7 Ways to Take Buffalo Check from Basic to Brilliant this Holiday Season

We have another guest blogger for this post, Clothes Mentor franchisee Sadie Cherney, who has stores in Greenville, Columbia and Spartanburg, South Carolina. Read on to learn about one of her favorite trends this season.

Happiest of Holidays from South Carolina!

Our style team LOVES saving cash around the holidays, so when fabulous fabric trends (like plaid) stick around for another season, our wallets win big! To avoid looking like you’re posting #tbt’s with last year’s outfit, we recommend swapping your accessories to keep your style fresh. Whether you’re sporting a classic tartan, a bright gingham, or today’s topic, B U F F A L O   C H E C K – we have style options for you! 

But I’m not stylish! I can’t pull that off! Maybe, if I was 15 pounds lighter… 3 inches taller… 10 years younger… (insert insecure inner voice as needed) then I’d try it out. Sound familiar? It does to us! As women, we can be brutal when we look in the mirror, which keeps us from trying new styles and expressing ourselves through fashion. As you read these tips and see how our stylists went outside the box with these looks, please keep the following things in mind: 

The stylists modeling our buffalo check top vary by over 60 pounds, 7 inches, almost 20 years, and one is pretty darn pregnant. And they’re all in the same top. Not just the same style… the singular, solo, one-and-only Ralph Lauren, women’s size small, cotton blend, top. The same one. And they all look fabulous. Keep that in mind, before you eliminate yourself from trying something new because of negative self-talk. Then offer yourself a kind word, open your mind, and be a little braver. In the words of the iconic Iris Apfel, “When we were children, we all played dress up and had a good time. So why stop?

combination of seven buffalo check styles

Why Buffalo Check?

Seriously- it’s not just for lumberjacks. This stuff is EVERYWHERE right now! As stylists, we pride ourselves on looking for fashion inspo on the runway, in magazines, and of course on Pinterest *think glamourous Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.*  As bossbabes, we also look at data to determine which trends are hitting hard in search cycles, literature pieces, and within our own inventory *think glasses, spreadsheets, and awkward Jonah Hill in Moneyball*. Ultimately, buffalo check, checks out on both counts—in  the past couple years, we continue to see it all over fashion from mainstream staples like L.L. Bean to celebrities like Julianne Hough, and even at New York Fashion week!

internet photos for examples
Photos (from left to right) courtesy of: llbean.com, teenvogue.com and elle.com.
How did this pattern make it from the lumber yard into my closet?!

Great question! Buffalo check is a great example of fashion following function. It was first used to make jackets and shirts during the Western expansion in the United States- known for being thin, yet very warm, it was popular among loggers in the Great Lakes area to keep them toasty on frigid days. When hipsters began their ever-ironic journey towards social rebellion via homesteading and depression era style, buffalo check became a staple in their uniform. From there, more mainstream millennials prepped it up and used it interchangeably with tartan, often creating an equestrian flair, like we see with Brighton Kelly below. Chances are someone you love has rocked this look- now, it’s your turn! How can you show you’re mad for plaid in new and creative ways? Keep reading for suggestions from seven of our sassiest stylists!

internet photo examples
Photos (from left to right) courtesy of: blogs.loc.gov, wgsn.com and brightontheday.com.

1. Mom About Town

An 18-month-old, a baby due in March, a 3 clothing stores, and a menagerie of adopted dogs and horses keep me, Sadie, on my toes all week! While functionality is at a premium, it’s my responsibility to look cute for work too. Tying button downs and pulling maxi skirts to an empire waist are great ways to transition non-maternity clothes with my body as my bump grows! To keep it sporty and comfortable, a graphic tee (Go Dawgs!) and bright Chucks carry the color theme and add character. The knotted shirt helps define/slim my waistline, while the overlapping hem on the skirt shows a little bit of my legs, which elongate them despite my short frame.

mom buffalo check style

2. An Athlete and a Scholar

Time management and tons of energy power Kiesha through her crazy days working 2 jobs, while in school full time! To make sure she’s prepped for all tasks that come her way, she makes the gym a priority and takes her workouts seriously. We’ve seen tons of celebrities and dancers sport the tied buffalo check over their athletic ensemble (think Beyonce’s fierce take on 90’s grunge style in her Vogue photo shoot), and it works for many reasons! If you run errands before or after the gym, but aren’t super comfortable being seen in body-gripping athletic tights, the tied shirt covers up your booty and provides a more conservative look. It’s also a great layered piece for outdoor workouts, as you can wear it for warm up, then tie it once your blood gets pumping! These tops also can be worn unbuttoned over a sports top for a gym to class look that’s slightly more preppy and less casual than a hoodie.

