Friday, 3 September 2010

Checked shirts: The finish line is in sight

Well that's that then. If you still haven't jumped on the lumberjack shirt bandwagon, it's too late now, because the wheels are about to come off.

What started a few years ago now as quite a niche nerd cool revival of a periodical old favourite has gathered pace and snowballed to such an extent that the Home News section of The Times has found it fit to devote a page lead story to the checked, or lumberjack shirt.

In doing so it has shot what remained of any element of cool in the lumberjack, check, madras, tartan, call-it-what-you-like fabric straight in the face.

From now on the checked shirt will become so ubiquitous that your own dad will be dusting off the one he's been using for gardening all these years and reworking it into his wardrobe.

And when a garment such as this enters the mainstream once more, and you walk into that pub to a scene resembling a patchwork quilt, you know it is time to move on.

To be honest the check shirt could never be called a classic. It will always carry with it that whiff of redneck that will have you ruing the day you ever got one. Usually around the time that you stumble on some old photos of yourself years later. A bit like twisted Levi's. What were they all about?

With that in mind I can smugly admit to investing only limited capital on my checked wardrobe. The most expensive item of the table cloth variety was a Visvim madras shirt which I offloaded a while ago but which would still probably pass as acceptable due in the most part to its superior manufacture.

Other than that it has been Uniqlo - my first stop when fad shopping. Cheap but well fitting, the stuff looks good while it has to and doesn't break your heart when the moment has passed.

That said, I reckon I've still got another winter in my lumberjack shirt. It's quite reserved in shades of grey and while it won't embue me with a knowing swagger any more, the sheer number of similar garments around will mean I will at least fit in with the crowd.

Come spring it will be all over for me I reckon. That lumberjack shirt will be somewhere near the woodpile.

I hear it's going to be the turn of chambray for a fashion revival next.

I won't be devoting vast sums to that either.

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