The beautiful thing about menswear is that it’s steeped in tradition. Generations of cowboys broke in their Levis while rounding up cattle under the hot American sun. Leather jackets layered with faded patches were given to sons as a rite of passage along with their first shot of whiskey. But when we look at plaid, what does our mind jump to? Sure, it’s the fabric associated with the great wild lumberjack – beard and all – but more importantly, plaid has a history spanning back hundreds of years.
Black Watch is no exception. Worn as far back as 1881 by Scotland’s Black Watch Royal Highlanders, the fabric has more years behind it than just about anything. However, despite the hardened (and fairly badass) history, there’s a more important fact for those of us living in 2014: it looks damn good with just about anything.
From a Black Watch shawl collar tuxedo, to the wallet in your back pocket, the eponymous pattern is an understated and elegant way to break out your plaid game. Ralph Lauren caught on to the trend a few years ago, even going as far as to name his star-studded polo team after the distinguished coloring.
So, when putting an outfit together with Black Watch plaid, how do you make it work for you? The good news is, it isn’t that hard, but there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Firstly, Black Watch isn’t your average plaid, as we mentioned before it has a royal history, and deserves its fair due. Avoid t-shirts, sport shirts and flashy slacks in favor of more classic options. The darkened shadow-plaid nature of the pattern means you can pull it off for a sport coat or suit. It’s enough of a pop to turn a few heads, but nothing that’s going to tick-off your mother in law.
Secondly, as with most patterns, keep it to one item on your body. There’s nothing worse than seeing a guy that’s too “matchy.” Aim for one Black Watch plaid pop piece, and keep the rest of your gear simple. If you’re going with a Black Watch shirt, keep your suit to a charcoal gray, your tie a solid navy and your socks fairly conservative as well. Don’t worry, the cute girl at the end of the bar will still notice even if you’re not a walking billboard for the fabric.
Finally, don’t be afraid to expand your use of Black Watch into other areas of your life. Sure, it looks awesome on a tie, but it also looks great on your wallet, curtains or your duvet back home.
So whether your honoring a few hundred years of history, or just looking to spice up your fall wardrobe, take a chance on Black Watch plaid – you won’t regret it.