— This season, one of the biggest trends to hit the runway was plaid. The style of the Scottish Highlands and men in skirts (Ok, kilts) has come a long way. Mixed and matched and even mismatched, we saw this print come down the runway in every size and color.
The inspiration came from equestrians and hunters who wore plaid jackets with riding pants and flat boots; ’80s pop stars in plaid taffeta cocktail dresses; country music stars with tied tops and tiered skirts; sexy librarians with wool jackets and pencil skirts and wide-leg trousers; and even grunge influences of oversized flannel button-down shirts with leggings and combat boots. But the new plaids have a place in the workplace if you keep a few tips in mind. You can wear this style to work by translating the trend into appropriate pieces for the office.
To wear a plaid skirt with flat boots to the office, make sure it is tailored well. Go for a pencil shape with a hem to the knee. The cut of the skirt is going to be important to look modern and youthful and avoid looking dowdy. Make sure the boots aren't so high on the leg that you lose the leg line completely. For an even more feminine look, try textured wool tights with a high-heel Mary Jane.
A large-print plaid pant always reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore, but subtle plaids like the windowpane (what I call a pseudo-print: a print that looks solid from far away) can look modern and office appropriate. When the plaid is subtle, play it up by pairing it with a rich solid color. Stick with a wide leg for the most flattering shape. Skinny pants with a print can highlight a heavier hip or thigh.
You can do a monochromatic look when wearing a larger plaid to keep it from being too theatrical and stay office appropriate. Look for a close fit on a jacket or blazer to keep the print from overwhelming your frame. Prints need to stay with the size of your body, so don't overdo it. It is possible to mix plaids: Try mixing a large plaid (your main character) with another subtle plaid (a “supporting role”), like a windowpane or herringbone, for added sophistication and visual interest.
Gray plaid wool blazer available, Zara, $169
Teal silk blouse available, H & M, $24.90
Gray windowpane plaid pencil skirt, Esprit, $89.50
Jonier patent heel in mystic bordo, Nine West, $59.25, www.ninewest.com
Tracy Reese cream leather tote, www.bagborroworsteal.com
NOIR gold maze bracelet, 212-244-4846
NOIR stone and silver horn earrings, 212-244-4846
NOIR amber glass, 212-244-4846
A plaid dress could easily take you from work to weekend. The print does not have to limit your options in terms of where you can wear it. The feminine cut of a dress can set the more casual nature of the print. Pair a dress with a cami and fitted jacket for work and ditch them for the evening. Versatility is essential for great investment pieces.