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Item of the week: the check sweater

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: French Connection, Rafaella, Madewell

What it is:

The check, or plaid, sweater is a staple item for the autumn/winter season, as evidenced by its prominent place on designer runways and in collections for the coming months. Check itself has a long, broad history, and has links to an array of notable fashion houses, namely that of Burberry, which has long integrated the famous pattern into the lining of its signature trench coats. Now, the brand, alongside others, has plastered this heritage look onto additional outerwear pieces, bringing it to life in rejuvenated forms that modernise this historic print for younger generations.

Image: French Connection

Why you’ll want it:

With these modernisations comes new and updated iterations of the classic check, seen in bolder colour choices and rejigged patterns that adapt the style for new consumers. The sweater as an item alone particularly works for autumn/winter as an additional layer, and therefore is season appropriate and a good wardrobe investment. Notably, such a style cannot be defined to one consumer group. The look appeals to audiences of all ages, even with the refreshed appearance of the check, giving it a broad reach.

Image: Madewell

Where we’ve seen it:

The check was a popular pattern for the AW23 season, making its way into an array of collections via coats, dresses and trousers. It was particularly prominent among sweaters and pullovers, however, exhibited by designers as an eye-catching winter layer for the colder months. While Maison Margiela’s iteration came complete with contrasting patches and fringed layering, Christian Dior’s sweaters took on boxy silhouettes with worn-looking plaid. For Daniel Lee’s Burberry debut in London, the designer took the brand back to its British roots, meaning that checks and plaids ran throughout the collection, including in a series of pullovers.

Image: Burberry

How to style it:

There are many ways to work with the check sweater, from a simple top and jeans combo to more outlandish options for the fashion-forward wearer. One way of styling the item that was regularly seen on the runways was in a daring co-ord, where the print was used throughout the entire outfit, complete with a matching sweater and pants or a skirt. Others saw it paired with an a-line midi skirt or chino pants, showing how versatile the item actually is and the breadth of its reach among contrasting consumers.

Image: Burberry

This season’s check sweater brings a historic classic back to life through updated prints, reviving the style and broadening its appeal. While the sweater itself is an autumn/winter staple, the use of check gives the garment a fresh twist, making it a wardrobe must-have for the colder months.

Image: Ella by Rafaella

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

French Connection
Item of the Week