Checks? Please! At least that's our answer when talking about the fashion world's favorite print right now: houndstooth. These black and white checks are definitely enjoying a return to the spotlight, as they're turning up on everything from haute overcoats to high heels. Whether the pattern's oversized (as on Jade Williams) or tiny (per Elizabeth Olsen's shoes), used as an accent piece (hello, Fearne Cotton) or the focal point of an outfit (that's you, Gwyneth Paltrow), one thing is certain: houndstooth is hot!
The wonderful thing about houndstooth is how adaptable it is. You can use it to create a very runway-inspired look or wear it more traditionally; either way is quite chic. As for as how our favorite tastemakers wear it, Anna Dello Russo and Gwyneth Paltrow are on one end of the spectrum-the bolder side, if you hadn't guessed! ADR turned up at the Bottega Veneta S/S 12 show in Milan last month wearing a super-chic Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Houndstooth Print Dress ($1950, 800.628.8916), paired with a painted python belt in the same print, plus cream and black leather pumps, also by Ferragamo. Paltrow, on the other hand, opted for super-chic checked outerwear for a Coach dinner in London last month. The actress/GOOP guru styled Stella McCartney's Black and White Bonded Houndstooth Wool Coat ($1995, 206.628.2111), which is from the S/S 12 collection, with a feisty pair of red peep-toe Jimmy Choo Ode Sandals ($695) from the accessory brand's Cruise 12 collection (the shoes are available online and in stores this November). Paltrow's pop of color is perfect with the checked print, but we also love ADR's more traditional footwear choice too. (And her hat, which is beyond.)
If you're afraid these statement pieces feel a bit too "shouty" for your real life, you can always stick to smaller pieces, as Jade Williams and Fearne Cotton both did. Williams-a.k.a. Sunday Girl-looked quite sharp at the opening of London's Kate Spade New York store last month when she wore a skirt with magnified checks. To ensure her (sadly, sold-out) Kate Spade skirt remained the centerpiece of her ensemble, Williams wisely accented it with a gray vintage turtleneck, plus two more Kate Spade pieces: a black Highline Sophie Cape ($595) and the Tuxedo Hill Nadine Bag ($475). Of course, houndstooth works quite well with more casual clothes too, just take a gander at Fearne Cotton and you'll see what we mean. The British beauty also opted for a single checked piece-a vintage jacket, in this case-earlier this year, paired with vintage jeans, neon Topshop sandals, and a Mulberry bag.
Of course, you can always opt for just a hint of houndstooth-simply look to Elizabeth Olsen and Lou Lesage for some outfit ideas! Olsen showed off a darling check-accented outfit at a press conference for Martha Marcy May Marlene at the New York Film Festival earlier this month. The up-and-coming actress paired Salvatore Ferragamo's Houndstooth Pumps ($951, 800.628.8916) with a Boy. By Band of Outsiders Black and White Polka Dots Shirt Dress ($795), resulting in a polished and professional outfit. The classic print also looks exceptionally chic on handbags as well, as French musician/actress/model Lou Lesage demonstrated at the Yves Saint Laurent S/S 12 show earlier this month when she was snapped carrying fashion house's Muse 2 Bag ($1695, 212.980.2970) in nero/bianco/lapis blue.
Now that you know how stylephiles are wearing houndstooth, it's time to talk products! If you're interested in picking up a seriously standout piece of checked outerwear, please consider Charlotte Russe's Woven Houndstooth Trench with Belt ($45), which is a bit mod, or Anna Sui's Fuzzy Herringbone/Houndstooth Jacket ($572). More of a dress girl? Then you might like the boldly exaggerated print on Diane von Furstenberg's Golda Houndstooth Dress ($345), as well as DKNY's Houndstooth Shift Dress ($165) and Jessica Simpson's Sleeveless Belted Houndstooth A-Line Dress ($138). If you'd prefer a slightly smaller dose of this black and white pattern, a skirt might be the way to go. We like the big check on Fred Perry's High Waisted Houndstoth Pencil Skirt ($170), ASOS's more demure Houndstooth Pencil Skirt ($60), and for a glitzy option, ASOS' Sequin Houndstooth Skirt ($96).
In addition to these fabulous items, we found some amazing accessories too, like the pricey-but-perfect Houndstooth Print Python Shoulder Bag ($3027) by Ferragamo. On a more affordable note, Kate Spade New York has a couple of cute handbag options, including the Henley Park Nadine Top Handle Satchel ($345) and the Henley Park Quinn Tote ($325). Last, but certainly not least, you could add some checks to your look by picking up ASOS' Mini Dogtooth Satchel ($28), which has a very chic shape and an incredibly affordable price!
Photos of Elizabeth Olsen, Fearne Cotton, and Gwyneth Paltrow, courtesy of Wenn; Photos of Jade Williams and Anna Dello Russo, courtesy of Getty; Photo of Lou Lesage, courtesy of Splash.