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Wardrobe Essentials: The Check Shirt

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First things first, I know readers of this article will already own a check shirt; I also know you may well be asking why does such an item of clothing need an article written about it when it’s already such a popular part of menswear but before you decide to click away, please hear me out.

shirt 1

The problem is, the check shirt has become something of a pastiche of itself; so regularly is it seen on men of all ages, shape and size, its popularity with the masses has seen it lose any sense of identity.  In many ways the check shirt has become the victim of its own success.

Men seem to pay little care and attention to what they are wearing their check shirt with, it is thrown on like an old shirt you do the painting and decorating in instead of being worn with an outfit befitting of this classic wardrobe staple.

shirt 5

We have become lazy in our approach to how we wear this design classic, almost as if we simply do not care what we are wearing – in many cases I feel this is genuinely true – but the check shirt, rather than being thrown on with any old pair of jeans or trainers or shoes, should and could be the all-conquering answer to our wardrobes needs.

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This is a shirt that covers every fashion base, it transcends seasons, it can be super hip, stylish and elegant, worn with shorts or suits; you can please your mother, girlfriend or best mates in a check shirt. Basically, we here at MFM believe this style staple still has plenty of miles left in the tank, it’s just the way in which you wear it that counts.

shirt 4

Take some pride in how you wear this once revered shirt, don’t simply wear one because your mates are (we know they are). Wear it with a bit of style, give your shirt some kudos rather than blending in to the high street like one giant checkers boards. And if you are stuck for ideas on how you can rekindle your love for the check shirt, here are a few ideas to get the heart thumping again…


The check shirt does not have to be all prim’n’proper, you know. Yes, you can turn it into a Sunday shirt if you like but how about giving it a little rebellious edge? Wear it tucked in to some skinny black jeans, a well-worn leather jacket and pair of old brogues and you’ll be rocking a look that makes the check shirt looking anything other than boring. Plus, if you’ve got that slicked-back greaser hair going on you’ll make it look even more rebellious.

leather topman jacketstartan island shirtsslim topman jeans

mono office brogueslovebuletts chaincontrast asos


Lumberjack, farmers, cowboys – all famous for the check shirt as much as they are for putting in a hard days graft. Thankfully you do not need wellies or cowboy hats for this look, although a big beard is in fact a viable option. If you are going for the workwear-meets-hipster look then a good pair of sturdy boots (preferably Grenson or Redwing) and selvedge denim jeans are also required. Don’t forget the backpack either; after all, what’s a hipster without a Mac Book Pro?

acne porter jacketslauren harrods shirtsselvedge porter jeans

red porter bootsretreat asos backpackasos wallets


The check shirt certainly lends itself towards the prep-boy look and no one has ever carried this off with as much aplomb as the boys from Harvard, Princeton, Brown et al. Chinos (preferably khaki), deck shoes, a good college sweater  and sports jacket all makes this a classic look that has continued to make a mark on the modern man.

twilled porter jacketsflannel island shirtsbrit matches chinos

philip asos shoestsovet watchesasos mirror lens


marc checked shirtsrugger gingham shirtjohn varvatos

green topman checkedhomme red topmanshort island checked

vintage plaid checkedblue rivers shirtburberry brit checked


The check shirt may already be an integral part of menswear but it’s about time we stopped taking it for granted and gave it the respect it deserves. Don’t just throw it on under your hoody and those jeans you’ve been wearing for the past week, think about the outfit you are wearing and stop following the masses. The next time you head out from home, take a quick look around the bar or on the high street and you will notice a plethora of check shirts all worn with little or no thought. Now’s the time to change that.

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Robbie Canale
Robbie Canale

Robbie Canale is a freelance writer and stylist with a passion for football and fashion, two genres he knows should never go together! He has contributed to publications including Harper's Bazaar Arabia, GQ Dubai and Pickles football magazine.



  • Bruce Savage

    Love your comments and advice. Keep it coming!!

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