Guide to Wearing and Styling Plaid

There is no such pattern that is as pronounced as a plaid. Plaid is a staple and chic outfit style among countless thousands of fashionistas, and it continues to rock the world of patterned outfits. You can even wear plaid while creating a bohemian fashion look.

However, there are some tips to keep in mind when wearing and styling plaid. You can dress this easy-to-wear pattern up or down to meet your needs. You’ll be wearing some of the most versatile patterns in clothing with this plaid styling guide.

Types of Plaid

Sofa with soft pillows and warm plaids near light wall indoors
Sofa with soft pillows and warm plaids near light wall indoors

Eight distinct types of plaid are still widely used today. We will explain each of them and help you understand their differences in the sections below.

Tartan Plaid

Tartan is one of today’s most popular types of plaid. It is also referred to as Scottish plaid and is distinguished by vertical and horizontal lines that form various squares. This plaid style was the most prevalent in Scottish history because it was worn by the majority of men and families in the Scottish Highlands.

What’s more, there are four distinct types of Scottish plaid or tartan: Royal Stewart Tartan, Clan Wallace, Burberry Check, and Black Watch.


Tattersall plaid was created in London and was originally used to cover horses. However, it quickly became a desired and popular piece of clothing that everyone had to have.

This plaid style is now popular and considered casual. Note that it is also worn by individuals who love horses and have many of them. It is among the most popular types of plaid available today.

Gingham Plaid

Gingham is a plaid type that became popular in England in the 18th century. Even today, it is a popular design that you can find in various works. It has thick and large lines that intersect to form small squares.

However, most of you will argue that this type is much like check plaid. The main distinction is the transparency of the squares in Gingham; Gingham has transparent squares.


a wooden kitchen board on a check plaidThis type of plaid is frequently confused with gingham, but you now know the difference. The check comprises much smaller squares, one white and one other color. This is the main distinction, and you can tell the difference in seconds.

There are, however, several types of checks: Shepherd’s Check, Graph Check, Buffalo Check, and Gun Club Check.


When it comes to plaids, the Houndstooth is unmistakable. You can find sharp edges all over the cloth, and each square is overlaid with them.

It dates back to 300 B.C., but some believe it originated in Scotland. Anyway, it’s popular among some designers, and it’s a one-of-a-kind plaid that you can use right now.

Madras Plaid

Madras is a type of plaid that originated in India and is unlike any other type of plaid. The main distinction is that it uses vibrant colors such as orange (here are some tips for wearing the color orange!), yellow, and white.

The name refers to Chennai, and this plaid was first popular in the 1800s. Even today, it is among the lightest and most desirable types of plaid.

Windowpane Plaid

It got its name for obvious reasons. It also resembles graph check, but with larger squares.

Remember that this will be a formal cloth if the colors are more vibrant. Darker colors indicate a more casual and less formal atmosphere.

Prince of Wales Check

The Prince of Wales Check or Glen was named after the wearer, Prince of Wales Check or Sir Edward VIII. This was the preliminary study that suggested he wore plaid clothing.

Further research differs slightly from the original. It is now presumed that he wore a similar plaid but not the same as Glen. Nonetheless, the name endures, and we can see that Glen is commonly referred to as Prince of Wales Check.

What to Search for When Purchasing Plaid Apparel

Young fashion woman in red tweed jacket and shorts suit at sidewalk cafe
Young fashion woman sitting on chair at sidewalk cafe Stylish female model in red tweed jacket and shorts suit

Plaid is a woven pattern that has found its way through every style. When purchasing a plaid item, the most important aspect is a great cut. In addition, the pattern must match at the seams.

Otherwise, every plaid item appears cheap, as if purchased in the children’s or youth department. This is especially true for individuals wearing a size smaller than a U.S. size 10.

How to Wear Plaid Like a Pro

Let’s take a look at creative ways to wear plaid. It’s a great addition to casual outfits. Here’s how to wear plaid for any occasion.

Color Coordinate

The most important thing to know about wearing plaid is complementing the plaid’s intricate color palette with other clothing pieces—pair plaid flannel shirts with matching or complementary colors to create a put-together look.

Match your plaid top with corduroy leggings or even jeans that incorporate facets of the colors in your plaid top. It’s best to choose plaid with some overlap so you can match numerous plaid patterns with basic tanks and tees.


