Plaid is one of those timeless patterns that’s never gone out of style. Like ever. Whether you’re rocking a flannel over a blouse or wearing a classic plaid mini skirt, chances are you have some plaid in your closet.
This is great, because plaid is the perfect bold print for any time of year, but especially fall! It’s extremely flattering on almost any body type, and it looks great on a variety of fabrics and garments. I love plaid on dresses, because it’s bold and exciting without being too loud and overpowering. Moreover, it’s festive regardless of your color schemes.
Needless to say, plaid dresses should definitely be in your fall wardrobe. If you’re not sure where to start, this post will help you choose the right dresses and style them to perfection. Here we go:
10 Plaid Dresses for Fall
Sail to Sable is the source of some of my favorite dresses. They’re super high quality while remaining affordable. This adorable plaid printed dress is long sleeved with feminine ruffle cuffs and skirt. The plaid is shades of dark blue and green, making this a more subtle plaid print than some others on the list!
The bodice ties with a tassel, and the dress cinches at the midsection with a ruched waist. It cuts off right at the knee, so if you want to wear it later in the season, add some cute tights to it. Otherwise, this is the perfect dress for that transition between summer and fall.
This smocked dress definitely belongs to this season. The red and green plaid pattern fits the festive feel of this holiday-packed time of the year. I love the length and silhouette for fall. There is lots of room for layering, yet it looks adorable on its own.
Moreover, you could wear this as a casual day dress or as something more formal for a holiday party. (A-line dresses can do anything, and this soft fabric makes it comfortable enough for an activity). Amazing!
This cocktail sheath dress could be for a holiday party, workwear, or your Sunday best. It’s that same dark green and blue of the tassel-front dress, so it’s super muted. However, that dark and subtle pattern doesn’t make the look drab. Instead, the deep colors and the side-tie front make it dramatic and polished.
One more dress in this same color scheme. I swear no more! It’s SUCH a good vibe, though, so don’t be afraid to have multiple plaid dresses that follow this same look.
Anyway, the Blackwatch Daphne has a ruffle neck and tie back bow that adds great shape to the rigid wool tartan mini dress. Though it’s a mini dress, the cut and style provide plenty of coverage. Your arms, chest, and tummy are totally covered—and any extra weight around the midsection disappears. This makes this dress perfect for almost anyone.
Plaid Bow Back Dress
Here’s Sail to Sable’s spin on a babydoll dress. I love the youthful fluffy sleeves combined with a flared skirt that naturally creates an hourglass figure without hugging your body. This makes the dress super comfortable! The red and green is classic, but always works well for this holiday season. Moreover, add another color with accessories if you DON’T want it to be obviously festive. (Try yellow, denim, or another shade of green.)
Fall is all about layering, so don’t be afraid to grab a cooler dress that you can put coats and cardigans over. This is a sleeveless, breezy cotton tiered dress with a necktie finish. It comes in a soft color combo of light teal and white. I love switching up fall colors, and styling this dress for warmth, comfort, and fashion is a cinch!
I am obsessed with this dress! I am in love with swing silhouettes. The shape and volume is such a moment, and only a few accessories are needed for the perfect elevated look. This pine grove color is so vibrant and unique. It’s totally a fall color, but not one you expect!
This patchwork dress is so cute. It’s a little wild, and a little cool. I get it! But all the color combined with the simple a-line shape makes it simply the focal point of a much bigger picture. Let it be your anchor piece since it has so much visual interest and excitement, then add on more intentional layers to frame the beautiful dress. More on that in a bit!
This raspberry color couldn’t be more autumn. And, the ruffle style is traditional, but totally timeless. I love all the ruffle embellishments and the tie front. You can keep that waist cinched in while the dress floats freely. It has adorable butterfly sleeves and a long skirt length for this season too!
This black tie-front dress looks like a classic trench coat with its structured, yet flowing shape. I love the deep neutral colors even in the fall. You could add color in other places if you wanted. I love the v-neck, long sleeves, and longer length of this dress as well. It’s not too hot and not too warm. There are lots of opportunities for layering and adding color through accessories!
How to Style a Plaid Dress for Fall
Add a great coat.
