The check shirt is an item that even the most fashionably inept individual can relate to. It’s a classic piece that transcends the wardrobes of men across the globe – from sharply dressed city boys to rugged, blue-collar workers.
Their popularity is plain to see; you only need to walk along your local high street for confirmation. But this popularity comes at a price, and quite a serious one at that. The problem is, check shirts have become a little boring. Certainly not as an item in itself – they’re available in more patterns, sizes and palettes than ever before – but the way it is worn? I feel as though it has lost its edge.
All too often do we see large groups of men staggering around town after dark in horrible shirts, terrible jeans and pointed black shoes. Too often do we see check shirts worn un-tucked under shiny blazers. And too often do we see check shirts worn in the most dull and uninspiring ways imaginable.
Yet this is a timeless piece that has a lot to offer the modern style-conscious gent – way more than what your local city or high street might suggest. It’s possible to become too comfortable with our clothes; simply following the crowd and trying to fit in. The majority don’t think outside the box and are reluctant to try new things.
The check shirt is one of these safe options and if we really want them to work for us in a unique and contemporary way, we need to re-evaluate the way we approach them.
With all this in mind, here are three styling techniques that will help breathe new life into your current collection…
This idea is all about creative layering: combining pieces that you might not automatically think of, making the most of your wardrobe and stepping away from the shirt and jumper combinations that have long been a sartorial crutch.
Wearing two shirts over the top of each other is a great way of adding texture and depth to your outfits. Sticking to Matt Allinson’s basic rule of layering, make sure your pieces go from thin to thick. I’d recommend using a heavyweight denim, flannel, brushed cotton or corduroy over-shirt for your outer layer as these tend to be straighter fitting and give you more space for movement.
Underneath I would keep it casual with a lightweight Oxford, chambray or twill shirt. Be wary that dress shirts are often far too formal to be utilised within this aesthetic and will jar with the rugged, casual top layer.
By keeping your over-shirt muted and classic you give yourself much more scope for adding colour elsewhere. For instance, why not try a check shirt in mostly blue tones worn underneath an olive corduroy shirt?
Alternatively, those that want to make more of a statement can go bolder with their outer layer. Warm red, orange and brown check shirts look particularly great over blue chambray or plain white Oxford styles.