Denim and plaid are a fashion combination that goes together like peanut butter and jelly (just minus the calories!). Like many classic pairings, though, you can easily be fooled into thinking there’s only one way to wear it (aka grunge-inspired outfits that are casual by nature). We challenge that notion with our modern outfit guide to wearing jeans and plaid shirts, including inspired options for how to dress up, and dress down, each featured look.
Not only are black season always super right on trend, but they’re also slimming to every figure. Skinny black jeans help to minimize your lower body and look chic when matched with a black-and-white plaid shirt.
Dress It Up: To wear this outfit to the office, add a tailored black blazer, high heels and a statement leather tote.
Dress It Down: Wear this outfit with slip-on sneakers or ballet flats for a casual weekend look.
If you want to look slimmer in your jeans, one great trick is wearing darker jeans with a lighter plaid shirt. The pattern 0n top pulls attention upward to your body, while perfect-fitting dark jeans flatter and slenderize your lower half. We like how a blue plaid shirt matches the color of the jeans in this outfit, for a more sophisticated style. If you’re curvy, consider a straight leg or bootcut jean, instead of the typical skinnies, to balance your figure.
Dress It Up: Button the shirt all the way up, then layer on a statement necklace, making sure it sits on top of the shirt. (This pulls more attention up toward your face. too). Tuck in the shirt, cinch your waist with a slim metallic belt and finish with heels or pointy-toed flats.
Dress It Down: Tuck the front of the shirt casually into your jeans’ waistband, to define your waist. Wear with sandals or sneakers.
Who says a plaid shirt has to be a button-down style? Take a look at this chic outfit, featuring a silk plaid tee-shirt worn over dark wash jeans. This simple, flattering combination can work from the office to weekend wear. It would make a fashionable maternity look, too.
Dress It Up: Wear this outfit to the office with a chunky gold chain necklace, navy blazer and black high heels.
Dress It Down: Wear as pictured, simple chic doesn’t get any easier than this look.
Back in your grandmother’s day, women were told to avoid wearing black and blue together. Now, that old rule seems positively outdated. Take a look at how a red, white and blue plaid shirt matches with trendy black jeans. We like the juxtaposition of an all-American color palette with edgy moto jeans.
Dress It Up: Add a black boyfriend blazer, high heels and a chunky watch for a stylish casual Friday look.
Dress It Down: Wear the shirt tucked or untucked. Finish with chunky sneakers or black ankle boots.
Since plaid is trendy this fall and winter, why not pile on the plaid for a stylish, layered look? You’ll look current and stay warm in a plaid-pattern shirt topped with a plaid wool coat, over easy boyfriend jeans.
Dress It Up: This look is meant to be casual, but you can give it a more streamlined, fashionable feel by choosing slim-fitting separates. Look for skinny slouch jeans that are more fitted to your shape and roll your cuffs smartly.
Dress It Down: Go for relaxed comfort in easy pieces that skim your figure, casually-rolled cuffs and menswear-inspired oxford shoes.
Ripped jeans are still having their fashion moment. You already know they match well with your graphic black-and-white tees. For cool weather style, instead of the expected leather jacket, wear an open plaid button-down in muted grey tones as your top layer.
Dress It Up: This look is casual by nature but you can add edgy accessories that works for wearing to concerts. Just pile on silver jewelry, from chunky chain necklaces to multiple, stacked rings.
Dress It Down: Wear as-is or with a skinny black scarf wrapped multiple times around your neck, for a casual look to wear to house parties.
If you’re a fan of the classics, here’s how to wear a grunge-inspired jeans and plaid outfit now without looking dated. Black skinny jeans make an easy match for a classic red plaid shirt, as always. What makes this outfit feel fresh now, though, is a slimmer jean silhouette, as opposed to the baggy jeans of 20 years ago.
Dress It Up: Tuck in the shirt and add a navy blazer, statement cuff bracelet and black high heels.
Dress It Down: Wear the shirt untucked and finish the look with flat lug-soled shoes or boots.