5 Tips When Mixing Plaids

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about things that intimidate me. I think it’s my wide-eyed optimism about conquering all things daunting now that the new year is upon us. I’m ready to try new things and own 2014 in as many ways as possible!

Why not start with fashion?

So let’s talk about plaids. More specifically, mixing plaids. Was that a gasp I heard?

Stay with me.

A fashion statement this bold needs to be broken down a bit. Here are a few rules of thumb to stick with when mixing plaids and tartans.

Before we go further though, let’s define our terms. In the UK, tartan is the pattern and plaid is a piece of tartan fabric that is worn over the shoulder. In the United States, plaid is a pattern that uses two colors usually in consistent perpendicular patterns. Sometimes, the patterns can be different of different widths. When I think of plaid, I think of the buffalo plaid that is common in flannel.

Tartan, on the other hand, are more than two colored stripes that appear on a solid background. The widths of the stripes are different widths.


TARTAN:                                              PLAID:



Now let’s talk about how to mix them!

1. Three’s A Crowd

Unless you are mixing three muted patterns or colors, stick to no more than two different prints. This is also true in decorating! If you mix three bold plaids, your look will end up looking cluttered rather than balanced.

2. Use A Common Color

Unite your two plaids or tartans with a common color. If each print has a vibrant red in it, your look will look bold but cohesive.

3. Scale

A general rule of thumb about prints — big prints make you look bigger, small prints make you look smaller. If you want to shrink your top, choose a smaller print. If you want your legs to be slimmed down, choose a smaller print for trousers.

4. One Neutral

Choose one neutral item as part of your ensemble. Maybe you do a plaid top and bottom — try pairing the look with a simple black pump or boot. This will keep the look chic and not cluttered.

5. Shady

Try playing with the shade of your common color. Maybe both your plaids are red, but they vary in shade. Then you can have a ball with your accessories. Sky’s the limit!

I don’t know about you, but bold patterns will not be intimidating this bougie girl anytime soon. Who’s with me?

Shades of Red – Top | Pants | Shoes | Clutch

Menswear – Top | Blazer | Pants | Shoes | Watch

Got mixing plaids down? Show me! Tag me on Instagram @brokebutbougie.

Here’s a bit of street style to spark your inner pattern mixing goddess.

A bit of dark blue in each pattern and she kept it grounded with a neutral black shoe and bag. | Image Details

Cohesive with Navy Blue. | Image Details