Gingham Style…

…and Classic Design.  FABRIC THAT STANDS THE TEST OF TIME:  You can resort to wearing this even if it’s not exactly considered “RESORT” wear.

Kirsten Dunst, Jackie Kennedy & Marc Jacobs shirt on model.
STYLE!  Kirsten Dunst (cute in gingham dress), Jackie Kennedy (this woman made even wearing gingham look chic)  & Marc Jacobs (a sophisticated gingham shirt on model.)  A little bit goes a long way with this fun fabric.


Personally the design reminds me of an old fashioned Italian style picnic.  But that is why I love my gingham lined wicker picnic basket & pieces of gingham paper lined small wicker trays for storing cheese in the fridge.   In summer I sometimes wear a head scarf on the beach with denim on one side & you guessed it….gingham on the other, conjuring up images of Annette Funicello in the movie beach blanket bingo. Don’t even remember the movie but I’m sure they had loads of fun shooting it.  Gingham is a timeless piece when it’s not overdone – or It can be too cutesy.

my picnic basket needs to be filled
my picnic basket requires nice weather
Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery wears a manly Gingham shirt as James Bond – nothing cutesy about him.

FYI The word “gingham” is derived from the Malay word “genggang” meaning striped. Gingham fabric first started off as a stripe pattern when it was first imported to Europe in the 17th century, but crazy folks making fabrics in Manchester England experimented with check versions.  Over time the word gingham evolved to be mostly associated with the check pattern.


In the 50s, women wore gingham dresses, but men rarely wore gingham shirts.  We know this from watching a few episodes of Mad Men.

In 1963, James Bond (Sean Connery) sported a large blue and white gingham check shirt with his swimsuit in From Russia with Love.  Casual stuff.

At some stage (guessing it was in the 70s) someone designed a tablecloth with this pattern and became very successful.  Since then gingham has been cursed with the name “table cloth pattern”.gingham3 - images for italian style

In the 80s and 90s, bankers never took gingham seriously. Neither Patrick Bateman nor Gordon Gekko would even consider wearing it to work.

Even Nike has a cool gingham print
Even Nike has a cool Gingham style print

At some stage, perhaps due to marketing of Ralph Lauren, gingham dress shirts went mainstream.  Natty British socialites wore them to rugby matches.  Suburban WASPS embraced gingham as the perfect shirt to wear under their blue blazer with their white pants when they went to the country club.  Glenn Beck wore them on TV.  Frat boys wore them to class.  Now wearing a shirt or dress can be fashionable when kept simple.

Fun Fact: DorothyDorothy wore a blue gingham dress in the Wizard of Oz   One of my all time favorite movies.

Research taken from “The Proper Cloth.”


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s