What to wear with every type of check shirt

PRODUCTS | 07.10.2020

Admit it – you’ve got at least two check shirts in your wardrobe. But while they’re an undoubted classic and a giant among shirts, it’s not always so easy to pair them with other clothing. So we thought we’d put together a quick guide to looking great in check. 

We’ll cover the basics such as pairing and matching, with a little bit on the different types of check shirt you might come across. Check it out.

How to wear check shirts

For the most part, the check shirt is a casual basic that can be worn when you’re relaxing with friends, browsing in the shops or heading out to bars and clubs. Lighter check shirts can be relatively formal, if worn with a smart jacket like our Eisenhower, for example.



At Dickies, we like our check shirts to be the heavier cotton type, like our Sacramento. It’s a look that borrows heavily from the lumberjack shirt that became an American classic all those years ago, whilst harking back to our early days as a workwear maker. 

The easiest way to wear it is hanging loose, with a pair of jeans and some chunky boots. You can wear it against the skin or stick a T-shirt on underneath, then you can choose to have it buttoned up or open like a light jacket. Because of the heavy fabric, it’ll never be too formal – it’s just a simple check shirt without pretension.


What is a checked shirt?

A checked shirt (or check shirt) is a shirt designed with fabric that is loosely based on the square chequerboard pattern. They are rarely two-tone like a chess board and instead blend intermediate shades to break down the pattern. The overall pattern, however, is square on square.

Sacramento Relaxed Long Sleeve Shirt


The technical term for the blended chequerboard pattern as used in our Sacramento shirts is “buffalo checks”. As you can see from our black and white Sacramento, the black and white squares are not adjacent to each other – they only touch in the corners. The third shade is a blend of the two, in this case grey. You can tie the rest of your outfit together using these colours to pull everything together for an effortless, but cool look.


What is a Gingham shirt?

Gingham is a fabric style that’s similar to the buffalo check, but it consists of much smaller squares. Traditionally, one of the colours is white, and it’s usually blended with red or blue. The two key colours don’t touch each other except diagonally – the intermediate squares blend the two colours.

The most recognisable use of Gingham is on tablecloths, especially in French or Italian restaurants. It’s also seen in girls’ summer school uniform dresses, and was widely adopted by the Mods of the 1960s, who popularised it as a more masculine shirt material.


What do you wear with a lumberjack shirt?

Because lumberjack shirts will always be associated with the job that lends its name, they’re mostly informally worn. Pull on some jeans or canvas pants and a pair of slip-on pumps and you’re ready to go. Because they are long and overhang the belt, don’t tuck them in, and avoid shorts.


It’s common to see lumberjack shirts worn over a T-shirt. The T-shirt can be plain or carry a print, but try to avoid anything too geometric, such as stripes or checks, as it can interfere with the check, especially if it’s worn open. Jeans or cargo pants suit the style perfectly, as do boots or trainers. It’s all about looking laid back but ready to leap into action. Our buffalo plaid Lansdale shirt is a good example of a lumberjack shirt – note the large checks, heavy fabric and low hem.


What is a plaid shirt?

Plaid is simply any interwoven fabric that uses two or more coloured yarns. By that definition, plain includes tartans, buffalo check, Gingham, plain check, gun club, Madras, windowpane, graph, Tattersall and many others. The pattern always has distinct 90-degree angles within it.

In America, plaid is synonymous with tartan, despite also having the same definition as in the UK – yarn in two or more colours running left-right and up-down. The plaid shirt has been a standard form of shirt since the industrialisation of fabric-making, but it has existed in folk weaving forever.


Check out our range

We are proud of our workwear heritage, but our range of check shirts for Men and Women is purely for leisure and style. Find your perfect check and you’ve got a friend for life – tough, flexible and chill enough to wear in all but the most formal situations, they’re great to have hanging in the wardrobe.

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