Jasmine: After much trial and error in the changing-room, we’ve accidentally discovered that Andrew looks really good in checked shirts. Over the past year, Mr Chong’s amassed quite a collection of checked shirts! Of course, he has his beloved black-and-white checked shirt from Domanchi that he’s worn on a number of special occasions (a staff dinner at Sentosa, our very first birthday celebration, at the Peak in Hong Kong) as well as casual weekends. We present to you some of our new favourites:
1. Blue checked shirt from P.O.A.
Jasmine: I normally don’t push Andrew into making a purchase decision, but I’ve to confess that it was only after much cajoling on my part that Andrew finally caved in and bought this shirt.
Jasmine: He originally protested that it was too “metrosexual” to wear to the office. I liked that the checks were diagonally placed, which made him look taller. The light blue hue also complemented his tanned skin.
[Andrew: I must admit that I was very uncertain about buying this shirt. After wearing it to a friend’s wedding, many friends complemented it and said it was a nice shirt! I guess Jasmine’s fashion sense is always a step ahead. While Dearie has commented extensively on the checks, what I also like about the shirt very much are the lines (which you can’t really see from the picture above) that enhance the ‘top’ of my frame and slims the waist area. I have another POA shirt (which I’m equally uncomfortable wearing) which has a similar effect and it does so in a similar way. Korean-cut shirts are great!]
2. Red-and-blue shirt from Topman
Jasmine: The bright colours are a refreshing change from the myriad of blacks and blues that typically predominate a man’s wardrobe. The checks are also not too large- this would be too overwhelming since red and blue are both strong primary hues. I remember seeing a similar shirt retail at Paragon for quadruple the price. The best part is that when Andrew tires of this shirt, we can re-purpose it as a picnic mat!
Andrew: This shirt is otherwise known by my colleagues as the “Pizzaman shirt”. Heh. My initial reservation about this shirt was that I thought it would be too casual for work. Dearie suggested doing some slight alterations to add some ‘darts’ behind to make the shirt slimmer and it really did help give it a more ‘formal’ look. This shirt has become another one of my unexpectedly good buys, purchased from Topman at 50% off!
3. Pink gingham shirt from Raoul
Jasmine: We got a really good deal on this shirt. After Andrew spent an hour deliberating whether to buy his Raoul briefcase, he spied this shirt on the sale rack and got it in five minutes. It was 50% off!
[Andrew: Interestingly enough, my dad also likes to wear pink shirts and they do look quite good on him. In my first few months of teaching, a colleague of mine put up this skit in which we pretended to argue to illustrate the concept of argumentative essays. I had to wear pink shirts consecutively for 3 days (I only had 2) because he would make fun of my pink shirts by calling me a ‘pink cow’. Heh. That earned me a reputation amongst my students for wearing pink shirts. I do realise that deeper hue of pink (and not any other hue)! ]
In short, these are our tips when it comes to buying checked shirts for men
Print: Ensure that the size of the check/ plaid is right for you (or your man, if you’re a girl reading this). We’d advise against extremely tiny checks, especially for very buff or heavyset men, because they can make guys look larger. Actually, we’d advise against checks for heavyset men in general.
Colour combis: Choose interesting colour pairings but don’t go overboard. Sticking with two, maximum three, colours is a safe bet. When in doubt, go with a traditional manly check in red, blue or black, such as this one from the Gap:
Fit: Never too baggy, unless the look you are going for is lumberjack! For a modern update, try a checked shirt with a narrower collar, also from the Gap:
Hint: I don’t particularly like this oversized plaid (its proportions are too overwhelming for guys of average build) but I do like the touch of teal, which makes an otherwise staid monochromatic ensemble surprising.
Sleeve-length: If you are considering short sleeves for work, plaid or gingham is respectable, yet classically stylish. In fact, I think that short-sleeved shirts look best in a checked print. For added Italian flair (and if your stomach is reasonably flat), select a shirt that’s snug (but not too snug) around the midsection.
And of course, who says girls can’t do checks too?
(Shirt: M&S, tutu skirt: H&M Kids)