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How to Rock a Plaid Shirt

by Angela Bakke, studioD

It's time to rethink the plaid shirt. Plaid styles have come a long way from the plain-old, flannel work shirt that might first come to mind. A plaid shirt can be quite the chic staple piece for both men and women thanks to updated patterns, fabrics and color combinations. Even though high-end designers are in on the plaid action, there is still room for the traditional plaid button-down -- just be sure to mix it with something modern.

Casual Cool Plaid

If you like the look of women in menswear, a bold-patterned button-down plaid shirt is an ideal investment piece for your wardrobe. Wear a blue plaid shirt with a pair of dark-skinny jeans, then unbutton the shirt as low as you're comfortable, pop the collar and roll the sleeves. Half-tuck the shirt into the waist of your pants. Get a half-tuck by tucking the button-hole side of the shirt and let the other three-quarters of the shirt hang loose. This creates a bit of a shape without stuffing the entire shirt into your slim-fit pants. Add a pair of flat or high-heeled brown leather boots and chunky jewelry for a sassy mix of masculine and feminine style. Guys can accomplish the same weekend-casual style but substitute skinny jeans for a pair of dark, straight-cut jeans and a pair of canvas shoes -- either lace-up or slip-on styles.

Updated Plaids

Some of the modern-day plaids have squares that are less neat and tidy. Instead of perfect squares, the plaids are constructed using horizontal stripes, shadows and brush-strokes to create an artsy plaid look. Traditional plaids primarily used basic colors schemes such as red, black, green and blue. Newer renditions of plaid run the gamut and combine everything from jewel tones to pastels to earth tones. These graphic-print style of plaids are perfectly paired with everything from jeans to chinos on both guys and girl. You can easily wear them under blazers or sports jackets for an office-appropriate outfit.

Plaid Chic Style

Glam-up a plaid shirt by combining it with a more refined piece. Wear a light-weight tailor-fit plaid shirt tucked into a knee-length black leather pencil skirt with a pair of suede pumps or ankle-booties. In menswear, a red and black buffalo plaid -- the classic red-and-black pattern iconically linked to lumberjacks -- is a sophisticated dress shirt to wear with a black skinny tie and a pair of slim-fit charcoal-colored tweed trousers and black oxford dress shoes. Mixing traditional plaid with modern pieces is the fashionable approach to styling your plaid shirt.

Plaid As An Accessory

Add a touch of plaid without fully committing to the look and rock a plaid shirt around your waist. This is a great look for women if you are wearing a loose-fitted muscle tank and pair of ripped-up denim jeans roll-cuffed high over a pair of stiletto booties. Best of all, you have an instant layer of warmth if you hit an air-conditioned restaurant or coffee shop. Guys can tie a plaid shirt around a pair of black slim-cut jeans, a dark vintage tee and a pair of motorcycle boots. A colorfully printed plaid shirt breaks up the outfit and adds a pop of color.

About the Author

Angela Bakke is a Los Angeles-based writer and reporter with more than a decade of experience covering fashion, beauty, the arts and entertainment. She has interviewed some of the most famous people in the world and covered stories for Beyond Cinema, Hollywood.com, ReelzChannel, CNN.com and Celebs.com.

Photo Credits

  • Sean Gallup/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images