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How to Style Plaid Pants (Outfit Ideas)

Plaid is one of the most recognizable and most used patterns in the world. It’s one of the most-worn fabric patterns in history, in fact. You might know it as the look of choice for Scottish Highlanders, as an amazing choice for pajamas, as the exact right look for your throw pillows or as the pattern on those golf pants. But whatever you know about plaid, there’s probably a lot you didn’t know. Plaid is one of the oldest fabric patterns ever created and often, it carries a lot of special meaning. Do you know how to wear it well, how to style plaid pants to make them look great and how to be truly fashionable when it comes to your plaid? Soon, you’ll know all the secrets of wearing amazing plaid pants outfits.

Person in plaid pants green color scheme

History of Plaid

Plaid pants have been seen on punk rockers, on golf courses, at schools. But plaid itself is a very old pattern that dates to ancient history. And as you probably suspected, it was first created in Scotland.

As a matter of fact, plaid sometimes isn’t plaid. It’s really called tartan, though the word was first used to describe the colors and patterns that were used to distinguish different Scottish clans. “Plaids” were used to describe heavy traveling cloaks that were worn as protection from the cold Scottish weather.

American and British textile makers saw the Scottish tartan and recreated it, paying no heed to the different colors and patterns that were distinct for various clans. They simply liked the pattern and in some cases, may have had no idea that centuries of meaning were behind each one. 

This is because weavers lived and worked in a particular region. They had to work with the materials and dyes available to them in that region. Over time, specific colors became associated with different regions. Since the various regions of Scotland were dominated by specific clans, tartan soon became linked with specific clans.

Tartan has been worn in Scotland for thousands of years. But when did it make the leap into more modern fashion?

Modern Plaid

Plaid has been worn through the centuries and in the 1700s, it was even banned for a while by England. This was during a time when England wanted to ban all things Scottish. The ban didn’t last long, however. Once it was lifted, Scottish people embraced plaid and wore the pattern more than ever.

In the 1800s, a man named Jock McCluskey arrived in Canada. He was believed to be a descendant of Scottish hero Rob Roy and proved his own heroic nature by making quite a name for himself in Montana and the Dakotas. He traded with Native Americans and in return for their goods, he gave them blankets he brought from Scotland. These blankets were made in a red and black plaid, the tartan of Clan MacGregor (of which McCluskey was a descendant). Today, this pattern is known as Buffalo plaid. Many cite this as the introduction of tartan and plaid into the Americas.

But it was in the 1970s that plaid really hit its fashion stride, exploding into the style world. In this decade, plaid was suddenly everywhere.

In the 1980s, punk rockers and counterculture youths began wearing plaid to express their individuality in a funny twist. After all, plaid was originally created to show that one belonged to a specific clan. 

It was trendy in the 1970s, it was rebellious in the 1980s and in the 1990s, plaid went high fashion. Many credit the movie “Clueless” for the appearance of plaid as a posh style look. Plaid is now worn by everyone, from high fashion models to golfers on the links to school children. But do you know what your plaid pattern means and how to style it well? 

Notable Patterns

Plaid has truly ancient roots. What is a fashion staple today is actually steeped in history. Many of the common plaid patterns used in modern style have roots that go back to Scotland. These common plaid patterns have special meanings and special links to very old Scottish clans, which today have hundreds or even thousands of living members. 


Person wearing plaid pants and blazer

Plaid patterns still hold great significance in Scotland. In fact, there’s a national Scottish Register of Tartan patterns. Here, official tartan patterns are registered with the government so that more people can learn about the long history of plaid. Get to know some of the most common notable patterns and what they mean.

Have you got any Scottish roots? It’s just possible that you’ve already worn your clan’s historic tartan in the form of a now-common plaid pattern that was first created centuries ago! Get a look at some of the most notable plaid patterns and find out what these well-known and much-worn tartans actually mean.


