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How To Pair And Wear Tartan 

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Given tartan’s rich heritage, it is the perfect choice for winter and autumn wear, in addition to business casual wear. However, it is a bit on the rustic side to be worn in the white-collar traditional business environment and can be too loud to wear it with white tie outfits. However, Black Watch and other conservative tartans have been worn as Black Tie attire since the mid-20th century. 


When it comes to casual wear, particularly during the cooler months of the year, nothing can really beat either a general plaid pattern or a button-up flannel tartan. You can wear them with khakis, corduroy, denim, or even layered underneath a sports coat in a muted wool tweed or similar fabric. 


Although there are full suits available in loud green and red tatans, these kinds of outfits are more at home within the high fashion world as opposed to traditional menswear. We recommend instead that you choose a mainly monochromatic and more subtle tartan. In other words, a more overall general plaid or one that is dark but still colorful like the Black Watch ensemble. Ideally, layers under your suit jacket should be monochromatic and subdued, like a dark turtleneck sweater or a light blue or a white dress shirt. Also, you want to wear accessories that are simple and tasteful so they do not clash with your tartan pattern or take away from its focus. 

Sport Coats

It is fine for tartan sports coats to be a bit bolder and brighter compared to full tartan suits. However, when it comes to sweaters and suits when a tartan sport coat is worn, it is best to ensure that other aspects of your outfit are more subdued, including your shirt and pants. 

If you would like to bring tartan into your home tartan blankets are the perfect addition to create a cosy ambience.

Odd Vests

In addition, tartan as a pattern works well on an odd vest or waistcoat. However, if you are wearing one, you should pair it with a very subtly patterned or plain jacket to avoid having clashing patterns. 


Tartan pants that are not worn with a matching jacket should usually follow the same guidelines that we detailed for tartan sports coats. The most versatile option that is available is a subdued pair of pants with a mued jacket that either has a faint or plain pattern. In contrast, something with a loud and bold tartan pattern on pants would definitely not be a good choice. 


It is fine for tartan necklaces to be more colorful than your pants or jacket. However, the louder a tartan pattern is on accessories, the more muted your other clothes should be in order to help balance everything out. A plain dark sport coat or suit in charcoal or navy will work the best when wearing a tartan tie with a bold pattern. If you are feeling adventurous, you can incorporate subtle patterns as well although keep in mind that the key is balance. 

Still within the neckwear realm, a very good way to incorporate tartan into an outfit is by wearing an accessory that is mainly intended to be functional. Maybe the poster child for that principle is a tartan scarf. The easiest thing to do is choose a subtler tartan pattern that features neutral-based tones.