black plaid pants outfit

12 Best Black Plaid Pants Outfit Ideas and Style Tips

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If you want to freshen up your pants collection, plaid pants are such a fun option! They’re a great way to express your personality and you can create a ton of unique looks with them.

Black plaid adds visual interest to an outfit without being too overwhelming. Plus, black is a timeless color that will keep your plaid pants wearable for years to come. 

As you’ll see in a minute, plaid pants are more versatile than you may initially think. You can pair them with a variety of shoes and tops. Dress them up with heels and a blouse, wear them to work with loafers and a button-down, or make a casual look with sneakers and a tee. 

If plaid pants push you out of your comfort zone, start by pairing them with neutral pieces you wear all the time to feel grounded and like yourself.

In this post, I’ll talk about how to choose plaid pants by body type. And show you different ways to style them with 12 ideas for wearing black plaid pants for a casual day, formal event, or even work. 

How to choose plaid pants by body type

When you’re choosing plaid pants, consider how the plaid pattern and different styles create a balanced and flattering look.

If you’re an hourglass shape and you have a defined waist and balanced bust and hips, look for high-waisted plaid pants and styles that highlight your waist. Straight-leg, bootcut, flared, or wide leg pants maintain your balanced hourglass shape. Choose plaids that are smaller so they don’t overwhelm your frame. 

As a triangle or pear shape who is wider on the bottom than on the top, choose a black or very dark plaid to slim your lower half. Skip skinny pants and opt for straight, wide leg, bootcut, or flare styles to balance your hips. Plaids with vertical lines help elongate your legs. 

For the apple shape with a fuller bust and middle, look for straight or wide leg trousers that add width to your lower half to balance your proportions. A darker subtle plaid pattern with vertical stripes elongates your lower half and provides slimming to your midsection.

If you’re a rectangle with balanced hips and shoulders with a straight waist, choose plaid pants that add curves with bootcut, wide leg, or subtle flare styles. Look for pleats, patch pockets, or belting. Try a small and minimal plaid pattern. Balance that out with a top with a similar presence through puff sleeves or ruffles. 

As an inverted triangle with broader shoulders and narrower hips, choose colorful plaid pants that draw the eye down. Horizontal lines and larger checks broaden your hips creating balance with your shoulders. A wider leg or flare balances the width of your shoulders. 

Experiment with different styles and patterns to find the pair that you feel comfortable and confident wearing. Choose a pair that fits your personal style and that feels like you. 


Ready to talk about how to style plaid pants?  Let’s dive in! 

How to style women’s plaid pants? 

Plaid pants are versatile enough to pair with a wide range of tops and shoes. Style them with a black blazer and loafers for a day at the office. For a more formal occasion like a holiday event or date night, dress them up with heels and a blouse. Add a leather or tweed jacket over top. For a casual style, pair them with a graphic tee and sneakers. 

In this post, I’m styling a pair of classic straight-leg tartan plaid pants from Nordstrom. They have tones of gray, beige, and a subtle brownish burgundy stripe. And are very soft, stretchy, and comfortable.  

Let’s look at plaid pants outfit ideas!

1. Black plaid pants with a gray turtleneck sweater, a black trench coat, and black loafers

When you’re wearing a new style, if it feels out of your comfort zone, pair it with pieces you love and wear all the time. That way you’ll feel grounded and like yourself in them. Try it with one of your favorite neutral sweaters. For me, that’s this gray turtleneck sweater that I’ve had for several years. It’s a classic and so versatile. A black belt with a silver buckle defines the waistline and the silver plays off the gray tones in the pants. Adding my black loafers and a black trench coat pulls the look together. If you haven’t discovered trench coats yet, they’re a secret weapon for instantly upping your style. Classic and tailored, they exude confidence and create such a chic look.

Black plaid pants with a gray turtleneck sweater, a black trench coat and black loafers

 Pants | Coat | Similar Sweater (size down) | Loafers | Similar Belt

This outfit feels like me.

2. Black plaid pants with a white button-down shirt and black Mary Janes

Another great way to style your black plaid pants is with a classic button down or a white blouse. I’m using a crisp white shirt because it’s so versatile and goes with just about everything. I want this to be a work look so adding a black belt with a gold buckle elevates it. Black Mary Janes add a playful vibe. I’m matching my accessories to the gold belt buckle and the gold on my handbag. 

Black plaid pants with a white button-down shirt and black Mary Janes

Similar Shirt | Bag | Pants | Belt | Shoes

3. Black plaid pants with a graphic sweater and cap-toe flats

I have a weakness for graphic sweaters and t-shirts. They will always be part of my signature style because I love the pop of personality and cuteness they add to every look. This tan and black Bonjour graphic sweater pairs perfectly with my tan and black cap-toe flats. They ground each other so well that the pattern of the plaid pants takes a back seat to the tan in the sweater and flats.

Black plaid pants with a graphic sweater and cap-toe flats

Sweater | Bag | Pants | Flats

I also have a black sweater with a white dachshund graphic that would’ve worked here. If you have a graphic sweater with black and neutral colors, it’s worth trying with your plaid pants.

4. Black plaid pants with a white top, black blazer, and black pointy-toe flats

Here’s a classic look that you can wear to work. Pair your plaid pants with a black blazer. This blazer is double-breasted and has gold buttons for a very classic look. I matched my belt buckle to the gold buttons and to my jewelry. A white long-sleeve crewneck tee adds a nice pop of visual contrast. Black suede pointy-toe flats create an elevated look perfect for office wear. The black handbag paired with it creates a chic outfit.

