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PLAIDS
YOU'LL NEVER KNOW WHERE THEY'LL TURN UP

In today's plaid, plaid world, tartans, houndstooths and glen checks go far beyond school uniforms, sports shirts and stadium blankets.

Some plaids are downright funky.

From sneakers and sports sandals to tights and toothbrushes, there's no telling where they'll show up next.

Perhaps the newest place to ponder plaids is in the lingerie department.

Thanks to fashion-driven lines designed by Calvin Klein, Joe Boxer and Ralph Lauren, teens and women can now snooze in plaid boxers and men's-style pajama bottoms, for example. These are worn with coordinating tops or T-shirts.

And for sporty types, bras and matching undies come in a plethora of plaids that look as if they were cut straight from a guy's flannel shirt.

Nor should one underestimate the power of plaids on accessories.

Plaid hair scrunchies? Essential for creating that woodsy look. Plaid bags and backpacks? Perfect for fall. Plaid watchbands? Mickey Mouse never looked better.

Which leads one to wonder: Has the time ever been better for plaids?

Susan Martin writes the monthly Style column for FIRST SUNDAY.