How to wear plaid: 10 Style Panel tips for reinventing the classic print this season

How to wear plaid Style Panel
How to wear plaid Style Panel

Despite the mercurial weather, our Style Panel shows you how to wear plaid in various ways. Barbara Ann Solomon of Barbara Ann’s Style Blog boldly warms us up in monochromatic red-to-toe buffalo check plaid, while Iva Grbesic of Falling in Style shows us how to pair plaid with faux-fur while keeping it business casual. Meanwhile, Kayla Short of Short Presents shows us how to work the perfect amount of prep and polish into our look with tall boots, clean lines, topping off with a pop of blue and white contrasting plaid pulling everything together for the perfect fall layered look.

Question 76: What are some fresh new ways of wearing plaid? Read the answers now! »


Fall’s forecast of mix-and-match plaids has something for everyone to work with all season long. On the runways, everyone from Stella McCartney to Saint Laurent is reinventing the timeless print with leathers, studs and silk proving that plaid fits the bill for punks and prepsters alike. The ultimate contrast: Prada’s sweet pink gingham skirt suit cinched at the waist by a bold metallic belt.

How to wear plaid Marla Brum

Marla Brum, 28
Toronto | Trend Struck

As much as I love prints plaid is one I’ve never worn much of. Wearing a plaid skirt or blazer isn’t my style, but I have found another way that is. With 90’s grunge heavily back on the fashion scene this season there is no way to avoid it finally creeping into my closet. Choosing to wear plaid in a more casual manner has me welcoming the print with open arms. With a flannel top wrapped around the waist it’s similar to a scarf. It’s like an accessory to your outfit and accessories I love as well as adding layers during these colder months. To complete this look simply go with denim (boyfriend jeans in my case), a basic tee and boots. This style is so easy to put together, super comfortable and the best part is how great you will look!

Marla’s wearing: Top, Gap. Plaid, Value Village. Jeans, Acquaverde. Boots, Sam Edelman. Necklaces, Aldo.

How to wear plaid Barbara Ann Solomon
Photography by Trevor Negin

Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

Since last fall, I’ve been mad about plaid. As a strong pattern, it always adds a great balance to a floral or feminine print, while also adding texture.

Plaid is everywhere right now, from purses and shoes to around your waist or over a tee, there is no “wrong way” to wear it. I love the head-to-toe dramatic print look, and in Buffalo plaid there is a definite autumn/Canadiana feel to the outfit. I also love pairing these pants with a contrasting plaid too. Playing around with the size of the prints and the colours is a great way to create an exciting outfit

Barbara Ann’s wearing: Sweater, Hawkings. Pants, McGill. BDG Platforms, Vagabond.

How to wear plaid Iva Galic

Iva Grbesic, 37
Toronto | One Chic Mom

For me no pattern says fall or winter better than plaid. Weather it’s a cozy plaid flannel shirt or a great plaid coat there is a piece for everyone. I have to admit I own a lot of plaid – shirts, pants, coat, scarves and even a dress. The colours vary but one thing is for sure plaid is not just for Canadian lumberjacks. For this challenge I styled a pair of plaid pants for work that could easily transition for a casual night out after with friends. Plaid works with lots of trends so I topped off the outfit with a great faux fur vest and even added some more pattern with a pair leopard print shoes.

Iva’s wearing: Pants, Gap. Vest, Banana Republic. Blouse, Ann Taylor. Necklace, Ann Taylor. Bracelet, J Crew. Shoes, Stuart Weitzman.

How to wear plaid Nichole Alabi

Nichole Alabi, 27
Toronto | Nichole Alabi

My all time favorite style trick is to borrow from the boys. With the resurgence of plaid as a wardrobe staple, borrowing from the boys just got a lot easier! I recommend heading to your local Walmart, Sears, or other big box store and checking out the men’s department. There you can get a plaid shirt or even a quilted jacket like my Dickies one. Throw it over some flirty pieces for a chic lumberjack inspired look.

Nichole’s wearing: Top, American Apparel. Skirt and Socks, Boohoo. Sandals and necklace, Zara. Bag, Louis Vuitton. Jacket, Dickies. Watch, Michael Kors.

How to wear plaid Becky Kung

Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino

I love taking the classic plaid print and pairing it with a mixed pattern to play up the trend! Such as this black and white plaid top layered under the funky boho-inspired sweatshirt top, it adds the perfect amount of modern to traditional.

