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A classic checkmate

Whether it’s the traditional tartan or the glorious (and misunderstood) gingham, checks return season after season, only because they are versatile to a fault. From the ramps to the streets, this trend is getting a seasonal upgrade with ruched mid-length dresses, asymmetric tops, coming-of-age boxy suits that scream classy and crisp handloom or Kancheevaram sarees that let Madras checks shine. Either way, it’s time to think out of the box with this one.

“The checks never really left us. They are a go-to for all seasons and the best part? They suit all skin complexions and heights,” says talk show host and designer Vinay Bharadwaj. According to designers, they can be worn at any time of the day, and depending on what colour or pattern it is, it can go from everyday dressing to occasion wear. “Checks resonate with classic fashion and is not a mere trend. You can sport a checks shirt or a checked trouser (which in my opinion is a must-have for both men and women) and this can be worn either casually or for formal occasions,” says Bengaluru-based designer Namrata G who has been infusing the pattern in oversized styles.

Whether it was luxury mavericks Celine and Balenciaga who switched up their checks in slouchy suiting, Zimmerman who paired tough boxes with lace, or House of Holland’s nifty checkered scarf, the ramps are championing them in abundance. Closer home, designers like Pankaj and Nidhi, Rajesh Prathap Singh and Divya Seth brought it to life in monochromes and brights, stepping outside the usual plaids and gingham into the hounds tooth, Madras checks, shepherd, windowpane and graph checks territory. 

Want to dip your toe in this trend pool? A relaxed, checked shirt it is! “You can throw it over a t-shirt and ripped jeans to go casual. Pair it with a long pencil skirt to add a formal look or a shorter skirt for evening appeal,” says stylist and designer, Arundathi Anjanappa. For Vinay, the bright red tartan shirt is a must-have. “For a morning look, try a grey tone checker shirt with black or grey trousers. For the evening, let your hair down with a long tartan shirt in a bright colour, ripped denims and make it peppy with a jacket or leather hand accessories,” he says. A pair of classic sneakers makes it even edgier, according to stylist Nikitha Priya-Bharana. “If you’re in the mood for something dressy, try a checked button down dress and pair with pointed pumps or court shoes,” she says. However you wear it, this print is now dictating the mood squarely. 

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