Argyle is a distinct plaid pattern that differs from others because it’s made with diamond shapes, rather than the more traditional squares. The argyle plaid that’s so popular in modern fashion actually comes from the 1600s. This is the historical tartan worn by Clan Campbell, which lived in Argyll, a region of western Scotland. The roots of the pattern go all the way back to 1565, when the fifth Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, rebelled against Mary, Queen of Scots and her unpopular marriage to Lord Darnley. This marriage would later prove to be Mary’s undoing and it would inspire a tartan that was meant to be rebellious. 

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The argyle plaid pattern became popular outside of Scotland in the early 1900s, right after WWI. It was worn publicly by King Edward VIII and became quite popular with golfers. Edward was known for inspiring many fashion trends. To this day, the argyle pattern is a common sight on the golf course. The pattern is made in a number of color combinations in modern designs, so you can find it in everything from red plaid to khaki plaid styles.


The oft-seen Balmoral plaid pattern was designed by none other than Prince Albert himself, husband to Queen Victoria of England. He created the pattern in 1853. The British royal family has continued to use the pattern to this day. The pattern is named for the royal family’s castle in Balmora, Scotland.

This plaid is commonly worn by the royals in muted shades of gray squares crossed with lines in black. Red pinstriping crisscrosses the pattern.

It is said that Albert was inspired by the streaked granite that was used to build the castle while creating the pattern. Technically, you’re only allowed to wear this particular plaid pattern with special permission granted by the Queen or King of England. Very similar patterns are available in commercial fashion, though you may note that they are not precisely the same. 

Black Watch Plaid

This plaid pattern became linked to the Royal Highland Regiment after a 1714 rebellion. At this time, James Francis Edward Stuart led a group of men to fight against the English. He outfitted his soldiers in his family tartan.

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This pattern is distinct for its dark green, navy and black color scheme. This is also known as the Scottish National tartan because of its history and its reputation as a pattern of national Scottish pride.


If you’ve worn plaid, you’ve probably worn the Buffalo plaid pattern at least once. This pattern is made up of red and black checks. The checks are large and the pattern is simple and elegant. It was widely sold in the U.S. by Woolrich, of retail fame, in the late 1800s. The pattern quickly caught on with lumberjacks and it is still largely associated with the profession to this day. Why the plaid is called “Buffalo” is a fashion mystery that has been lost to the ages. 

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When someone is wearing Burberry, you know it. The Burberry plaid is one of the most recognizable patterns in the world and it has gained icon status thanks to being linked to the brand. The Burberry pattern is made with thin black and white lines and red pinstripes on a tan field. The plaid used by Burberry is officially known as the Haymarket Check, named for the street where the first Burberry store was opened in London. 

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The pattern was created in the 1920s but not as something to show the world. Originally, the Burberry plaid pattern was used as a lining for raincoats. However, the pattern looked so great that soon, it was being put on scarves, coats and many other Burberry items. Today, the plaid is trademarked by the brand and it has become a signature look of Burberry.


Truly one of the most recognizable patterns in the entire world, the checkerboard pattern is probably the most simple plaid pattern. This is made with two contrasting colors that crisscross each other to form equally-sized squares. Black and white checkerboard patterns are seen very frequently in both fashion and home decor. However, checkerboard patterns can be made in any two colors. If you’re looking for a sort of retro plaid pant look, a checkerboard pattern will work perfectly. Checkered pants can be used to wear all sorts of different looks.

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Clan Wallace

Named for a large and rather well-known Scottish clan, the Clan Wallace plaid is the tartan pattern that was worn by members of this clan, such as heroic William Wallace. The Clan Wallace pattern is made up of red and black checks crossed with thin bands of yellow and black. The pattern was copied and mass-marketed in clothing as early as the beginning of the 1900s, which is why Clan Wallace plaid is seen everywhere today. In fact, this is the exact pattern that is used in packaging and marketing materials by Scotch tape producer 3M. Red and black plaid pants are frequently made in this popular pattern.


