Mama Mia: Experiments in plaid

It's playing in the closet day on the forum! :) 

I think Sveta's posts have already established what a workhorse item the plaid Mias from the NAS are going to be in her closet. The same is true for me. They seem to work with just about everything. 

Here are a few options, some of which I already showed, and some of which are new, along with a few questions for you. 

Do you like them with the tan boots? (#5) These are a Parsley find from last year -- an odd little boot that I have yet to wear out of the house. But nice soft leather. They lace up in the back. 

I was astonished to find that I actually like these with my suit jacket. Am I nuts or does that work?  (#8)

I probably wouldn't wear IRL with the grey boots. (#8) The heels are high and I always feel a bit "tarty" with tucked jeans and a higher heel. (Just my personal feeling, BTW). But I wouldn't mind finding a pair of flat heeled grey boots to wear with them, that's for sure. Of course that is a bit of a HEWI for me. 

Sveta mentioned that she did not care for hers with black boots. So i wanted to try mine with black boots to see. (#9) Do you think they can be worn this way? I think they should be fine with black booties or ink booties, although I have not yet tried that. Or with the black moto boots, perhaps. It might be that a smaller expanse of black will work better? 

Would love your thoughts. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Tanya replied 7 years ago

    Oh-la-la Suz!!! 

    I do not want to be gushing, but all the options are great, and some are spectacular!  For example, I prefer #8 to #9, as the colors are softer and more harmonious, but #9 is still gorgeous. I also think that #3 and #6 are stunning.

    We are boot twins!  I have also bought the same boots last winter and have not worn them out either (but I have not been much outside to begin with). So, I might be biased, but I do love them with the boots.

    I do like them with the suit jacket, a lot.  I do not think they look tarty with the grey boots, but I understand your feelings about it.  I have snapped these grey flat boots on clearance in the spring and really love them.

    As for black, I think it works as long as there is bookending with shoes and jackets.

  • Mona replied 7 years ago

    I love #2,3, 4, 8 and 9. What a versatile pair of jeans this is! I am sure these are made for you. They go so well with your personality as well as wardrobe.

  • E replied 7 years ago

    Love those jeans on you & seeing you mix then up is so fun! They work beautifully with your jacket in 8, and in 1-4 & 9 as well. You've got your style down pat & these seem perfect for working at home! (Not that they won't look great when you're outside the home too, just that I know most of your time is spent working from home. lol)

    In 5/6, I think they work with those boots, if you wore them with a slightly shorter top or did a semituck with this one. Something about the longer hemline on the sweater & where the boots are hitting your legs looks less breath-taking compared to the other outfits you've shown. 

  • replied 7 years ago

    Hmmm - lots to ponder here:)  First off:  I love , love, love those jeans on you.  They are absolutely great.  Going back and forth through the snaps, I like 2, 3 and 8 the best.  I love the blue cashmere sweater in 5 with it too.

    So - that leaves the other pics:  and this is just my eye talking, and only MY opinion - I'm not loving them tucked into boots.  There is something about the plaid being cut off that I can't quite get into - although of all the tucked into boots snaps, I like the grey jacket, grey boots combo the best.

    And wearing it with black?  It's not my favourite look - and I think it's because you look SO incredibly beautiful in soft colours that it's not as good with these pants as the other softer jackets.  Now that said, I am wondering what it would look like with a blouse or top other than white under the black jacket - maybe something tonal with the colours in the jeans?

    Totally works with your suit jacket.  

  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago

    Great pants, Suz,  and I love all the stylings, except the last one. Somehow, I don't care for bookending the black jacket with anything here It's all better to my eyes  without. I love the tan boots and don't find the grey heeled ones too tarty, but you are the one to feel it, so worths experimenting IRL.

  • Alexandra replied 7 years ago

    Ooh, yay, closet fashion show! What fun! I am super partial to #2 because the colors just work so beautifully together. Definitely yes, they work well with your jacket in #8. It sounds like that was a surprise pairing for you - isn't it cool when a new piece works out so well?

    I wouldn't pair them with black because in those pictures black is all I see. It's a very strong, heavy color, and the pants are soft and muted; they don't stand up to the black but fade away.

  • Joyce B replied 7 years ago

    I like them all. Maybe a boot such as the Sweeties can work? Or, rather, maybe you can make them work with the Sweeties so that I can copy you?
    Those tan boots with the back lace-up are fab, what are they?
    BTW, I did keep the Sweeties too, we will see what my feet do in the Fall but so far the boots are keepers.