athlete buffalo check style

3. An Artist Among Us

Rachel is a social media whiz and stylist by day, but her creative pursuits don’t stop there! She has a strong side-hustle as an illustrator, with beautiful and creative pieces featured by companies across the United States. Her personal style involves lots of vintage and eclectic pieces, curated together to create layered, feminine looks that are one of a kind. To recreate her look, playing with patterns and mixing textures is a must! Starting with a loud, small print like the buffalo check, she balanced the pattern with a subtle textured polka dot in a larger repeat. Her balance of print, scale, and texture create a beautiful outfit that will turn heads.

arty buffalo check style

4. Born for Boho

Jordan is the youngest member of our management team, who has laid-back vibes and the free spirit that so many of us miss from our twenties! She does a ton of style work for our customers and is one of our trusted trend forecasters. She’s a mastermind when it comes to the balance of being fashion forward, but wearable day to day—and her buffalo check outfit is no exception. This OOTD would transition all the way from Cochella to campus, with strategic layers and accessories to pull the look together. The black dress and black hat ground the plaid pattern, while the heavy turquoise jewelry and textured ivory vest summon our inner wanderlust and global vibe. The thin black choker is a trend we can’t keep in stock in our stores right now- but beware: if not worn with other pieces like this, it can channel very intense 90’s Clueless imagery. As if!

boho buffalo check style

5. Coffee Shop Chic

Are you lucky enough to work with an awesome chick who always brings the positivity? We are!!! And when it comes to Tierra, we mean, A L W A Y S – rain, shine, long days, tough circumstances, grumpy holiday shoppers- you cannot phase this sweetheart! Constantly on the move, she’s always pushing to get it done quickly and carefully. This means Tierra’s outfits must keep up with her remarkable pace! Here, we see she’s paired a crew neck with our plaid top, allowing it to pop at the cuffs and hem (think active casual icon, Ellen DeGeneres). For added warmth that doesn’t restrict her movement like a coat might, she rocks a feminine infinity scarf in a small black and white stripe- another great example of how to balance pattern mixing! Keeping it simple with dark wash skinnies and ankle boots, her look could be dressed down with an athletic sneaker or dressed up by removing the scarf and adding some sparkly accessories.

coffee shop chic buffalo check style

6. Grunge is the New Glam

Offering a fresh take on 90’s trends, Celina shows us that sporting the New Grunge is easier, more flattering, and way cuter than we ever would have thought. Even though the exposed bra straps, tied flannel, and combat boots have us channeling Kurt Cobain, there are some important changes Celina’s made to this darling outfit that are noteworthy. Her denim is sandblasted and destroyed, but it’s a skinny jean with lycra content, which looks way more current than the Levi’s 501s we remember from 20 years ago—can you believe some of them are technically vintage (and older than Celina is!) now? By styling her gorgeous hair in curls and donning some sparkling jewelry, she keeps the outfit looking progressive instead of disheveled; the perfect partnership!

grunge buffalo check style

7. Boss in Buffalo

When we asked Barbara, our Greenville manager, to make an office-friendly outfit with our buffalo check top, we knew she’d be up to the task! Always professional, always chic, Barbara is the first one to brave a day in the office in heels or dress up for a meeting. Her timeless outfits translate well to all our shoppers, and they use her as a style resource constantly. Here we see how by fashioning her buffalo check shirt under a skirt suit, she’s created a festive, fun look that is still completely work appropriate. Her adorable red Kate Spade is the perfect accessory to keep her image fun and bright, and her wrapped J.Crew necklace adds a little bit of formality, with the circular beads mirroring the circular studs in her cage heels. From the board room to happy hour, this outfit won’t let you down!

boss buffalo check style

Which look is for you?

Did you see a style you liked? Any ideas you could incorporate with pieces you already own in your closet? We’d love to hear what you liked and how you’ll use it! Let us know what you think in the comments- and remember, life isn’t perfect, but your outfit can be!

And always, be brave in fashion & kind in spirit.




© 2016 Clothes Mentor, LLC. No reuse of photos or text without linking back to the original post or crediting Clothes Mentor.

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11 thoughts on “7 Ways to Take Buffalo Check from Basic to Brilliant this Holiday Season”

  1. Never thought of taking my non-maternity clothes and using them while I was pregnant, so helpful! Does she have a personal blog? Love this post!

  2. Great ideas! I especially like the Boss in Buffalo look. I would never have thought of that, but it looks really cool!

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