The oldest known tartan pattern is the Falkirk plaid pattern, which dates to at least the 300s. A fragment of cloth dating to this time with this pattern woven into it was found in Falkirk in Stirlingshire, Scotland. The Falkirk plaid pattern is a simple check design made with alternating light and dark wool fabric. You may see this classic pattern in grey plaid pants designs, as this is a popular style for plaid trousers.


The Fraser pattern dates to at least 1842, though it’s probably even older. The traditional tartan of Clan Fraser, this plaid is made with medium-thick red and green lines on a red field that are crossed with white pinstriping. This pattern is particularly popular around the winter holidays, so you may already own a plaid blazer, plaid leggings or a plaid dress with the Fraser tartan on it.



Gingham is associated with American fashion and design, especially after it was worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” This is a simple checkerboard pattern commonly made in white with a second color. Blue is popular. The checks are small, the pattern is simple and the look is absolutely iconic. And while gingham is strongly associated with American style, this pattern was invented far from the U.S. Heck, it was invented pretty far from Scotland, too. Gingham was first created in India about 500 years ago.

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Glen Check

The Glen Check pattern is also known as Glen Plaid or, perhaps more famously, the Prince of Wales check. The Prince of Wales is the title given to the heir to the English throne, a title quite famously held for many decades by Charles Windsor, firstborn son of Queen Elizabeth II. The Glen plaid is white and black checks made in very small dots of color. Ronald Reagan made fashion headlines by wearing the pattern in the 1980s. The press slammed him for what they deemed a highly un-Presidential look. 


However, the pattern remains popular and continues to be seen in all kinds of clothing items, from plaid pants and matching three-piece suits to your basic plaid skirt. It looks quite classic when paired with a simple top, such as a black turtleneck.

Gun Club Check

First known as the Coigach plaid, gun club check was first created in west Scotland. But in 1874, the pattern was adopted by the American Gun Club. Members started to wear the pattern, which became known as the gun club check due to its popularity among them. This pattern is made with black, brownish-red, gold and green. The checks are small, so you have to get close to see the individual colors that create this distinct design.

Hamilton Grey

The Hamilton grey tartan was worn by the Hamilton clan, a family with an interesting place in Scottish history. This family originally supported the English and their claim to rule Scotland. However, the Hamilton family switched their loyalty and began to support Robert the Bruce instead. The Hamilton Clan went on to build Hamilton Palace and the town of Hamilton, which is still in Scotland today.


Houndstooth looks like a checkered pattern, but look closely and you will see that it’s actually a repeating pattern of geometric shapes. Each shape has jagged edges that give it a tooth-like look. This is where the name “houndstooth” comes from. The pattern can be printed onto fabric today but originally, Houndstooth was achieved by weaving the pattern to give it that distinctive look. Often, houndstooth checks appear in a dark color on a light background that really makes the pattern stand out.

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The pattern first appeared in the Scottish lowlands in the 1800s. However, the pattern didn’t catch on outside of the area until the 1930s. This is when famous royal trendsetter Edward VIII began wearing houndstooth frequently. The public went wild for the pattern and it quickly spread around the world. Today, houndstooth is still associated with classic, elegant style and high-quality clothing, such as the outfits once worn by the King of England. 


One of the oldest known tartan patterns still worn today is from Clan Lindsay. The clan has been a part of Scottish history since the 1100s. The tartan, however, has only been in recorded use since the 1800s. The pattern is composed of large red and green squares that are crossed with thin blue lines that divide the squares into smaller squares. This pattern is colorful and lively and looks great on a skinny pant or a graphic tee.

Technically, only members of Clan Lindsay should wear this plaid pattern. However, there are many, many, many people with ties going back to the clan who now live all over the world today. So odds are in your favor that you’re a member of Clan Lindsay if you trace enough branches on your extended family tree.

MacLeod of Lewis

Also known as Loud MacLeod (which, in proper pronunciation, rhymes), the MacLeod of Lewis tartan is a real head-turner. Made up of vivid yellow and black squares that are crossed with thin red stripes, this tartan was historically worn by Clan MacLeod in and around the Isle of Skye and many other islands around Scotland. This is a bold, attention-getting plaid that looks amazing when it’s styled well. If you want some tartan trousers that are going to get attention, get a pair in the MacLeod of Lewis tartan.

