plaid coat from Gentle Fawn. Either one can be styled with nearly anything, not to mention you’ll have them in your closet for years to come. Plus, adding a third piece to your look can really complete the outfit as well as give you that extra layer for warmth.”—A.P.

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