Best Check Shirts | Top 8

The ultimate guide to a fashion trend that refuses to quit

In truth, the best check shirts is a tricky old list to compile. While styles come and go (even those super baggy, faux silk ‘Madchester’ shirts, last seen on a Blind Date contestant circa 1993 have made a slight resurgence) the check shirt remains a constant. And for good reason, it’s a timeless design classic. As such, choosing the best is no easy task.

Whether you’re smartening up or dressing down, the plaid button-up is your friend. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that lumberjack vibe that a check shirt instantly gives you. From thick, outdoor work wear, to lighter, summer camping numbers, our top check shirts list has something for everyone.

1) Burton Brighton Sherpa Lines Shirt – £94.99

Scraping through as a check shirt by the skin of its teeth, this check shirt from the good folk at Burton Snowboards is steeped in American. Beneath that classic look, is an insulating Sherpa lining in the body, and Taffeta lining in the sleeves where you wont need quite so much insulation.

Where You Would Wear This

Ffion’s boyfriend talks to you about Kings of Leon playing the Milton Keynes Bowl, and you nod intently, but you’re distracted. Just like the thump of Remix Ignition that’s playing from the conservatory stereo, his words are just muted background noise. You can’t stop thinking about that acoustic guitar you saw in the bedroom when you went for a piss. “Should I get it and give it a go?” You think. “Everyone will love Wonderwall, surely?”. “Bowie would, wouldn’t he?” Sharply, you come to your senses. “What was I thinking!” you scream at yourself. No. You’re already the coolest person there in your vintage looking Burton shirt. There’s no Wonderwall tonight.

2) Brixton Bowery LS Flannel Shirt – £69.99

Brixton have been purveyors of effortless cool for sometime, and the Bowery LS Flannel shirt is no exception. The 60 per cent cotton, mixed with polyester mix is indulgently soft, which is juxtaposed with aesthetics that look tough enough to take some real abuse. That two-tone grey with red windowpane check is the cherry on the check cake.

Where You Would Wear This
Converted the spare bedroom into an office? Got your record collection neatly stacked next to that potted Broadleaf Lady Palm you picked up at Columbia Road? Use a limited Edition Kingpin skate deck as a shelf, where you store your Bukowski novels and obscure Korean comics? Do you cycle the eight minutes to work, but only when it’s not raining? Was your favourite holiday that week visiting the micro-breweries of Niseko? Do you have your own minimalist office at work, with an oak desk, uncomfortable chair, a glass door, and a Mac that’s marginally bigger than the turn-up on your Levis? Then, chances are, you’re wearing this shirt, you handsome devil.

3) Volcom Randower Shirt – £59.99

Volcom are well versed in mixing form and function, and this Randower shirt is no exception. Made from 100 per cent cotton, it’s able to stand up to some abuse, while still feeling nice while you’re wearing it. The large, windowpane check combines forest tones, for a good, earthy look, and the regular fit allows room for movement without being too boxy.

Where You Would Wear This

It’s your third week at work, and you’re staring down the barrel of Dress Down Friday. “It’s just a bit of fun” insists Jen from Planning. But Jen has no concept of the turmoil you’re silently drowning in as you pretend to create a realistic looking spreadsheet. “How casual is casual?” you ask yourself, or at least you would if your mind would stop racing for just a second.

Too smart and everyone will think you’re weird. Too casual you’ll give off a full Wetherspoons stink. But then you find it. The Volcom Randower Shirt. It’s unlikely Johnny Cash had the Smart-Casual balance in mind when he wrote I Walk The Line but, sweet lord, it could be dedicated to this shirt.

4) Volcom Lumberg L/S Flannel Shirt – £64.99

In terms of aesthetics, the Lumberg L/S Flannel by Volcom is pretty much the definitive check shirt. The double breast pocket and tight dark checks, highlighted with that chalk line are as classic as you can get. However, the fit is modern and slim, flattering the silhouette with an athletic look.

Where You Would Wear This
200 people pack the sweaty room. The dark red walls, covered in dog-eared posters are moist to touch, should you be brave enough to get close enough to do so. Suddenly, Black Sabbath’s Iron Man cuts out, and three men take to the stage, jeans ripped, flannel shirts buttoned, and greasy hair freshly messed up. The roar of the audience is suddenly annihilated, first by guitar, then the thunder of drums. The opening bars of Smells Like Teen Spirit scorch the air around you.

Granted, this isn’t Kurt Cobain, it’s not 1992, and you’re not in Seattle. It’s the year 2019, the band are called Near Vana, and you’re in a function room above the Kings Head on the A5 outside Bilston. Resplendent, in your battered Chuck Taylors and your, Volcom Flannel Shirt, even if your knees hurt a bit more these days, this is heaven.