It can be difficult to accessorize with plaid. But don’t worry, there are a few simple ways to accomplish this. To go with plaid, choose colors that are chunky and bold.

Avoid wearing scarves with plaid shirts with a lot of pattern and design because they will clash with the plaid. Combine plaid slacks with a simple scarf and a basic women’s sweater. Long necklaces can be used to draw the eye down and highlight your marvelous plaid look.

Pair With the Basics


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Plaid patterns are detailed, which attracts the eye. When wearing plaid, avoid clashing with other patterns. Instead, choose simple items that will go with everything.

For example, if you would like to wear a plaid mid-length skirt to work, pair it with a plain, silky blouse on top. This allows the plaid to be the focal point of the outfit, whereas the other elements complement rather than compete with it.

Wear It Open

Plaid shirts that aren’t buttoned-up look fun and casual. This style creates a layered effect that is both casual and stylish. Think beyond the basic white tee and try to match or complement plaid.

For example, if your plaid shirt has a lot of blues in it, wear it open with something like a burnt-orange shirt underneath. The burnt orange brings out the blues in your plaid without making you look too matched.

Layer your plaid with complementary colors, or choose a tertiary color from the plaid. This brings out the plaid pattern without overpowering it.

Don’t like wearing your shirts open? Only a few buttons should be left unbuttoned. Allow the layer beneath to show without wearing a completely open shirt.

Pop That Plaid

Use plaid like an accent piece rather than wearing a full-on plaid skirt or jacket. Plaid scarves, handbags, and booties are excellent ways to add a touch of glam to your accessories.

Plaid booties are very fashionable right now. Those adorable ankle-length boots look fantastic with a pair of skinny black jeans.

Wear a plaid scarf with a simple sweater for an eye-catching style that’s ready for cuddle season. Plaid purses are an excellent addition to any wardrobe because they can be mixed and matched for any occasion.

Formal Plaid


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Plaid isn’t just for creating a relaxed look. This print is also appropriate for business casual. Plaid skorts and jumper dresses are excellent ways to incorporate plaid into formal attire.

You can also purchase a sports jacket or a plaid suit. Think simple on the bottom and underneath of sports jackets, and you’ll draw attention to the structured appearance of the sports jacket without overpowering it.

Plaid in Subtle Shades

Another way of incorporating plaid into your wardrobe in a stylish way is to go for a worn or vintage look. Get a plaid skirt with thin lines or similar colors. This creates a dynamic plaid look that isn’t overdone or too loud.

As a result, the subtle texture outperforms a monochrome skirt. The subtle plaid look also works well as a suit pattern that isn’t distracting to the eyes.

Plaid Pants: How to Wear Them

Purchasing plaid pants is a great, almost fail-safe way to spice up your wardrobe. The plaid pattern has been popular for a long time and is especially popular in corporate settings. The style is most popular in the fall, but you can wear it all year, depending on how you style it.

Plaid pants can be styled in various ways, from preppy to retro to grunge. Consider the following plaid pants outfit ideas to add some variety to your wardrobe:

Tuck a Tee Into Plaid Skinnies

Tuck a graphic tee or a plain white tee into your skinny plaid pants for a quick but fashionable look. You can also dress up this ensemble with a pair of loafers.

Render a Summer Outfit

Match high-waisted plaid pants with a plain white crop top for a trendy, breezy look in warmer weather.

Create a Fall Ensemble

To create a fall look, pair your plaid pants with a cardigan or an oversized sweater, especially if your top or pants feature autumnal colors like reds, browns, and oranges—pair high-waisted pants with a long sleeve shirt or turtleneck in cooler weather.

Try an Edgy Look

A black leather jacket worn over a white tee looks great with plaid pants. Pair a leather jacket with your black plaid pants for an even more edgy look.

Put on a Denim Jacket

A denim jacket, a white tee, and boots paired with plaid pants make for a playful going-out or casual look.

Go for a Smooth, Workplace-ready Look

Tuck your white button-down shirt into plaid pants and add a blazer over the shirt that matches one of the hues in your pants’ stripes to complete the look.

When it comes to styling plaid, there are numerous options. This timeless pattern has been popular for nearly a decade, and it has evolved to fit any occasion. Wear your plaid in creative ways this season by dressing your wardrobe to your personal preferences.