  • Emily replied 7 years ago

    You look great in those jeans!  I like #4 the best, followed by #1. Definitely agree that the suit jacket looks good in #8.

    I agree with Sveta about the black boots.  To my eye the low-contrast pattern looks best with a low-contrast shoe, like your pumps or tan boots.

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    My favorite look was #8 and you do not look tarty in the least.  More dressy than tarty.  

    I like these jeans with the brownish lace up boots and blue top too. Especially in #5 as a simple, un-layered outfit.  I like the jeans with the black jacket too but coming in third place. It might be the black tall boots, I think I'd prefer booties in this example.  It just feels like a lot of black, can't put my finger on it exactly.  It could also be that a lower contrast layering top (against the black jacket) might mitigate some what's going on here.  Having said all of this, except for my current obsession for all things black and white, I'm usually on team low contrast.

    There -- I have spoken 100% truth and critiqued the details.  Hopefully done with diplomacy.  ;-)

    Suz -- thank you for your comment on my capsule test thread.  I never thought about my color scheme for work! You are so right that I have a very neutral black and white, or black and dark wash blue, routine.  Once a week I "treat" myself to wearing my teal knit button up shirt which I got at Express last year (sadly no longer available).  It makes my eyes pop, and the knit is so comfortable. 

    Your comment made me realize that I'm working three style personas.  1) My crisp classic work look, subtle pops of color via necklaces.  2) My  more colorful, Boho-leaning casual at-home wear.  And 3) my smart casual outfits, currently fixated on a Scandinavian minimalist look via designers like Acne.  I know everyone tries to come up with a cohesive style, but perhaps my happiness lies in having a variety of styles I can play with.  I remember a quote from Marc Jacobs to this point -- that women should be able to dress in a number of styles and not obsess so much about consistency.

    (Hijack over)

  • Claudia replied 7 years ago

    Suz, how about rolled with your Report Marks? 

    I like mine over black chelsea boots.

  • RoseandJoan replied 7 years ago do you have the cream Gap oversize knit from last year?

    I think the navy and black combinations fall into the colour version of JFE where as the softer colours are more harmonious and, therefore, more traditionally flattering.

    In every look I am getting a clear equestrian vibe which I find very appealing

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thank you all so much for your intelligent eyes. I think you've all raised excellent points and this is helpful!  :) 

    Claudia, absolutely, I will wear them with my Reports in the fall -- smart of you to remember those. And yes, I do think I will pair them with black and ink blue booties and I expect that will work better than the tall boots. I agree with those who feel the tall boots are too much black. I do think the jacket is okay IRL but I also feel that it is a bit strong. Particularly for me with my light hair. 

    Denise, SO glad a comment of mine helped you notice something about your patterns, and I really like your observation about three style personas. Very interesting indeed and it might help with shopping decisions for the future. 

    I agree that as a simple, unlayered outfit the pants/ boots/ sweater are a fun option. And I might reconsider the grey boots with heels if you don't think they look tarty. 

    Thank you, Emily, somehow it makes sense that you like the darker tops! It is a really great look on you, as a rule, and maybe you like contrast a lot? (I like it, too, at least sometimes.) And so glad you feel some love for the suit jacket with the jeans. 

    Joyce, I hope the Sweeties will work for both of us! And those boots are a very odd brand called Gee Wawa.   These are an older style that might not be available any more. 

    Alexandra, it really was a surprise pairing with the suit jacket. I had no idea those would work together when I made the purchase! And yes, it is fun to make that kind of discovery. I appreciate what you say about the black -- it really can be heavy, especially on me with light hair. 

    Lyn, thank you -- it seems black loses out in this race -- but I agree. The black knee highs are not great here somehow. 

    Lisa, thank you. I think I will wear these much more often with regular shoes or booties. But I wanted to know if they could work with a boot option for worse weather, you know? I do hear what you are saying and I actually agree with you. A flat heeled grey / taupe boot might be the best, but booties and shoes will probably be the real winners. I'll try out some more options. 

    E, thank you -- that's an interesting observation about proportions. I will take another look and experiment! 

    Mona, you were my enabler, so of course I know you will like them! :)

    Tanya, glad you like them, oh boot twin, and oh oh, I might be in extra trouble now that you've showed me that other pair!! 

