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Check mates

November 23, 2008|Melissa Magsaysay | Magsaysay is a Times staff writer.

Big, bold buffalo-check plaid is impossible to miss this season. Ralph Lauren refined the rugged pattern, showing it on crisp-collared button-down blouses, elegant long skirts and "Ricky" bags on his fall runway. And hipster havens such as American Apparel and LF are offering it on everything from dresses to lightweight scarves -- all with a streetwear sensibility.

But the easiest way to get the look is with a flannel shirt. Woolrich has been doing a buffalo-check shirt since 1850. We found the coziest and most affordable version in the boy's department at Target for only $14.99. The cut is nice and slim; on an adult, the sleeves are three-quarter length, which makes them perfect to roll or scrunch up. Be sure to cut off the attached black jersey hood so you don't end up looking like you should be downing Capri Suns while zipping around on a Razor scooter. The leftover seam actually works to make the shirt's collar stand up, for a little preppy touch.

A shirt like this makes quite a tomboy statement, so wear it with skinny jeans and tan or black high boots to keep the look sleek. Or layer a bright, solid-colored, long-sleeve T-shirt underneath so it pops at the neckline and extends beyond the rolled sleeves.

If you think less is more in a check like this, try it on footwear. Danish footwear brand Rubber Duck is making its popular Snowjogger boot in the graphic print. Or, for a more city-friendly option, Converse is doing a classic Chuck Taylor low top. Both would liven up a simple winter outfit -- a nice alternative to wearing a loud color.

Black and white is the most ubiquitous color combination for this print, and it looks a lot less Paul Bunyan than the traditional red and black. Which is good. You're after nostalgic Americana -- not lumberjack.

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melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com

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