The Goodness of...Madras

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OK, so I have a thing for madras plaid, the preppy, colorful summer staple that's popping up on everything from shirts and shorts to neckties, pocket squares, and even shoes this season. I like to think of it as summertime's version of flannel.

Named after its southeast Indian birthplace, Madras the city was founded by the British in the 17th century and officially renamed to Chennai in 1996. Influenced by the tartans worn by Scottish soldiers, local weavers started making plaids out of lightweight yet durable cotton. The real deal is known as "bleeding madras" because of the natural vegetable dyes traditionally used. With each wear and wash, the colors blend to create unique, muted patterns. Nowadays, most madras is colorfast.

The key to successfully rocking madras is to limit yourself to just one item per outfit, and to always pair the madras with simple solids like khaki, white or navy. Keep it casual and cool by rolling the sleeves of the shirt or wearing the necktie loose and slightly askew.

These kicks are pretty sweet, no?!

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