How to Wear Checks and Plaids. In the fashion scene for centuries, plaids came to the US during the mid-1800s. The cross-hatched patterned clothing has had many connotations over the decades: rebellious, grungy, preppy, and casual. Runway designers to mass manufacturers have put their own spin on plaids which have long since caught on.
The pattern will always be timeless, and it is doubtful that it will ever go out of style. Plaid shirts and flannel are a major staple in modern clothing. The patterned clothing has also seen popularity among the hipster faction of the population. Movie icons like the character Cher from Clueless and fashion icons from the likes of Vivienne Westwood have given plaids infinite fame.
26 Best Plaid Outfit Ideas to Try
So what we’re saying is that they are a safe investment as well. We’ve scoured the internet for some chic ideas on how to style plaids, whether they’re in the form of shirts, mufflers, coats, trousers, skirts, or blazers. You will also find some helpful links that will take you to online stores offering incredible checkered outfits. Enjoy!
We all have an idea of what plaid is, in general. But do we really know the history and origins of the word? The answer is probably no. Here’s a little bit about what the word ‘plaid’ means and where it comes from.
What is Plaid?
You might have seen the ‘plaid pattern’ come up in regards to Scotland, sometime somewhere, right? Well, these crisscrossed patterns with horizontal and vertical lines are actually called Tartan. Scottish kilts feature tartan designs a lot. The tartan pattern used to be exclusively in wool, but as we all know, they’ve moved past this limitation.
In North America, tartan is synonymous with the word ‘plaid.’
However, the Scottish definition of plaid is slightly different. In Scotland, plaid is a large piece of tartan fabric worn as a kilt or a shawl.
Is Plaid Still in Style in 2021?
The checkered plaid patterns, often in somber colors and warm materials, have always been associated with fall. So, the answer is yes; you should look forward to styling some plaid clothing come this fall.
What colors go well with plaid?
Depending on the color combination in the pattern, you can either wear something neutral or in a color that matches one of the shades in the design itself. There’s a lot of room to experiment. However, color-blocking or vibrant contrasting usually doesn’t work with plaids.
Where to buy plaid outfits?
- Forever 21: For peppy and trendy dresses and skirts.
- Love Bonito: For classy and elegant options.
- Yoox: For a super fun collection of checkered shirts.
- Zaful: For adorably feminine plaid dresses and bodycon outfits.
- Amazon: For a little bit of everything.
10 women with different style aesthetics tried on the same plaid skirt+shorts garment in this fun Youtube video that is bound to be entertaining and useful!
↓ 26 – Plaid Bodycon Dress
For a preppy, schoolgirl aesthetic, plaids as bodycon outfits are your best option. Especially if the design is in pastel or candy colors. Bodycon dresses are incredibly flattering for all body shapes and sizes, and they’re super comfortable as well. To complete the look, tie your hair into a single high ponytail or twin ponytails. Wear socks and sneakers and carry a mini backpack as an accessory.
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↓ 25 – Funky Mix-and-match Shorts
This looks like it has been cobbled together from multiple plaid shirts, which is most likely the truth. We’re totally digging the badass chic vibe this outfit is giving, especially with that pixie-cut! There’s no need for heavy accessorizing here. You will need a necklace and some good boots to pull this off.
↓ 24 – Plaid on plaid
Plaid on plaid is usually a no-no. It can look garish and unnecessary, which is why stripes are usually avoided with plaids. However, in this particular case, the red buffalo mini dress and leggings with shiny red buckled heels look kind of bold and eccentric, in a good way. The fact that this kind of styling is rarely attempted adds allure to the outfit. Just make sure to dial down the red in your makeup and accessories.
↓ 23 – Inspiration from the 60s
If you’re wondering how plaids used to be styled in the good ‘ole days, consider this fun picture taken from the 1960s. Every woman you see is rocking plaid skirts with plain shirts, some with socks, and some with leggings. The wide array of shades in their outfits give you an excellent idea of what kind of colors can look great with a particular plaid design. The jewelry is minimal, while the hairstyles range from buns and ponytails to side-parted open hair.
↓ 22 – Street Style
No one does street styling better than the youth of Korea and Japan. Adapting the vintage styling we’ve shown above, this fashionista wears a beautiful purple plaid mini skirt with an oversized black tee. She wears a matching purple cap, which we absolutely love, and chunky silver hoops. We can’t see her footwear, but we’re definitely betting on boots or buckled square-heeled shoes that can either be black or purple.
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↓ 21 – Christmas Family Outfits
Want to wear something casual for Christmas? Your answer is plaid shirts in matching patterns for the whole family. This adorable family of three wears shirts in the red buffalo design, and each shirt has little details that correspond with the person wearing them. The dad is wearing a regular t-shirt, the mom’s shirt has ruffles at the neck and poofy sleeves, and the child’s shirt/dress has a nice collar. It’s a great way to stay on the theme comfortably during Christmas without going overboard.
↓ 20 – Everyday Fall Outfit
Plaids are essentially a symbol of the fall season, and that is why you see a lot of flannel in plaid. The usually dark-colored designs and the warm material make plaids a must-have for your fall and winter wardrobe. Like this lady, you can style an otherwise plain outfit with a popping plaid scarf or muffler. It will look great and keep you snug at the same time.
↓ 19 – Classy Blue Plaid Blazer With Skinny Jeans
Women love plaids as much men do. Embrace the menswear effect by pairing your plaid with pants or jeans. Never miss a chance to wear your brother’s, dad’s, or boyfriend’s plaid shirts/jackets/blazers with your outfit. Masculine clothing like the button-down shirt can look ultra-femme with a silky skirt and pointed-toe pumps.
