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A couple of years ago, wearing a check suit was considered borderline outre. But that vintage elegance has proven hard to resist and now check is back, big and totally beautiful. So, what are the options if you want to be checked out while wearing checks?
Tartan’s association with rebellion dates way beyond the punk movement to 17th century Scotland, where it was worn as a sign of insurrection against the English. These days, it’s a tad more mainstream, but no less stylish for it. A suit like the Hoffman skinny fit in grey was designed to be seen. This is a suit for going to the races. It’ll carry you through the day into your big-win celebration at night.
There’s tartan, then there’s twisted tartan, like the Connoly skinny fit. Taking the classic ‘Blackwatch’ pattern and flipping it diagonally, you get a look that is at once timeless and contemporary. The dark green and blue colourway lends itself to formal occasions, blending in without scrubbing out character. Accessorise well – smart black shirt, loafers and a bit of understated bling – and you’ll be wedding-ready. Even your own.
The Prince of Wales check is characterised by tightly woven small and large checks in a typically muted colour scheme. It’s one of those looks traditionally associated with the aristocracy (did the name give it away?), but can work well in the office or for more relaxed formal affairs… Like, you know, when you’re supping brandy in a gentlemen’s club in St. James’ Square. A slim fit suit like the Mandeville takes that aesthetic, dusts off the fustiness and gives the Prince of Wales check a fresh new outlook ideal for summer.
The wide ‘windowpane’ check is the ultimate choice for office wear with personality. It is smooth and sleek with that inherent suavity associated with 1940s styling. While the grey windowpane with off-white framework is most commonly favoured (thanks in part to ‘Public Enemies’), a cobalt blue like the Salut suit brings the look totally up to date. Wear with a crisp whit shirt and contrasting tie for best effect.
The graph paper check is the simplest of all the plaid designs and exactly what you’d expect it to be. A contrasting grid atop a plain background. The Shelby & Sons Neston suit is the perfect example of the form. It’s a look that has something of a wide boy vibe, especially when you add in the half contrasting collar. But with the right shirt and shoes, this suit can be as respectable as they come.
The check suit has come of age in 2020. It’s sharp. It’s smart. And it can be tailored to almost any occasion. The only rule you need to remember when wearing checks is to keep your shirt and accessories plain. Do that and the check is your oyster.
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