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Made up of many multicolored squares of red, purple, green, yellow, rust orange and black, Madras plaid is a colorful, fun pattern that is very easy to spot. The pattern is named after a city in India that is known today as Chennai. The pattern was created here by weavers working with lightweight cloth. Madras patterns are still seen most commonly on lightweight fabrics that are often used for spring and summer clothing. 


Famed fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who had Scottish ancestry, designed his own tartan pattern. The plaid pattern appeared in several McQueen designs. The tartan is now associated with Clan McQueen. This tartan is made up of medium black lines on a bright red field that creates alternating red and black squares. Yellow pinstripes criss cross the design.

Military Tartan

Scotland has a long history of military tartans that dates to at least the Black Watch tartan of 1714. Notable military tartans that are worn for both practical and ceremonial purposes include the Royal Air Force tartan (red, green and white), the Al-Maktoum tartan that was designed in 1977 by the ruler of Dubai (red, yellow and red), the Citadel Military Institute of South Carolina (red, yellow, white and green), the Royal Canadian Air Force (red, white and blue) and the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The U.S.C.G. tartan was designed in 2002 to honor Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury and founder of the Coast Guard. This tartan is made with blue to represent the sea and skies and red to represent courage. The 10 thread count white added to the design represents the white sails of the first 10 cutters that made up the Coast Guard upon its founding. West Point Academy, the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association, the U.S. Seabees Special Forces and the U.S. Marine Corps all have their own special tartan plaid patterns as well.

Princess Diana Tartan

To honor Princess Diana, a special tartan was designed in 1997. It was designed specifically to honor the Princess and to help raise money for one of the many charities she supported through sales of items made with the tartan. This tartan is made in soft shades of aqua blue, mint green, black and dark red.

Royal Stewart

One of the most recognizable and used patterns in plaid is the Royal Stewart pattern. Named for the Scottish (and later English) royal house of Stewart, the pattern is made up of bright red squares with long lines of yellow and white and touches of blue. Monarchs from the House of Stewart include Mary, Queen of Scots and King James I of England, who is perhaps best known for making the Bible widely available for all to read.

Famed British designer Vivienne Westwood brought the Royal Stewart pattern into modern fame by featuring it in many of her punk rock fashions of the 1970s. Westwood’s punk fashions helped to popularize plaid in modern culture and captured one style trend after another with her creative designs. The Royal Stewart tartan still parts great with leather jackets and attitude.

Shepherd Check

The shepherd check tartan, or shepherd’s check, was used by Scottish shepherds living on the English border. The pattern was seen frequently in sheep blankets. The shepherd check pattern is made with very small squares in two alternating colors and resembles gingham. The difference is that shepherd check is visibly made in a twill pattern where two types of fabric are blended together. This creates diagonal lines in the pattern that give it more texture and almost a sensation of movement or liveliness.

St. Andrew’s Tartan

The St. Andrew’s tartan is one of the most-seen plaid patterns, though you might not realize this pattern was named for a saint. This design is a modern tartan that dates only to 2004. It was originally designed to commemorate the world bowling championships but now, it is a symbol for St. Andrew himself. He’s the patron saint of Scotland. The tartan is a dark green field crossed with blue squares, medium-sized purple stripes and bright white pinstripes.


The Tattersall plaid is a simple pattern of thin bands of red and black crisscrossing on a tan field. This creates small squares bordered by thin bands of color. The name comes from the Tattersall Horse Market, according to fashion legend. This was a famed auction horse selling horses that first started in 1766. Tattersall still auctions horses to this very day. In the 1700s, the business became known for placing blankets using this plaid pattern on its horses. 

West Virginia University

West Virginia University has its very own tartan that is registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans, meaning it cannot be produced without permission from the University. This tartan features the colors of WVU, gold and blue. White pinstripes highlight the medium blue stripes and bold yellow field. 


