Fall fashion trend: checks and balances

Go ahead and get rad with your plaid.

Fall and early winter, before the chill sets in, is my favorite time to max out style; this season offers endless opportunities for layering, playing with textures, structure and volumes. The runways are always overflowing with new ideas, but many are unachievable and unrealistic for real life. So I have curated the trends that matter for those of us that lead an active life on the move, prioritizing pragmatism, those of us needing fashion to work for us, not vice versa—otherwise why invest? Fall in love, go on, I dare you. There is plenty here to whisk you off your feet, or just keep them squarely on the ground. Follow along as I provide guidance on these trends, one by one, over the next several weeks. Previously, I've discussed athletic layering, getting political, practical bags, and spice colors. Below, the fifth trend:

Trend 5:Plaid And Tartan Go From Cozy To Kick-Ass

This fall/winter is not the first time tartan has rebelled: In the same way it was for centuries the symbol of ruling elites in Scotland until liberated and subverted by the 1970s punks, fashion has long held tartan, and its plaid cousins, captive in the ‘cozy’ category. But now it is back, kicking and fighting in streamlined, urbane refinement. The quieter Prince Of Wales (or Glen) check, another symbol of British heritage, has never really gone out of style; this season, it's made its presence as widely known as one of its most famous other fans—James Bond.

How to wear them: While all checked wools feel perfectly on-point for an upstate fireside weekend—and should be embraced for that—they do feel like a welcome change for city life. Look for sharp unusual modern tailoring, and break them up by juxtaposing with whatever feels its polar opposite to you: think tough inky leather, primary colors or athletic fabrics, or generally whatever feels least cozy and most empowering.

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