Bold Plaid That's Anything but Uniform

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Plaid is back -- if it ever really left -- and it's come a long way since the school uniform and the lumberjack look.

The crisp, orderly lines of Brass Plum's "Edie" ballet flats evoke the nervous excitement of the first day of school. Matty M's long wool coat makes you wish you had a really important snowball fight to attend. And American Eagle Outfitters' handbag is the perfect place to store your necessary post-snowball-fight packs of Swiss Miss.

But an edgier jacket from Buffalo Jeans proves that plaid has range and depth. It isn't just about warm fuzzies or a longing for simpler, more rugged times. It can be punk, too. Plaid can work when it's embellished with chains or when the tailoring is a little more jagged. Thick, bulky wool stands out when boldly paired with skinny jeans or black pants.

Modern skirts or dresses -- minus the vertical pleats -- can take plaid right into the boardroom. A strapless Jack check dress from French Connection has subtle horizontal pleats at the waist. Wear it with a solid-color jacket during the day or a sparkly sweater at night.

Just don't bring out the white knee socks.

-- Ariel Alexovich

© 2008 The Washington Post Company