In case you haven’t noticed the world has gone mad for plaid.  No seriously.  It’s everywhere.  Plaid coats, plaid pants, plaid shirts … even plaid shoes.  I can’t object, I love plaid.  But what I really love even more than plaid … is pattern mixing plaid.  I think many people shy away from mixing plaid because the think it would be a tough one to mix.  Not true my fashionable friends.  #NotTrueAtAll

For today’s post “Pattern Mixing PIaid: A Beginners Guide to Pattern Play” I provide you ample evidence that plaid mixed with other patterns is a match made in heaven. Don’t believe me?  How about @TweedAndToile who pattern mixes plaid with the best of them …

So how do you accomplish plaid pattern mixing without looking like a clown ready for the circus?

There are a few simple “rules” (if you want to call them that) to help you mix your plaids with almost any pattern you can imagine.  The keys lie in the pattern size and color family.  If you are going with variations of the same pattern then play with proportion. Wearing windowpane pants with a larger pattern?  Pair with a smaller check pattern.  The other way to mix plaid patterns successfully is to keep things within the same color family like the black and white example below.

Leith Windowpane Pant (similar here or here) | Jeffrey Campbell Boots (similar here).  I have a whole post on how to style these cuties.

The Play Book

Here is another example of mixing large and small prints.  I’m wearing an windowpane print jacket (large print) mixed with a leopard blouse (small print) and both prints take advantage of the same color family.  Simpler prints are often easier to mix so its a good place to start.  And black and white is the easiest color pallet to play with.  #Classic

Joie silk blouse (similar) | Veronica Beard Windowpane Blazer (similar or reverse) | Black Pants | Halogen Shoes

One of the easiest patterns to mix is stripes.  They literally go with anything. #NoReally

The below mix works because both prints are in the same color family and it also uses the ruler of a larger print (stripes) and a smaller print (check).

Stripe Blouse | Stripe Skirt | Plaid Jacket

If this feels too busy for you then spread your prints across your outfit.  Put one print on top and another on the bottom.  I could accomplish this with the above outfit by wearing a solid color top with the stripe skirt.

Turqoise Top | Stripe Skirt | Plaid Jacket

This turquoise blouse easily breaks up the stripe pattern and coordinates with both the blazer and skirt.

As long as you keep things in the same color family two divergent patterns work very well together even when one is leopard and the other plaid.

In the next look the grey in the pants plays off the grey in the sweater as does the blue and black stripes which are the dominant colors of the sweater. Even though these patterns would be considered a similar size the pattern play works because you’ve kept everything in the same color family.  I could have also added a blue or black and white striped shirt under the sweater with just the lapel and cuffs peaking out for even more pattern play fun.  #HaveFun

Leopard Sweater | Tibi Plaid Pants (sold out but try these instead)

Match colors, not prints because if the colors look good together then the prints will also look good together.  Black and white is always an easy win but as you can see with the blue, black and grey example there are endless possibilities.

Solids Are Your Friends

Still don’t feel brave enough to pull of the mix?  Break up the look with solids (similar to inserting the turquoise top above).

I don’t have an example with plaid but the effect in both the looks below is similar.  The solid blush breaks up the stripes and dots as does the off-white with the abstract and geometric patterns.  Picture one of these patterns as a plaid and it still works beautifully.

The only other key is confidence.  If you think it looks great together then walk out the door rocking your pattern play. #Done