Clash of the Tartans

Written by Peyton Haahr

Tartan, plaid and check prints are back – and not in that private-school uniform type of way. This is the high-fashion, Wall Street executive power print. If the age of pleated skirts and itchy jumpers gives you nightmares, get ready for a dream. Tartan, check, plaid – whatever you want to call it – was seen all over Fall runways. It was transposed onto skirts, dresses, puffer jackets, and scarves. Yes, it still was preppy, but not in a juvenile way, and was definitely fit for working women.

As you would expect, Burberry was back at it again with their classic plaid print. Here it was seen in floor-grazing jackets and trenches. This print is the embodiment of tradition, of ‘not fixing something that isn’t broken’, yet its ability to be modernized and transitioned through season after season is what keeps it coming and the consumers grabbing. So, these coats are certainly an investment piece, but one of the wisest ones you could go for. They are incredibly easy to use as your basic outwear piece, whether you are headed to work or to a meal with friends. To bring it into the adventurous realm, work with the print on pants. Pair it with a chunky sweater for winter or a thin, tight tee for other seasons. Show your confidence with some pointed-toe stilettos, or stick with your trusty cargo boots. Either way, you’ve just brought a staple print into your wardrobe, and even if it’s not the central trend for that season – don’t get rid of it! Give it time, and you’ll be on top of the trends as this one comes back around.

Next up- Tommy Hilfiger. The American’s show was opened by none other than Gigi Hadid, whose name was also featured on beanies and socks throughout the show. Reds, purples and blues mixed to create collegiate inspired plaids that were splashed on overcoats, thin slip dresses and oversized button-downs. Thigh-high socks were paired with fringed button-downs masquerading as dresses. Midi slip dresses were pulled on over long-sleeve turtle necks and thick, chain necklaces. It was a perfect mix – relaxed and stylish, but smart and put-together – masculine looks balanced with feminine flair. (Pro-tip! If you’re looking for advice on how to style feminine and masculine pieces together, check out our blog post!) To pull some inspiration from Hilfiger’s looks, Gigi’s opening look can be easy and stunning. Jean shorts and a high-neck top (cropped or not), paired with a show-stopping overcoat and simple but statement necklace. You want the coat (preferably plaid) to be the center piece, so whatever goes underneath it should not draw too much attention from the outwear. If you are feeling bold, find a plaid button-down – I’d even go to the men’s section to look – that’s long enough to pass as a dress. You can fringe it yourself, or simply pull on a puffer coat or throw a turtle neck on underneath for a super unique look.

Lastly, Tory Burch unveiled the perfect classic plaid skirt, so if you are feeling more conservative about this trend – this is the way to go. You may be thinking, “I thought you said that this wasn’t going to give me nightmares about my private school uniform days!”, and I promise, it won’t. The looks that came down the runway had a retro, sort of Midwestern vibe, that was anything but juvenile. They were paired with chunky sweaters with bulky patterns to offset the plaid. If you aren’t feeling the skirts, the pants can be a sophisticated and business-like alternative, especially in the cooler months. Since pants like the ones at Tory Burch were loose, and featured more fabric, try something on top that is more fitted, so that it gives your body some definition, especially your waist. On the runway, the zip-up sweater had a thick band around the waist that brought the eye in before bringing it down to the pants. Both the skirt and pants are versatile and easy ways to incorporate plaid into your fall wardrobe, and will be sure to keep you warm through the cooler months.

With the weather cooling down, make sure your style is heating up. While plaid may make some of us cringe, it didn’t make the trend any less explosive on the Fall runways shows this year. It was seen everywhere – on dresses, pants, skirts, coats – you name it, we saw it. And even if you like to stick to classic style pieces and try and avoid trends, this is one that won’t make you stray too far from your desired path. It works for all ages, and can be perfect both retro-inspired outfits, or modern updates. Either way – get ready for the compliments.