Did you know that gingham was originally a striped fabric? Its name is believed to have come from the Malay adjective “genggang” which means “striped”. The chequered pattern that gingham is now distinguished by came about from about mid-18th century onwards when it started being woven in English mills. These days the pattern can come in a variety of different fabrics – from traditional cottons to silks to modern day scuba, gingham check creates a fresh and crisp look that is perfect for spring!
Gingham is a print that I personally most-associate with the pristine sky-blue dress worn by Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz. While the print is rather commonly used for men’s shirting, it’s rarely used for women’s clothing and even less so for workwear. However the talented designer Joseph Altuzarra features the print strongly in his 2015 Spring Runway collection, tailoring it to sleek feminine silhouettes in a way that makes it grown up and very workable and covetable indeed.
Know your gingham style!
Not all gingham check is made the same and not all are necessarily work-appropriate. Here are some tips on how to keep your gingham in check for your workplace:
The finer; the more formal.
- The smaller the checks, the more formal the look. Corporates should seek out smaller checks whereas Smart Casuals and those in Indie bands might like to rock a large and chunky check (the latter which could be classified as more of a plaid).
- The finer the fabric, the more formal the look. Men can get away with checks in fine cottons while women might like to go more formal again with silks.
- Cut and colour. Create a grown-up silhouette by seeking out tailored pieces. This means pencil skirts, blazers that are nipped in at the waist; rather than Dorothy Gale’s full and flouncy variety. Inject the freshness of the print into your workwear by opting for gingham check in crisp monochrome, navy or sky-blue.
- Unless you work in fashion… try not to wear gingham check head-to-toe. Contrast with block colour or if you are feeling brave; other patterns. That said, I admire this look by Joseph Altuzarra where he layers checks of the same size but different colours and with a knit over the top to tone down and pull the whole look together.
Here’s a look at how you can work gingham check in the office.
Contemporary Business Wear
Minimalist in check
Looking to update your minimalist wardrobe? Pair a boxy top with your basic-but-chic trouser or skirt and finish with a statement pair of sunglasses.
In Japan, monochrome gingham check pants are a popular alternative to denim. Try pairing with a classic top or clash with bolder prints.
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And there you have it, some inspiration for getting gingham check into your office style!
If you enjoyed this post, you may like last week’s piece on how to wear Sports Luxe to work!
What other trends would you like to wear to work? Drop me a line or stay tuned for next week’s look at the season’s best knitwear as lighter weaves means that knits aren’t just for winter.