You may be wondering how did plaid become so popular and how to wear plaid since it doesn’t seem so easy to wear it. Well, I can tell you for a fact that plaid has its origins back in the 1500s and that it can be easily be mistaken for tartan. The difference is that “a plaid was a Celtic kilt or blanket which served as an outer layer to battle the Highland elements” while tartan is “a unique cloth pattern which distinguished one Scottish clan or geographical region from another.”

Back in the day, manufacturers created plaid to resemble tartan. In the 1700s, tartan was forbidden to wear in Britain for almost half a century. It came back around in 1782, a moment where plaid was already legal to wear and considered even an elegant textile to wear at formal events.

In the 19th century, the red and black checkered model of plaid became famous, especially because it was worn by lumberjacks.  After years and years, plaid became one of America’s favorite patterns. In the 1970s, plaid was being also used in the interior design industry.

Vetements Black And Red Plaid Wool Shirt

A huge admirer of the plaid pattern, Vivienne Westwood, began to make this textile popular in her runway shows, adding a bit of punk-rock accents to it. It was seen as a symbol of rebellion and also the starting point of “learning” how to wear plaid today.

The plaid flannel shirt became the unofficial symbol of the grunge movement in the early 1990s. Bands like Nirvana, The Breeders, and Pearl Jam rocked plaids in their signature, grungy fashion.” (Bustle)

Marc Jacobs is also inspired by plaid and used elements of this pattern ever since his Spring 1993 collection. Plaid began its mainstream development. After Jacobs and Westwood, it was Alexander McQueen‘s time to find inspiration in this lovely pattern, in 1995.

How To Wear Plaid

Today, plaid isn’t just about the red and black checkered pattern. It’s a versatile pattern that can be worn in different stylish ways. I see plaid as a more masculine pattern and textile, so I think that a little bit of plaid mixed with feminine accents will look just great. Just think how you could combine a plaid shirt with a silky skirt or even a tulle skirt, or with a pair of skinny jean, tucked in. But would you wear a plaid dress? Or how about a pair of plaid trousers?

We are used to seeing a plaid shirt or a plaid scarf everywhere, and maybe we even got one (or both) of these two items. How about some more of this pattern? Take a look at our top choices and check out how you can wear plaid and stay on top of the trend list. Below, I have selected a few items to provide you with enough choices and wear something else than your regular plaid shirt. Check them out!

The plaid suit

A plaid skirt suit may be a chic outfit to wear at work. Plaid can also be elegant if it has the right color. Would you wear this suit at work? I would. Match your plaid business suit with a pair of high-heels and you are ready to conquer the world.

The plaid skirt

If you are a fan of the midi skirts (and I must say, I am) why don’t you try a plaid one? You can match it with your favorite turtleneck or regular sweater. Complete this look with a pair of ankle boots or dress shoes to give it a more complex feel.


For a more springish vibe, try a short plaid skirt and play with colors to give the proper contrast. You can wear either a pair of cool sneakers or a pair of stilettos. Your choice!

 The plaid trousers

I bet you are a fan of pants and printed trousers. Are you? Then I’m pretty sure you are bored with your regular jeans and want to try something new. How about plaid trousers? They can be worn on different occasions: on a girls night out, with high heels or on a day out, for a walk, with sneakers or flats. However, make sure your plaid trousers are high wasted.

The plaid leggings

I bet a pair of dark red and black plaid leggings will rock your world if you mix them with all-black leather: black biker jacket, black crop top, black ankle boots. Don’t forget you hair and makeup. Rock on!

The plaid dress

I am totally and completely in love with the first plaid dress. It’s so feminine and chic. I would like to own a piece. I especially like the fact that it’s not stretch and it doesn’t show all your body defects (sorry to say, but, actually, few of us are perfect). So, yes, I would love to have such a dress which I could wear best at work, but also on other events.

The plaid blazer

If you’re bored with sweaters and like to keep casual smart, then I would choose this type of blazer to go with jeans. Under the blazer, I would wear a simple shirt or top. I don’t have a particular color in mind, white looks great, but so do beige, nude, red, black, and others.


The plaid coat

What could me more perfect than a plaid coat worn in the middle of November? A hat? A scarf? It’s really nice to cozy up and bundle yourself when it’s cold outside.

The plaid scarf

Speaking of November and the cold outside, don’t forget to stay warm and protect yourself with an oversized plaid scarf. You won’t feel a thing!

The plaid jumpsuit

For a more versatile use of the plaid pattern, you should choose a plaid jumpsuit. It sure is interesting.

The plaid poncho

My final choice is the plaid poncho, slightly fringed. If you’re bored with your coat, you should try a poncho. It’s a nice change and also trendy.

“No matter the decade, plaid will always carry with it the faintest hint of irreverence, whether it’s paired with pressed khaki’s or a pair of baggy jean overalls.” (Bustle)

Now that you’ve seen my choices regarding this wonderful pattern, maybe you’ll decide what to wear next and how to wear plaid so that it fits your personality the best way. If I were to be honest, I would say that it’s a shame I didn’t pay more attention to it and that I didn’t convince myself enough to buy a piece. Oh well, it’s never too late, as they say. For sure, my next step when shopping will be a plaid item.

Did you like this article?

Then it’s time to share it with your friends! Which of these plaid items did you like best and which will you wear? You can share your comments here, with us!

Feature image: Asos

By | 2021-02-24T21:40:05+02:00 November 24th, 2015|Style|

About the Author:

Always an optimist. ♥ to travel, the sun, the sound of waves colliding, the smell of old books, unusual bright colors, reading in bed, black & white photography and vintage decorations. Hate mediocrity.