Know Your Pattern: Gingham

The menswear landscape is filled with tons of interesting and compelling patterns. And knowing how to identify them can earn you some serious style cred. So in the interest of taking your style game to the next level, let’s make sure you always know your pattern.

Though we have come to know gingham as a checked pattern, it was originally striped. In fact, the name ‘gingham’ comes from the Malay word genggang, which means striped. Eventually, as we know, the checked pattern won out over the striped pattern. An interesting thing to know about gingham is that the cloth is dyed before weaving and isn’t a bolt of fabric printed with a pattern or dyed after it has been weaved. At least that’s how it used to be. But here’s what you need to know most about gingham today.

Though known as a checked pattern, the name ‘gingham’ comes from the Malay word genggang, which means striped.

Gingham is a versatile pattern that can add a touch of relaxed sophistication to a casual look or a touch of casual to a more sophisticated look. Since gingham shirts come in a variety of colors, they are great options no matter what the season. A black or navy check is classic, a no-brainer, and works year round. For the fall, nothing looks better than a brown check, while red is a natural choice for summer looks. I favor a 1/8″ check though you’ll find them ranging in size from 1/16″ all the way up to 1″. Wear whatever speaks most to you and be sure to wear it with confidence.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Menswear history buff? Read more of our Style Defined series and explore the Glossary.

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