Checks come into their own at this time of year. After months of charcoal tailoring, earthy outerwear and dark denim, the opportunity to experiment with brighter, warmer colours never goes amiss.
At its best, checked fashion is graphic and fun, but it’s important to know how to make checks work with you, rather than against you. It’s easy to be scared of them, or to overdo it with checks that are too brash or bold. My golden rule is always make sure that the check is tonal (designed with different shades of the same colour; different pinks or browns for example) and to keep everything else in your look plain and dark. Stick to one key pattern for failsafe style.
With this in mind, here are three checked investment pieces for the months ahead, guaranteed to put a spring in your step and some feel-good factor in your new season wardrobe.
1. Get into pastels
Checks are meant to be confident, so don’t shy away from making a statement. This quirky jacket from Belgian designer Dries Van Noten is part blouson, part blazer, taking its design cues from different elements in the modern man’s wardrobe. The shoulders are structured and the pocket flaps look crisp, but the revere collar and zip front are relaxed, so it’s an easy piece to dress up or down. Plus, it’s cut in a weighty cotton cloth with a soft texture that lends the jacket a satisfying, tactile feel.
Don’t be intimidated by its warm pink colours. Spring is the season of pastels and pink’s a sophisticated choice, it pairs comfortably with navy, charcoal and khaki. Keep the rest of your look simple and this’ll look super-sharp.
£710, shop now
2. Rock a suit like Prince Charles
Gieves & Hawkes’s new season collection has a distinct ‘70s edge – the tailoring in particular. Inspired by the glory days of the upper-crust British sporting scene, this spring’s suits nod to the wardrobe of the youthful Prince Charles, who was quite the dresser back in the day. This fawn checked two-piece is a case in point. It’s cut in Gieves’ signature house style with well-balanced notched lapels, a flared skirt and sharp hip pockets finished with chunky flaps. It’s the antithesis of slouchy tailoring, but still light and comfortable to wear. The earthy colours in the check are perfect for spring, too; less sober than navy or charcoal, but still understated.
Let the suit do the talking and wear with tonal, textured shirts and ties; try it with a dark denim shirt and plain navy grenadine tie or an off-white linen shirt and a chocolate knitted tie. You can break this piece up easily, too. Treat the jacket as a sports coat for smart-casual events and pair it with navy chinos or lightweight tailored trousers.
£995, shop now
3. Work it
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can never have too many overshirts. For a pop of spring colour, this shirt-jacket hybrid from chic Scandi brand CMMN Sweden is just the thing. It’s inspired by mid-century work shirts and cut in a tactile blend of cotton and linen. Note the chunky polished buttons, buttoning chest pocket and two subtle side welt pockets – perfect for slouching about in when you want something comfy, but cool.
With its orange and black contrasting colour palette, this is a fun statement piece, but its still designed to be worn in an easy, informal way. In fact, it’s slightly oversized for a louche look that works with the retro colours in the check. Layer over navy crewnecks, chambray shirts or grey jersey tees and you won’t go far wrong.
£410, shop now