Check shirts: the chic, casual choice


For years, in our collective imagination, the check shirt has been seen as essential wear for those who explore, live, and work in the mountains. But it is actually a garment that is evolving, and increasingly, it can be seen as part of chic, trendy outfits, and as ever, the style is in the details.

Check shirts or classic tartans are created to be worn during outdoor work: woodcutters, hikers, and hunters all have at least a couple in their wardrobes. This is why check shirts are generally made in cotton flannel or wool blends: based on the weight of the fabric, they can be worn as over-shirts (like a proper jacket) or they can be worn over a t-shirt, without a heavy sweater but under a thick jacket.
This distinction gives us three different types of shirt. Lumberjack shirts: these are purposefully wide fitting to be worn over other clothes, and generally, they are made in wool or a wool blend. Hunting shirts: these are usually green or khaki and come with pockets, small pockets, Velcro fastenings and other accessories. Lastly, hiking shirts: these have a comfy fit and are made in synthetic fibres for easier physical activity. They are also in bright colours to stand out against the mountain environment.

Men’s check shirts date back to 1850, when Woolrich designed the first flannel shirt for workers in Pennsylvania. In 1916 it became the “uniform” of the gigantic carpenter and lead character in the stories of William B. Laughead: Paul Bunyan. When Walt Disney made a cartoon about him in 1958, the check shirt was suddenly all the rage and all young men had at least one. In the 1980s/90s, the red and black check shirt became an iconic staple of Grunge style, since it was a fundamental part of every outfit worn by rock star Kurt Cobain.

Today these shirts are worn to create alternative but also elegant looks. Worn over jeans and a white (or matching) t-shirt, they create punk-chic outfits, while if you wear one with a tie, it becomes non-conformist, exuberant elegance. No extra touches needed: check shirts can be worn over casual trousers in neutral shades, and the tie can’t be patterned, striped or have any design, just a touch of colour in one of the shades of the shirt.

The check flannel shirt is one of the key items in Xacus’ autumn-winter collection. See the different models and outfits on the Beluga line page: made with the finest fabrics for this season, in bright colours to warm you up on even the coldest of days.

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