A closet full of solid suits is a great foundation for style, but wearing only solid colors, like so many men do, can leave you looking like a Rothko painting.

Aside from making you look like you took the color block trend a little too far, wearing only solids also makes it hard to put together a cohesive outfit. Plaid suits, on the other hand, add variation in shades and colors to your look. So a gray plaid jacket with just one stroke of blue crisscrossing the gray works really well with blue trousers, blue chinos, even blue jeans. For all the angst most men have about the colors in their outfits matching, (peruse the comments section of just about any story in The Compass and you’ll see the same question over and over again–what matches with such-and-such?) it’s shocking how few men wear the fabrics that do all of the color matching for you: the best example of which is the plaid suit.

Allow us to show you the light. Let’s say you’ve got a wardrobe full of solids, like the average guy. You’ve got a collection of solid shirts in white and blue (which, as we’ve suggested before, is all you really need), you’ve got a foundation suit in navy blue or charcoal gray, and your dresser is full of casual staples like blue jeans, white polo shirts and gray sweaters. In essence, you’re a regular guy. You’ve got enough to dress for many occasions but your outfits are not blowing anyone away. There are no big “daaaaaaaaamn, you look good” moments in your future. Traffic will not be obstructed by you in any way in these outfits. But look at how quickly and easily you can kickstart your style if you expand your wardrobe to include one strategically-chosen plaid suit.



This plaid suit outfit incorporates a darker blue tie to complement the lighter blue accent color in the suit and your trusty white dress shirt.

Light Gray with Blue Check Custom Suit

White Solid Broadcloth Custom Dress Shirt

Solid Navy Tie

The Light Gray with Blue Check Custom Suit has exactly what we’re talking about. It’s a light gray suit (easy) with a light blue accent (even easier). The plaid pattern it creates is one of impeccable style and, much to the chagrin of many men’s perception of impeccable style, is extremely easy to wear. Here are two more easy ways to use blue to wear this plaid suit:


Plaid + Your Trusty Blue Trousers

This plaid suit outfit keeps plaid as the focal point, but lets the blue shirt and dark blue pants manage the blue emphasis here.

Light Gray with Blue Check Custom Blazer

Marine Blue Linen Blend Custom Pants

Blue Solid Chambray Custom Shirt


Your Trusty Blue Blazer + Plaid

This plaid suit outfit looks so crisp because of the contrast between the dark blue blazer and white shirt, and the plaid pants to tie everything together.

Marine Blue Linen Blend Custom Blazer

Light Gray with Blue Check Custom Pants

White Solid Broadcloth Custom Dress Shirt

As you can see, it’s time you consider another purpose for plaid suits, not as just a throw in to your suit lineup, but a unifying force, a way to tie looks together, and bring out the best of your wardrobe and you.

Got questions about plaid suit pairings? Ask a Black Lapel stylist in the comments below.