How to Wear Plaid Part 1 – Holiday Style


Photo(4) Sure, to many of us, plaid smells a lot like teen spirt, but plaid made a strong showing in 2010 and those tenacious tartans are here to stay a bit.  How can hip moms play this trend without looking either too young, too old or too ahem. . . rustic?  Our four part series on styling plaid for moms will feature plaid pairings from ANMJ contributors, starting with a cheery daytime look I’ve been sporting this holiday season.

I’ll admit it.  I’m not above theme dressing.  Here I’m going for a young Mrs. Clause feel.  How else would she dress in the modern age, what with all those little elves to chase and such a busy schedule?  She’d definitely be sporting skinny denim and wedge boots, right?

But plaid doesn't have to be Christmas-ey or Grungey as long as you adhere to a few rules:

1.) Never.  Please, please, never just throw on a plaid shirt over a pair of jeans and walk out the door.  If that’s all the time you have for dressing, opt for a black turtleneck instead and leave the plaid for another day.  When you have the time, take a few critical minutes to play with your clothes and accessories and think it through.  Looking neither too young, too old, nor too frumpy in plaid crucially depends on styling.

2.) Choose your plaid well.  If you like a brighter color, choose a smaller or simpler plaid print.  If you prefer a larger print, go with something like a buffalo plaid (I prefer black/white/gray).

3.)  Keep accessories and other articles of clothing to simple, solid basics.

Here I’m wearing a boy’s red plaid shirt (collar partially flipped) from my grandmother’s closet, a shrunken wool cardi topped with a wide belt, Gap legging jeans and my fav Biviel wedge boots from last year’s Sturdy But Cute Winter Wedges for Moms.  Voila.  I'm going to keep channeling Mrs. Clause right on into the New Year!

Mamas.  2010 has been a do-sey here at Ain’t No Mom Jeans, from the utterly consuming fabulousness of new babes and sibling shenanigans to the really pretty terrible loss of loved ones and hemorrhaging of cash on snowballing house emergencies.  But your faithful readership and participation in this blog have fueled us up for another amazing year.  Thank you.  May this holiday season see all of you and yours happy and well.  We’ll write you in the New Year!

– M 


  1. Super cute, M! I’m pretty sure Mrs. Claus never looked this fab, though…
    There’s SO MUCH good plaid out there right now, especially the festive winter versions (not the 90’s grunge ones). I’ve been lusting after this Lands End Canvas plaid shirtdress for months!
    I agree that you need to keep other clothing items simple and solid (like your jeans and cardi), but I’m not sure about the accessories. I mean, look at you–those are some hot boots and cool chain necklaces! I think that adding a bit of edge to the plaid with accessories is the way to go–I mean, everyone can wear a plaid shirt with a cardi and pearls, but that’s not so fun, right?

  2. Love the bag you’re holding and you look fabulous in plaid. I’ve been on the great search this winter for a large mom/diaper bag. Very few diaper bags look really chic and very few hot bags have all the great pockets you need with a diaper bag. Can you do a post about mommy bags?? Thanks!

  3. Amy, I am drooling over the LE plaid dress–just might have to have it, too. . . I’m feeling it with a messy ponytail, opaque tights (blue!?), and a black moto boot. See, both simple, both solid, neither boring : ) It’s all about preference, how far you want to take a print and how you choose your “basics.” For example, my wool cardi is a two-way zipper version on sale at J.Crew for $30; the boots are basic black but have a gathered detail at the ankle and contrast stitching on the heel and vamp; the belt is another black basic, but with an equestrian buckle; the bag is a solid forest green but has brass studded and circle cutout details. If you put some time into selecting interesting basics, you’ll never look boring!
    Marjory, do you have a Nordstrom Rack or the like where you live? I have the best luck with stellar handbags there and they’re always high quality and a huge steal. We’ll put hot mom bags on the editorial calendar for 2011.
    Tegan, we won’t be posting until after the new Year now, what with holiday guests and travel, but I love a plaid skirt for Christmas eve! Any suggestions, S.?

  4. How funny – I almost bought this Anna Sui skirt yesterday:
    Sadly, I couldn’t quite make it work with the pooch. But I’m dying for a plaid skirt right now.
    Plaid skirts are adorable with a button-down (you can do white for a total prep-school look, or chambray)…but for a holiday party, I’d love it with some kind of silk shirt. (Tucked in, BTW).
    The outfit I was *trying* to rock involved wearing the plaid skirt at my natural waist, with a tucked-in turtleneck and wide belt. Had it worked, I would’ve added a short statement necklace and some kind of cool jacket. Perhaps a blazer? Something moto-inspired in wool? Leather would be very cool, but I just can’t pull leather jackets off for some reason.
    Tegan – does this help? You’ll also never go wrong with a plaid skirt, sweater, tights and fab shoes (or boots) if you want to keep it simple.
    Merry Christmas!

  5. How about all the plaid, belted, button-up tunics that are long & clearly designed to wear with leggings & skinny jeans. Can I just throw one of those on with my jeggings and Bearpaws? Or is that exactly what you’re saying not to do? Lol.
    I’m discovering after a year and a half of wearing sweatpants and nursing tops with a spit cloth perpetually on my shoulder, I’m pitifully out of the loop, with only your blog to pull me back into civilized fashion society. So please excuse all my ridiculous questions 😉

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