Checks have sauntered out of vintage stores and attached themselves to the bodies of unnaturally good-looking men all over A/W14 runways recently. They?re a wardrobe essential. They?re both ?safe? and ?fashion forward? at the same time. But it takes some gumption and know-how to wear a checked or tartan shirt to a business meeting without looking like you?ve just come from a shift at General Pants Co.Checks may have just come back to the fore, however some styles are already overdone. Take the popular blue and white checked shirt that?s as ubiquitous in New York as cream cheese bagels. The J Crew version even has its own Instagram account (!). So, take the trend just that little bit further and go with punk-rock-slash-British-hunting-lodge inspired red checks. You may remember that shirt your grandad always wore when you were doing something outdoorsy? That?s the look you want to emulate. Red checks are manly, rugged and downright handsome. But don?t risk looking like a picnic rug, follow these simple guidelines:
The dress shirt
Before you protest - yes, checks are the perfect work attire. Tight checks, oversized checks, red and black or red, white and blue checks - the world is your runway! The only way you can stuff up this trend is to go too ?busy?. Keep your striped charcoal suit and keyboard tie in the cupboard for another day and always remember that the key to a good dress shirt is a good fit.Keep the rest of your gear neutral and simple and try not to pattern clash unless you really know what you?re doing. In winter, wear a three-piece light grey suit with tight checks or pair larger checks with a navy woollen tie and blazer. In summer, take your cue from an island-hopping James Bond and wear a red checked shirt under a light linen jacket, pale chinos and brown suede brogues. The key is to play with texture in suit material and accessories.
Dress it up, dress it down, the checked shirt is so damn versatile. If you?re looking for a little more street cred in the office, or want to get out of your tracksuit on the coffee run, try a heritage-style red checked shirt (i.e. the ones you find in vintage stores). With suit pants, make sure it?s always tucked in, or for casual days wear it loose with jeans or light brown pants, a good watch and - if you want to go the whole hog - a fisherman?s beanie to top off the ?I feel at home in the woods? look.Throw a thicker version nonchalantly over a white tee for those in between months and for extra points wear it under an army green utility or leather biker jacket.
If you don?t want to wear red checks in a shirt, why not try the trend in your choice of accessories? Bring on the hunting lodge vibe with a checked scarf and socks (not worn together, obviously), or throw on an oversized checked coat for that British mod look. Once again, if you?re accessorising with checks and tartan keep your suit and shirt neutral. You don?t want to look like a magic eye trick.A winter jumper with oversized red checks looks great over a crisp, white shirt and jeans. And if you?re really feeling like you?ve got this trend down, venture into the world of checked pants. It?s tricky, and looks downright appalling on some people, so do a little research and keep to muted colours with only touches of red.Much like wearing a superman costume under your work shirt, red checks bring a certain daredevil aspect to your daily grind. They should be a staple in every man?s closet, a go-to piece, as they?re a flattering look on everyone and a trend that has - and will - stand the test of time.