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What are Tattersall checks?

Posted on 10 October 2022

What is a Tattersall Check?
Tattersall refers to a type of check pattern created by combining evenly spaced horizontal stripes with evenly spaced vertical stripes. Each stripe has a width of around 0.125” (in traditional variations). The checks formed were originally rectangular due to the horizontal stripes being more widely spaced than the vertical stripes. However, modern day Tattersall checks are now often square. Usually, Tattersall fabric consists of either 2 or 3 coloured lines on a lighter colour background, although many contemporary variations do exist.

History of Tattersall
Tattersall, now synonymous with country style, has an interesting history. Immediately recognisable and hugely popular today, this simple check fabric originally started life as a lowly horse blanket. Richard Tattersall in 1766, opened his eponymous auction house near Hyde Park in London, and the horses there would often be draped in blankets to prevent them from becoming cold during the often-lengthy auctions.
The distinctive patterns must’ve turned heads because it was quickly adopted by weavers in Lancashire who started weaving it in pure cotton with the idea of using it for men's shirting. The robust twill construction and bright patterns made the fabric ideal for use as outdoor workwear, and were therefore a natural choice for agricultural workers, farmers, and estate hands. By the late nineteenth century, Tattersall had become a firm favourite amongst all strata's of society, with Tattersall shirts becoming the main choice of attire for most outdoor pursuits.

How to wear Tattersall
Although some patterned shirts can work for formal events, smarter occasions are not really the place for Tattersall shirts. The history of the pattern usually lends itself to a more casual weekend style when it’s teamed with other country-inspired fabrics, such as moleskin and tweed.
Dress down a Tattersall shirt with shorts and a pair of good-quality loafers. It is best not to team these with socks. Adding a belt will tidy up the look perfectly. For a smarter look, team with a woven wool tie, a tweed jacket and a pair of corduroy trousers in a colour that complements the shirt.
Remember not to go overboard on the patterns. If you are wearing a Tattersall shirt team it with something plain in a neutral colour. Too many patterns look busy and cluttered and will ruin the subtle effect of the classy yet casual Tattersall style.
However they are worn, a few Tattersall check shirts are a must for every man’s wardrobe. There are so many different styles and designs to choose from, so there will be something for every taste and body shape.

What to look for in a Tattersall shirt
When choosing a Tattersall check shirt, ensure the squares are not so big that the pattern disappears. Similarly, the squares should not be too small either, as this can look too fussy. The weave quality is also an important feature. Natural fabrics work well for Tattersall check. 100% brushed cotton makes for a very good-quality and comfortable shirt.


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