The windowpane plaid pattern is made with very thin lines intersecting a solid color background to create large squares. This is a simple, elegant pattern that is used in all sorts of clothing and design items. 

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Plaid Pants Outfit Ideas

Clearly, plaid is an incredible pattern. It’s steeped in history, it’s steeped in history and it can be put on any type of clothing or home design item, from the lining of a black leather jacket to an entire overstuffed couch made in plaid.

This pattern is casual or elegant, cool and edgy or very posh and high-end. It can be colorful and lively or somber and sedate. You can wear it for any occasion any time. But if you don’t know how to style it and wear it well, plaid can be the downfall of any outfit. 

Wondering how to put together some really great plaid pants outfit ideas? Start with some classic and simple plaid pants looks and soon, you will be styling all sorts of different outfits to show every type of plaid pant design you can find in stores.

Casual Cool

Create a great multi-textured look with your plaid pants with one great addition. Style the pants with a blouse in a solid color and top this with a denim jacket. Whether the jacket is cropped or oversized, this is a great casual cool look. Style this with ankle-high boots and a matching backpack purse. 

Build your look around plaid pants from J. Crew. This storefront always has the latest styles and there are always good sales on this site, so you can often find pants at a pretty good discount. J. Crew is synonymous with fashion and quality. It’s a very well known brand and you can always find new items here.

Classic Preppy

Some looks just won’t ever go out of style. That goes for certain plaid pants outfit ideas, too. Wear a white collared shirt with cuffs and over this, a fitted sweater. Fold the cuffs and collar over the sweater so they’re visible and suddenly, you’ve got an amazing and classic look when you sip into your plaid pants. This preppy look is perfect for office wear, a casual date, running errands and anything else you might want to do. Finish this look with a pair of loafers or flats and a set of simple earrings.

Shop at Mango to find great classic plaid pants styles. You will find many different types of pants here in an assortment of different color combinations. These pants are made to fit well and look high-end but the prices are reasonable. Mango is affordable fashion that looks good. What more could you want? 

Cool Weather Glam

Put together a look that appears to be effortlessly glamorous and graceful by pairing a pair of plaid pants and a turtleneck. A solid-colored turtleneck that matches one of the colors in the plaid will give you an elegant look and simple, fashionable style. Finish off the outfit with a pair of loafers, a shoulder bag and a pendant necklace or two. This stylish look is great for casual days at the office, a lunch meeting with friends or business associates and just about anything else you might want to do.

Use TJ Maxx to find trendy, fashionable plaid pants that are affordable and easy to wear. TJ Maxx is well known for providing affordable fashion and for always having the latest trendy looks. You can definitely find great plaid pants here to serve as a starter for all sorts of amazing outfits. TJ Maxx also has sales events, so you can get discounts on their already affordable pieces.


Send out an edgy, cool vibe by wearing plaid pants with a crop top. Add a belt and a leather jacket, along with a pair of leather boots. Combat boots or motorcycle boots will work perfectly. This edgy, cool look works well for any casual environment and it can be worn for a day or night look. If your style is a little bit cool and rebellious, this is a great look for you.

Find trendy and stylish plaid pants at Urban Outfitters. This online storefront is always getting new styles so you can come here frequently to find items for new looks. Urban Outfitters always has the trendiest fashions, so you can stay up-to-date on plaid style here. The prices are reasonable and many of the pants are available in different color combinations, so you can get a few pairs of the same pants. The prices are reasonable, so it’s easy to get lots of stuff at once.


Add an eye-catching statement belt to your plaid pants. A button-down white blouse open at the collar and tied at the waist is a perfect match and a great way to show off the belt. Add heels and a great handbag and you will be ready for any casual or semi-formal event on your agenda. This can be a day or a night look. 

Elegant looks are easy with clothing from Ralph Lauren. A name that is associated with high fashion and style, Ralph Lauren has been making plaid pants that look amazing for decades. You can find a great selection here, though you will be paying the designer price tag for plaid pants here.

