Gingham is a simple, two-toned checked pattern made up of geometric squares. The squares can be large or small. Gingham fabric is usually woven, although gingham knits are gaining momentum. Gingham is most popular in blue, black and red checks. But you can get gingham in just about any colour when it’s combined with white. In a crisp and cool cotton, gingham is particularly nice for Spring and Summer. 

 The history of gingham is quite interesting. I was surprised to see that the word “gingham” is derived from the Malaysian word “genggang” meaning “striped”, which was then adopted by the Dutch in Dutch-colonized Malaysia. 

Although gingham wafts in and out of fashion as a major trend, it’s a Modern Classic pattern that’s always in style. It’s a check, which means that like stripes, polka dots, lace and animal prints, it has a high longevity factor with excellent pattern mixing potential. It’s versatile, and can function as a false plain when the checks are extra small. Its Modern Retro sensibility can be appealing. Brigitte Bardot wore a pink gingham wedding dress in the late ‘50s, which started a massive trend and a shortage of the fabric in France. 

You’ll find gingham wardrobe items every season, but many more of them when the pattern is having a trendy moment. That’s the case this year, so feast your eyes on these lovelies. All sorts of gingham goodies across an assortment of items, colours, and sizes of the pattern. Oversized gingham looks particularly playful and bold. 

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I like gingham because it’s a classic pattern that keeps me interested (I tire of non-classic patterns.) I’m also attracted to its Modern Retro vibe. I’d wear a gingham blouse, pair of trousers, jacket or pullover. I’d also sport the pattern in a bag. I just bought a pair of navy gingham high-waisted pants from Zara, and road-tested them over the weekend. I LOVE their tailored fit and Modern Retro vibe. They’re going to be a workhorse because they complement most of my Summer tops, look very polished, and are comfortable to boot. 

Most of my clients like gingham, but there are a few of them that can’t see past the tablecloth, napkin, cowboy, juvenile and twee connotation of the fabric. And some have even thought of it as overly masculine. 

What’s your take on gingham?