The Fab Collab is back! Jodie, Nancy, and Charlotte from JTouchofStyle.com have joined me this week to feature a pattern many of us associate with fall — plaid!
Pretty much all of us have some personal experience with this classic pattern, even if that experience goes back several decades. For this collaboration, the ladies and I share our stories and photos of wearing plaid in the past and then we show how we wear it today.
The Fab Collab is made up of four women, each in a different decade in life. I’m in my 40s, Jodie’s in her 50s, Nancy’s in her 60s, and Charlotte is in her 70s. Although the decades may have given us different experiences with plaid, we are connected through our stories, our curiosity, and our love of fashion and style.
For your convenience, I’ll be linking all of Jodie’s posts from my blog here, but I recommend heading over to Jodie’s blog and subscribing so as not to miss out on a moment of the fun.
Plaid Runs in My Family
Deep in a back corner of my mother’s closet is a small time capsule. It is filled with fashion treasures she wore as a girl and young woman. During a recent visit, she opened that time capsule and revealed a plaid skirt that had been handmade by my grandmother. It was red and gray with perfect pleats sewn into the waist. Other than needing a little ironing, it was pristine.
With eager hope of trying it on (and possibly wearing it forever), I held the skirt up to my waist. It was tiny. Like 18-inches tiny. Suffice to say I haven’t had an 18-inch waist in at least a couple of decades. Sigh.
That skirt isn’t the only plaid my mom wore. She told of a similar skirt in blue and green that she also wore in high school. Old photos show other plaid outfits. Even my dad has a plaid shirt on in one of the photos! (Don’t they look like kids here? They were in their early 20s. My mom had just given birth to my brother in the photo of them together.)
Other photos reveal the plaid nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I seem to have a penchant for the pattern myself.
From the photo above it’s hard to tell much about the dress I wore to dinner with my college friends. I posted a larger version below with hopes of providing a better detail.
That dress had all the earmarks of the late 80s, early 90s: poofy sleeves, a sailor’s collar that angled down to my waist, and the hemline dropped nearly to my ankles. I especially liked the festive gold threads that overlapped with the black, red, and green in the dress. The gold gave it a festive sheen and made it perfect for the end of year holidays.
Below is another photo with the same dress. It’s hard to see the detail of it even here, but at least it shows the shape of it and how long it was. Plus, I can’t help but share this photo from college. It’s one of my favorite, from a time when my friends and I did “album cover photos” in the spirit of U2’s record/CD covers of that era.
My friends and I are definitely “of an era.” Take a look at some of the other ladies in the photo for proof. Just like my dress, two have sailor collars and and two have longer hemlines.
It says a lot to me that I have two photos from two separate events in which I wore that plaid dress. I can’t recall another outfit from that time that pops up in photos as often. It was something that made me feel dressed up and special. It signified fall had come. It was a great dress for church and fun celebrations.
Plaid Love Continues
To this day I love the timeless pattern of plaid. There are plaids for every season, but my constant favorites are those worn in autumn–dark reds, greens, and black, usually woven with wool. I like the blues and greens too. Burberry is a favorite brand because of all the items they create with their signature plaids, but their prices keep me from owning more than a scarf. Here are some examples of their designs:
Rockin’ Plaid and Other Prints
Continuing the spirit of the album cover picture above, I decided to channel my inner rocker for this Plaid Fab Collab. Granted, I’m still a bit of a geeky rocker, but I had to give it a shot.
My original attempts at mixing prints here and here were simple. I had to channel my inner Petite Silver Vixen, Sheela Goh, and Suzanne Carillo for my bolder plaid-mix look. Those bloggers know how to mix some prints!
Here’s why I think this mix works: The brown plaid trousers have the same tone as the brown of one of the shirt sleeves. In addition, there are tans, ivory, and yellow that coordinate with the brown and ivory plaid. The pattern on the pants is also a smaller, more subtle print compared to the bold graphic tee. From a distance, it’s hard to see that the pants even have a pattern. This creates less discordance and means the eye isn’t overwhelmed with conflicting patterns.
The pants are J.Crew. Thredup has quite a few plaid trousers to choose from in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles. If you’d like to play with this pattern without investing a lot cash, check out Thredup. (I’m not getting paid to say that — they no longer have an affiliate program. I just really like shopping there.) For your convenience, I’ve created a link that will automatically search for “plaid pants.” Click here to follow it.
The shirt is Custo Barcelona. What a fun brand! The big red lips and the eyelash bling dots on the tee are bold and fabulous. They make me feel like a rockstar. I discovered the brand on Thredup and have found similar styles on eBay.
My shoes are Salvatore Ferragamo. I’m a sucker for Ferragamo shoes when I can buy them from thrift outlets. They’re not always very comfortable, but I love their styles. These have tassels, like traditional loafers with heels. They were a steal on Thredup.com.
The jacket is by Kut from the Kloth. I bought it at Nordstrom in the spring, but it’s still available here.
In writing this post and working with Jodie for our collaboration, I’ve been reminded how far back my love of plaid goes. Like pumpkin-everything, plaid says “autumn has arrived.” It’s the perfect pattern to celebrate my favorite season.
Dedicated to My Muse
This post is dedicated to my sweet pup, “King Lukas,” who passed away just over a month ago. I don’t have human children, but he didn’t really fit the role of “kid” either. He was too “old soul” for me to have a parent-child relationship with him. He was more like a little brother, one that was mellow and gentle while still being opinionated, attention-seeking, and funny. He was also quite the fashion plate, if you don’t mind my saying so. My husband joked that our dog had more sweaters than he does–and it’s true!
With deepest heartbreak, we had to say goodbye on August 28th. Cancer turned my pup’s strong body into a weak shell. In the end, we had to make the hard decision to let him go and give him rest. Walks around the neighborhood, working on the couch, and my photography sessions are much lonelier now. RIP, sweet king.