Plaid pants are quite polarizing in that people either love 'em or hate 'em. I've always thought of them as a power move before I could even articulate why. Thankfully, I've found the vocabulary to offer a breakdown on their pros, cons, and best practices.
When you see plaid pants, they’re usually the bottom half of a suit. Without a matching jacket, they’re very bold and rather eye catching.
But why would you want to direct all of the attention to your legs? Shouldn’t your outfit guide the gaze towards your face?
That certainly is a risk with plaid trousers: they quickly become the focal point. Over the years, I’ve come up with 2 solutions:
The first is to choose a relatively muted plaid. After a certain point of boldness, it will just capture the eye and there’s nothing you can do about it. But with a tastefully subdued plaid, like these, the pants won’t completely overtake the shirt.
The second is to echo one of the colors — base or accent, but I prefer accent — with your jacket.
This strategy allows the eye to surf the tan plaid pants up to my tan jacket — at which point the contrasting blue from my shirt will draw the eye to my upper chest and collar. And with that, we’re back at the face!
As for why they’re a power move, it’s likely because of how eye-catching/flashy plaid trouser outfits can be. They’re unusual, and there’s no professional context for it, so this outfit is all about bold artistic expression. It takes a bit of confidence.
But even more so, these outfits are hard to pull off! Plenty of guys (especially on Insta) are happy being flashy and catching attention with their clothes... but they mostly come off lowbrow and aesthetically vulgar in the implementation.
So yeah, plaid trousers are a power move because it takes both confidence and poise to make it actually work in real life.