What is Madras?
Think of madras as a more colorful, warm-weather cousin of tartan. In fact, its roots go back to that aforementioned pattern. During the days of Colonial India, artisans in the city of Madras imitated the tartan clothing worn by Scottish soldiers by dyeing cotton with vegetable dyes. The result was a similar pattern of overlaid checks and stripes, but in bright, bold colors that sometimes “bled” together (modern fabrics don’t have the same tendency).
How Can You Wear Madras?
A natural way to wear a madras shirt is casually with the sleeves rolled-up, accompanied by jeans or khaki shorts (and maybe a hot dog). But you don’t have to limit it to pure summer weekend-wear. It can pull suit duty too, so long as the suit is in a neutral color and made of a more casual fabric like linen or cotton. For an even easier route, break up the suit and wear its sportcoat with a pair of dark jeans.