The best Madras shirts you can buy in 2021


Question: When is a plaid shirt so much more than a simple plaid shirt? Answer: When it’s a traditional Madras shirt – as timeless and iconic as the style gets, and a summer wardrobe staple for savvy men.

What is the Madras plaid?

Madras is a lightweight cotton that’s perfect for the type of shirt you need when it’s hot outside and want to look cool. Yet there is also real art and history to the Madras shirt.
“Madras fabric is the eponymous fabric traditionally made in Madras [now called Chennai], in India, ”says Paul Simons, son and business partner of legendary London-based menswear designer John Simons. “This is pure cotton with a loose weave that is traditionally dyed in a plethora of muted plaid patterns – and others less understated.

“It’s typically soft and light, which lends itself perfectly to the button-down shirt, creating an easy-to-wear and extremely comfortable summer shirt. It was particularly popular in the Ivy League style of the 1960s in the United States.

The history of the Madras shirt

Like many classics in menswear, the Madras shirt was popular around the mid-20th century. It’s pure Americana, but it’s a bit unfairly associated with American tourists. It was also worn by mods in 1960s Britain and deer in the 1970s, although you could never call it counterculture. Worn correctly, however, is proof that the much ridiculed short-sleeved shirt should have a permanent place in your wardrobe.
“It would definitely be considered a casual shirt,” says Simons. “But these days just wearing a shirt can be considered smart. The shirt itself should have an unbound collar and cuffs to give it the perfect relaxed feel. Personally, I like to wear them unstitched with plain shorts, tucked into an open collar with jeans, or even with a knit tie.

The best brands of Madras shirts

If you are looking to add a few madras shirts to your wardrobe, here are the best brands to find them.


Ralph lauren

Madras may be a traditional Indian patterned fabric, but Ralph Lauren is a cornerstone of modern American culture – a brand that exudes wealth, corporate success and the good American life. It’s also a standard issue for anyone who enjoys preppy fashion, so of course that makes a good line of Madras shirts. Colorful and extremely well made, these shirts prove that being boxy can be trendy after all.

Buy Now: £ 119.00

POLO RALPH LAUREN Classic fit Madras shirt

Jean Simons

John Simons was one of the top menswear designers in 1960s London – the man who outfitted mods and deers. The business started in the 1950s, importing Ivy League style clothing from the United States and adding a British touch to it. With a store in Marylebone, London, Paul Simons’ look is as strong as ever – a style that has both defined generations and transcended them. Authentic Madras shirts have always been a key part of collections, like this long-sleeved blue and yellow plaid shirt made (as with all Paul Simons Madras shirts) in India from genuine Madras fabric. Buy Now: £ 75.00



J Crew

Much like Ralph Lauren, J.Crew is another American staple – an affordable, affordable brand with high fashion aspirations and style. At the forefront of the growing menswear industry, J. Crew has been a proponent of the ever-popular urban lumberjack look – all plaid shirts, denim and big hipster beards – that make the brand a standout. natural fit for Madras shirts as well. J.Crew’s version is traditionally made in India, with a relaxed fit through the body and sleeves, and exclusive check patterns. Buy Now: £ 62.50

Indian Madras shirt J.Crew with blue checks

Abercombie & Fitch

These days, you don’t have to be an ultra-shredded college athlete to shop at Abercombie & Fitch. The brand dates back almost 130 years, starting its life as a sporting goods store and then becoming the place for preppy style for young people. But A&F has seen another shift in recent years, reconnecting with its sporting history to redefine its public image. A&F has worked alongside artisans from Chennai to produce its Madras range, which offers a range of colors. Our pick is this dark brown check – a look that will work in both summer and fall. Buy Now: £ 58.00

MADRAS SHIRT Abercombie & Fitch


The Swedish fashion label dates back to the early 1900s. Originally based in the United States, it was a staple of the mid-century Ivy League look and still produces clothing based on that old-school Americana. He is also known for popularizing the button-down shirt. Unsurprisingly, this indigo Madras shirt is a no-frills classic, described as an “American sportswear icon” – the kind that suits a chic or casual outfit. Buy Now: £ 42.50

Indian Madras shirt classic fit GANT


Jacamo’s promise is to make clothing shopping easier, especially for men who struggle to find well-fitting clothing at regular retailers. So thank the sewing gods for Jacamo, because buying larger sizes is an unnecessarily arduous chore – something most of the big brands still haven’t caught up with. True to form, his Madras mishmash shirt comes in a range of sizes – from small to 5XL – but most important is the brand’s electric design. Buy Now: £ 32.50



You know where the Gaps are – clothes that fit almost everyone and stores that have something for almost everyone. And if you are looking for a beautiful, well-made and (most importantly – affordable) madras shirt, then Gap is the place to go. It is not surprising that the American pillar is a reliable place for Madras designs. There are several, including this chic edition with short sleeves in burgundy and green checks. Buy Now: £ 19.99

Madras Check Short Sleeve Utility Shirt


Founded in 1976, Beams is a leading clothing retailer and brand in its native Japan. He’s known for doing the basics right – high-end, mid-level clothing in a chic, casual style. This Madras shirt is part of the Beams Plus range, a robust and masculine look based on heritage and workwear style clothing. A pull-on shirt that’s more Madras style than authentic Indian-made (because it’s Japanese-made, of course), it has the distinct vintage and worn feel of the Beams Plus line. Buy Now: £ 105.00


by Drake

Not necessarily a household name, but Drake’s has a prestigious history in creating premium and premium men’s clothing. It was founded in 1977 in the East End of London and has its flagship store alongside the great and good London tailoring, located just off Savile Row. Drake’s is well aware of the importance of the Madras shirt as a stylish men’s basic and brings a touch of English class to the design, with their shirts handcrafted in the UK. Buy Now: £ 67.50

Drake's Navy and Red Madras Check Shirt with Button Down Collar


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