Fall 2010 Trend Alert: Plaid Madness!

13 Sep

This fall, designers have got it plaid! Expect to see plaid making a strong appearance in stores throughout 2010. However, it seems especially perfect for fall; when you get that back-to-school feeling, throw on a plaid shirt or skirt! If you’re interested in adding a little plaid to your wardrobe, here are some items that fit the bill.

A look from Christian Dior Fall 2010 runway.

If you’re in the mood for plaid, you can’t go wrong with something from Burberry! When you feel slouchy on a rainy day, their charcoal check rain boots make it easy to dress up. You can find them for $225 on Zappos.com:

The charcoal version of Burberry's traditional caramel check pattern gives the classic a twist.

If you want to dress up for realsies, this Perthshire plaid dress, $168 at Anthropology, is a great example of schoolgirl plaid with some personality:


I like the way this skirt is gently gathered into a soft flounce–very fun. The visual interest created by the asymmetrical neckline also adds a little attitude to an otherwise polite plaid.

For a great plaid dress at a more affordable price, check out this black and ecru buffalo plaid dress, $69.99 at Modcloth.com:


This dress is an example of Buffalo Plaid, which uses large squares (usually) of two main different colors- often red and black (the lumberjack plaid). I love the cowled neckline and hip pockets which create a great hour-glass silhouette, while the pyramid-studs on the elasticized belt gives it a little edge.

Since the plaid trend will carry over into winter, look to this Miss Sixty plaid belted coat–$148 at Nordstrom.com–to keep you warm:


The square buttons and shoulder epaulets update the coat and add a touch of this season’s military flare, while the waist-defining tie belt makes for a flattering look. I also like the front yoke flaps which highlight the coat’s oversized asymmetrical collar. Besides framing your face, these flaps will keep out the cold–a happy marriage of fashion and function.

Another way to incorporate plaid during the fall and winter season is with tights. Try these Launch plaid tights, $24.99 at Modcloth in a warm brown and blue Glen plaid pattern (FYI–like Buffalo plaid, Glen plaid usually has only two or three colors at most. The fabric is usually in tones of gray, brown, black or navy, with one stripe in a contrasting bright hue, like the blue here.):


Pair with a tailored brown skirt–maybe one with crisp pleats–for a great office-appropriate look.

Another easy and inexpensive way to add some plaid to your wardrobe is with a scarf. I really like the bold look of the green and blue color combination in this O’Neill plaid scarf, $31.95 on Zappos.com:

These days you’ll see a lot of women wearing scarves indoors, draped or tied around their neck, almost as a layer in a layered look; it’s an easy way to add a pop of color to an outfit. If you’re a fan of this look, check out this red plaid “collar” from Urban Outfitters ($19.99–was $38.99):

Could this be the pinnacle of hipster fashion? I love the bow shape, and think this “collar” idea is a great idea for any girl with a plaid fix. But, I think you need to wear it underneath a cardigan so it’s a more casual, layered look. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a giant lumberjack baby wearing a giant plaid bib.

Finally, a plaid headband is an effortless way to add just a touch of plaid. Try searching Etsy for tons of beautiful, handmade options. Here are a few I found:

Love the autumn colors and adorable rosettes in this one! Only $8.50, by FoldingChairDesigns.

This Burberry inspired headband is a steal--only $13 at MrsBowtheMommy.

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4 Responses to “Fall 2010 Trend Alert: Plaid Madness!”

  1. finnegansawakening September 15, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    I have a Burberry headband that was given to me as a gift and am wearing it today! I love the looks in this post–evokes fall and back to school–one of my favorite times of the year!

  2. Finnegan September 16, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Hello Good Taste,
    I’m currently being forced to watch a fashion show in which they are commenting on Jackie-O’s iconic status as the forefront leader of Americana sports wear. BUT, when they displayed all the photo examples – she’s neither playing sports or even attending sports -why then referring to it as “sports wear”????? – and follow up question if you can define sports wear – what’s the difference between sports wear and casual wear?
    Most confused in Richfield,
    Finnegan

    • goodtaste September 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

      Hi Finnegan,
      Great question! Well, according to Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, author of Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion (not sure why it’s called “Fairchild’s Dictionary” when her name is Calasibetta), the original concept of sportswear–clothing that could be worn by women specifically when they were being “active”–was first invented in the 1870s, though the term “sportswear” wasn’t really used until the 1920s, when it referred to relaxed, casual wear worn by women specifically when horseback riding, hiking, tennis, archery, and yachting–imagine that being a sport.

      In the 1920s, the word sportswear came to be synonymous with the concept of ready-to-wear clothing–meaning off the rack, or factory made clothing. This is significant because this type of clothing was brand new for (well-to-do) women who previously only wore dresses that were made individually for their body measurements; so, “sportswear” is important to the history of fashion because it introduced the concept of standardized sizes.

      Another innovation that sportswear brought to fashion was the idea of informal and interchangeable separates (i.e., blouses, shirts, skirts, jackets, and sometimes trousers) that were meant to be easy to care for and had accessible fastening. This meant that the modern woman who wore sportswear could dress herself without her maid’s assistance. So, if you think about it, sportswear was important to the growing emancipation of the modern day independent woman (you might be interested in my post about the “American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity” fashion exhibit at the Met, which focuses on this connection).

      Today, sportswear is an antiquated term that can cause some confusion, especially since we use the term “active wear” to talk about clothes we wear for sports activities. Instead, the term sportswear has come to mean many things–formal but informal wear, outfits that consist of mixable separates that are often layered–but above all, sportswear is thought to be distinctly “American” fashion because it is “democratic” (i.e. widely accessible since it is off the rack/factory produced), and encourages individual expression (through the mixing and matching of the versatile separates). What differentiates it from casual wear? Well, I think that’s slightly subjective. Sportswear is meant to combine sophistication and comfort. However, it’s not necessarily expensive. Isaac Mizrahi, Target’s main designer, is thought to be as much of a tastemaker when it comes to sportswear as “designer” labels like Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors. I think that the idea of achieving “a look” is definitely part of it–related to the idea of layering separates, perhaps–and the idea of detailing. For example, details like zippers, beautiful trimming or lining, studs, unusual cutouts, or some other kind of special detail can identify a piece of clothing as “sportswear” rather than casual wear.

      As for Jackie O’s role in popularizing sportswear, I think is due to her reputation for looking “effortlessly elegant”–in other words, her aesthetic was very sportswear-esque. She was iconic for looking “polished” but informal, and was one of the first First Ladies to wear suits–a traditionally more masculine, “active” outfit that hearkens back to the original use of the term sportswear. During her life after the White House she was also famous for making denim stylish–mixing jeans with a more expensive designer blouse–and solidifying the idea of sportswear as combining sophistication and comfort.

      Hope this helps, Finnegan! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your support!

  3. finnegansawakening September 20, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Wow–thank’s for the throrough explanation.

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