Plaid is everywhere these days, doubly so now that we are fully into the winter season. I love the pattern, for the visual variety it lends an outfit, for the rugged warmth it exudes, but it's really easy to lose the sharp edge of your style and to slide quickly into lumberjack territory.
So how do you rock seasonal plaid without looking like you're about to build a log cabin while hunting a grizzly bear? Here are a few ways to keep your plaid city-appropriate:
1) Dress it Up:
Plaid is a pretty inherently casual pattern, especially when made from a thicker flannel cloth, as is wont in the colder months. However, this doesn't mean your whole outfit has to be way laid-back to match. Try keeping a bit of formality by wearing a plaid button-down under a blazer. I suggest a thicker wool fabric for the blazer to match the heft of the plaid. A tie and a pocket square seal the deal with a look that is definitely business casual, rather than redneck.
2) Don't Wear Jeans:
This is one of your easiest options. Instead of reaching for your favorite beat-up blue jeans, go for something a bit sharper, like some dark chinos. Those black and red buffalo check flannels that are so appealing look great with a pair of black chinos, while some of your lighter options will pair well with khaki's, or even some winter whites. If you do go for jeans, opt for a dark, dressier pair rather than your beat-up 501's.
3) Pay Attention To Fit:
This doesn't mean only wear super slim fitting plaids, but to know the fit of what you're wearing and treat it appropriately. A heavy, looser flannel shirt that you can pick up at your local thrift store will look way better used as a light jacket (say, over a sharp white tee-shirt, or even a turtleneck sweater) instead of trying to pull it off as a dress shirt.
4) Tuck It In:
This is a huge one. I'm definitely not saying that there is no style or class in an un-tucked casual shirt, but the loose plaid shirt is definitely a cabin-ready look. You can feel much more appropriately dressed hitting the city with your tails tucked. Again, though, pay attention to fit, and avoid billowing at the waist or sleeves.
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