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Crossposted Jules -- thank you! Yes, there is an equestrienne vibe for sure with tucking and a jacket. And even the jeans themselves, maybe? I wonder. 

    I have the Gap oversize knit in grey but it is currently in my donate bag because it itches me something fierce and has pilled up. But I might retrieve it. I also have another grey oversize sweater that will work brilliantly with the jeans -- just didn't show it yet. :) 

  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    Wow, you really rock those plaid trousers! I have to say, I was skeptical that they would be such work horses until I saw the pictures. They really, truly are!

    I like all of the iterations, including with the black boots when you have them bookended with black on top. I also like them with the grey boots a great deal. I hope you find this HEWI.

    My favorites are #2 and #8.

  • Alassë replied 7 years ago

    I really love the muted colour cohesion of #2.
    Something seems off to my eye about #5; maybe it's the crinkling in the boots. I'm not completely sure.

    I really like the blazer + top + plaid pants/belt together in #8 - that's just as cohesive as #2, just with more layers. (The boots not matching the blazer bugs my matching preference, to be completely honest.)

    Having black up top & bottom as in #9 does overwhelm the pants, at least when so strongly contrasted with the crisp white blouse. Perhaps the bookending would work with a more muted blouse/sweater underneath?

  • Niefern replied 7 years ago

    Great pants, I like all versions, but if I had to choose, no. 8 and then 2 and 3.

  • replied 7 years ago

    Has anyone ordered these from a source other than Nordstrom?  Shopstyle and Polyvore link back to Nordstrom, and the Kut website shows it as out of stock. Everytime I see these I think I want them, and Suz's pics above are the nail in the coffin, so to speak :)  Not interested in ordering from N as there won't be a trip down to the border happening anytime soon - way too busy now with work etc.  And - how do they run for size?  I wear anything from a 4 to even an 8 in skinny pants, depending on brand, fabric etc . I wear a 28 in Gap and BR jeans, 27 from CM and  a 27 in 7FAM....what is your thought on sizing for me here?

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Lisa, I would say these run TTS. I wear anything from 25 to 27 in premium denim, depending on cut, style, maker, and the fit that I am aiming for in the pant. I am pretty consistently a 2 in jeans and pants at Gap/ BR and I own other pairs of Kut jeans in a 2 and a 0. I ordered these in the 4 for a bit of slouch, which isn't all that visible in the photos but definitely shows in real life. I need a belt to hold them on. I would order your GAP size for regular size jeans and maybe one size up if you want them a bit looser. 

    I don't know if they are available in Canada but if you need facilitation, let me know. It might take a while for the exchange to happen, but it could be done...or maybe a US friend would oblige. I would also wait a short while. There is a chance they might go on sale to NAS prices shortly. That happened with a few items from the NAS last year. 

  • UmmLila replied 7 years ago

    I was almost not going to admit that I drank the kool aid and ran over the cliff with the other lemmings on this, but I did. They were the last NAS purchase after the returns were done. I realized that they would work well with many jackets I already had in my closet. I hadn't thought about the trouvé one, though. Anyway, I'm impressed with the pre planning and closet play today (nothing to do with cool weather is it?) and guess I'll have to get a move on!

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    Have to run but here is a quickie form me :-)
    I quite like them with grey LC boots - this is my favorite with the tall boots. Black boots are OK with a black jacket but not a favorite: for my eye black is too harsh color for these jeans. 
    I like tan boots better but grey is still a favorite!
    I think I would like black bootie better than tall boot with those jeans: somehow black in a small amount seems better. Ink and navy while dark play well with the jeans IMO.
    My absolute favorites are 2,3 4 and 8!

  • columbine(erin) replied 7 years ago

    I really liked these pants with the muted browns over the bright blue in pic. 6. I keep wanting to see these with creamy pullover, or even a blush one or the bright pink one. I think all the blues and taupes and greys work well with the pants but agree that the black tall boots are a bit heavy. 

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Well I like all of these and can't believe how much you are able to pair with them.  I'm okay with the tucked boots, because we know that is a reality and my eye is well-trained to love the look.  I'm with Thistle that my faves are 2 and 8.  They are cohesive yet edgy without any big contrast, and somehow suit the faded plaid.

  • SarahTheWhite replied 7 years ago

    I'm going to answer before I read the comments so I'm not influenced by others... :-) I am so impressed how many looks you can get from this one pair of pants! You look incredible in all of them...

