Plaid and the renaissance of waistcoats

If you read my scrapbook round up of fashion month, then you know that plaid was everywhere (and that’s before we’d seen Chanel’s show, which was also heavy on the plaid), and I wanted to get that guy going in my wardrobe as soon as possible.  I personally think plaid (or checks, tartan, whatever version that floats your personal boat) is one of the easiest patterns to wear, so team, let’s get that print in the mix for the winter.  So seasonally appropriate!


As an aside – why am I not smiling in these pics?  I do not know.  I am, truly, delighted with this outfit and in particular with my snazzy waistcoat.  I found this in the Oxford Street Vinnie’s in Sydney last week and would just like to thank the lady who donated an unworn piece of Cue deliciousness with the tags still on it.  That made it possible for me to buy something with the ludicrous retail price of $199 for a much breezier $30 (plus, no new clothes were manufactured in order for me to wear this lewk).  I have been looking for a waistcoat for months, thanks to the influence of B Jones Style, but it had to be exactly right.  Fitted in the waist, not toooooo gapey in the bust and (of course) a great fabric.  These are a good way to snazz up an outfit without making any actual effort and I am proud to be at the forefront of their renaissance in 2019.


Right, back to plaid.  My foolproof plan for matching any print is to find the colour that recurs the least frequently in the pattern (in this case, the burgundy that is not showing up that well in these photos because of course it isn’t) and then use that as the counterpoint colour.  I used these beautiful Maison Scotch pants that I bought on sale from Smith and Caugheys in this case.  The alternative is to go with the colour that recurs the most frequently, but the counterpoint approach I’ve used here makes more of a statement. 


Plaid is, obviously, basically a grid or graphic pattern so it feels naturally structured.  That’s what makes it fun in less structured clothes, as the juxtaposition of the stiff, formal pattern and a flouncier cut is more interesting.  If your plaid item is also a structured cut – like a blazer, for example – then wearing it with something slinky or girly or otherwise unstructured will create the same contrast.  Here, the waistcoat has a bit of flounce thanks to the peplum, but the slinky satin trousers reinforce the contrast.  These luxe textures were also a noticeable trend on the runway this fashion month and doubtless had leaked into my subconscious.


I acknowledge that I could have stopped there, but once I was in the waistcoat, shirt and shiny trousers, my brain started chanting “DANDY! DANDY! DANDY!” at me and who am I to ignore that?  Introducing my vintage Moschino tie, which has sat on my shelf waiting for this outfit so that it can live its best life.  This might be a bit of a daring print-mix for some, but I love the way this looks with my lipstick, these trousers and the rose gold on these shoes.  It’s a slightly out-there illustration of the principle of print-mixing: find one colour between the prints that they share.  It’s also an illustration of the principle of creating really memorable outfits: go with your instincts, even if they’re taking you a little further than maybe you need to go.


Shoes: Ted Baker from Recycle Boutique. Trousers: Maison Scotch. Shirt: RM Williams from about three years ago. Waistcoat: Cue from Vinnies. Tie: Moschino from TradeMe.