March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Plaid-itude is no platitude


Friday, Jan. 25 — Besides the tiny pops of color peeking out from under heavy jackets, in general, winter clothing color schemes are monochromatic and pattern-free. Plaid, however, is one of the few designs that survives this color hibernation. The multi-colored, cross-barred fabric is used for scarves, flannels and headbands, among many other things.

Finding the pattern is clearly not a difficult task, but seeing it in a new way is difficult. Remarkably, the plaid that made me do a double take was a muted winter coat.

Stephen Santa, a graduate student at Michigan State University, braved the winter chill with a dark blue and green plaid coat ($50).

_DSC0618.jpgAs a Philadelphia native, Stephen describes his style as “New York/ East Coast,” with an emphasis on skinny jeans and fitted suits. His sharp look is mirrored from his head to the $70 ALDO sneakers on his feet.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” said Santa, with a charismatic smile, about me talking to him about his outfit. “I was stopped once in Philly for a promotional modeling publication, but I’m not that into fashion.”

He may be modest, but Santa has plenty of style. In addition to that jacket, his jeans ($30), vest ($20), shirt ($12) and matching plaid belt ($7) all come from H&M, which offers the latest trends without charging you the arm and leg you were hoping to clothe.

The East Coast style is a fashion realm that is accessible far beyond 5th Avenue. Michigan has stores that bring Manhattan’s iconic and trendy looks to the Great Lakes region, including Express, J. Crew and Banana Republic. A trip to Eastwood Towne Center or Meridian Mall is all it takes to take a trip to New York — or at least for your wardrobe to do so.