3 Simple Ways To Mix and Match Plaid

Commonly associated with preppy, punk and grunge fashion, plaid is perhaps one of the most versatile patterns. Seen all over the fall runways, the plaid trend is what happens when you take traditional, old-school prints like tartans, plaids and checks and make them cooler and more streetwise. At Paris Fashion Week, designers turned to tartan for their Fall/Winter 2019 collections, presenting different variants of the print, ranging from hefty buffalo check to exaggerated glen plaid. Christian Dior and Marine Serre especially championed the print in their collections, while it made not-to-be-missed cameos at Lanvin, Unravel and Rokh. Designers like Jonathan Simkhai and Laquan Smith also led the charge with an updated silhouette with an unusual pairing.

Masterfully wearing plaid off the runway feels daunting enough, let alone mixing it, but learning the art can take your personal style to a whole new level. So, to get you started, 303 Magazine decided to show you three chic ways to pile on the plaid for the New Year.

Triple Play

2 girls wearing plaid

On Ivy Willocks, Ralph Lauren Faux Suede and Shearling vest $108, C.C. BEANIES Fingerless Sherpa-Lined Mittens $14, Steve Madden Toga Leather Combat Booties, $79.99. Peter Nygard SLIMS Luxe Ponte Faux Leather Piping Tartan Plaid Jegging $47.40, Cremieux Avery Plaid Belted A-Line Dress With Pockets $89.40, Antonio Melani Jennifer Dover Plaid Novelty Wool Blend Coat $209.40. On Zuri Leigh, Ben Tartan Plaid Belted Button Front Dress $95.40, Steve Madden Tornado Leather Combat Platform Booties $109.99, Peter Nygard Foil Patent Velvet Plaid Moto Jacket $71.40, Leather Ruched Glove $45.50, Lauren Ralph Lauren Crew Neck Button-Trim Shoulder Detail Cotton Cable Sweater $59.70. Available at Dillard’s

The Lowdown: Plaid might not be exciting on its own, but when combined with other plaids, it becomes an eye-catching, statement-making look. To get the ultimate use of your plaid mix, apply the rule of opposites — opposite sizes, patterns and colors — and throw in a contrasting color if you’re feeling more adventurous. Work within a similarly scaled plaid palette that consists of three colors. A larger, simpler plaid works well against a smaller busier one with a more dominant color. Add a classic cable knit sweater for its versatility. To tie the whole look together, anchor it with a neutral just like on ivory with a shearling moto vest to create a novel way to layer up. Finish off the look with leather boots to give it an of-the-moment edge.plaid jacket and plaid pants with brown combat bootsplaid dress and black combat boots

Coordinated Plaid

how to style a plaid blazer two girls

On Willocks, Lauren Ralph Lauren Plaid Soft Twill Button Down Roll-Tab Sleeve Shirt $89.50, Antonio Melani Plaid Belted Pencil Skirt $119, Lauren Ralph Lauren Plaid Wool-blend Double-Breasted Blazer $207, Adora Hat Wool Plaid Beret $38. On Leigh, Cremieux Wide Leg Belted Paperbag Plaid Pants $139.00, Lauren Ralph Lauren Plaid Wool-blend Double-Breasted Blazer $207, Lauren Ralph Lauren Plaid Button Front Stretch Cotton Shirt $99.50. On both Zuri and Ivy, Hunter Women’s Original Tall Gloss Buckle Strap Rain Boots $150.00. Available at Dillard’s.

The Lowdown: Plaids in the same color family work best together. For the best checkmates, you can’t go wrong with red accented plaid. It’s eternally chic — even when the pattern isn’t identical. It elevates the entire look to dressy and sophisticated. Commit to wearing red plaid from head to toe like on model, Zuri Leigh. If that feels too much, aim for slight color variations. Break the look into two and for one half, opt for a red in a more subtle pattern. This makes coordinating your red plaid so much easier. Red plaid accessories such as a beret help to finish off your look, while the black hunter rain boots seen on both models adds further interest to the overall look.

2 girls wearing matching plaid blazer with wellington boots

Change Direction

On Leigh, Cremieux Sasha Plaid Cotton Midi Shirt Dress $95.40, Lauren Ralph Lauren Knit Jersey Turtleneck Top $41.70, Element Corduroy Wide Leg Pants $48.75, Hunter Women’s Original Tall Rain Boots $150.00. On Willocks, Cremieux Suede Front Slit A-Line Midi Skirt $99.00, Leather Vintage Button Glove $65.00, Lauren Ralph Lauren Buffalo Check Plaid Cotton-Blend Poncho Sweater $117.00. Available at Dillard’s.

The Lowdown: Pairing plaids of different orientations — such as the lovely tartan print, glen plaid, madras and buffalo check — draws the eye in different directions and can even give the illusion that you’re not mixing them at all. These fabrics may not inherently match up but are actually ideal for achieving high-low balance. The plaid print never gets old, especially when you put it on newer silhouettes like the burnt orange high-waisted flare trouser seen on Leigh or brown midi skirt on model, Ivy Willocks. Stick to low-key winter tones to keep things from feeling too busy. When paired with a sweater underneath not only are they classics, but these warm, patterned sweaters add an air of playfulness to the look — perfect for balancing out more formal blazers and coats. A flexible, convenient pair of boots — like the iconic Hunter wellies — is also worth considering to create a change of direction in the look.

how to style plaid

Photography by Madison McMullen.

Makeup by Sameera Ahmed. 

Models Zuri Leigh, Ivy Willocks. 

Models provided by Goldie Mae Productions.

Clothing provided by Dillard’s.

Styled by Koya Nyangi.