Styling plaid can be as easy as adding a coat. It’s the easiest way to create an unforgettable fall look. The coat itself adds structure and luxurious texture, the embellishments add a luxury element, and the fabric adds shape while keeping you warm. You could choose a denim jacket, a trench coat, a wool coat—whatever you like!
This plaid and wool outfit combo is gorgeous. I love that it’s heavy with tons of volume, and the color scheme is cool rather than warm. The combo of the dark blue and light pastel colors make it appropriate for any season, yet totally unique. Plus, the tulle beneath the skirt gives it a luxurious, formal feeling.
Beyond the dress, add a wool blend trench coat in light blue or pink, and continue that pastel color scheme through the accessories with a soft pink handbag or pair of shoes. Play with your color combos, and don’t feel the need to add neutrals. Keep it colorful for something with lots of visual interest.
In the last outfit, you’ll find that the dress is the focus, and everything else frames the dress. But, with this outfit, we’re using plaid to highlight the bold, cardinal red coat. In this example, I am wearing a button-up and black pants, but for this style guide, use one of the red plaid dresses above instead!
Don’t worry about the differing shades. A slightly darker red will make that double-breasted topcoat pop! Keep the red going with bold shoes, and layer on gold jewelry that coordinates with the gold buttons on the deluxe J. Crew trench coat.
Instead of a trenchcoat, what about a blazer? They make every look a little more polished and professional. Moreover, it’s a great way to add warmth without compromising or covering up the look. It adds to it!
In this post, you can see I’m wearing a double-breasted blazer unbuttoned to frame the dress. This broadens the shoulders and keeps the look even when you add the maxi dress! In this post I used a floral dress, but swap it out for this plaid Free People maxi dress. Oh, and don’t forget that leather cloud clutch. It’s so chic and contrasts the rigid shapes of the blazer perfectly.
Think beyond warm fall colors.
Many of the dress options were classic fall and winter colors, but there’s no fashion rule that says you have to stick to a formula when styling your seasonal clothes. Friends, I like lots of colors all year. A quick scroll through my Insta will tell you that. 😉 So, don’t feel confined to the Pinterest fall color schemes. Think outside the box!
This outfit idea will definitely push you out of your comfort zone. First of all, it’s monochrome using a soft mauve color. I matched shades exactly for this one, which elevates the look into something fashion-forward and totally show-stopping.
To do this look, you need a dress that can double as outerwear. The pink plaid coat dress is layered over a solid pink slip dress. The lengths vary, so that slip dress peaks out of the plaid coat. This breaks up the outfit in a totally unique way, and it’ll make you look taller! To finish the look, add shoes and accessories that match that soft pink color.
For this outfit idea, I wanted to recreate this crewneck and pastel skirt ensemble I put together in October two years ago. It’s such a casual and comfy outfit for daily errands or a fun weekend at the farmer’s market, however it’s eye-catching and totally fun. I wear this look for dopamine dressing, and it boosts my mood every time. Who wouldn’t smile in this?
How do you make it plaid, though? Start with this tiered midi dress in blue. The flowy, tiered panel skirt has so much fun movement and demands some structure to contrast the shapeless silhouette. To add that structure and shape, throw this crewneck over the dress. The shape, ombre blue, and soft texture complements the skirt perfectly. Finish it up with a whimsical Mlouye handbag.
I wore this rainbow shirt dress on a vacation in December last year, and I decided I wanted to recreate it for this post. The color, again, is so fun and non-traditional, but it’ll definitely keep the energy of the summer flowing into the fall! Instead of grabbing the matching shorts, wear straight cut jeans and these adorable white boots. A rainbow knit cap would finish the look and make the perfect fall chic look!
Layer patterns and textures.
One of the easiest ways to make an outfit look luxurious and expensive is to add lots of patterns and textures. It elevates a look by adding lots of contrasting weights and shapes using the various fabrics. Doing this with plaid in the fall is such a good idea, because layering is a must this season as it’s chilly in the morning and warm in the evening.