For some more interesting ideas, look at Women Blazer Outfits – 20 Ways to Wear Blazers in Different Styles.
↓ 18 – Travel Girl on a Budget
Everything about this outfit suggests that the wearer is practical and careful in her choices yet has a keen fashion sense. The adorable cami dress looks even cuter with a washed-out denim jacket and vintage boots, a brown leather crossbody bag, and a hat. Hats off to you, sister!
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↓ 17 – Red and Black Maxi Skirt Outfit
Plaid maxis in dark colors are sexy! The wearer obviously knew that, for she contrived to make her outfit even spicier and succeeded. She wore a sassy black shirt with a chunky silver chain necklace. Beneath the maxi skirt, her black pumps look glorious. Her dark eye-makeup and gorgeous black curls certainly helped matters.
↓ 16 – Elegant Office Look
Just like dark plaids make you look sexy, lighter plaids make your look cute! Whether it’s a plaid blazer, trousers, skirts, or even shirt, if the pattern has pastels or paired with pastels, the resulting outfit will be adorable. This professional Barbie-doll look features a baby pink blazer atop the same-colored turtleneck, worn with a grey and pink plaid skirt and leggings.
You can also layer unexpected elements like a hoodie or textured sweater with this combination. Feel free to add print or texture in your layers, but do not forget to keep patterns on a small scale.
↓ 15 – Trendy Summer Dress
Ever wonder how an outfit can be so casual and yet so formal at the same time? This next look is the answer to your musings. The shirt and skirt are the casual half of the ensemble, while the glamorous necklace, shades, and heels add a formal, party-wear touch. It’s an incredible ‘best of both worlds’ combination we highly recommend.
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↓ 14 – Grungy Style With Leather Jacket
Red and black plaids have a way of making the ensemble look badass in a totally classy way. Add a black leather jacket, and you have a killer combination. We recommend doing dark makeup, smoky eyes, and red lips, and a sleek hairstyle with this outfit.
↓ 13 – Casual Plaid Pajamas
Leave it to Kristen Stewart to do something totally unexpected yet incredibly inspiring. Kristen’s style is that of a rebel girl, and the way she wore her almost-sheer white tee with plain trousers and boots fits the bill nicely. You can upgrade this look by wearing a blazer or jacket on top and wearing heeled boots instead of Kristen’s flat shoes. Accessorize with a watch, a thin chain necklace, and a few chunky rings.
↓ 12 – Cutest Fall Outfit With Oversized Sweater
You can see two of the trendiest fashion staples to ever exist in this picture: a) the oversized sweater/top and b) the cable knit. Cable knits were somewhat of an underdog until Chris Evan’s chunky sweater from the movie Knives Out reminded everyone why they should be loved. The grey and blood-red color scheme of this outfit is fall-worthy, and we love how the plaid mini skirt is peeking out from below the sweater.
↓ 11 – Dreamy Teenage Plaided Dress
A full plaid dress, and that too vintage? What is this sorcery? We find ourselves transported back to Victorian-era London just by looking at this dark and delicious dress. There’s a modest black bust top over the dress, which we find delightful. A hat and a brown leather bag will give this vintage look a nice and posh finish.
Also, have a look at 20 Recommended Shoes to Wear with Skirts of Different Types.
↓ 10 – Versatile White Blouse Outfit
Here’s another one with strong vintage undertones. This punk-rock/dark academia aesthetic is scrumptious. We suspect the inclusion of leather helps quite a bit. The blouse is magnificently chic, and we’re living for the jet-black bangs.
↓ 9 – Student Babydoll Dress
As we humbly suggested earlier, the colors of the plaid are the deciding force behind the vibe of your outfit. If, for instance, you’re going with a red and black plaid outfit, it’ll be sexier and badass. If you go with pastel pinks and soft greys, you get a cute babydoll ensemble like this one here. The white heeled boots are simply stunning and a great choice.
↓ 8 – Clueless Blouse and Skirt Set
Doesn’t this remind you of Alicia Silverstone’s hit ensemble from the movie Clueless? It’s preppy and has our vintage-loving hearts beating fast. Simultaneously, pairing sneakers with the dainty blouse and skirt set makes it modern as well.
How to Style Plaid Shirts
↓ 7 – Cowgirl Style in Plaid Shirt
You will need fitted bell-bottom pants, a derby hat, and pointy shoes to pull this off.
↓ 6 – Celeb Style with Boyfriend Jeans
If Jessica Alba were even one shade less tan, we doubt we would be able to spot her in this white-washed ensemble. Still, the cool tones are great for summers.
↓ 5 – Outfit with Plaid Shirt Around the Waist
This tying of plaid shirt around the waist is a classic act, common among celebrities and normal people alike. It shows how cool you are without you actually saying that you are cool.
↓ 4 – Chic Navy Blue Plaid Jumpsuit
Jordana Brewster is all sunshine and smiles in this sassy jumpsuit. Just thinking about it in different colors is tickling us senseless.
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↓ 3 – Sleek Denim and Plaid Outfit
If you want to look as posh as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley but in an affordable way, you can replicate her plaid look from head-to-toe.
↓ 2 – Holiday Plaid Outfit Idea
Ah! Female musicians like Selena Gomez do know how to get our fashion buds tingling.
Love dressing like celebrities? Check out 20 Ways to Wear All-White Outfits Like Celebrities This Year.
↓ 1 – Urban Style for Modern Girl
We round off our plaid styles with this last urban-vintage look.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our picks. Please give us some positive feedback below!