Madras is one of the quintessential summer fabrics. Favored during the warm weather months, it’s lightweight weave helps you stay cool under the sweltering summer sun. Originally developed in the hot, humid climate around the southern Indian port city of Chennai (formerly Madras during British rule), madras quickly became a prep staple. Favored as much for its bright, bold patterns as its propensity to soften over time, madras has a place throughout your wardrobe.
You’ll encounter two types of madras, the basic woven pattern and patchwork, which takes squares of the basic woven madras and sews them together to create a new pattern. True madras has the same pattern on both sides of the fabric, making it easy to spot fakes and tell if yours is authentic. You may also run into bleeding madras, a specific style that uses dyes that are not colorfast. With each wash certain colors fade or bleed and give the fabric a slightly new look. With the bold patterns indicative of madras, it’s best to include only one madras piece in an ensemble. Unless, of course, your second madras piece happens to be the drink of the same name.
Polo Ralph Lauren Madras Sport Coat (
$325 $229.99) / Castaway Clothing Cisco Shorts Hatteras Patch Madras ($88) / The Knottery The Foredeck Tie ($35) / Gant Yale Handloom Madras Casual Fit Original Button Down ($115) / Just Madras Pocket Square in Groton Long Point ($20) / The Cordial Churchman Braden Bow Tie ($29) / Brooks Brothers Milano Plain-Front Patchwork Madras Pants ($128)
High Cotton Ties Walker Headband ($20) / Cape Madras Fun Skirt ($88) / L.L.Bean Patchwork Madras Tote (
$32 $26.99) / Vineyard Vines Patchwork Madras Dress ($178) / Castaway Clothing Chatham Patch Sailing Short ($85) / Rugby Bryant Madras Shirt ($79.50) / Just Madras Reversible Belt in Kiawah and Pink Seersucker ($42)