I’m in the habit of referring to all patterns with crossed horizontal and vertical lines as “checked”. Actually, that’s incorrect, because there’s a difference between plaids and checks. Generally, plaids are more complicated cross-hatched designs inspired by Scottish tartans. Checks are simpler than plaids, symmetrical, and resemble miniature boxes that are of equal size. Common checked designs include gingham, buffalo check, micro checks, pin checks, Shepherd’s check, houndstooth and windowpane checks. Common plaids include tartan, black watch, madras, and glen plaids.
We see plaids and checks in every wardrobe item because it’s a classic pattern that never dies — much like polka dots, stripes, florals and animal print. Plaid and checked pants come in any colour combination, and both dressy or casual silhouettes. They can look loud, subtle, or somewhere in between. There are warm and cold-weather versions, low and high-contrast colour combinations, and an assortment of fabrics to choose from. The collection below shows some examples of plaid and checked pants.
Micro check and pin check pants resemble solids from afar, which is why they are sometimes called “false plains.” It means they can function like a solid in your wardrobe, and are particularly easy to combine with bold patterns. If you like the idea of plaid or checked pants, but want to keep the look quiet and subtle, super small checks that look like solids are the way to go. Or a larger check in low-contrast colours.
My pant-wearing clientele and friends who cover a range of body types and sizes are happy to wear plaid and checked patterns because they change up the look from jeans and solid pants. Most prefer their plaids and checks in the neutral, small, low-contrast and subtle spectrum. A few will wear large scale plaids and checks in brights and high-contrast combinations. Dressy and casual plaid and checked pants are equally popular. Skinnies and straight silhouettes are more popular than wider silhouettes.
I’m a very big YAY. I love plaid and checked pants, and have worn them all my life. They are signature to my style, and I am always looking for more pairs. I love them now more than ever as I choose pants over jeans more frequently. I prefer my plaid and checked pants on the dressier side, but enjoy casual versions too. I adore both subtle and loud plaids and checks in neutrals and non-neutrals across a small and large scale. I wear them year round in weather-appropriate fabric.
Here is my current collection:
Currently, my plaid and checked pants are subtle and quite neutral, but that’s not deliberate. I usually have at least one bright and bold pair too. One of my all time favourite pair of plaid pants was a bright yellow tartan pair that was a well-loved workhorse. Some of you might remember the outfit on the right from 9 years ago.
I enjoy the variety, versatility, and excitement that a pair of plaid or checked pair of pants can offer. I find them more comfortable and dressy than jeans, and appreciate their pattern-mixing ability. I dress them up with boots, and down with sneakers. Plaids and checks are amongst my favourite patterns, so I don’t get bored of the look. I keep my tops and jewellery simple and quite classic which leaves room to party at the bottom. Plaid and checked pants is one way to go. I’d entertain a fairly loud plaid or checked pants suit too.
Over to you. How do plaid and checked pants feature in your style?