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Criss-Cross: Old-school style guide to the 6 essential check prints for men

In the construction of a suit, cuts, and shapes play a vital role. You’ll be surprised how this play of geometry makes for great design as well.

Checkered prints or check prints; they come with heritage and have proven to be true grid lines for the map of menswear we know of today. While some may be a simple double stitch, others comprise of complex alternating of fabrics, colour palettes, and other elements. 

Check prints usually work out of the men’s formalwear department, especially in coats and shirts. However, they’ve also turned into great designs for accessorising with socks and pocket squares. Let’s take a crash course on five essential check prints every man needs to know about, and how they can be best worn.


It takes its name after its canine edges. It’s made up of the broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, often in black and white through twill weave. Houndstooth requires heavy weaving and stitch-work, which is why its usually seen autumn-winter collections on coats and jackets. Traditionally, the check prints are black as a staple, and the colour of the suit is what gives the suit its personality. We’d go with a brown, beige, or a pastel shade.


The simplest of the bunch is Windowpane, and it spreads its grid all through the menswear spectrum: Coats, shirts, pocket squares, trousers, shorts, and cardigans. It’s a symbol of simple elegance in formalwear, and one can never go wrong with this silhouette. On the other hand, we’d suggest a check print like this on lighter shades complemented by accessories of darker shades.


Often seen on socks and would be a tad bit tacky if worn on suits or shirts, so let’s not. Argyle is made up of diamond patterns that are occasionally woven. Argyle knitwear was worn as golf clothing and became popular after the first world war. It contains layers of overlapping motifs, adding a sense of three-dimensional, movement, and texture.

Gun Club Checks

With a name like ‘Gun Club Check’, you’ve got to assume that there’s a story behind it. And you’re certainly right. Originally dubbed as the ‘The Coigach’, the pattern came from the Ullapool area in the western part of Scotland. Sometime around 1874, an American shooting club adopted it as their uniform. This is perhaps one of the most experimental check prints on the spectrum; play with colour combinations, the width of checks, lapels, everything. Just ensure your colour tones match.

Classic Tartan

Familiar with the famous Burberry print found on shirts, trenchcoats, scarves etc.? This print is known as Tartan. There’s no denying that tartan prints are truly a class apart. But on the flip side, it’s one of the hardest types of check prints in the books for menswear. It is a pattern that resembles a horizontal and vertical criss-cross design, formed by multiple coloured threads. Tartan is also called plaid, and an example would be the pattern on a Scottish kilt.


The simplest of check prints, Tattersall is probably the best silhouette you can create with a bunch of 90-degree angles and mini squares. Tattersall is a pattern that consists of thin, regularly spaced stripes in alternating colours that are repeated both horizontally and vertically. Most commonly, we see Tattersall on shirts, especially in white with blue checks. However, they also come in two different colours and create a double grid, both colours being darker than the base colour.

Mikhail Gomes
Features Editor, Lifestyle Asia India & Contributor - Augustman
A watch aficionado, Mikhail also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.