It’s no longer a secret that when it comes to choosing a print, most men are still inclined to opt for uncomplicated patterns that look interesting and effortless enough to stand out for all the right reasons. And while the menswear segment appears to be headed in a more adventurous direction this season, the check prints manage to keep things grounded, timeless and elegant, mixing tradition with a modern edge.

Whether in plaid, tartan, gingham, houndstooth or Prince of Wales form, the check prints are undoubtedly fall / winter 2013’s star-patterns. In bold or muted tones, small-sized or oversized, covering exquisite overcoats or comfy sweaters, the ways to indulge in check prints appear rather endless, promising to work for everybody if styled in the right manner.

To find out how to wear the men’s check prints during the upcoming months, continue reading after the break.

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plaid prints for men

Types of checks for winter.

Assuring enough variety and versatility in the modern gentleman’s wardrobe, the check prints took nearly every imaginable form this season, the greatest thing being they never looked this polished.

Tartan & plaid for men.

For several years now, not a cold season went by without being touched by the timeless feel carried by both tartan and plaid patterns. For fall / winter 2013, the prints evolved beautifully, embracing bolder colours and exaggerated scales that helped translate the traditional tartan to a more contemporary fashion. The other beauty is that you have the option of wearing it subtly or boldly – there’s no requirement to go quite as over the top as some of the runways did.

Mens check print fall 2013
Tartan / plaid checks: subtle at E. Tautz and going ultra bold at Moncler Gamme Bleu, F/W ’13

Prince of Wales.

Subtler but equally effective, the Prince of Wales checks sent down the runway took an elegant turn as both perfectly tailored suits and overcoats were envisioned in the classic pattern.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Prince of Wales checks at E.Tautz and Valentino, F/W ’13

Gingham.

Another key way of wearing check prints this winter lies in the uncomplicated nature of gingham patterns. Dipped in muted tones of black and white and accompanying clean cuts and simple lines, they manage to transcend time, especially when juxtaposed with other equally smooth check forms.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Gingham checks at Valentino and Prada, F/W ’13

Houndstooth.

In classic or digitized form, the houndstooth checks made a successful return to the runway, delivering a print punch that came to sight as incredibly stylish. Layered on top of clean, tailored pieces in block-colours, the houndstooth check print instantly gained an unequaled type of sophistication.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Houndstooth checks at Paul Smith and Valentino, F/W ’13

How to wear the men’s check prints

Tailored vs. informal.

From checked suits to checked shirts, there’s no such thing as the wrong approach to sporting this print trend for the season. Tailored and sleek, or rather casual and comfortable, used as a statement or mainly as a cozy layer in a laid-back ensemble, the check pattern maintains its relevance for the colder months, transitioning with ease from day to night.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Check prints at Vivienne Westwood and Saint Laurent, F/W ’13

Outerwear.

A myriad of classic overcoats, capes and jackets were envisioned as to feature the men’s check prints in all of their splendid forms, keeping the options diverse, wearable and highly functional.

Worn with slim-fit trousers, crisp white shirts, and styled with monochrome ties and dandy hats, the checks gain instant composure; paired to jeans, scarfs and leather ankle boots, the same check patterns serve to upgrade even the most casual winter ensembles.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Check printed outerwear at E.Tautz, Valentino and YMC, F/W ’13

Trousers.

Without a doubt, the check prints are mostly about coats and tailored suiting this season. But that doesn’t mean the checked trousers should be perceived as being a less relevant option. They still make for a savvy investment if chosen in subtle monochrome pallets, or rather bold colour combos. Kept as the focal point of the outfit, they can’t look anything other than exquisite.

A word of warning: plaid all over is a little harder to pull off, so only go for it if you feel completely confident. Otherwise, stick to either checked pants or a plaid-covered top half. It’s a much safer bet.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Check printed trousers at Vivienne Westwood and YMC, F/W ’13

Sweaters

During the colder months, a cozy and warm sweater becomes an essential piece of a man’s wardrobe. Serving as a refreshing and cool alternative to the classic, monochrome sweaters, a checked jumper can easily add an interesting element to even the most basic of outfits.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Check printed sweaters at Valentino and Umit Benan, F/W ’13

Colour theme.

Leaving aside the timeless combinations of black, white and gray that serve to assure a flawless take on the check print trend, the colour theme for the season welcomed an array of dark greens, icy blues and unexpected orange injections, all working towards breathing new life into what is the traditional check print.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Check prints at Valentino, Moncler Gamme Bleu and E.Tautz, F/W ’13

On the other hand, the red and black, and red and navy combinations seem to distinctly sit as a part of the Americana fashion movement. Although worked in modern ways in each of the fall / winter 2013 collections, this colour palette best complements the thought of a cold winter, as it goes hand in hand with the concept of heritage, blurring the lines between the old and the new.

Mens check prints fall 2013
Check prints at Moncler Gamme Bleu, Saint Laurent and Valentino, F/W ’13

Key products

If you think about refreshing your winter wardrobe by investing in a few check print staples, you’ll be pleased to encounter a large selection available in the menswear departments, both online and in stores. From an edgy biker jacket cut in a check cloth, to Valentino’s grey Prince of Wales check wool suit, here are 3 of our top picks for the season:

Mens check prints fall 2013
Shop the trend: Clash Leather Biker Jacket at All Saints; Valentino Grey Prince of Wales Check Wool Suit at Mr Porter; Burberry Shoes & Accessories Check Cashmere Scarf at Mr Porter.

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