Gingham Then & Now: The Classic Pattern Over The Years

Gingham—the charming checked print that’s been championed by the fashion set throughout the ages—is the new plaid, and comes complete with a storied history worth exploring.

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  • Whether gingham evokes sweet innocence (think: picnics in the country or Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), an all-American vibe (the Wild West frontier in the 1800s), or sultry French allure (Brigitte Bardot circa 1950), its versatility is undeniable. The classic print is enjoying a moment this season too, revamped in chic, modern silhouettes perfect for summer and favored by celebs like Katie Holmes and Olivia Palermo. It’s the perfect time to look back at how the trend has transformed over the years, so click through our slideshow to see how gingham was worn then and now!

  • Katharine Hepburn
    Photo credit: Everett Collection

    Katharine Hepburn

    The actress, one of Hollywood’s original style icons who perfected masculine-inspired style, wore a checked coat in the movie Undercurrent.

  • Marilyn Monroe
    Photo credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Marilyn Monroe

    This image of an off-duty Monroe, lounging in a turtleneck and gingham trousers, smacks of her retro style sensibilities.

  • Brigitte Bardot
    Photo credit: Everett Collection

    Brigitte Bardot

    In a scene with Serge Gainsbourg in Come Dance with Me!, the French actress wore a full gingham skirt, transforming the sweet print into something altogether more sultry.

  • Goldie Hawn
    Photo credit: Joseph Klipple/Getty Images

    Goldie Hawn

    The print really took off in the ‘50s and ‘60s, when Hawn posed for a portrait in a sweet summer frock.

  • Jane Fonda
    Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

    Jane Fonda

    Gingham soon came to encapsulate Americana style. In a publicity shot for the comedy western Cat Ballou, Fonda wore a cowboy hat and crisp blue shirt.

  • Linda Evangelista
    Photo credit: Neville Marriner/Associated Newspapers/Rex/Rex USA/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Linda Evangelista

    Gingham popped up again in the ‘90s, when supermodel Evangelista strutted down the Versace runway in a cutout checked jacket.

  • Mary-Kate Olsen
    Photo credit: (c)Warner Bros./ Courtesy: Everett Collection

    Mary-Kate Olsen

    The print may have been a high-fashion staple, but it also made a cameo on a young Olsen in the comedy It Takes Two.

  • Anna Wintour
    Photo credit: Malcolm Brown/Everett Collection

    Anna Wintour

    Gingham received the editor stamp of approval after Wintour slipped into a Prada dress while sitting front row at Peter Som’s F/W 08 show.

  • Magdalena Frackowiak
    Photo credit: Lachlan Bailey for Vogue Paris (April 2012)

    Magdalena Frackowiak

    Magdalena Frackowiak modeled a gingham button-down--and little else!--in a beach shoot for Vogue Paris’ April issue last year.

  • See how celebrities, fashion insiders, and more are wearing the print this year.

  • Olivia Palermo
    Photo credit: Splash News

    Olivia Palermo

    Palermo opts for a menswear-inspired take on the print, pairing Juicy Couture’s Violet V Neck Pullover ($228) with Banana Republic’s Mad Men Collection Hampton-Fit Gingham Crop Pants ($60) and polished oxford shoes.

  • Jen Brill
    Photo credit: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

    Jen Brill

    Brill wears gingham for a night out in a Christopher Kane dress accented with a multicolored Chanel bag and Cole Haan x Jen & Oli Mary Jane Platforms ($398).

  • Katie Holmes
    Photo credit: Dave Spencer / Splash News

    Katie Holmes

    While out in New York last month, Holmes was spotted in a classic summer gingham look: a breezy dress and ankle-strap sandals.

  • Prada Pre-Fall 13
    Photo credit: Steven Meisel

    Prada Pre-Fall 13

    Prada’s tough Leather Jacket ($3395) cuts the sweetness of the ruffled Cotton Vichy Dress ($1020) in the label’s Pre-Fall 13 collection.

  • Nanette Lepore S/S 13
    Photo credit: Nanette Lepore

    Nanette Lepore S/S 13

    For her S/S 13 collection, Nanette Lepore was all about a cool clash: the checked Disco Dynasty Dress ($358) styled with the chevron-print Vachetta Band Belt ($73) and wedge sandals.

  • Marie Myrhoj Jensen
    Photo credit: Vanessa Jackman

    Marie Myrhoj Jensen

    Marie Myrhoj Jensen of Nemesis, Babe breaks up ASOS’ gingham crop top and pants with a blue coat.

  • Hanneli Mustaparta

    Stella McCartney revamps gingham in her Contoured Mesh-Inset Gingham Sheath Dress ($1800), spotted on Hanneli Mustaparta. The model elevates the sleek frock with a Calvin Klein Collection leather jacket, Acne lace-up boots, and The Row sunglasses.

  • Blair Eadie
    Photo credit: Atlantic-Pacific

    Blair Eadie

    Wearing ASOS’s full skirt, Atlantic-Pacific’s Blair Eadie channels a ‘50s-inspired vibe. But the blogger’s graphic sweater (Zoe Karssen’s Crème de la Crème Cotton-Blend Terry Sweatshirt ($160) and a Milly NY collar), paired with Karen Walker The Number One Sunglasses ($250) and glossy Prada heels, give her look a modern update.

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