    My personal favorites are 2 and 8 - I'm all about the low contrast. Those grey boots are so incredibly flattering, I can't get over it. But I do hear you about personal preference - I'm sure you will find a low heeled pair that is just right for you. And YOU SHOULD WEAR THESE WITH YOUR NEW JACKET AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE!! :-) Regarding the brown boots - they are so cool, but I do prefer them in 5 over 6. Something about the jacket over the sweater changes the proportions in such a way that the boots look thicker to me, whereas the drape of sweater on its own makes the leg/boot line slimmer somehow. I would love to see that brown jacket with a thinner top under and maybe the shoes from #2. As for the black boots, I think those are a bit high contrast for me, but that may just be personal preference. I did like the black jacket better with the black boots than without, but I wonder if I would end up liking the black better all around if it was with grey instead of white, since these pants have greyer tones? I think I just have a complicated relationship with high contrast items. All told, I think you could leave the house feeling fab in ANY of these looks! Now I'm off to see how my opinions factor into the collective. :-)

  • carter replied 7 years ago

    I would never have thought plaid pants would be so versatile. Between you and Sveta, I'm sorta coveting them;-). I love 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. A couple of folks have mentioned that the black overwhelms the pants, and I agree. The softer colors are fab with them though.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    I love it all too, Sensational Suz. #5 and #8 work really well. (I hear you on wanting low heeled grey boots for tucking though). 

    OF COURSE the black boots work here. Excellent with the black bookended jacket. Or a black turtleneck and belt. (That's what I would do). 

    #2 and #9 are my Killer faves. Glad I can enjoy these plaid darlings on you and Svetlana. xo

  • ma replied 7 years ago

    I am so glad I found YLF or I would have never considered plaid pants on my own or thought that they could look this fantastic!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Maia (that is my daughter's name, I love it!) -- I would never have dared to wear plaid pants until YLF -- well, not since my teenage years, when I confess I did wear them. Now I own not one, not two, but THREE pairs of plaid pants, and would you believe that I would happily buy another? 

    Angie, thank you, and it is so interesting that you really like them with the black boots! Horses for courses, as they say. Ultimately I think they'll work best with black booties vs. boots, or maybe with the Sweeties -- just a touch less black. And I really have my eye on those grey boots Tanya got. I worry the shaft will be too tall for me, but they might be worth a look if they are returnable. They get great reviews for the most part.  

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Which grey boots did Tanya get, Suz? And black booties will look fab too. 

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Ooops -- lost half my response - sorry! 

    Carter, thank you! You would look great in plaid pants. 

    Sarah, thanks, and I absolutely agree about the blue sweater looking better on its own than with the taupe leather jacket. Great point about wearing that jacket with a lighter weight top. I will try it. I think you would look amazing in the taupe of my suit jacket and I'm not surprised you like it. It is a beautiful colour in person -- really complex and subtle. That is one reason it would suit you! :)

    Una, thanks for understanding about the weather! Yup, the reality is, I should probably be showing these with my SNOW boots. Actually, they'll go great with those. My Kamiks are grey, LOL!!!!!  :) 

    Columbine, thank you! I agree they should work well with creams, whites, etc. and I had not thought of blush -- I'll try it! I will definitely wear with the orchid pullover also. What doesn't really come across in the photos all that well but does show better IRL is that this tartan has a bright light blue stripe in it (similar to the blue sweater). Plus, in real life the creamy yellow of the pants contrasts nicely with the blue. It is difficult to get it to show in the photos, though, I admit. 

    Sveta, I really like the colour with the LC grey boots, too -- but don't like those heels, alas. I need some flat grey boots, obviously! :) Wardrobe hole!! 

    Agree with you that black booties will be less heavy. 

    Ummlila -- I am so glad you got these, also. Now we can be jacket and jean twins. 

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    She linked to them above, Angie. Here in the Finds....

  • SarahTheWhite replied 7 years ago

    Aww, thank you! :-) It would be neat to see the color in real life. I can tell on you that it is an amazing color. It looks different than on the model, and it really looks like a different, and much better, jacket on you!

  • replied 7 years ago

    I seriously covet those pants. All great looks but #2 kinda kills me, looks amazing on you from top to bottom. And I am not a huge fan of grey generally, but the top combined with those booties, the belt and the plaid ... terrific!

