The new-gen checks and how to wear them

Chanel Spring/Summer 2024
All checked out: a pink two-piece at Chanel Spring/Summer 2024 - Getty

Newsflash, checks are in. Were they ever out? Well, no – but they’ve had a bit of a makeover that’s shaken them out of their traditional rut.

Whether they take the form of tartan, windowpane or gingham, the new generation of checks tend to be distorted in some way – on the diagonal, blown-up, wavy, pixelated, shot with neon or in a clashing patchwork.

The look is less Highland fling, more Clueless.

Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, 1995
Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, 1995 - Alamy

We have a host of designer super-brands to thank for this twist on a classic motif. There’s Chanel, the Louis Vuitton men’s debut of musician turned designer Pharrell Williams, and of course Burberry as reimagined by its current creative director Daniel Lee.

It doesn’t need to be loud to be different. ‘Bottega Veneta’s beautifully crafted accessories from the spring/summer 2024 show really speak to this trend,’ says Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matches, who points to the use of colour and textures, like luxe raffia, incorporated into the label’s signature Intrecciato leather weave.

Actor Will Poulter in Louis Vuitton
Actor Will Poulter in Louis Vuitton - Getty
Olivia Colman wearing a Burberry distorted-check coat
Olivia Colman wearing a distorted-check coat by Burberry - Getty

Of course, nobody needs clothes that won’t have relevance beyond the current season – and that’s the beauty of the check. Even when it’s twisted, it’s still recognisable as something that will never date.

‘The tweed-check separates at Sacai and Emilia Wickstead are great investment pieces,’ says Wiggins. ‘As is Issey Miyake’s oversized check coat. I plan to style it with a pair of Citizens of Humanity horseshoe jeans.’

Emilia Wickstead
A model for Emilia Wickstead wears tweed-check separates

Go as bold as you dare: sling John Lewis’s new checked ‘It’ trench over a T-shirt and jeans or take it up a notch with Le Kilt’s patchwork tartan skirt. Alternatively, get the look the DIY way by raiding your wardrobe and wearing two or three checks at once. Mastering artfully clashing checks takes patience and experimentation – and a little bit of not giving a fig if others don’t get it.

The key is to find a formula that’s familiar and build from there – a favourite Black Watch tartan shirt with a fuzzy buffalo check scarf in a similar palette or a tweed blazer with a subtle graphic motif. Does that make it checks squared? Or is it cubed? Doesn’t matter – as long as it’s checks, mate.

Try these


Cotton top, £215, YMC; wool mix skirt, £45.99, Mango


Cotton dress, £290, Cefinn; trench coat, £139, John Lewis


Wool suit, £599, Suitsupply


Cotton blend overshirt, £145, Wax London; wool raglan coat, £575, Toast


Trousers, £257, WTAPS at Goodhood; Cotton flannel shirt, £105, Portuguese Flannel at Mr Porter

Get inspired

Billie Eilish in Burberry
Billie Eilish in Burberry - Getty
Amiri - getty
Issey Miyake
Andrew Garfield
Andrew Garfield - getty