Know Your Patterns: Plaid vs. Argyle

The other day, I went to the mall in search of plaid socks. I searched literally every clothing and accessory store I could find, but nothing. You see, these socks were for a very important theme party called “Plastered in Plaid,” and showing up in plain socks would be super lame.

I finally found one store that had an abundance of sock choices. Since I had already spent two hours looking through socks, I figured I might as well save some time and just ask the sales associate. So I politely asked, “Excuse me, do you sell plaid socks?” The woman pondered the question for a moment and then grabbed a pair off the shelf and excitedly exclaimed, “Yes! We have these. Aren’t they adorable?”

In fact, they were cute socks, but they were argyle. The thought of showing up to a plaid party wearing argyle made me cringe with disgust. Trying to suppress the shock on my face, I informed the woman that the socks she had picked out we not plaid, but rather argyle. She was rather confused by this, but I remained patient with her and proceeded to explain the difference.

I left the store empty handed and decided that my plaid shirt had enough spirit for the party.

Turns out, the sales associate was not alone in her pattern oblivion. Nearly half of the party was decked out in argyle and I was embarrassed for these people. Poor pattern knowledge is no way to go through life, so I’m here to clear up any and all questions and concerns.

This is what plaid looks like:

This pattern is called argyle:

I hope I’ve cleared up any confusions. Do you have a favorite pattern?

Update: In response a reader’s request, I want to educate you on a couple of additional patterns.

Here we have houndstooth:

I give you herringbone:

Share This Post:
    • Lindsay Hartman

      I’m rather partial to polka dots for some reason… boring huh?

    • SamHain Press

      I adore argyle! But I never, never confuse it with plaid.
      You should post a bit more extensively on this topic, addressing houndstooth and herringbone and etc – it would likely be very helpful.

      • porkchop

        and the difference between argyle and harlequin

    • Eileen

      Coincidentally enough, argyle. And herringbone tweed for woolens, as the poster below me mentioned. Although in general, I’m a solids kind of girl.

    • Shannon

      Thank you for this public service announcement, I agree with the author completely.


      I end up having to spend about four days a month each month explaining to people the difference between argyle and plaid patterns. Argyle is a personal favorite of mine.