There are plenty of summer shirt fabrics out there—linen, seersucker, pique—but none of them as cool and recognizable as Madras. The classic shirts feature a signature bold plaid that gives your look a cool, casual prep, but is also designed to keep you cool.
“Madras is a great way to bring some color and pattern into your summer wardrobe,” says Björn Bengtsson, Chief Product and Supply Chain Officer at UNTUCKit, “and still look modern, proper, and classic.”
So what makes a button-down a “Madras” shirt? It's a light cotton fabric with subtle, patterned texture and tartan design. Although the pattern often steals the show, these shirts are really all about the fabric—taking its moniker from the former name of the city of Chennai in southern India.
According to historians, the first Madras fabric was spun from trees in the ancient city. It made its way across the Middle East and Africa via trade routes in the form of head wraps, and ended up as plaid patterns in the 17th century.
There are a couple defining features of a cotton Madras shirt. First, they’re all hand-woven in India by skilled artisans and originate from the Chennai region. Plus, the pattern must be the same on both sides of the fabric. At UNTUCKit, we've maintained all of these traditions in our all-new summer Madras shirts.
“Madras is synonymous with warm weather, laid back attitude and all the summer activities we love,” Bengtsson says.
Both the Zahn and the Merlino Madras shirts (available now) come in colorful pink and blue plaid patterns that are perfect for summer—with contrast buttons that add a fine touch of detail. Wear one with our Chino Shorts for a laid-back look that works for any city outing.