Mad About Plaid

September 9, 2006 • Magazine

Mad About Plaid

Mad About Plaid

Sat, 2006-09-09 19:00

Jacqueline Zenn

Plaid is around every fall in some way, shape, or form, and this season is no exception. In fact, the pattern was on tons of runways, done in a variety of ways. Plaid is one versatile pattern, and it’s not just for schoolgirl kilts or flannel shirts anymore.

A great pair of plaid pants is a fall classic, and this is the season to invest. A wide leg in a heavy fabric with a good drape is just as flattering, if not more so, than a solid color. For example, these Diane von Furstenberg pants could be worn for years to come. If you want something that’s more trendy, cropped pants in plaid are also a fun, trendy item to add to your wardrobe.

Same rules goes for basic tartan skirts – avoid major pleating and mini lengths and you won’t resemble fifteen-year-old Britney. Also, leave the knee socks at home and pair your skirt with some textured tights that pick up one of the accent colors in the pattern for an interesting mix. This gray plaid pencil skirt with interesting details at the waist is the perfect way to inject some fashion into your work wardrobe.

Plaid suits are a little more difficult. Despite the fact that head to toe plaid was a popular look on the catwalks, most of us cannot pull off that much pattern unless it’s very subtle. If you really want to try this trend, think muted colors, neutrals, and tone-on-tone small patterns. If you want to try a bolder plaid, a skirt and jacket would probably work better than a pantsuit (think Balenciaga).

A plaid coat can be utterly gorgeous or it can make you look like you’d be more at home in a hunting lodge. Again, go for simple, muted tones, black watch plaid, or traditional red tartan, and you’ll look cozy and elegant. Burberry is a mainstay when it comes to both tartan and coats, but avoid from the Burberry nova-check unless it’s a lining – even if you paid for the real thing, it will look like a knock-off. Stick to classic shapes as well -for example, this gray and black Nanette Lepore belted jacket is up-to-minute, and it won’t look dated next fall.

Dresses are also a complicated proposition. Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood both rocked in the tartan in that typically British subversive way, and a sense of humor is definitely key to a great plaid dress. Think refined punk rock and pair your plaid with both leather and lace to avoid looking stuffy. Check out this Marc by Marc Jacobs plaid dress – it’s is about as perfectly feminine as a traditional menswear plaid can get.

Plaids offer an interesting way to mix patterns, even in small doses. A plaid shoe paired with the right patterned dress can look fashion-forward and very individual, or a tartan scarf paired with a patterned jacket in similar colors. For instance, this little plaid bag by Rafe New York would add some visual interest, and the colors are pretty neutral. You’ll need to play around and see what works – it’s often the most unexpected combination that becomes your favorite outfit!

Diane Von Furstenberg pants
Anthropologie gray plaid pencil skirt
Nanette Lepore belted jacket
Marc by Marc Jacobs plaid dress
Rafe New York plaid bag

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