Men Wearing Plaid
As you already know from many of my previous posts, I am a big fan of layering. Since plaid is a pattern, it lends itself very well to layering with neutrals. It is an excellent way to add pattern and interest to an otherwise solid (read: plain) outfit. For example, a weekend outfit of a silk screened tee shirt, pair of dark jeans, and zip front jacket can receive a serious boost of interest when a plaid button up shirt is added. To coordinate the look, just select a plaid shirt that incorporates the same colors that are found in your tee shirt and your jacket. For example, a black and red tee and navy jacket will be well complimented by a plaid shirt in shades of black, red, olive green, and/or navy.
For a dressier look, trade in your tee shirt for a tie, and your zip front jacket for a button front cashmere cardigan. Again, for an entirely coordinated look, just make sure to select a plaid shirt that contains the same colors as those of your tie and cardigan. For example, a gray, white and brown plaid shirt will go well with a steel gray tie and a brown or oatmeal colored cardigan. Make sure to also wear a brown leather belt and oxford shoes. You can keep the same dark jeans from your casual outfit, or for a dressier look, swap them for gray wool trousers or khaki chinos.
For plaid in smaller doses, try just adding accessories into your wardrobe. For example, you can layer a red and navy plaid vest over a solid button up shirt for an interesting date look. Or, a plaid tie is an excellent way to add interest to one of your suits. You can wear a plaid tie with any pin striped or solid suit, and solid colored button up shirt. For a look that is a little bit more fashion forward, skip the solid colored shirt and instead pair your plaid tie with a shirt in a complimentary pattern, such as a windowpane pattern. The key here is once again to match the tie and the shirt by selecting those in the same color family. For example, a gray shirt with a white and black windowpane pattern will be complimented by a plaid tie in shades of gray, white, black, tan, and/or other neutrals. Because you have already selected two patterns here, stick with a solid colored suit. If you prefer, you can also select a plaid tie in daring colors, such as pink, turquoise and yellow. Just make sure to keep the rest of your outfit somewhat understated, and spend some time perfecting your tie knots, as such a bright tie will, in fact, attract attention.
How about plaid on the bottom? Can you do that? Sure you can. Madras plaid, which is plaid with very large, wide boxes, is excellent for summer. Madras plaid shorts go great with casual cotton polo shirts. You can also wear plaid pants, even in a work environment. Just look for pants that are somewhat conservative, with lines that are close together, and stick to neutral colors. Pants in tones of tan, gray, and navy are all good choices.