Go rugged with unisex check shirts that dominate fall/winter 2011 collections. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo reports

Fashion comes full circle and more often than we think. Check shirts signified a rugged, outdoorsy look in the 60s, 80s and even as recent as 2008. Shirts with large and small checks were pick-me-ups for casual or Friday dressing and adventure outings. The checks are back with a vengeance, taking a cue from autumn/winter 2011 collections on runways and movies.

Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan sport them in Mere Brother ki Dulhan, Salman makes checks fashionable in Bodyguard and both Rannvijay Singh and Ayesha Takia wear them in the forthcoming Mod. Off screen, actors Imran Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, director Nagesh Kukunoor and actress Genelia have flaunted checks this season.

Check shirts have quietly invaded retail stores in the city and trickled down to college campuses, work places and just about everywhere. There's no escaping them. Almost all the leading brands have come out with check shirts for men and women and check tunics and shirt dresses for women. Apart from the silhouette, there's nothing to tell the check shirts for men apart from those for women. The patterns and hues remain the same.

Fashion designer Ishita Singh gives a thumbs up to checks. “Checks date back to the 1960s when it was a rage. These shirts are available in a range of colours and the rugged look can be carried off by both guys and girls. Girls can team up check shirts with chunky bangles and hoops while guys should keep accessories to a minimum. A smart belt and a pair of shades would complete the look,” she says.

“Tone down the accessories since checks make a fashion statement by themselves,” advices designer Vyshnavi Reddy. “Girls in their teens and early 20s can wear sleeved check shirts with tank tops in white, black or grey and team them up with faded denims. Boys can replicate a similar look and wear check shirts with a white or black T-shirt. Women can also combine shirt tunics with leggings,” she says.

Think office wear and checks pose a tricky situation. Choose shirts with smaller checks in muted colours and wear them with khakhis. Again, check shirts may work only for Fridays if your office has a strict formal dress code.

Vyshnavi sums up saying, “Checks are ideal for the colder months, almost reminding us of the Scottish look. This is the best time to sport them.”