Fab Collab: Fab in Plaid Over Forty

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.

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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.)

Photos of my mom wearing plaid, going back to her college days and her first days as a young mother.
Photos of my mom wearing plaid, going back to her college days and her first days as a young mother.

Other photos reveal the plaid nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I seem to have a penchant for the pattern myself.

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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.

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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.

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Did anyone else make “album cover pictures” when you were in college?

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:

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burberry-boot Burberry eyeshadow available at Nordstrom.

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.

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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!

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Petite Silver Vixen mixes and matches black and white prints.

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Sheela Goh looks cozy in plaid and polka dots and gorgeous knee-high boots!

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Suzanne Carillo is the picture of autumn in Gucci-inspired “geek chic.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The jacket is by Kut from the Kloth. I bought it at Nordstrom in the spring, but it’s still available here.

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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.

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  • I love plaid, too, and I think it really never goes out of style.

    I love how modern your outfit with the plaid pants is. The colors in the sweater really do work perfectly with the pants and the big and small patterns create a great look! Very well done!

    • Thank you, Andrea! Plaid is one of those classic patterns, isn’t it? This was my first venture into pattern-mixing on this scale so I’m pleased to hear that you like it!

      – Sherry

  • I love plaid, too, and I think it really never goes out of style.

    I love how modern your outfit with the plaid pants is. The colors in the sweater really do work perfectly with the pants and the big and small patterns create a great look! Very well done!

  • What a GREAT outfit! Wowza on that top!!! I also adore Ferragamo shoes. They are so classy.

    I’m super impressed…I really feel like you stretched your style imagination in this outfit but it is still very much “you”.

    Thank you for the shout-out too BTW : )

    I was so touched by your dedication to Lukas. We always lose a part of ourselves it seems when we lose a furry member of the family.

    I’m sure you’ve already read this quote before but it is so good I had to share it with you… “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all of the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”

    bisous
    Suzanne

    • Thank you, Suzanne!! I sent you an email earlier about how much it means to receive such positive feedback from you about this outfit. You know this was a big leap for me, so I was thrilled when I saw your comments.

      I was also very touched by what you shared about dogs. How they do make us better people. Every single one of them. And I like to think that there is a little part of my heart that is Lukas and a little part of my heart that is Parka, my first dog. I hope I can live up to those parts in the best way possible. ❤️🐶❤️

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • Fun post! Love the throwback photos. Totally reminds me of growing up, especially that long jean dress in the album cover picture. So sorry to hear of your loss of your dog. We lost one this summer too and it gives me comfort to know that he was loved every single day of his life and he knew it.

    Julia
    http://www.whenthegirlsrule.com

    • Thank you, Julia! I just took a quick peek over at your blog — the name of it alone is enough to draw me there! Now I can’t wait to spend more time there, picking up tips here and there. We may have different body types, but some of the basic ideas, color combinations, and general fun thoughts that you have appeal to me.

      Plus, you live near Detroit? My husband is from Shelby Township, MI and we visit there at least once a year to see his parents, so the area has a special place in my heart.

      I’m sorry to hear about your pup too. It is comforting to know that our sweet friends knew they were loved. Lukas was a rescue, so there was a time in his life when he didn’t feel loved. But over the years that he was with us, Hubby and I made sure he know how special he was. Thanks for being such a good dog mom.

      – Sherry

  • I think the best thing about this collaboration, is the chance to revisit our old pictures and relive the moments!!!
    The one of your parents is so fun—it does make me wonder if plaid was the material of choice….meaning maybe there wasn’t many other choices available??
    And those really young you photos—so, so adorable!!
    Let me again say how impressive your plaid outfit is!! Was it a lightbulb moment ?? Or were you playing in your closet?? I still have to consciously work hard to mix my prints most of the time!!!
    These fab collabs posts have been such a great way to change my routine–thank you for suggesting the idea in the first place,!!
    Jodie
    http://Www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • I totally agree with you, Jodie! The thing I love most about our collabs is the opportunities we get to revisit old pictures and relive old memories! In addition, I love getting to see your old photos and hear your memories (and those of Nancy and your mom as well)! I feel so blessed to have “bumped into you” on this blogging road.

      That is a good question about the availability of other fabrics besides plaid — that maybe that’s the best they could find at the time. That is altogether possible, though believe it or not, my dad was a bit of a fashion plate (on a budget). He permed his hair when it was cool to do so and starched his jeans until they could stand in the corner! He still loves shoes and, whenever we’re together, he always buys more shoes than any of us! Ha ha!

      As for my outfit, I had pulled out the pants and thrown different tops over them to see what went with them. And then, on a lark, I draped the lipstick lady top over them and that lightbulb you mentioned went on! As I said in my post, I thought of Sheela and Jacqueline and Suzanne (and you, too!) and thought, “They’d be proud of this one!” 😀 It makes me want to keep pushing the envelope with this print-mixing thing.

      Thank you for being so willing to dive in and try new things with me, Jodie. I look forward to our collaborations every single time!

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • I have been so dying to find some time to comment on this post, Sherry and finally, have got there!
    Firstly, what a kind and generous thing it was to include me with the other two fabulous ladies, Sheela and Suzanne. To think I may have inspired you in anyway is a very joyous thing indeed – so thank you.
    As I said on instagram, you have outdone yourself with this outfit. Goodness me, from the tassels on your shoes, to the check of your trousers to that fabulous top – YES, YES, YES!
    And I love the pair of red lips – yours and the tees!

    http://petitesilvervixen.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Thank you, Jacqueline!! And, yes, you are an inspiration! There are times when I’m putting together an outfit and/or a blog post and you pop to mind. I would imagine we will have great fun together when I get my act together and make it over to your neck of the woods! (The current plan is late next year!)

      Thank you for taking the time to share such thoughtful comments! I am heading over to your blog very soon!! 😘

      Hugs,
      Sherry

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