Fall Chic

Keep a perfect go-to fall look on hand by matching a pair of plaid pants to a knit sweater. The sweater should be the same color as one of the colors in the pants. Add a pendant necklace, a cross-body bag and a pair of boots and you will truly be ready for any activity. This is a good look for day or night, whether you’re running errands or meeting a friend at the bar for a casual drink. 

Brooks Brothers is known for chic style and high-end fashion. You will find not just plaid pants here, but high-quality plaid pants made with luxury materials and put together in gorgeous designs. If you’re willing to pay a little more for very high-quality, this is a perfect place for you to come looking for paid pants. 

High Fashion Casual

You can be casual and still look ready to strut on a catwalk at the same time. Slip into plaid pants and a matching blazer with a T-shirt and sneakers. This is a great mix of casual and professional. Finish the look off with a pair of dark sunglasses for that movie star touch.

Burberry is known for being high fashion and for its signature plaid, so this is a perfect place to go looking for some stylish plaid pants. You’ll find a nice selection of fashionable high-end pants here. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll find friendly prices. Burberry is a famous fashion brand and you will pay a hefty price for the pleasure of wearing it.


Plaid pants are a perfect cornerstone for a professional look. Wear them with a silk blouse or a button-down shirt that is either shorter than hip-length or tucked into the waistband. Top this all offer with a blazer. Wear high heels and carry a handbag n a matching color. Complete this lovely professional style with a statement necklace. This is a sleek professional look that will work anywhere.

Find well-tailored professional style at Club Monaco. This storefront is full of trendy looks and high fashion designs. There are many types of pants in a range of colors here. You can find lots of options when you want plaid pants for your professional looks. The prices here are mid-range and frequent sales make them even more affordable. Working professionals can find all sorts of great options here.

Summer Style

When you need a semi-formal or professional look for the summer, something that’s more glamorous than casual, slip into a pair of lightweight plaid pants and high-heeled strappy sandals. Pair this with a sleeveless, high-necked blouse and you will look incredibly stylish. This is a great summer look and it can work as office wear, too. This look works great with a pair of statement earrings for after-work hours and simpler earrings and a sleek watch during business hours.

Get great summer pants styles at Guess. The lightweight fabrics and pretty color combinations you can find here are perfect for any sort of summer look. Guess is a well-known name in fashion but the prices are reasonable because Guess thinks style should be accessible for all. 

Winter Elegance

Need a good look for winter weather? Complete your plaid pants outfit with a cropped sweater. Ankle boots and a simple clutch accessorize the look well. Add a long trench coat and you’ll be ready to take on the winter weather. If you happen to have a scarf in the same plaid as your pants, now is the time to wear it! 

Shop for winter plaid pants at Paul Smith. The clothing here is designer and styled in beautiful color combinations with gorgeous fabric. 


Plaid isn’t just another thing to wear. It’s got special meaning, certain significance, a long history in fashion. But it’s also kind of tricky to style. Plaid can look busy if you’re not styling it well. But when it’s done right, it looks really, really right. So there are plenty of things you might need to know before you can style your plaid perfectly. Get the answers to the most frequently asked questions about plaid and get to know more about this pattern so that soon, you’ll be an expert.

Person wearing plaid pants in front of brick wall


Do different styles of plaid have specific meanings?

Some plaid patterns are about a lot more than fashion. Some of the most common plaid patterns actually do have special meaning or they are historically important. Many well-known patterns actually began as clan tartans that were worn by members of Scottish families, which made them easy to identify to each other and to those outside the clan. 

Some plaid patterns that are commonly seen in fashion were designed to honor royalty, or were worn by military regiments, or have an interesting story behind them. But what’s really important is what your fashion means to you. As long as you like what you’re wearing, you can give it any meaning you like and enjoy it for everything it is to you. 

Once, specific tartan patterns were meant to be worn only by members of that Scottish clan, or family. But now, these patterns are accessible to all and worn by all. Fashion is for everyone and that goes for plaid patterns, too. For people who do have Scottish ancestry, however, specific patterns hold even more special and personal significance.

