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How to Wear Plaid

How to Wear Plaid

It's a classic look that has stood the test of time. But now it's time to upgrade the look and make it more stylish. Fashionhance showcases 27 different ways in which both girls and guys can wear plaid.
Tulika Nair
Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018
The Checks War: Plaid vs. Tartan
Traditionally, tartan is the correct way to refer to all fabrics woven to create the pattern that we know as plaid. Historically, plaid is a blanket worn with the Highland costume. In the United States, plaid has become synonymous with the print. Gingham which is also often considered a separate print is actually just an even tartan/plaid.
Ah! Plaid! What can we say about it that hasn't been said before? It's been around for so long that you could write odes to it, and still fall short. It has been derided as too common and rural. It has been showcased and highlighted by royals. It has been thrown aside for being (un)stylish. And then, just as quickly, it has been declared the toast of all things fashionable.

What is it about this gorgeous checkered pattern that brings out such varied emotions? That's probably a question that will never get answered, and since we are no Freud, we will let it pass. We are just happy to let it get its due in the spotlight. All we want is to ensure that while it's there, it remains so in style and all its glory. So, we bring to you simple, yet gorgeous ways in which you can wear this print.
Plaid: Checking the Right Boxes
Cover photo for plaid for women
It's bold. It's colorful. And it's right on trend. Girls! Here's how you can wear plaid.
Plaid shorts for women
Bring in a little menswear inspiration by wearing your plaid shirt with a pair of shorts.
Knotted plaid shirt for women
Raid your boyfriend's closet for an oversized shirt, and then knot it over a tank top.
Layering with a plaid shirt
Feeling the chill a little? Wear a warm knit or T-shirt in a complementary color over your shirt.
Plaid shirt cinched with belt
Make it a little feminine by cinching it with a broad belt and wearing it with a mini skirt.
Plaid tube dress top
Whoever said you can't work it with a feminine silhouette? The versatile pattern trumps it all.
Plaid corset top
Looking for something edgier? Opt for a corset-inspired top made girly with a lace cummberbund.
Feminine plaid top
Take plaid to work by wearing a more feminine version of the shirt. Add details like a satin ribbon.
Trench coat with plaid pattern
Keep winter winds at bay with a trench coat in in this eternally-loved design.
Plaid cape for women
Be fashion forward with a cape in plaid in bright, bold colors.
Plaid shift dress
A simple plaid dress can be the perfect way to start out. Add a scarf in a solid color to perk the look.
Vintage plaid outfit
Love vintage fashion? Who doesn't? Channel your inner school girl with this little number.
Plaid skirt with colorful stockings
A cute plaid skirt, colorful stockings, knit top, and boys-inspired shoes; need we say more?
Cover photo for plaid for men
It's been a staple in your wardrobe. Guys, it's time to make plaid more interesting.
Plaid shirt with khaki pants
Keep it casual and team a colorful shirt with a pair of khaki pants.
Plaid shirt with blazer
For a semi-formal look, wear your shirt with a pair of chinos, and add a dinner jacket.
Layering with plaid shirt
Plaid is the perfect print to layer with. Wear it over a tee, and see how the magic happens.
Sleeveless sweater with plaid shirt
The weather caught you unaware? Warm yourself with a full-sleeved shirt and a sleeveless sweater.
Plaid with leather jacket
Is your inner biker boy calling out to you? Well, tend to the desire by wearing a leather jacket.
Plaid print tie
A check shirt, a plaid tie, trousers with suspenders; and you thought plaid was all about casual.
Plaid shirt with dungarees
Go old school by wearing your plaid shirt with a pair of overalls. The farms are calling!
Plaid shorts for men
Did you think plaid couldn't be versatile? Tell that to a pair of plaid shorts. Perfect for chilling in.
Sleeveless plaid
Be your sporty best with a sleeveless zippered vest. Wear it with a plain tee for maximum effect.
Plaid dinner jacket
Mix prints and go a little crazy. Wear a formal plaid jacket over denims and a printed T-shirt.
Plaid is one of those universally loved patterns that always manages to look comfortable, yet fashionable. The key to wearing the trend well, though, is to use your judgment and not overwhelm your outfit. A bold print like this can often become an eyesore if not used minimally. Too much from the tartan family, and you will go down in history for committing a major fashion faux pas. 

Understand what will work for you and what won't. While larger prints can overwhelm a petite person, smaller ones work beautifully on them. But this is not a rule by any means. It depends, ultimately, on what appeals to you. Learn the difference between woven and western styles. The former has larger squares and uses multiple colors, while the latter usually uses two colors and tends to have smaller squares. Conventional wisdom would say that you should avoid mixing other prints with plaid, but we say, take a call on that. Mixed prints is a trend that works beautifully with the checks family.
If you are unsure of wearing plaid clothes, you can always dip your toes by wearing accessories with plaid prints; a scarf, a headband, a bow tie, try whatever catches your fancy. While plaid was considered synonymous with the Highlands and Texan cowboys, today you can dress up or dress down the print, depending on your mood.