Thursday, September 26, 2013

Origins - Gingham

If you're reading this blog, you should probably already know what gingham is. These days it's a hugely popular fabric and can be found by practically every menswear brand. This is largely due to its combined simplicity and boldness, which makes it at the same time visually interesting and versatile.

The term has, like many textile terms, origins in south-east Asia. It is derived from the Malay adjective, genggang, which means, 'striped.' Where gingham fabrics were largely striped through the 17th and 18th centuries, it later became known for a trademark checkered pattern.

These days gingham usual incorporates checks combining white and one other color (my personal favorite is navy, seen in my recent review of Spectre & Co. shirting). Recently, I've been noticing more two-tone ginghams that swap out the white checks for another complimentary color. While I personally favor the contrast the white checks add to the pattern, the alternative is a warmer and slightly richer look, in my opinion.

From my understanding and observation, gingham tends to be a much popular pattern in the warmer months, used in lighter shirting fabrics like broadcloth and poplin. That said, I have been starting to see it pop up a lot more in winter flannels and other heftier fabrics, with colors ranging more into the fall tones. If you're looking for something gingham to add to your wardrobe now, I recommend something like this casual shirt from J. Crew (available at J. Crew Factory):

If you're looking for something a little dressier, head on over to our review of Spectre & Co., who offer this great shirt in navy gingham, as well as a variety of other color and scale combinations:
In fact, one of the most fun things about gingham is you can own 20 gingham shirts (not that you should...or shouldn't...), and never repeat a color or pattern scale. Wear bigger, bolder gingham to make a statement and stand out, or smaller micro-gingham for something almost-solid-but-with-visual-depth, or anything in between.

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