The Charm of Gingham

I’ve always loved gingham and buy it whenever I can to brighten up my look. I’m so obsessed with it my younger brother swears every time I give him a new shirt, it’s gingham.

Throughout my research about the textile I discovered seven very interesting facts about it:

  • Characterized as “lightweight plain-woven cotton cloth” it’s usually in a checked pattern consisting of white and a vibrant contrasting color.
  • The word “gingham” is a reinvention of the Malayan term ganging (“striped).
  • Since the initial yarn is “dyed” before it’s woven it’s also known as “dyed in the yarn”.
  • Associated with more rural settings than urban in Europe and the United States, the fabrication reminds one of the country and rustic themes.
  • Gingham is popular with fashion designers during the summer, and is considered a “classic”.
  • It’s always been a favorite with Hollywood celebrities like Katherine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Today the love affair continues and it’s been seen on Rihanna and Reese Witherspoon.
  • During the 17th-century when it was first “imported to Europe” it was striped instead of checked. Then in the mid-1800s when it was manufactured in England, it was woven into checks or plaids.

How to Wear Gingham:

Despite it’s pleasing appearance gingham isn’t easy to wear and has its own rules:

  • Shirts should grace the body, but fit comfortably loose too.
  • Gingham separates look amazing on people over 40.
  • For a retro vibe, cropped pants, pencil skirts, and tie-front tops are cool when made out of gingham and cut just so.
  • To make it appear more picturesque, coordinate it with splashy polka dots, wild leopard prints, and pretty florals. Even flannels will work, but as with all contrasting patterns, be mindful of color before trying.

Places to Buy Gingham Online:

Honoring the Fabulous Fifties in Back to School Clothes (Nostalgia Blog from 2018)

Blue and white striped Ralph Lauren shirt and red bead necklace

Now that I’m embarking on my third week back to school/work at my day job as a Special Education Instructional Assistant for LAUSD I’m more prepared to incorporate my current influences into my daily wardrobe. Over the summer I happily immersed myself in a more “put together” era, through Debbie Sessions’ historical 1950s style guides via  http://www.vintagedancer.com and the book, The Gown by Jo Ellison, I’m reading for the Fashion Book Lovers Group I’m in, on http://www.goodreads.com. Despite this reality hit, and the hectic initial schedule of the fall semester beckoned, forcing me to contemplate how to wear something comfortable, sturdy, attractive and individualistic.

Skinny Jeans

If I looked at the unofficial dress code for the part of the city I work in, I’d have skinny, pre-distressed jeans, leggings, tight slogan tees, pajama bottoms, short shorts and furry slides to choose from. If I incorporated my new ’50s inspirations, however, with the trends I saw in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and the new magazine Fudge I’d just bought at  Kinokuniya Books, I could definitely sidestep these overdone trends and come up with something more unique and personalized.

Freudian Book Page Decorations

Freudian Book Page Party Decorations

Learning Can Be Fun: Monday Week 1

With that in mind, I combined the old with the new and started my Monday with a brown and white swirl print jacket from Goodwill Thrift Store over a red plaid shirt from Ross and a pair of Mossimo jeans from Target. To give it that ’50s edge I accessorized the outfit with a yellow and brown retro print scarf tied as a doo rag around my hair, a strand of pearls and a pair of black cat-eye shades.

FIDM Tote Bag

Settling In: Monday Week 2

Contrasting the form-fitting elan of last Monday’s ensemble, my mood became increasingly relaxed as I entered the second week, and I chose to embrace the structured jacket + flowy pant look of the fifties, by coordinating a navy-blue blazer with a white button-down men’s shirt and orange and white polka-dotted tie-front pants from Kohl’s. Accented with a skinny navy-blue polka-dotted scarf, from Fallas I also introduced a touch of Prada into the mix.