It’s more than 30 years since Withnail retreated to the Lake District in his sweeping checked coat. The original was bought at auction by Chris Evans in 2000 but you can still commission your own from the film’s costume designer, Andrea Galer, via her website, andrea-galer.co.uk (from £1,500), or purchase one of her patches featuring the film’s characters (£20) to stitch inside your own checked homage to the film.
What makes a checked coat a hardy perennial of menswear is the easy way it slips into your wardrobe, allowing you to pick one colour from the pattern to build your outfit from and instantly bringing a smarter feel to a casual jeans and jumper ensemble with very little effort.
While generally sitting at the smart end of the spectrum, a bolder check allows you to have a bit of fun with your look; see Cos’s blurred melange check (£225) from their recent see-now, buy-now London fashion week show, with strands of pale blue and orange running through it. Scotch and Soda’s bold check (5) also sits at the fashion statement end of the checked gamut. Throw it on over a low-key look and you’re good to go.
Ted Baker’s cream and grey style looks great with a winter white outfit (1) but would also work over a black jeans, roll neck and Chelsea boot look. Reiss (£350) and The Kooples (7) each offer a brown check option that can be dressed up for work or down over a favourite chunky knit, beanie hat and sturdy boots. It’s just the thing for a long walk culminating in a bottle of red at a warm pub – something else Withnail would agree on.
1. £450, tedbaker.com
2. £390, uk.tommy.com
3. £149, moss.co.uk
4. £100, riverisland.com
5. £470, scotch-soda.com
6. £159, zara.com
7. £406, thekooples.com
8. £390, allsaints.com