5) Fjallraven Skog Shirt – £99.99

When it comes to outdoorsy check shirts, Fjallraven produce some of the very best around. Made from 100 per cent heavy cotton flannel, this is tough and warm enough for the most adventurous of winter walks. The clean, white and blue check, however, is stylish enough to smarten up for the office.

Where You Would Wear This
Historically, Spartans shaved and oiled their bodies before going into battle. Vikings stocked up on smoked fish prior to vast voyages. Today, we decide between 15 or 20 meatballs before the modern equivalent: an IKEA shop. (Lingonberry jam with that gravy? Sure!)

The duration of such an undertaking is always unknown, with navigation limited, and natural light all but a distant memory. But this is not your first voyage. Far from it. You’ve come complete with a tape measure, some vague hand-drawn room plans on a bill from nPower, and you have one foot in ‘rugged’, the other in ‘Scandi-cool’ with your Fjallraven Skog Shirt.

You. Are. Ready.

6) Patagonia Insulated Fjord Flannel Jacket – £149.99

It may be one of the most expensive shirts to make the list, but the Insulated Fjord Flannel Jacket is no ordinary button down plaid. And yet, that’s exactly what it looks like. Slim fitting, full button front, check pockets, and tidy check design, this is a looker of a shirt. But beneath all that is 100 per cent organic cotton flannel teamed with 60-f Thermogreen insulation, making this shirt warmer than a lot of regular coats on the market.

Where You Would Wear This
The pile of neatly stacked wood next to the open fire fills the room with an almost-sweet woodland scent. Large rugs cover the dark wooden floorboards. The crystal cut whisky tumblers clink together deliciously as you walk across that one wonky bit of floor. You loosen those heavy boots, pop open the buttons on your Fjord Flannel jacket, and take a weight off in the rocking chair, sipping on a cold PBR. You’re living your best lumberjack life. Granted, it’s only for the weekend in an Air BnB cottage in Kent, but don’t step on the vibe.

7) Carharrt Swain Shirt – £69.99

Carhartt have made their name making some of the toughest workwear available, but also manage to ensure it always looks incredible as well. This check shirt continues that trend perfectly. Made form 100 per cent cotton, it’s fresh feeling and light. The curved hemline also makes it comfortable if you tuck it into your trousers, although we’re not entirely sure why you would.

Where You Would Wear This
Every bad satellite town has the same bad nightclub. The geography and the names may change – Atlantis, Oceana, Fifth Avenue, Mojo, Chasers – but the sticky carpet, the 2-4-1 on Blue WKD, the free bottle of ‘bubbles’ that tastes like nosebleed on your birthday in you’re on the mailing list, A DJ asking women to raise their hands while playing Boyonce Knowles records, the inexplicable playing of The Reflex by Duran Duran, lads in their dads leather jacket, women dancing in a circle around a pile of handbags they’ll only later realise were in a puddle of Apple Sours all remain the same.

A man with too much wet-look gel in his hair bumps into you, spilling what you’ve been assured is Carlsberg down your new Swain shirt. Is this enough of an excuse to go home? Probably not. You’re stuck here until two in the morning. Right now, you’d welcome the cold touch of the reaper but all that comes is another Bruno Mars record. “There’s some 24 Karat Magic in the air tonight, Wolverhampton” says the DJ over the PA. Is it wrong to pray for a subarachnoid haemorrhage?

8) Filson Mackinaw Jac-Shirt – £270

Part check shirt, part jacket, part tank, the Filson Mackinaw Jac-Shirt is one tough customer. Made from tough Mackinaw wool, it’s breathable, warm, and rain repellent, making it perfectly suited for the rigours of CC Filson’s native Pacific North West, let along a damp hike in Macclesfield. The snap fastening is ideal if you’re wearing gloves, and the cotton flannel linking is wonderfully soft, but makes you look as hard as nails.

Where You Would Wear This

The crackle of the log fire transports you a million miles away from the slow moving shoppers that, in reality, are just yards away, through the stained glass window of the pub. Their search for whatever it is they’re after never seems to cease, pacing endlessly like drones from one identikit shop front to another. But you? You’ve found what you’re looking for. A pint that only tastes vaguely like a scented candle, a copy of an impossibly large Sunday paper with the crossword still not filled in, and your own little bit of space, away from the masses outside.

You slip your Mackinaw Jac-shirt off, and consider taking your shoes off as well, before thinking better of it. You’ve stopped the world, got off, and for the next 40 minutes, everything is just about perfect.

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