Wearing plaids with other plaids — or checks with other checks — is on-trend. That said, feel free to pattern mix plaids any season if it tickles your fancy because doing your own thing (DYOT) is the most important trend of all. 

There are countless ways to combine plaids. When the plaids are small, neutral, the same palette and the same pattern, the visual effect is quiet and subtle. When the plaids are large, bright, mismatched in pattern and colour, the visual effect is bold and hectic. There are infinite possibilities between the two extremes, and the collection below shows some of these.

Here are four examples of pattern mixed plaids that I think are relatable, fresh and interesting. The outfits look harmonious because of a few important matching components, which I describe in detail.

1. Mismatched Quiet Neutrals

These plaids are mismatched in colour and pattern. The brown plaid of the coat is warmer than the grey plaid of the pants. The size of the plaids are similar, but they needn’t be. There is plenty that pulls together the look. For example, there’s a bright blue stripe running through both plaids. The brown hair of the model matches the brown in the coat. Black is repeated in both plaids, the buttons, the top, and the boots.

Expresso Kendra Jas Brass

2. Matchy-Matchy-Matchy

Here, the plaids for the top and bottom are the same and perfectly matching. The third plaid is the same pattern but a different colour. The burnt orange of the third plaid is repeated in the rib detailing of the top and in the shade of cognac of the boots. The black repeated in the boots harmonizes with the black in the plaids. It’s all very matchy-matchy and bold because the plaids are large and high contrast.

Scotch & Soda Gingham Sweater

3. Mismatched Match

Of the three plaid items here, two match perfectly in the suit, and the third of the coat is mismatched. The plaids are a similar vibe and size, which tones down the combination. Importantly, both plaids have a pink and black stripe running through them, pulling them together. The black is further repeated in the buttons and model’s hair. The pink top matches the pink in the plaids. The white sneakers are jarring, but they work well to my eye because white is beautifully crisp and neutral. The grey stripe on the sneakers matches the grey of the suit. I’m not a fan of grey, yet this is my favourite of the four, probably because of the addition of pink and white.

Per Una Wool Blend Checked Double Breasted Coat

4. Matching Big & Small

When mismatched plaids match perfectly in colour palette, they’re usually a happy marriage. Here the navy and cinnamon of the pullover are repeated in the plaid of the wide crops. The big and small plaid add depth and interest to the outfit. The black boots don’t match the plaids, but they bookend the model’s hair. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

Madewell Mullen Pullover Sweater

Tartans and checks are among my favourite patterns, and I have a sugar eye for them. This season I’ve been combining my new navy tartan bouclé blazer with both pairs of micro check wool trousers. The plaids are mismatched, but the colour palettes are very similar, thereby harmonizing the visual. The quiet plaids of the bottoms tone down the mismatch. In one rendition, I added a small patterned shirt in the same palette as a third pattern. In the other, I added a solid red top to match the boots and my specs. You can see one of the outfits in the forum, and the collection below shows the exact components of the outfits. I LOVE plaid!