On The Runway

How To Wear It: Checks

Checkerboard looks from (left to right): Burberry Prorsum, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and Thakoon.

Tartan, plaid, squares…whatever you want to call it, checks are back this autumn. While some designers stuck to traditional Prince of Wales patterns and sharp tailoring, others added some fun to the look with feminine shapes and colourful combinations.

Try and experiment with:

British heritage: Look for tartans and Prince of Wales checks on heritage fabrics such as wool and tweed to evoke a chic countryside look that’s perfect for winter.

Tailoring: A hunting jacket (see below) or a double-breasted blazer are great pieces to invest in. If opt for trousers, make sure you pair it with something plain on top.

Colours: It was all about unexpected combinations and graphic looks – just take a look at Prada’s multi-coloured squares or Thakoon’s red and blue checks. If all else fails, you can’t beat the classic black and white combination.

A button-down shirt: Forget grungey Lumberjack shirts, a checked silk blouse is a great transitional item. Pair it with wide legged trousers for a cool look.

Lightweight fabrics: Dries Van Noten made checks chic when he printed them on body skimming and fluid fabrics like silk, sheer chiffon and satin. It takes the look from masculine to feminine in an instant.

A statement coat: Burberry sent out a belted coat with large checks that was chic and elegant. Just keep your outfit simple underneath.

A suit: Numerous designers featured tartan suits but I like the pencil skirt versions as they are the most chic.  If you go for trousers, make sure your blazer is cut well and shows off your curves.

Accessories: The jury is still out on checked shoes, but a gorgeous printed scarf or simple clutch (see below) is a stylish yet subtle way to show you are on trend.

Check out (from left): Thakoon limited edition Masai scarf (US$250, all proceeds go to charity), Irwin & Jordan’s Amber jacket (595 pounds) and Ferragamo Ember clutch (HK$16,500)

Try and avoid:

Pleated skirts unless you want to look like a reject out of Gossip Girl or a Britney Spears video. The same goes for bulky sweaters which are unflattering at the best of times. In terms of silhouette, shapes should be well cut and show off your curves. Beware of anything boxy as it will make you look too masculine. Also try not to accessorize with riding boots or Jodphurs  - you are not going horseriding in the country!

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