With plaid being one of the top trends to dominate the coming fall season, it’s a must to re-acquaint ourselves with the Savile Row pattern. Unlike florals or paisleys, plaids are less flamboyant. But the predictability has its perks. It’s easier to pair and wear, and it’s a pattern that is mostly business-friendly.

Plaids come in many forms. There is something for everyone, from the girl who is sticking to the classic houndstooth or tartan to the conservative girl who would rather opt for the graph check or window pane to the bold girl who simply wants to make a statement wearing the checkerboard or Prince of Wales pattern. Below are thirteen (13) types of plaid you can incorporate into your wardrobe this fall. For sure, there’s one here that will tickle your sartorial curiosity.

  1. Tartan

In general terms, “plaid is a pattern created by bars and stripes of color that cross at right angles”. Scottish plaid or Tartan would be the most common type among the many variations. It’s what you often see on flannel shirts or on the kilts of Scotsmen.

Tartan is best described as containing a set of vertical and horizontal lines in different colors and widths intersecting each other at right angles to form checks or squares in varied sizes throughout a garment.

A few good examples of the Scottish Plaid would be the Burberry Check, the Royal Stewart Tartan, and the Black Watch Tartan:

Miu Miu Wool Plaid Shorts, Burberry Vintage Check Shorts, Miu Miu Wool Plaid Dress


2. Madras

Much like Tartan, Madras is made up of several lines in varying widths that crisscross at right angles to form boxes or checks. But unlike the former, Madras uses bright colors like yellow, orange, red, and green. It’s a happy and vibrant pattern and we can trace its origin back to Chennai, India. Madras is most suitable for summer, which is why it is often used on skirts, shorts, and sundresses.

1901 Madras Fit n’ Flare Dress

3. Houndstooth / Dog’s Tooth

The Houndstooth or Dog’s Tooth pattern is a little more unique compared to other plaids because instead of lines, it is made up of multiple 4-pointed stars that appear like, well, a dog’s tooth. Together, these shapes create a plaid pattern that is somewhat broken yet identical.

Houndstooth can come in varying sizes. The smaller they are, the more subtle the pattern. If you like to make a statement, go with a larger Houndstooth pattern that will display your bold personality.

Balmain Houndstooth Skirt and Dress


4. Windowpane

Windowpane is a pattern that will remind you of a graphing paper. Very unglamorous, we agree. However, it is perhaps one of the most versatile plaids you can come across. Unlike Tartan and Madras, Windowpane only comes in two colors. The lines are also thinner, and they intersect to form uniformly shaped boxes all throughout the fabric.

On a side note, what holds true for the Houndstooth does not apply to the Windowpane pattern because the larger the pane, the more conservative you will look. Obviously, more panes on the garment will give you the opposite.

Balmain Plaid Trousers

5. Graph Check

This type of plaid will remind you of Windowpane, but it features extremely small squares created by very faint lines. The Graph Check is relatively conservative and can be worn to formal or business gatherings. Often, the base of the fabric comes in a neutral or classic hue. This blouse from Harrods is a perfect example:

Piazza Sempione Graph Check Blouse

6. Tattersall

The Tattersall is a kind of plaid that originated in London. It is also the Graph Check’s more “playful” sibling. A Tattersall features relatively thin lines crossing each other at right angles on a white base to form tiny equally-sized squares. However, the lines on a Tattersall come in various colors so it has a more casual flavor to it.

Lauren Ralph Lauren Tattersall Trousers

7. Gingham

We’d like to think Gingham is the daintiest of all the plaids. It’s also a pattern that will make you think of summer. Gingham uses thicker lines that are of the same width to create relatively small uniformly-sized squares. It always has a white base that crosses with a darker color. As a result, you get a total of three (3) colors from the pattern – white, a darker shade of the color, and a pastel shade of the color. In Europe, Gingham is also called “Vichy”.

Marysia Gingham Swimsuit

8. Checkerboard

The Checkerboard pattern features uniformly sized squares in alternating colors. As a result, you get something similar to the base of a Chinese Checkers board game. This type of pattern is very similar to Gingham, except it has bigger squares and uses exactly two colors.

Adam Lippes Checkerboard Jumper

9. Glen Plaid or Prince of Wales

A complicated kind of plaid would be the Glen, otherwise also known as Prince of Wales. The pattern originated in Scotland and is a unique combination of lines and Houndstooth in varying sizes. This Glen patterned blazer from Gucci would be the perfect example:

Gucci Glen Plaid Blazer

10. Argyle

Yes, Argyle can be a type of plaid once the pattern is all over the garment. It is commonly used on men’s socks and jumpers. The overlapping diamonds in varying colors and sizes are what make up this unique pattern. When applied all over a fabric or garment, it can create a unique appearance similar to Tartan, but with a refreshing twist.

Baum Und Pferdgarten Argyle Sweater Dress, Stella McCartney Argyle Dress

11. Dupplin

Dupplin features a check within a much bigger check to create a complex pattern. Often the bigger boxes or squares follow the Windowpane pattern, while the smaller ones within it follow another. Below is a Proenza Schouler blazer to give you an idea:

Proenza Novelty Check Blazer

12. Buffalo Check

A variation of the Gingham and Checkerboard patterns would be the Buffalo. It features much bigger squares formed by very wide intersecting lines, often in red and black. Buffalo Check is often found on flannel shirts and has a very Western feel to it.

Woolrich Checked Wool Blend Jacket

13. Gun Club Plaid

Gun Club is a pattern that is made up of squares intersecting another set of squares to create smaller squares or boxes. The two sets will always come in different colors. This Chloe coat features the Gun Club plaid all throughout the garment.

Chloe Gun Club Patterned Coat


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