Can you wear a plaid shirt with plaid pants?

Mixing plaid with plaid is fairly dicey but like anything else in fashion, everything is possible. You can play around with a plaid-on-plaid look by wearing matching pants and a blazer or blouse. Get even more creative and find a shirt made in a contrasting plaid to play off your pants. 

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different patterns to give your overall look a more layered and interesting appeal. After all, fashion is meant to be bold. Have some fun with it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Even mistakes can be sort of fun, too. 

How old is too old to wear skinny plaid pants?

Is there a certain age when you should stop wearing skinny pants? Absolutely not! There is no age limit on fashion, though showing a lot of skin is tricky at any age and gets harder and harder as the years roll by. Skinny pants can be worn by absolutely anyone and they look good on many body types, so don’t be afraid to try them out on yourself. 

How do you properly measure yourself for pants?

Finding a pair of pants that fit well should be simple but often, it feels almost impossible. The key to getting a pair of pants that feel great and fit perfectly is in the measurements. Take your own measurements when you plan to shop for pants and use pants size charts to make sure you’re buying pants in sizes that match your own measurements as perfectly as possible.

First, measure around your natural waist. This will be right around your belly button and all the way around your body in a straight light. Don’t pull the tape measure tight. You should be able to get a finger or two between your skin and the tape measure. If your measurement falls between inches, round up to the nearest whole number. This is your waist measurement.

Next, measure from the very top of your inner thigh to the bottom of your ankle. Hold your leg and the tape measure straight in order to get an accurate measurement. 

Pant sizes are determined by the waist measurement and the inseam measurement, with the waist appearing first. For example, 32 x 34. This indicates that the waist measurement is 32 inches and the inseam, 34 inches. 

Always compare your measurements against the pant sizes, consulting with sizing charts if you need to when you’re purchasing pants that you can’t try on in a store. It is possible to get great-fitting clothing when you buy it online as long as you go by your own measurements and nothing else.

How should pants fit?

When you’re wearing a pair of pants that don’t fit you quite right, you know it. You end up constantly adjusting. You have to move things around, pull stuff up or push it down, get it untwisted or smooth it out. It’s a real pain in the…well, you know. In order to make sure you always have on a pair of pants that feel good, it’s important to know how pants should fit in the first place.

First, pants should not be tight and restrictive. They shouldn’t fit tightly anywhere. You should be able to move easily in all directions, whether it’s up or down or side to side. The inseam should also be the right length, neither too short nor too long. This means that the pants should end right at the bottom of the ankle. 

The pants should fit snugly around the waist with enough room to move but not so much room to move that the waistband is too large. There should be no gaping and no gaps. The crotch should also fit well and sit close to the end of your natural crotch, neither pressing against the area nor hanging down far below it.

Can pants shrink in the dryer?

Any article of clothing can shrink in the dryer if it is made with certain fabrics, even plaid pants. Natural materials, such as cotton and linen, tend to shrink when exposed to high heat. To avoid shrinkage, do not wash or dry your pants with high heat. Use low heat settings or cold water settings. Soap and water still clean fabric, even in cool water.

Rayon and bamboo will also shrink with heat. As a general rule, play it safe by avoiding high heat for all your clothing and thus, avoid shrinkage.

Can you wear plaid pants in the summer?

Plaid pants are a great summer look, particularly if you choose pastel or neutral color designs. Pants in any lightweight fabric are suitable for summer weather. Plaid pants look great with strappy sandals, flip flops and summery footwear.

Pair your plaid pants with a sleeveless blouse in a lightweight fabric and you will stay cool and ready for anything the summer day or evening holds.

How should pants fit without a belt?

A belt is a helpful way to keep pants in place around the waist, as are suspenders. However, well-fitting pants should generally stay in place around your waist even without a belt. Pants that fit well will stay in place, fitting snugly around the waist with no gaps but also without being restrictive.

Belts should be treated as accessories to highlight an outfit, not an essential piece that keeps your outfit from exposing you to the world at large.

