As much as we fashion followers love the thrill of the new - new trends, new silhouettes, new ideas - there is equally something incredibly satisfying about a designer reinstating as cult an item that’s long been lurking about the back of our wardrobes.
At his sophomore show for Bottega Veneta back in September, French designer Matthew Blazy did just that, when he sent Kate Moss down the runway wearing perhaps the most memorable (and certainly the most widely shared) look from his spring 2023 collection; the simplest and most perfect of outfits: a pair of baggy jeans, a white tank and a faded blue checked shirt.
The look, it transpired, was deceptively simple, as Blazy had in fact crafted the shirt from painted leather - a trompe l’oeil technique of optical illusion he first pioneered with “jeans” in his AW22 Bottega Veneta show and is fast making his signature. And yet, leather or not, Mossy’s plaid shirt has imprinted itself on the minds of the fashion set - and is without doubt set to be a major hit for 2023.
“There is something perfectly nonchalant about a plaid shirt,” says Pip Durrell, founder of shirt brand With Nothing Underneath, which added plaid to its range back in October. “It feels nostalgic, like an old friend, no matter how new.”
Perhaps you still own a lumberjack shirt from your Nirvana-loving nineties grunge days (or even your Avril Lavigne or Blink 182 early noughties era), in which case whip it out, give it an iron and rock it with a pair of luxe baggy jeans. Note: the scruffier the shirt, the smarter the denim needs to be.
Should you be looking to invest, then With Nothing Underneath’s flannel shirts come in the softest of brushed cottons and cashmere and wool blends (around £120), while Levi’s and US label Rails all stock good quality plaid shirts in a large range of colour combos for under £200 and H&M, Uniqlo, Abercrombie and M&S meanwhile all have failsafe options for under £50. Isabel Marant, whose long made lumberjack shirts part of her brand DNA, has an excellent ombre cotton option that would look particularly elevated with black leather trousers, smart black boots and plenty of silver bling- it’s technically menswear, but really this trend’s unisex.
The coolest way to wear the plaid shirt is open, over a tank and baggy jeans a la Mossy, but more fitted styles also look great tucked in to smarter jeans with a belt and heeled boots. On colder days layer over a lightweight polo neck, or seek out heavier ‘shacket’ styles (Isabel Marant, Sandro and Boden all have good options). Versatile, comfortable and with excellent options for under £40, a flannel shirt is the perfect outfit-boosting layering staple for this bleak and blustery January.
Shop the look:
Levi’s Nola oversized shirt, £75; shop here
Uniqlo flannel check shirt, £29.90; shop here
Abercrombie relaxed flannel shirt, now £26; shop here.
Isabel Marant Pilou Checked Cotton-Flannel Shirt, £355; shop here
Rails Hunter shirt, £168; shop here
With Nothing Underneath fine brushed navy plaid shirt, £120; shop here
Gant plaid flannel shirt, £100; shop here
Coach oversized flannel shirt, now £150; shop here
All Saints greystone checked shirt, now £47.20; shop here
Ralph Lauren Leeann Plaid Cotton-Blend Shirt, £600; shop here