Style Tips, Trends

Check Mate! These Gingham Looks Are Anything But Square


colorful gingham check fabric swatches

Shout it from the rooftops: summer’s here!  And with it brings one of our favorite summer patterns: gingham. This lightweight and cheerful look will keep you company on many a picnic or run through a meadow. (Please, whatever you do, don’t pass a meadow without running through it.)

HISTORY OF GINGHAM

Leave it to Wikipedia to very thoroughly define gingham:

Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn. It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns, where the colouring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain (weft). Gingham has no right or wrong side with respect to color.”

Who even knew there was a word called weft? Don’t you hate it when you went weft but you should have gone white? (*ba dum chhh*)

Theres speculation the name gingham may have derived from Guingamp, a town in Brittany, France, where the fabric might have been made. Youd think they would have kept track of the details of such an iconic pattern, but maybe everyone was busy puzzling over the word weft.

Gingham was initially a striped pattern and now it is decidedly checked, since about the mid-18th century. In addition to being sweetly wearable all on its own, its sometimes used as a test fabric, along with muslin, for fashion designs before a fancier fabric is used.

LEAVING AN IMPRESSION

Hang on, though. How is the pattern we think of as gingham different from plaid? The distinctive feature of plaid is the mix of different colors and lack of symmetry in the squares. Gingham is a single color, matched with one other single color, with symmetrical squares. Indeed, that seems to check out.

Brigitte Bardot caused a pink gingham fabric shortage when she got married in a dress made of it.  Think about how powerful an influencer you had to be to do that in the days before Instagram.

Without further ado, let’s see what gingham, in all its glory, can do for you.

HOW TO WEAR IT

With gingham tops available to wear all summer, exactly how (and when) will you wear them? Possibilities abound.

Preppy

woman-wearing-red-checked-gingham-shirtPrep loves gingham. Gingham loves prep. It feels at home when paired with straight skirts, loafers, and a little cardigan sweater. And you can turn this fun print downright respectable with the clasp of a pearl necklace.

Where to wear it: You just stepped off the ferry in Martha’s Vineyard. Your best friend whisks you off to the nearest hundred-year-old bed and breakfast. You throw on your favorite gingham tie front button down and feel just right for the occasion at that evening’s clambake.

Cute

Gingham, my friends, could make a boa constrictor look cute. Can’t you just picture a big old snake trying to be intimidating in a gingham bonnet, but everyone at the zoo is just dying to take him home. Gingham would look adorable paired with a maxi skirt or some flirty cutoff shorts (that’s if you’re a person, not a boa).  

woman-wearing-red-checked-gingham-tank-top-drinking-coke

Where to wear it: It’s your boss’ birthday, and everyone’s celebrating after work. You don’t want to make yourself the center of attention on someone else’s special day, but you want to show there’s a different side of you when you’re not maximizing your work ethic.

Edgy

Do it with denim. White jeans are a killer match for gingham, and some sassy heels will put you in a don’t-mess-with-me category. If you can’t imagine yourself looking edgy in gingham, you’re not trying hard enough. (Keep working on that fish gape.)

light blue gingham top white jeans

Where to wear it: You’re going out with your little brother and his new college friends.  You’re feeling protective, but you want them to think you’re cool. Your efforts pay off a little too well – two of them pull you aside and ask for your number.

GOT STYLE CHALLENGES? BRING ‘EM. GINGHAM’S GOT IT COVERED.

Gingham is such a simple way to achieve immediate style, it’s a wonder people don’t wear it more often. This can be the secret you keep in your back pocket: gingham never fails. Make gingham your go-to when you want to make sure your style is in check.

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