While traditional tartan and plaid are staples for fall, many designers and street style stars have recently abandoned the print's kilt-like, punk iterations and given it a new, bright beginning. This season, trusty florals are making way for a jumbled mess of patterns and blurred lines made popular by both Scottish clansmen and the '90s princesses of Beverly Hills: Yes, you can officially wear plaid in the spring.
The print can spruce up your warmer-weather wardrobe in a multitude of ways: Try it on a mini skirt, a dress, a blazer, on your feet, wrapped loosely around your neck or dangling by your side. Read on for a few tasteful — and street style-approved — ways to incorporate checkered pieces into your spring wardrobe.
With accessories & footwear
If you'd prefer a touch of tartan, rather than a full platter of plaid, check accessories are the way to go. You can throw on a classic Burberry scarf or a get a little more creative and experiment with the striped pattern on your feet via a pair of checkered socks poking out of pointed-toe kitten heels. Another easy way to play with the pattern is to don a plaid handbag: Plenty of fashion week goers jazzed up their monochrome looks with kilt-inspired bags in boxy shapes, adorned with buckle closures. But if you're a tried-and-trued black bag carrier or gawk at the marriage of socks and sandals, then go the statement shoe route and take out a loan on a pair of plaid Off-White over-the-knee boots.
With a blazer
Spring is the time to swap your puffers and knee-length fur coats for less-bulky layers. The boxy, oversized blazer has become the street style pack's answer to dressing for moderate temperatures, and they particularly appreciate the silhouette done in oversize checks. If you're not quite ready to get fully suited-up in plaid, we recommend wearing the power blazer with a retro graphic tee, fitted jeans and a small, top-handle bag. But for those looking to experiment with tartan, sport small checks on your upper half and enlarged checks from the same color family on the bottom half — a sartorial move not even attempted by the queen of loud plaid herself, Cher Horowitz.
With a skirt
For a modern, fashion take on the plaid skirt that doesn't come off as overtly kilt-like, keep things bright and short. In other words, steer clear of plaid that recalls middle school uniforms, and instead look for bright iterations of the criss-crossing patterns in yellow or red. You can balance the statement skirt with playful hosiery and over-the-knee boots, or a chunky knit. Also, try to stay in '90s mini territory by sticking to pleat-less, high-waisted options.
With a dress
Wearing a plaid dress is not for risk-averse minimalists; it demands red accessories, in-your-face footwear and just the right amount of sparkle. For best results, the key is really to just go for it. A cherry-colored Gucci fanny pack or clutch go well bright checks, as do some red thigh-high kinky-esque boots. For a more casual look, wear a solid short sleeve crewneck tee underneath the striped frock, and to dress it up, add a belt at the waist, dangly earrings and a bag with bold metal hardware.