Are pants supposed to cover your belly button? 

Where pants are supposed to sit on the body is something that has changed many times throughout fashion history. Take a gander at a movie from the 1940s and get a good look at the pants the men are wearing. You’ll see that it was the fashion then to wear pants up high on the waist, pulled over the belly button. But today, men are wearing their pants much lower on the body. By today’s fashion standards, pants should not sit higher than the belly button on the body. If you prefer to wear them higher, however, that’s okay. This look is retro, which means it’s classic fashion. You can always get away with a retro look.

Do pants need to have a crease?

Not all pants should be creased but some styles of pants do need creases in order to hang properly on the body. Some pants are made with a permanent crease. When this is the case, the crease should be maintained to keep the look of the pants crisp and stylish. This may require that the crease be ironed, from time to time. Suit pants often have creases. 

If pants do not already have a crease or don’t need one, however, as in the case of skinny pants, don’t add one. Trying to force a crease will look just as bad as igorning a crease that should be there looking sharp.

Can you wear plaid pants with casual outfits?

There are many outfit ideas that you can use to style plaid pants with a casual look. Plaid pants are a great starting point for all sorts of different casual looks, so feel free to play around with them. Mix plaid pants with T-shirts and other casual pieces to create a great carefree style. Plaid pants look great with sneakers, loafers and other casual shoe styles, so you can have fun styling all sorts of casual looks.

Is there a difference between tartan and plaid?

In some cases, there is a difference between a tartan and a plaid. All tartans are a plaid. However, not all plaids are tartan. Confused yet? 

Both tartans and plaid are made in patterns using stripes of different colors. Tartan plaid patterns are always made in a grid pattern that are woven with the same fabric in the same direction. Plaids, however, can be woven with different types of cloth that are woven in different directions. True tartan plaid is linked to specific Scottish clans, whereas other types of plaid patterns are not.

Do plaid pants make you look wider?

The style of the pants you wear and how they fit your body has much more to do with how wide or thin you look than the pattern on the pants you wear. As a general rule, however, darker colors have a more slimming effect than bright colors. Pants that help you look slimmer, first of all fit well. Don’t attempt to hide your body in baggy pants, as this will only make you look heavier. Choose pants that flatter your body type and show off your curves, rather than hide them. 

As long as the pants aren’t too loose or too tight anywhere and fit well, it’s going to do a lot more for your body than any other tricks you might use. However, you can always wear longer pant styles that sit higher on the waist. This creates a lengthening effect on the legs. Finish with a pointed toe shoe, which also makes your legs look longer. This has a way of sort of stretching the body, visually, to make you look slimmer.

Do high-waisted pants make you look thinner?

If you want an easy trick to look your best, high-waisted pants can help. High-waisted pants do ten to have a slimming effect on many body types.


Elle Decor – A Brief History of…Plaid

Gaminati – Are Plaid Pants Trendy?

Gentleman’s Gazette – How Pants Should Fit

He Spoke Style – Gun Club Check One, Two, Three

He Spoke Style – Style Defined: Houndstooth

Heddels – Well Plaid – The 7 Patterns to Know

House Beautiful – Ask a Designer: What’s the Difference Between Tartan and Plaid?

Lady Fashioniser – 9 Simple Ways How To Style Plaid Pants For Women

The List – The Untold Truth of Burberry

The Met – McQueen and Tartan

Our Everyday Life – The History of Houndstooth

Outfittrends – Plaid Pants Outfit Ideas – 20 Ideas How to wear Plaid Pants

Scottish Register of Tartans

Scottish Tartans Authority – Miltary Tartans

Smithsonian – A Brief History of Plaid

Stitch Fix – The History of Plaid

The Washington Post – You thought argyle was a preppy staple? Wrong. It’s a statement of rebellion.

Today – How to shrink clothes: Shrink cotton, jeans, polyester and more

WikiHow – How to Measure Pants Size

Yesstyle – 9 Popular Check Patterns You Should Know