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Everything you need to know about wearing plaid

Embrace the person you’ve become and start dressing for the bold new you by incorporating patterns like plaid into your everyday wardrobe. We promise it’s not as scary as you think. And we’re here to help you through it. So what have you got to lose (except for a less-evolved version of yourself staring back at you in the mirror)? Read on for a few of our tips on how to ease a little more plaid into your wardrobe and start dressing like the person you are now.

Learning to dress outside of your comfort zone can be scary. After all, you’ve been wearing the same kind of clothes for so many years why change now? For one thing, a new look can give you a major confidence boost and, ultimately, you deserve to feel good. Need another reason? How about you’re constantly evolving as a person, so why shouldn’t your style change with you?

What constitutes a plaid?

If you’re hesitant about wearing bold patterns then plaid is a great choice for you. After all, not all plaids are created equal and they’re definitely not all of the lumber jack inspiring variety you may be familiar with. The technical definition of plaid is a pattern created by bars and stripes of color that cross at right angles (squares). That’s it. Nothing about how they have to be red and black, specifically on flannel, worn while chopping wood or tied around your waist at a grunge concert.

Plaid doesn’t have to be a distinct color or hue because in the end it’s just a pattern. So if you’re not into the large checks, go for something smaller like gingham, or something dressy like a madras pattern plaid. Herringbone is another great choice for that subtle plaid you want to look pretty without being loud – a perfect choice for women’s pants and skirts.

Can I wear it with other patterns?

Mixing patterns – like stripes and plaids – can be tricky but, of course, it can be done. After all, yours is the most important opinion when it comes to how you look. But, if you want our suggestion (and we’re happy to give it), we’d advise layering patterns that at least share similar colors. Just make sure they’re not too matchy-matchy. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like an optical illusion.

What is the easiest way to start wearing plaid?

Build your outfit around your plaid item by pairing it with other neutral pieces in gray, white, black or brown. By doing this you’re controlling where the eye is drawn, making your plaid item of clothing the “statement piece” of your outfit. For example, if you wear plaid pants on bottom take care to pair them with a complementary but solid color top and neutral heels or pumps. And, if you’re not quite ready to take the leap into plaid clothing, try working it into your wardrobe through an accessory like a vibrant plaid scarf or a pair of plaid flats. Just a small pop of pattern can do wonders for an otherwise basic ensemble.

How should plaid pants fit?

When shopping for plaid pants or shorts the last thing you want is for them to be too tight. We know it can be intimidating wearing a bold patterned pant. That’s why we make sure our plaid pants and plaid shorts are made from a stretch fabric with a comfortable contour waist. The combination is intended to give you a flattering silhouette to compliment every curve you’re proud of without giving the dreaded illusion of added width. But, if you still feel like the pattern is pulling against your middle or bunching near the waist then you should consider going up a size. Because when it comes to finding a flattering fit, size really is only a number.

Are all plaid shirts flannels?

No. At Lands’ End we offer our beloved plaid shirts and sweaters in a variety of fabrics, cuts and styles. Our Supima cotton long and short sleeve no-iron button down shirts come in a selection of colors and patterns including vibrant plaids, check and windowpane patterns – all of which look great tucked in to a pair of high rise jeans. Breathable and light, linen tunic tops in plaid make a great summer wardrobe must-have whereas a plaid relaxed cotton mock turtleneck is a cozy addition to any winter wardrobe. Basically, once you love wearing flannel you’ll have no problem finding a piece for every season at That’s a promise.

Can I layer with plaid?

Absolutely. Layering is an easy and subtle way to incorporate a little plaid into your life. You hardly need to think about layering a cotton cardigan in plaid over a collared blouse and pencil skirt when you’re heading to the office. And don’t forget about your outerwear. Wearing a coat or jacket in an eye-catching plaid is a great way to infuse a little extra style and fun into any everyday look.