Gridlock isn't typically considered a positive thing-it brings to mind traffic jams and uncompromising politicians-but you might start having positive associations with that word come fall. The reason is simple: we've seen loads of noteworthy collections featuring oversized checks, windowpane prints, and graphic boxes that are so stunningly chic, you're going to want to try them immediately. Whether it's a head-to-toe grid on a midi dress (as seen at Tory Burch) or a single, standout piece (per Hailee Steinfeld), this sort of gridlock is decidedly desirable!
While there are loads of reasons to appreciate the fashion world's version of gridlock, we approve of this trend because there are so many intriguing iterations on the fall runways. If you're interested in the season's sophisticated, semi-'70s styles, you will flip for Tory Burch's take on the look. The designer showed a very wearable gridlocked frock-specifically, the Tory Burch Borner Dress ($595) in Black Ida-paired with a black Caleb Turtleneck ($225), Alicia Color Block High Heel Boots ($550) in Tory Navy and Bordeau, and a black Keyhole Belt ($195, 866.480.8679). Prefer an edgier look instead? You're in luck too; simply check out Rag & Bone's F/W 11 show for a subtle, tough, and luxurious example. Designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright created a noteworthy ensemble with their Grey Hair-on-Hide and Ivory Shearling Shoreditch Jacket ($2900, available at Bergdorf Goodman soon) and Heather Grey Hair-on-Hide and Wool Evenki Shorts ($595, available at Bergdorf Goodman soon), styled with Taupe and Grey Hair Calf Nanai Boots (price upon request, available at Rag & Bone stores). Though the checks are minimal, it's still a very high-impact look. rn
rnrnOf course, if you'd like to embrace oversized checks but are more of a mod girl, there's a way to do that too-just look to Prada for inspiration. The Italian fashion house gave us lots of intriguing gridlocked ensembles to admire, including the dropped-waist Wool Gazar Graphic Print Sleeveless Dress ($2690, select Prada boutiques), which was paired with Three-Tone Python Boots ($2700, select Prada boutiques) and an Embroidered Paillettes Bonnet ($1990, select Prada boutiques). But that's not all! There's even an option for readers who adore a tough-and-tender look, simply check out the work Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, the design duo behind Valentino, created for the F/W 11 collection. Chiuri and Piccioli didn't go for the standard gridlock palette of contrasting colors, instead they kept things monochromatic and played with materials instead, as illustrated by the Strapless Leather Dress with Check Lace Detail ($5980, 212.772.6969) and Long Sleeve Deep V Neck Blouse with Check Lace Embroidery ($1900, 212.772.6969).
rnrnrnAnd while the runway versions of the gridlock trend are highly intriguing to say the least, we truly appreciate the way actress Hailee Steinfeld made it work for real life. Photographed earlier this summer at a party celebrating the Los Angeles debut of Tommy Hilfiger's Prep World capsule collection, Steinfeld looked totally darling in a navy windowpane jacket, yellow pinstripe blouse, leather pleated skirt, and high-heeled loafers, all by Tommy Hilfiger (and available at the Fifth Avenue store in New York, 212.672.4500). The resulting look is retro, yet modern, and totally on-point for fall!
rnrnIf you're ready to make this trend a part of your everyday life, we've got some ideas on how to do it. For starters, we'd suggest picking up Madewell's Silk Printmaker Shirt ($110) in either Burnt Sienna (super '70s!) or the more conservative Bone. Either option would look super stylish peeking out from under a contrasting blazer or tucked into a pair of high-waisted jeans. Another way to wear big checks is via a pair of trousers, like Lyn Devon's Plaid Drawstring Truman Pants ($645), which are cheeky, chic, and unquestionably cool. If you'd prefer to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe with an unexpected piece, be sure to check out Cartonnier's Trousered Bermudas ($118), which you could wear now with a tank and loafers, and then pair with tights, a chunky-knit cropped sweater, and ankle boots when the weather finally cools down. Not so into shorts? Well then you might like Milly's Pleated Printed Date Skirt ($255), a brighter option that's more in the vein of the Prada dress, or the incredibly cute M Missoni Box Wrap Skirt ($295). M Missoni used that same print, or a variation on it, to create a few other excellent pieces, including the Pink 60s Box Print Dress ($675) and the Windowpane Check Coat ($795), which we adore. While we think that coat is definitely worth the investment, if you'd like a more affordable checked outerwear option, you might like Topshop's Stone Contrast Check Belted Trench Coat ($170), which offers a perfect update to the classic trench. Whatever you pick, one thing's certain: gridlock has never been so desirable!
rnrnPrada runway photo, courtesy of Prada USA; Valentino runway photo, courtesy of Valentino; Rag & Bone runway photo, courtesy of First View; Tory Burch runway photo, courtesy of Tory Burch; Photo of Hailee Steinfeld, courtesy of Splash