The Goodness of Gingham

From Amber

Really, is there a better pattern in existence? So classic, versatile, and flattering. I have never seen a woman look anything less than fresh and beautiful when wearing gingham. I quite enjoy seeing men in the print too. And it's the perfect template for playing with outfits.

 Take this Target dress for instance. I have worn it with or without a belt, with or without a long or short sleeved tee underneath, with or without a sweater, with jeans, leggings, tights, or bare legs, and with boots or flats. And all of those garments have been in all sorts of combinations, colors, and patterns. I wore it to almost every family potluck picnic get together we had each Tuesday evening at the park last summer, to the river over my bathing suit, camping at the the Women's Herbal Symposium in August, to the pumpkin patch in October, and grocery shopping last week:





I adore it and have probably worn it more than any other item in my closet since I brought it home. On a later Target trip, I discovered that I could fit into their girls XL clothes (take note size small grown-ups), and got this dress too ($12! and that's full price):


Do I really need two blue gingham dresses? Yes. In fact, in my research for this blog I learned that gingham was only made in blue at first. It was also a striped pattern in the early days, but evolved over time into the checked pattern we all recognize as gingham today (though various plaids and striped patterns are still defined as gingham in fashion dictionaries). The word is Malay in origin (Indonesian and Italian seem to also have contributed), filtered through Dutch into the sounds we now pronounce.

So yes, two blue gingham dresses. But I want red! The classic American red gingham. Lately I have been almost consumed with the desire for such a dress, ideally to be acquired before summer weather hits. (Yes, I have viewed every red gingham dress on Etsy, and continue to search every day). I'd also love a yellow top or dress, and baby blue would be nice too. 

But enough about me.

Here are some of our fellow "indie fashion bloggers" in their favorite gingham pieces:


Here is Mary Catherine of Little Red Fox and Painfully Hip  wearing a pair of black and white gingham pants she made herself based on a pair from Chloe Sevigny's 2008 line. This super stylish, incredibly adorable up-and-coming actress (who has already scored roles on 30 Rock, Lipstick Jungle, and Flight of the Concords) adores all gingham but has a special fondness for black and off-white, and has even tea dyed too-white and black gingham before in order to achieve this look! She calls the black and cream combo "very specific and nerdy" and yet she comes off as so nonchalant and glamorous wearing it.


This is another cream and white combo on an H&M top, which she figures she's worn at least 300 times so far this winter. Here's Mary Catherine's quite brilliant black and white gingham philosophy: "It is the perfect spring/summer fabric and I treat it like an interesting neutral, mixing it with allllll kinds of colors, patterns, and fabrics." Exactly.

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This is Jennifer from Sally Jane Vintage. Now this woman always looks classically beautiful, but even more so in this sweet little gingham number, perfectly accessorized with black sunglasses, bag, and shoes.

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Here is the ever-so-precious craftin' mama Andrea in large print gingham. Andrea has not one but three blogs! Little Big Head, Cider and Faun, and Pomegranates. And here are some of her handmade gingham-clad goodies: 

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Moving on from black, here's Tamara of Verhext (I'm obsessed with her blog) looking pretty as a vintage postcard in green gingham.

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And here we have the fabulous Andrea from A Cat of Impossible Colour wearing the absolute sweetest li'l picnic dress. Though she looks like the All American Sweetheart here, Andrea was born in England, raised in Zimbabwe, and now resides in New Zealand! (Her bio is super interesting, in case you've read her blog but never her bio).

Andrea hearts gingham and its sister plaid so much that she even has a special section in her closet dedicated to them (man I love sneak peeks into people's closets!):

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And here's a pile o' Andrea's gingham fabrics to tickle your fancy:

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Now here are some great photos/garments I found on Flickr:


I crave this top, deeply. From veronikavsyou's Flickr photostream.


This incredible look- I so love how liberally people are adding belts to their ensembles these days- was put together by Keiko Lynn. Who actually may actually be the world's actual best outfit-putter-togetherer.


This adorable dress was handmade by Fly Tie.


This is from emohoc's photostream.

And if you like what you see here be sure to check out the fabulous Flickr group ART GINGHAM PHOTOGRAPHY.



And now here is the dreamiest gingham dress I have ever laid my hazel eyes upon. If it were just a wee bit bigger, I might actually consider paying the $125. It's for sale on Etsy from The Vintage Dress.


While searching through iPhoto I found these pics of my family in red gingham. It's been so long since these summer pieces were worn that I had forgotten about them. There's Mycie enjoying her first sprinkler play at her great grandparents house last summer (another Target find) and here's me and Graham at a local food and farm festival on summer solstice.


Gingham's classic look lends itself just as well to home decor as to clothing, as we all know from the pages of home magazines, if not from our own domestic interiors:


My love for red gingham is fierce though, so I'm still on the lookout for great dresses :-)


Despite my love of fashion magazines, my very favorite magazine is Mothering. I started subscribing to it three years before I even became pregnant! The new issue's cover story is all about crafty mamas who blog about their lives, projects, and families (I received it the day after posting about another artsy mom at my other blog: The Cutest Baby- and Most Inspiring Birth Story- on Etsy). I found the article incredibly inspiring (though not before going through a guilt-ridden night of self doubt because I'm not as crafty or housewife-y in general as I picture the perfect mother being). 

But it turns out I do have something in common with these mamas- my favorite dress! Two of the ladies happened to be wearing the Target blue gingham dress in their photographs, an interesting coincidence. (If it had been a fashion magazine they would have asked "Who Wore It Better?").

Stephanie Congdon Barnes

Sally Shim

Actually, they both look great and are a perfect illustration of the versatility of gingham, my beloved.