Gone are those days when you could only wear plain boring shirts and blouses to the office in a predetermined set of neutral colours. Work places are getting more fashion-friendly and are now open for you to experiment with colours, prints, cuts and silhouettes. Try these checkered shirts for women’s formal wear and add some spice to your work wear wardrobe. We’ll tell you all about what goes right and what you need to stay away from. Ready?

Checks, checks more checks:


Ghingham, Shepherd’s, Houndstooth, Windowpane, Tattersall, Graph, Pin – just some random words? No – these are what you would call the checkered patterns on formal shirts for women. It’s quite difficult to pick out a couple of most popular checkered or plaid patterns out of these. The truth is that we see these around everywhere, but none of us give it a thought to look closely and see the differences. The names don’t stop here. If you allow the not-so-formal but happy bright plaids into consideration, you could make quite a long list. Madras, for instance – comes from our very own Chennai. A simple colourful block pattern on a local lungi went around the world and too over the runways to become one of the much-loved plaid patterns.

So, that’s a brief about checks. Now on to what we are here for – How to find the perfect formal wear checkered shirt for women?

There was a time when shirts and shirt patterns were only a concern for men. But now, with the confident young modern women almost taking over every workspace, formal wear has swiftly crept into the ladies’ wardrobes as well. And trust me, work wear has never been so stylish before the women decided they want to dress formally too. In India, a kurta-leggings or a simple salwar-suit is considered acceptable at most office spaces as semi-formal everyday office wear. However, nothing can beat a crisp formal shirt for women, when it comes to the hardcore business avenue. Pair it up with a pant-suit, skirt or a jeans – a good formal shirt for women is a must-have in your everyday wardrobe.

What to style with checkered shirts:

What to style with checkered shirts:

Now, here’s how you can dress up a checkered shirt for women.

A long long time back, before fashion discovered plaid shirts, checks were for the cowboys and construction workers in the western world. Here in our country, we saw it on lungis and towels. But soon, women started pairing up loose men’s plaid shirts with pants or leggings to show off their cool and casual carefree look. This turned out to be a big trend that most people (including me) still follow religiously. The key elements you need to dress-up or down a plaid/ checkered shirt for women are:

  1. The right accessories: For a formal look, invest in a good belt and shoes. A leather bag/purse would be ideal too.
  2. The right fit: For work wear, the loose fit boy-friend shirt style is not recommended. Get a cotton shirt for women that sports pin, graph or even windowpane checks. But make sure it gives you a tailored fit, especially at the shoulders. Slouchy shoulders are a no-no for work wear. Inserting plaid casual shirts for women works too. Add a belt and pair it up with fitted pants or jeans and black formal pumps, for a neat and cleans look.
  3. Wear a Skirt: Add a bit of that womanly grace and pair up your checkered shirt for women with a formal skirt. Invest in a black or grey skirt – it goes with any top. And do not forget a thin leather belt with a delicate buckle to compliment the print on your shirt. Add a handbag in a solid colour and black booties or pumps. For jewellery, a thin bracelet and barely-there stud’s should do.
  4. Experiment with sleeves and necks: Do not always stick to the shirt collar for formal work wear. Try a v-neck or boat-neck in checkered shirts and add a chocker or sober neck piece to match your check on the shirt.
  5. Do not shy away from colours: Coloured checks are not banned from work wear options. You can always pair up a bright plaid flannel shirt for women with formal pants or skirt and tone down the casual look. Just make sure you have a well-fitted shirt though. Stay away from the long over-sized flannel shirts for women, at least at the workplace.

Now that you know what goes well where, take a look at these formal shirts for women in checkered patterns and styles. Time plaid up your work wear!

Shades of blue:


Let’s start with very basics. As seen in the picture above, this is a fully formal shirt for women with a sober yet interesting blue checkered pattern. Remember how I talked about the Madras checks not being ideal for office wear, but can always be styled up to fit in. This checkered pattern shirt for women comes close to the original madras check pattern. The multiple hues of blue add quite the bit of color to the cotton shirt, but at the same time is not too flashy to be banned from the workplace. Notice the structured shoulders and the well-fitting full sleeves. What more could you ask for from a good formal shirt for women. The length of this checkered shirt for women is not ideal to be inserted. So, just let it be and pair it up with white or khaki trousers. This shirt style would be ideal for the routine not-special day at work. To accessorize the look, go for brown leather brogues and a sling bag – the leather tone will complement the blue checks well. Tie up your hair in a high pony or low bun and you are ready to take on the day in style.

Gingham checks:

 Time to take it up a notch – work wear needn’t be boring, you know that. Enter Gingham checks. Once upon a time, these checkered patterns were favourite only for table linen and baby frocks and maybe a milkmaid’s costume. But now, it’s been awhile since the great ginghams have taken over the fashion world – casual, formal and even couture.

