Style: Glamming up Gingham

When I think of gingham the first things that come to mind are usually old fashioned picnic table cloths and quaint Italian restaurants and the frock Dorothy wore from the Wizard of Oz (one of my & my mom’s favourite movies of all time). gingham2Then I came across these photos of Audrey Hepburn and Jane Fonda and these women look stylish & glamorous.
The fabric that’s been around forever and is more cutesy than sexy, is getting a makeover.

Diane von Furstenberg, Altuzarra and Michael Kors were all inspired to show gingham on their Spring 2015 runways, collectively creating the pattern's renaissance in the fashion world.
Diane von Furstenberg, Altuzarra and Michael Kors were all inspired to show gingham on their Spring 2015 runways, collectively creating the pattern’s renaissance in the fashion world.
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall

It’s been showing up on designer runways and on everything from cropped pants to suits and dresses. For me, the best way to wear it would be a little bit of fabric here and there like on the heel of a pair of shoes or on a shirt (which seems farm girl style when worn with jeans).

Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner

But these photos are giving us a few more ideas of ways to incorporate it into a wardrobe. From the photos you can see different looks from movie stars of yesteryear to today’s glamour girls.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
THE FASHION SHOOT Model Candice Swanepoel is captured by Terry Richardson at the Grand Canyon in Dior for Harper's Bazaar's August 2013 issue, proving gingham can work in almost any location.
THE FASHION SHOOT
Model Candice Swanepoel is captured by Terry Richardson at Monument Valley in Dior for Harper’s Bazaar’s August 2013 issue, proving gingham can work in almost any location.
Brigitte Bardot inspired dozens of style moments, from her iconic cat eye makeup to bouffant hair and black headbands. Here, she proves that a sweet gingham dress can have a sultry side.
Brigitte Bardot inspired dozens of style moments, from her iconic cat eye makeup to bouffant hair and black headbands. Here, she proves that a sweet gingham dress can have a sultry side.

What goes around comes around…or never left.

It fashion girl Alexa Chung
It fashion girl Alexa Chung from “House of Style”

I’m liking it.

Diane Von Furstenburg Spring/Summer 2015 Ad Campaign.
Diane Von Furstenberg Spring/Summer 2015 Ad Campaign.

Source: Bazaar Magazine

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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.

gingham2

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.

gingham3

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.”