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Menswear-inspired dressing has a lot of fashion traction lately, and nowhere is the trend is friendlier to femmes than in the plaids and checks making the rounds for this season, and next. Opening Ceremony’s oversize red and black gingham check cardigan has already blown out of its stores in New York and L.A. Banana Republic, enjoying an unusually directional collection for Fall/Winter, is printing cash on the back of its natty houndstooth coats. Traditional Scot plaids are virtually everywhere; smart shoppers can pick up Urban Outfitter’s high-waist pencil skirt in a blood-toned print and get two current trends for the (reasonable) price of one. But the freshest takes on check come in back-to-basics black and white. One of the standout looks at Danish designer Camilla Staerk’s Spring/Summer ’08 show paired a graphic, gingham print blouse with a neon yellow short; the must-have dress at Yigal Azrouel show was a X-strapped sheath in a blown-out check. Glen plaids make a subtler statement, and may stick around longer; look for a boxy, too-bit blazer with black lapels, or shop the thrift for a pair of baggy, high-waist trousers you can cut off at the thigh and roll at the hem. Together with a tee in Spring favorite tangerine or poppy, it’s an easy recipe for testosterone style with a side of girl.

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