Lifestyle: Keeping it all in check

A model presenting a creation for Celine's Ready to Wear Fall-Winter 2013-2014 fashion collection in Paris. PA Photo/AP/Jacques Brinon.
A model presenting a creation for Celine's Ready to Wear Fall-Winter 2013-2014 fashion collection in Paris. PA Photo/AP/Jacques Brinon.
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Make sure squares are on your checklist this season. Lisa Haynes runs the rule over fashion’s obsession for all things plaid and wonderful.

If you need a foolproof wardrobe formula this season, adopt the square route for some simple fashion mathematics.

Checks come in every guise for autumn/winter 13, from loud tartans to subtle tweeds and brand new grid prints.

No other print screams winter quite like the check family, and you don’t need Scottish blood running through your veins to go all out with the trend - just find your check mate and style it your way. So give circles the boot. This season, it’s hip to be square.

Tartan check

Great Scot! Tartan is the instant way to add personality to your outfit. Bold red is the classic way to don checks but you can also opt for more muted and wearable forest green or deep navy.

Play on tartan irony with this season’s vast selection of on-trend kilts, styled as wrap skirts - some even come complete with safety pin detail.

If you want to bring tartan into the 21st century, avoid floaty circle skirts and look for modern silhouettes, like fluffy jumpers or carrot-shaped trousers.

Tartan comes in grown-up glamour form too, worn as sequins rather than print. Look for dark colourways to make the piece evening appropriate.

Wear this square: 
To get noticed.

Window pane

It’s one of the newest checks on the block and you might find style inspiration watching Grand Designs rather than catwalks...

Window pane checks are entirely symmetrical and contained, with bold, single line squares.

These oversized checks are best worn in a stripped-back monochrome colour palette, so look for black or cream or navy and white to maintain the minimalist chic.

The simplicity of window pane checks means that they look amazing in matchy-matchy two-piece tops and skirts, or jackets and trousers, to really play on the graphic squares.

Wear this square: 
To keep it simple.

Laundry bag

Not since the Levi’s 501 advert have laundrettes been this cool. Look to run-of-the-mill washing bags for the surprise square print of the season, inspired by design house Celine.

Laundry bag checks are wide blanket weaves, with bold white, red and blue being the predominant colour palette.

Wear these checks slightly oversized - nobody ever has a tiny laundry bag so keep the dimensions the same for your wardrobe.

A wide checked coat is the biggest fashion statement you can make, but only invest if your outfits are generally plain and dark to let your cover-up absorb all the attention.

Wear this square: 
To look fashion-forward.


You’d have to be barking mad to miss out on this season’s dogstooth trend. Coinciding with monochrome mania, the high street is a sea of mini black and white weaves.

It’s a check trend that’s always translated well to sharp suiting but this season you can find chic separates like shirts and tops for casualwear or glam evening dresses for after dark.

The smaller the check, the more flattering the look, but a super-sized dogstooth is a great modern day twist if you like to be noticed.

As one of the busiest plaid trends around, keep your houndstooth in check by pairing the print with neutrals.

Wear this square: To embrace your inner traditionalist.

Get the look

Shimmer in sequins like Lorraine Kelly on the red carpet. Get a head start on the party dress rush with Coast’s striking midnight blue Perla Sequin Maxi Dress, £350, available now (

Wear this square: 
To rock monochrome.

Tweed weaves

No longer reserved for country hunts and twin sets, classic tweed has undergone an urban makeover.

Tweeds are best left in their traditional muted colourways - olive greens, mushroom browns and charcoal greys. It’s how you style them that can make all the difference.

Mix in cool textures like slick leather to create contrast, or use an unexpected pop of colour. A super-bright or neon knit will instantly modernise a heritage fabric skirt or jacket.

Avoid any accessories that remind you of the Queen - leave the pearls, Barbour jacket and riding boots for real countryside pursuits!