Mad For Plaid

August 16, 2009 • Magazine

Mad For Plaid

Mad For Plaid

Sun, 2009-08-16 03:00

Joseph Ungoco

As summer draws to a close and Labor Day looms, fashion folk prepare for our version of “Back to School” season, New York Fashion Week. While other New Yorkers are enjoying lazy late summer days by the pool at their Hamptons beach houses, we’re fretting over whether our schedules are too full or not full enough. Add to that the super high pressure of needing to appear “on trend” to our peers in the industry and the stress of it all triples. With no guarantee that September will bring fall weather, planning your outfits – and the requisite changes of outfit between shows – around the hottest trends for the season can be daunting because of the heavier weights of the fabrics.

While others can still sport their summer-weight seersucker suits and Lilly Pulitzer prints after Labor Day, the fashion folk think it our civic duty to put all that away and start wearing the fall clothes we carefully and thoughtfully ordered at trunk shows in late spring as soon as possible. Socialites and celebrities have it easy. They attend one or two shows a day, wear clothes that the designers send them, and are chauffeured from show to show in perfectly air conditioned luxury. For the working fashion press, we have it much less easy. We run all over town, often crammed into sweaty subway cars that are hotter than the wet sauna at your local Equinox, but still need to look great at all times.

One way that I intend to incorporate the fall trends into my Fashion Week wardrobe is to pay homage to the pattern trends of the season and this season I and several of my favorite designers are completely “mad for plaid”. I can still be perfectly comfortable in lighter weight clothes – in a fall color palette, of course – and be completely on trend by peppering a little plaid.

You, my dear readers, can also mark the change of season by working plaid into your own wardrobes. Why not start with a little Western-style plaid shirt like the one that Charlotte Ronson showed for fall? Put your American Apparel metallic leggings away and head to Fogal and Wolford for plaid patterned hose like the ones that sauntered down the Marni runway. If you’re feeling bold, then sport the whole head-to-toe mismatched plaid look. If you love color, then channel your inner peacock and strut out in Isaac Mizrahi’s brightly colored strapless day-to-cocktail dress.

Surprisingly, the season’s best buffalo plaid skirt comes not from an American designer but from Britain’s ultra-traditional clothier, Aquascutum. A skirt is the perfect way to bring plaid into your wardrobe, if you don’t want to commit to wearing an all-over plaid skirt suit. If you’re more of a Slim Keith sweater-and-slacks kind of sportswear gal, then ditch your classic Calvin Klein Collection khakis for some fashionable futuristic Vivienne Westwood. Her wide-legged windowpane plaid pants are undeniably chic whether paired with a tissue thin cashmere sweater or worn as the trompe l’oeil three-piece suit she showed on her runway.

Marc Jacobs presented the best Scotch plaid this side of the Atlantic in an adorable little dress he showed in his Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. The puff-sleeved ruffled hem cowgirl look gets a boost of sophistication from the imported tartan print. What would have looked like a period costume in buffalo plaid looks utterly fashion forward in a modified Royal Stewart. A very subtle change of print can bring an outfit from Little House on the Prarie to Sex and the City. The same is true of your wardrobe.

Embrace the newest pattern trends of the season, but do it in ways that make sense for the weather where you live. One of my biggest pet peeves when I travel to eternally sunny places like California and Florida is that people don’t change the colors and prints of their clothes to match the season. You may be able to wear one weight of clothing all year round, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be seasonally appropriate in your color and pattern choices. You don’t have to suffer to be fashionable and completely “on trend”. Leave that to the professionals. We do it so you don’t have to – well, actually, we do it because it’s our job – and we simply can’t help ourselves!

1. Charlotte Ronson Fall ’09 RTW
2. Marni Fall ’09 RTW
3. Isaac Mizrahi Fall ’09 RTW
4. Aquascutum Fall ’09 RTW
5. Vivienne Westwood Fall ’09 RTW
6. Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall ’09 RTW

Image Layout: Khyra Cooper

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