  • Echo replied 7 years ago

    These are truly amazing pants because they DO go with everything! Like others, I prefer them with a little less contrast than black, although I also agree that booties might suit my eye better than the higher boots. I really love the muted tones of the taupe boots with the soft colours in the pants, and the blue goes amazingly well. I really think you can wear these with almost anything and make them into almost any look.

  • Karie replied 7 years ago

    #2, #3, and #4 are my favorites! Those plaid trousers are gorgeous on you. I am not loving them tucked into tall boots, however.  But then I prefer my own plaid pants with booties or shoes. Nice stylings!

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    Sorry I've not had time to read all the comments -- I did want to pop on and say that I love the way you're styling these.  The mid tone versions are my favorites.  The way the pants form a bridge between your blues and taupes is marvelous.  I think they work with black, too, but the softer color palette is stunning.

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    The jeans are so great on you that it is hard to find fault with any of your outfits. I actually really like them with pumps. I think the tan boots are ok with them but prefer it with the jacket. In theory your hair sort of bookends the tan but your hair is brighter. These are not things normal people notice in real life though. I think. I think they look great with the heels and not at all tarty :-). The black with the black jacket and white top is fantastic. Winners all around I'd say!

  • Neel replied 7 years ago

    Oh my my! 2,6,8,9 are my absolute favorites! I also think I would prefer 9 more with black booties instead of knee length boots. The pants are so cool you shouldn't cover them up ^_^ 8 somehow works better because of the lighter shades and I like you in Iights! That's my explanation anyway :)

    I would prefer 1 and 4 with darker shoes. I find them a wee bit top heavy. 3 works but not as well as the sweater in 5/6. I think it has to do with the lighter shade of the sweater.

    Those plaid pants are truly wardrobe workhorses for you! Wow!

  • Ingunn replied 7 years ago

    I'm late, but here's my thoughts after looking through the pictures: I love those jeans on you. They are perfect for your coloring and your lifestyle, I think. And versatile! That is most important, at least to me, but I feel we are on the same page here. What a great pick, Suz!

    I love #2, 5, 6 and 8 the most. The low contrast boots work really well, and the taupe colored jackets, too. I also love the jeans with the light blues. I am not as happy with the black boots, for reasons already mentioned by others. I like the jeans with black, though, but I think booties will be better for the proportions. 

  • replied 7 years ago

    Those jeans are perfect for you. I really like the muted colourway.

  • viva replied 7 years ago

    Oh, Suz, you've done it again! I love 2, 6 and 8 especially -- I love the tonal consistency, which to me lets the plaid really star, and also those three have my favorite toppers. I was not sure about the pants tucked into boots and then I decided that I really liked the newsboy effect. I'm strongly in favor.

    PS Those lace-up boots are amazing.


  • Vicki replied 7 years ago

    You did it!

    In your post  on the last of the NAS, I asked:

    Are the pants grey or taupe, because I didn't know if your Elie Tahari could work, or that may be too brown.

    I love this version, because the muted colors go so well together.  I also love the Thomas Mason for J.Crew tuxedo shirt (which I also have...the color is amazing).

  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago

    What a great find these turned out to be! You are super at styling them.

    #2 and 6 may be my faves. I like them best when you play to the softer color palette. So, the black and white don't seem to set off the jeans as much. I wonder if you did dark jacket but more muted top--winter white or gray? I agree the tall black boots don't work so well--it's more of, you have so many other ways, why use the black? The dark shirt (is it black, or ink?) seems to work better because of the "skin" --arms and legs--and pale footwear--could see that with a darker bag. Or could see a dark ink, or black, in small touches to give some edge to the overall look, such as trying the overall outfit in the soft or mid-tones with navy or black booties with  a black watch or cuff or bag.

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Late to the party but had to chime in to say how fab these look on you! I'm almost wishing for cooler weather so I can play with mine, but I know I should enjoy the sun while we have it ;) #2, 4 and 8 really make my heart sing, and #8 doesn't read at all tarty to me -- but then I wear my (low) heeled tall boots over skinnies for, what, half of winter? ;) I think that 5/6 probably read better in real life, as the pants do have a fair amount of brown in them so I'm inclined to say that yes the boots work just fine. I also think that perhaps the blue in #3 works better in person since the blue in the plaid is a bit lost in this photo. #9 works better to my eye than #1, I think that's definitely a viable option for days when you're feeling more high contrast. Personally, I'm not sure that I'll be pairing mine with much black; I am planning to primarily pair with grayish, sandy, and pastel shades.

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