5 Ways to Wear Madras

Madras shorts are perfect for a day on the boat.
Madras shorts are perfect for a day on the boat.

They may look preppy, retro or East Coast chic, but whatever you think about their pedigree, madras fabrics are in style. From their place on the fashion runway to that little stretch of beach you use as a weekend getaway, madras is more than a comfortable plaid (checked or striped) fabric. It's a summer season state of mind.

Although best known as a lightweight cotton fabric produced mostly in India, madras is a little like Memorial Day. It announces the summer holiday like no other fabric. You might see a middle aged guy in socks and sandals wearing red and blue plaid madras shorts as he walks a mile circuit around the local park, or catch a pretty girl heading out for a picnic in a pink (or turquoise) madras sundress complete with floppy hat. We've painted two very different pictures here, but that's the beauty of madras: It's universal.

On the next few pages, let's review five ways to update your wardrobe using madras fabrics. Before the season is over, plaid will be your favorite fun fabric pattern.

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