How To Wear Tartan After The Holidays Without Looking Like You’re Straight Out of a Christmas Card, Because We’re Not Ready To Stash Our Festive Clothes

Tartan, AKA plaid's classy cousin, is one of my favorite patterns. I love that tartan pieces can make for outfits that are anywhere from rocker-chic grunge to classic and Kate Middleton-esque. Its vibe can change entirely depending on whether you pair it with tights and a feminine cardigan or distressed jeans and motorcycle booties.

My favorite time of year to break out the tartan is around the holidays. It reminds me of something that a little girl would wear on a coordinated family portrait on a Christmas card, but it’s totally possible to transform it into a grown-up appropriate look to celebrate the season.

The downside of how well it fits into the holidays is that the Scottish classic has become a bit typecast, and people tend to steer clear of it outside December. Which just isn’t fair — why should we have to confine such a versatile pattern to such a short amount of time?

Just because tomorrow’s January 1 doesn't mean you have to solemnly stow your tartan away for 11 months. Here are five ways to wear your favorite tartan pieces without looking like you haven’t been able to let go of the most festive time of year (even if, let’s be real, you haven’t.)

Wear It With A Graphic Tee


A graphic tee paired with a tartan skirt worthy of a Christmas Eve church service keeps the look casual and fun. Pair it with over-the-knee boots, but make sure they skirt's not too short to avoid bordering on tacky.

Mix Patterns


Tartan's actually an incredibly easy pattern to mix, and it tones down the emphasis on the print without drowning it. Pairing it with something that's mainly neutral is ideal, like black and white stripes — you can even pair a more colorful tartan with a plain plaid. Hey, if your New Year's Resolution was to take more fashion risks, this is the perfect opportunity.

Tie It Around Your Waist


Try tying your tartan shirt around your waist. The cool-girl trick transforms it from a main piece to an accessory, but it still commands attention. Keep it wintry with a chunky sweater and jeans — the look doesn't have to be confined to the summer-y jean shorts and a crop top styling.

Add A Sporty Touch


Pairing tartan with a pair of stylish, sporty high-tops keeps the pattern fresh and street-style ready. Feeling bold? Try wearing the pattern with classic track pants to take the athletic vibe up a notch.

Back Away From Black


Black and tartan are a classic Christmas combo, but that's not what we're going for right now. There are exceptions, of course (Emma Watson's edgy leather jacket above moves her tartan dress away from yuletide territory,) but try pairing it with lighter neutrals, like grays, whites, and tans, for something a bit more unexpected.