Naturally, they are bound to appear on formal shirts for women too. What is interesting in the example above are the sleeves. Notice how the sleeves have been cut out diagonally out of the fabric to give that extra contrast from the main body of the shirt. This tiny bit of details makes all the difference in making this cotton shirt for women a unique piece. If you are not a big fan of fitted clothing, this should be you pick for work wear chic. It’s quite common to see formal shirts for women almost always coming in the fitted variety.

However, you don’t have to be slouchy at the office (that’s unacceptable) to wear a more comfortable silhouette. Tip number 1 for picking out a comfortable loose shirt for work wear – no matter how loose the lower part of the shirt is, but make sure that the shoulders are tailor-made straight. If anything can make you look slouchy, that would be an overhanging shoulder panel. Next, stick to one basic colour and white combination. Thirdly, insert the shirt into a well-fitted pair of trousers that ends just above the ankles – cuffs work too. Accessorising the look – leave two or three buttons open up top, roll up the cuffs, slip into comfortable heels and hold on to a stylish bag/clutch. Don’t forget those cool shades if your work takes you outside the office.-

Windowpane checks:

windowpane check shirt

Hello! Get introduced to the windowpanes – yes, they are a type of checkered patterns and they are so formally stylish. Windowpane checks are called windowpane checks simply because they look like windowpanes – easy! They have been enjoying a privileged representation on men’s shirts and suits for many decades now and are still going strong. These large blocks made of thin lines may seem boring and too plain – but they are real fun if you know how to style them right.

However, I wouldn’t suggest a windowpane formal shirt for women if you have a heavy upper body – the large checks could add to your figure. So, how and why would you wear this to the office? Let’s answer the why part first – Because it can’t get any more formal than this. Now, How? Just as you see in the picture, you could either mix up the casual and corporate or go all formal and pair it up with a pant suit. Accessorizing is easy – since the windowpane check pattern is a loud element, you may want to minimize it with other bits of distractions. A good vest/waistcoat should work.

Bright colours:

Bright colours Shirt

Yay! Colour. As true fashionistas your goal in life should be to break away from the rules and make stylish statements that make you stand apart yet be one among the crowd. Tricky? Not really. I simply mean that mix and match your clothes in such a way that you feel good about your style as well as inspire other to follow you by example. Here’s a good way to start. Colourful checkered shirt for the office.

The checkered pattern shirt you see here is the ever popular casual favourite called flannel shirt. But this one’s a short flannel and that’s cool for work wear. The look represented above is best for fall/winter. If you are from a part of the country where it is sunny all year round, trade that cardigan for a summer jacket and those boots for a gladiator sandal and you are comfy. If you are from a hardcore corporate background, this look can be risky. But if you go to cool creative workspace everyday – adopt the look. Layers are the key to this work wear style. The checkered shirt for women used here strictly not formal, but with that neutral cardigan and a khaki trouser with formal pumps should put you on the right track.

Corporate look:

casual shirt for women

Before, you saw the classic windowpane. This one’s windowpane checkered shirt for women of today. It needn’t always be a cotton shirt for workwear and it needn’t be plain boring white either. This casual shirt for women in a flowy fabric has been incorporated into a chic formal look with the help of those ultra-cool high-waisted wide-legged pants. Also, glamorizing the look is a gold chain hugging the lady’s neck and peeking right through the collars. A pair of pointed stilettos are a must-have for pants so wide at the bottom. And the bag adds all the charm to complete the ensemble fit for any high-flying career women. Okay, ladies… this one’s for corporate top management only. If your daily commute to work features a grueling ride on a city bus or the local train, better let this look go. But yes, you can always pull this off at a formal office event. Business travel style – Check!

Pairing with skirts:

Pairing with skirts:

Enough of these trousers and jeans – let’s bring in some feminine charm into formal wear. Skirts are a great option for work-wear – pencil, A-line or even peplum works. And it would be great to mix it up with a bright checkered formal shirt for women. Go for a half-sleeved semi-casual shirt it you are pairing it up with a fitted pencil skirt. Full sleeves do not really make it to my style files when it comes to workwear skirts and shirts. If you are not left with any other choice, pair up a full-sleeved, but well fitted, checkered shirt for women with a pleated skirt and roll up the sleeves into neat cuffs. Add a belt to give that extra bit of dimension. Heels are a must for this look.

Pairing with skirts
checkered shirts for women

So, there you go – checkered shirts for women are cool for office wear. Off with those drab boring plain formal shirts. Bring in some colours and patterns into your work wear wardrobe with these cool checkered formal shirts for women.

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