This plaid outfit shows you exactly how to layer up those fabrics! The skirt and plaid blazer have complimentary colors, however, the patterns are different. Don’t be afraid to combine them! It doesn’t make the look clash or too busy, especially when the royal blue knit sweater balances out the patterns. For accessories, go neutral to lighten up the heavy fabrics.
Remember what I said about throwing fall and winter color rules out the window? Yeah, do that again here. This look combines hot pink, and multiple types of fabrics. There’s the pleated plaid skirt and blouse that are light and airy. However, they’re contrasted by a solid knit cardigan followed by a plaid cardigan. Remember, when you wear plaid, you don’t have to be afraid of multiple types of plaid in one look!
The combination of fabrics balances the look by providing lots of places for your eyes to go. They’re drawn up and down the outfit, which makes you look well-proportioned! For accessories, go for lighter weight handbags, jewelry, and shoes to further contrast the heavy top half. So cute!
This look is totally classic and will make you ready for those first flakes of snow. The first layer is a Hill House Ellie Nap Dress in green. The plaid on this dress is really subtle, but it has just the right amount of dimension. Then, layer on this red puffer jacket. The geometry and slick fabric of the jacket will balance out the flowy, cotton dress! Finally, add some velvety pumps and some tights or a cozy fall ensemble.
Combine with bold solids or calming neutrals.
For accessories, outwear, and shoes, balance out the bold pattern with solids. Layering patterns is fine, but to highlight your dress, opt for single colors that’ll act as scaffolding to hold up your exciting print. A plaid pattern goes a long way, so don’t feel like you need to go crazy with print accessories if you don’t want to.
For this look, I grabbed a Sail to Sable holiday dress from my own line. It’s a best-selling style, because it works on so many body types. I mean, look at it on me and my friend! Both of us look totally gorgeous and balanced despite our differences. For shoes and luggage, we chose pink and red! These colors took the dress in a different direction. Instead of it being festive and Christmasy, it’s romantic and free-spirited.
This halter top dress provides a lot of coverage, so it works great for fall. I love the primary colors, because you can add so many different complementary tones in accessories. For a more sophisticated look, I used white accessories to draw it all together and keep the focus on the print. To make sure it’s warm enough for fall, add this white leather biker jacket.
Here’s another neutral accessory look! For this one, use chocolate brown for your shoes, handbag, sunglasses, and oversized resin link necklace. For the dress, grab the Tuckernuck plaid swing dress we discussed earlier. Deep brown accessories will totally amplify this already-beautiful dress!
Accessorize with luxe handbags and metallic jewelry.
The last way to style plaid is with luxe accessories. Paid on its own can feel a little unrefined, casual, and even masculine. However, adding fashionable handbags and quality metallic jewelry will make it more feminine, more polished, and overall more put together.
The first plaid dress in this post is pulled together using matching heels and quality accessories. Gold jewelry frames the face and matches the chain on the Tory Burch handbag. If you scroll to the next outfit, you’ll see a coordinating mask and top with more gold hoops and another coordinating Tory Burch handbag. It’s a great way to style a look and amplify it simply!
Can I bring up this dress one more time? It’s so versatile! For this outfit, add a monogrammed Mark and Graham pouch for your essentials and gold dangling earrings. That adds a lot of visual interest at the top, but leaves nothing to draw our eyes downward, so add show-stopping glittering sandals to complete this luxury look!
This tie front shirtdress from earlier in the post makes great workwear. It’s comfy, great for layering, and is naturally elevated. To give the look a more put-together feel, add gold jewelry! That v-neck is perfect for a cute necklace, and you can’t go wrong with gold earrings.
But, that’s not all. Grab those black slingback heels and your totally extra-handbag. I chose one of my favorite handbag retailers, Mlouye, for this look. This mini lantern bag will take this workwear from wow to POW. It’s SO high-end.
Plaid dresses are a must have for your fall wardrobe!
Plaid dresses can be styled in so many ways. They’re not always flowy and cute, and they’re not always masculine and grunge. Depending on how you style your dresses, you can make a plaid dress do almost anything!
I hope this post helped inspire some new fall looks. Let me know in the comments what style you’re going to try! I can’t wait to see it. And, in the meantime, check out the rest of my blog posts for more fall fashion design!