Plaid is one of the most successful ones in the pattern world. It is the one that is widespread and recognised ones all over the world. They are available in various colors and shades and for a long time has been a major part of the hipster dress code too. It is one of the oldest designs that dates back to atleast a thousand of years. Technically plaid isn't even the real name of the pattern.
Tartan is the one that was first used to describe the colors and patterns that used to decorate the garments of different Scottish clans. They used to be different according to the clans so that even when the members were away they would be recognised. Plaids were first defined as heavy garments mostly outerwear like travelling cloaks that were worn to fight off the chilling temperatures of Scottish winters. They were similar in color in with tartans. After this the plaids became popular in Britain and America they soon replaced the tartans when the manufacturers at these nations tried to imitate the tartan style. The remote designers soon started imitating the styles with available dyes which most of them were vegetable ones.
During the 18th century tartan was used by the Scottish family symbol to the military uniform used in the rebellion against the English monarchy. One pattern which is still available and it is popularly known as the Black Watch Plaid was the one that was associated with Royal Highland Regiment which was a Scottish military force. This regiment was one of the most successful ones in the United Kingdom's army till it was disbanded in 2003. These Scottish forces were defeated in the war in the mid 18th century and therefore the multicolored tartans were banned for over a century.
In recent years the plaid has seen a great resurgence in the casual styles and it is hard not to see a person wearing these plaids in any one of their garments like the shirts, vests, trousers or anything else for that matter. If you think hipsters are the only ones that swore their allegiance with plaids there are some street gangs in even Los Angeles that make it their uniforms. This makes it a timeless style that never really goes out of style.
The plaids are obviously on the casual side of the clothings. But you can wear them in a shirt paired with blazers and jeans for a cool look. You can also pair this dark colored shirts with the vest. Use the red and white patterns or the green and white patterns that are like one of the classics in the plaid ones.
If you are going for a casual daily style go for the light colored ones like the white and black. You can wear plaided vest with solid colored shirt when you want a slightly formal style when you opt to go without the jacket. When it is for vests get it of proper fit so that they look chic.