My favorite trick for styling plaid is to have one piece in your outfit that is solid color such as the rich berry burgundy coated denim, allowing the the plaid to pop when paired together with the pant. There we have it, mad for plaid!

Becky’s wearing: Plaid top, Winners by Nuco Clothing. Sweatshirt and Coated Pants, H&M. Earrings, Joanna Bisley Designs. Booties, Dolce Vita. Satchel, Accessorize.

How to wear plaid Amber Desilets

Amber Desilets, 30
London, ON | Canadian Fashionista

Plaid is often associated with lumberjacks, schoolgirls and Scotland, but this year designers are offering a fresh take on tartan in the form of new silhouettes, fabrics and colours. Don’t be afraid to mix your plaid with other prints to keep it fresh and on trend. I played into the 90’s grunge trend with Smart Set tartan crop pants and a Topshop leather studded vest to incorporate different textures and fabrics, but kept the rest of the outfit classic with a button down blouse and some black and gold accessories to tie the look together.

Amber’s wearing: Top and Pants, Smart Set. Leather Vest, Top Shop. Shoes, Aldo. Necklace, Wal-Mart. Watch, Michael Kors Hunger. Bracelet, Smart Set. Purse, Philip Lim for Target.

How to wear plaid Ruta Rudminaite

Ruta Rudminaite, 22
Toronto | Look Ugly in a Photograph

Plaid is classic, and you can get plaid everything and anything. I feel like there are the “safe” articles of clothing that come in plaid, but then you have something like a plaid skirt and for some that means uncomfortable territory. Whenever I mention wearing a plaid skirt most people associate it with their high school uniforms, which is I think is a shame. Wearing a plaid skirt doesn’t have to make you feel like you’re back in your uniform or a Britney Spears music video. By pairing a plaid skirt with a stylish sweater, a beanie and some laid back shoes, plaid is back, especially in skirt form.

Ruta’s wearing: Skirt, Vintage. Sweater, J.J. Basic. Shoes, Pegabo. Hat, Asos.

How to wear plaid Nicole Wilson
Photography by Aleyah Solomon

Nicole Wilson, 29
Toronto | Dainty Girl

Plaid is making an incredible comeback and it goes beyond the punk and grunge trend this season. It’s become elegant in classic wool pea coats, fitted sheath dresses and pencil skirts and anyone can pull it off. For my plaid look, I chose to make classic school girl style a little more wearable for the everyday. I love the way this flared plaid skirt looks with a chunky cable knit sweater, knee socks, comfortable lace up booties and 90’s boho-chic accessories. Plaid typically comes in fall-friendly colour palettes and this green, blue and yellow tartan ties in beautifully with the mustard sweater and the leaves changing around me. Cozy and cute for fall!

Nicole’s Wearing – Sweater, Skirt and Bag, Coal Miner’s Daughter. Scarf, Modcloth. Knee Socks: Aldo. Hat: M for Mendocino. Booties, Timberland.

How to wear plaid Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

Once exclusive to menswear, and Saturday mornings with your coffee, Plaid has certainly changed its stripes, and has quickly made a name for its self in womenswear. Riding on the coat tails of the grunge trend we are mad for plaid this season. From cozy blanket plaids to laundry bag checks what better time to embrace these versitile fabrics than in the chili months of winter?

When the cold weather hits I personally love bundling up in soft cozy fabrics, and sadly sometimes this means forgoing some accessories! I get around it though by pairing the boyfriend inspired shirt (buttoned all the up way the front) with a very feminine accessory like a great statement necklace. The shiny jewels dress up an otherwise causal look, and offer the perfect juxtaposition. Just throw on some lipstick and you are good to go kiddo.

Kayla is wearing: Trench, Jacob. Plaid Shirt, Old Navy. Jeans, Gap. Necklace, Olive and Piper. Sunnies, Joe Fresh. Charleston Boots, Very Volatile via Biscuit, Bag, Winners.

How to wear plaid Cara McLeay

Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair

I love that plaid has made a comeback this season, there are so many varieties and ways to wear it, it is a great closet staple for fall/winter. I paired my plaid top with a sparkly mini skirt, I love the juxtaposition!

Cara’s wearing: Shirt, American Eagle. Skirt and Boots, Zara. Bag, Foley and Corinna. Shades, Karen Walker.

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