As I type this after leaving Arizona where the temperature was a whopping 108 degrees, it’s hard to imagine putting on a wool jacket, let alone anything with long sleeves. And yet the kids are all back in school, summer’s styles are lining the clearance racks, and soon the winds of change will bring a sudden chill in the air that will have us reaching for a jacket. While I am always so sad to let summer go, at least fall brings us brightly colored leaves, apple picking, pumpkins, and a reason to start wearing light layers — which brings me to the blazer. This fall it’s all about autumnal plaids in shades of navy, gray, deep red, and tan. The plaid jacket will be popping up everywhere before you know it, and likely it could find its way into your closet. However, when it comes to wearing a strong print such as plaid, figuring out how to wear it and pair it takes a bit more thought than your basic black blazer. Plaid is bold and classic all at once. With just a few helpful hints on mixing your patterns, shades, and textures, you too will be mad for plaid this season. Allow me to show how this fall trend will become the hardest working piece in your wardrobe — there’s practically a look for every day of the week!
1. Pair It with a Sweater and Skinnies
Try your blazer over a lightweight sweater. You can start with a solid complimentary color found in the print for a fail-proof look. If you want to take it up a notch, try a patterned sweater like the one seen above. The key is to go with a print that has a smaller scale than the plaid and is limited to a few colors. It’s all about finding balance, though there are always exceptions; sometimes you just have to try it on to see if it works. Also notice that while there is no black in this jacket, these black distressed skinnies are a neutral compliment and keep it from looking too matchy by tying the print on the sweater. A burgundy booty adds another layer of pizazz that brings out that pop of color in the jacket.
2. Pair It with Boyfriend Jeans and a T-Shirt
This look is probably the easiest way to jump in, especially if the weather is cool but not cold. Grab a pair of your boyfriend jeans (or any pair of jeans could work) and roll them at the cuff. Grab a baggier-fitting rocker T-shirt and tie it up in a knot at the hip and throw on the jacket. Add a leopard shoe to mix up those prints in a subtle way, grab a tan hat, and you’re good to go. Reach for this ensemble if you’re looking for a young, hip attitude that is casual yet chic.
3. Wear It over Overalls
If you’re not aboard the overall bandwagon, this look might scare you a little bit, but if you’re feeling daring, you should definitely give it a try. The key here is to have the fit of your overalls be more tailored and slim; this look would not work as well over a baggy pair. Add a simple T-shirt beneath, roll the overalls at the ankles, and then grab that leopard shoe again (or other ones with a heel to elongate the leg).
4. Dress It up
One of my favorite ways to wear the plaid blazer is over a a dress — particularly over this just-above-the-knee solid grey knit dress. The color and the cut are both so simple. The key is to make sure that you define your waistline; adding a belt in a neutral tone or pattern will help break it up and add stylish definition to your midsection. Lastly, this length of dress looks great with a just-below-the-knee boot in black or charcoal gray.
5. Use It to Maximize Your Maxi
This look is the perfect transition from summer to fall. Grab a gray maxi dress, your tan platform sandals, and add a thicker belt at the waist to add shape and style. A medium-length necklace is nice to give interest. Then simply throw on the jacket to look cool on a cool night and you’re good to go!
6. Pair It with a Printed Skirt
This look was an unexpected surprise. I can not impress upon you enough the value of just trying something on no matter how crazy you might think it is; sometimes those looks turn out to be your best! Here you see I am pairing a very bold print with the bold plaid print. This might not always work, but in this case it does because the color on the skirt is limited to the burgundy and creme; plus, the circular flower pattern is complimentary to the plaid. Just like opposites attract, straight lines look great with circles. Even if you don’t see yourself going for the bold, you can certainly wear your jacket with a nice solid pencil skirt, as this silhouette is beautiful with the blazer. Just be careful because that look could turn very “business lady meets politician,” unless that’s what you’re going for! If not, then aim for a funky print, bold color, and casual simple graphic T-shirt with a nice scoop neck. A metallic shoe also keeps it fresh and fun.
7. Try a Menswear-Inspired Look
For the girl that means business! When it comes to menswear for women, it’s all about tailored and slim proportions and cuts, such as this fitted white button-down tucked into these very tailored ankle pants to keep a feminine figure. Have you ever tried a tie? It’s one of my favorite accessories — especially with skirts! Go grab a skinny tie from your husbands closet and give it a tie … er, try! There are tons of tutorials on YouTube if you don’t know how to tie it. One of my favorite places to look for fun, inexpensive ties are at thrift stores; I often find them in vintage prints and feminine colors, such as pinks or pastels. However, with this look I opted for a navy polka dot tie to compliment the blazer. I love this take on a suit by mixing it up with the plaid jacket, solid pant, and printed tie. This look might seem a little more challenging to pull off, but I promise that if you pair it with confidence, you will rock it! Oh, and don’t forget your red lipstick!