Black plaid pants with a white top, black blazer, and black pointy-toe flats

Shirt | Blazer | Bag | Pants | Flats | Belt

5. Black plaid pants with a cream sweater and cream loafers

This cream oversized sweater with a mock neck and long fluted sleeves is so comfortable and can be dressed up or down, thanks to the long sleeves. Here I’m making a casual outfit perfect for work by adding a black belt with a silver buckle and cream lug sole tassel loafers. The cream from the sweater grounds the cream loafers in the look. And draws out the cream in the stripe. This is such a cute look!

Black plaid pants with a cream sweater and cream loafers

Similar Sweater | Pants | Loafers

6. Black plaid pants with a black cardigan, black leather jacket, and black ankle strap heels

Here’s an easy look for a night out. If you want a plaid pants outfit that’s edgy, wear a black top with a v-neck, heels, and a leather jacket. To create that look, I’m wearing my favorite v-neck cardigan from J.Crew Factory that’s super soft. Button it up like a shirt for a really current look. Front tucking helps to define the waistline. I layered it over a scoop neck tank top that’s invisible. Black ankle strap pointy-toe pump heels extend the leg line and elevate the look. And then the black leather jacket adds a bold, edgy, and memorable twist to the outfit.

Leather Jacket | Bag | Pants | Cardigan Heels

7. Black plaid pants with a cream cardigan and cream loafers

Here’s a preppy and fun look. Layer a chunky cardigan over a scoop neck tank top. And wear the sweater buttoned up like a shirt like I did in the last look. I’m using silver accessories here matching the silver belt buckle, necklace, and earrings. Pushing up the sleeves on the sweater gives a laid-back vibe. Front-tucking the cardigan reveals the waistline. Those cream tassel loafers play off the cream cardigan perfectly.

Similar Cardigan | Tank Top | Pants | Loafers

8. Black plaid pants with a black tee, black tweed jacket, and ankle strap pumps

Here’s another outfit perfect for a night out. I’m pairing a black scoop neck tee with a short tweed moto jacket. My body type is larger on the bottom (size 12 pants) and smaller up top.  I was concerned that the horizontal stripes in the pattern would make my rear look larger. But choosing a jacket with a strong shoulder like this one helps to balance the width of my hips. And pointy-toe ankle strap heels help to lengthen the look of my legs.

Belt Bag | Pants | Heels

9. Black plaid pants with a gray graphic tee, black cardigan, and black loafers

I mentioned I love graphic tees, right? Here’s one of my favorites. This is an old J.Crew graphic t-shirt with two black dogs beaded on the front. This is a super fun look. I’m wearing the black cardigan from the look above. But this time I’m leaving it open to show off the tee. Black patent leather loafers create a preppy look. Silver jewelry and a silver belt buckle blend with the gray of the tee.

 Pants | Cardigan  | Loafers | Similar Belt

10. Black plaid pants with a graphic tee, denim jacket, and black Adidas sneakers

Here’s a laid-back look. This time with a white J’Adore Paris graphic tee, a denim jacket, and my black Adidas tennis shoes. Blue denim adds a little pop of color. Since these pants have a slim fit and a straight leg, slim sneakers look best with them. You can also try white sneakers with your black plaid. Wear this out to a casual dinner.

Discover how timeless and versatile black plaid pants can be! Elevate your style with 12 chic outfit ideas for any occasion.

T-shirt | JacketPants | Adidas | Bag

11. Black plaid pants with a white long-sleeve top, black sweater vest, and black loafers

A black sweater vest is a perfect option with these black plaid pants. I chose to layer mine over top of a long-sleeve white crewneck tee. You could also layer it over a button-down shirt for a preppy look. I’m sticking with that belt with a silver buckle and black patent leather loafers.

Sweater Vest | Shirt | Bag | Pants | Similar Belt | Loafers

12. Black plaid pants with a black pullover and black Chelsea boots 

Since these pants have slim, straight legs, I chose to pair them with platform Chelsea boots with a slim shaft that fits right up under the hem of the pants. The pants hit below my ankle bone and because of the heel, the boots create a clean silhouette without bunching at the ankles. The chunky platform heel creates a leg-lengthening look. Oversized sweaters are a great option to balance out the proportions of slim-fitting pants. They also balance the chunkier boots.

Sweater | Pants | Ankle Boots | Bag

Black plaid pants are a timeless and versatile option. When putting together plaid pants outfits, start with solid and neutral tops, sweaters, and jackets. Start with black, white, gray, and cream tops, blouses, and coats. Experiment with different colors to see if they work. For shoes loafers, ankle boots, Mary Janes, and sneakers are all great options. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them and try different looks to find a way to style them that feels most like you. Most importantly, have fun with it!

Infographic, black plaid pants outfit

Hi, Friend. I'm Marya. I'm so glad you're here!

I’m here to help women feel good inside and out through approachable everyday style inspiration and encouragement for midlife. Once upon a time, I worked as a therapist and coach. Now, I’m a holistic style blogger studying style coaching! Be So You celebrates leaning into who we were meant to be! 

Read about my  journey to self-discovery at 40. Follow me on Instagram here and Pinterest here. Send me a quick question through my contact page here.  

Fit Note: I’m midsized at 5’6″, 160 pounds, with size 12 jeans.

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