What is Gingham?

We want to make one thing clear right from the start. Gingham has absolutely NOTHING to do with a famous dance video from Korea!

Gangnam Style dance

What is Gingham?

The simple answer is that Gingham is a fabric characterized by its checkered pattern. Moreover, a pattern of small repeating shapes of the same color.


pretty colours gingham fabric rolls

However, there is so much more to know about this seemingly simple fabric design, particularly when it comes to the world of Men's fashion.

The History of Gingham

The gingham pattern became widely known to American consumers in the 1950s when they used it in products ranging from inexpensive paper tablecloths to children's clothing. It also became associated with classic summer fashion following an article about French fashion designer Coco Chanel wearing a gingham blouse in 1933.


tailoring dress shirt with gingham fabric


Most commonly used for making shirts but also frequently utilized in products ranging from skirts to handkerchiefs, Gingham is versatile.


Unfortunately, the Gingham check pattern is seen across various cultures and countries, making the origin challenging to determine.


Gingham's checkered pattern symbolizes several different meanings across cultures, ranging from being the color of mourning in China to representing fertility and good luck among Hindus.


Gingham is frequently associated with specific uses and various material interpretations across societies. For example, Gingham is prominent on national flags in several European countries, including Germany and Sweden. Gingham is also frequently connected to picnics as a Tablecloth or picnic blanket.


gingham fabric as a picnic cloth

There are two main materials used in gingham production; cotton and polyester. Gingham made from cotton is more expensive than its synthetic counterpart because it requires more labor to create. However, cotton is also more popular among consumers, as better-quality fabrics make the best garments.


Gingham is typically very lightweight, which allows it to be folded or rolled into a compact size for transport. It is historically known as the fabric of summer clothing because it is cool and absorbs water quickly.


How to pronounce Gingham

The word Gingham comes from French "guingan," a fabric made from cotton or linen made initially in Guingamp, Brittany, and used to refer to cloth since at least 1386. In French, it's pronounced with a silent "g"; in English, the "g" is pronounced. 


Gingham is made of dyed and undyed cotton or linen yarn, but most high-end modern gingham checks are silk. The fabric gets its name from the town of Guingamp, where it was initially manufactured.


How to wear Gingham

Wearing Gingham is a great way to look put together. Gingham is classic but unexpected with the pattern that alludes to its modernity.


man folding sleeve of his checkered dress shirt

Gingham can be worn in many different colors and will work well with your wardrobe whether you are dressing for business or casual. It is known as the preppy pattern, but Gingham has returned with the hipster movement.


More clearly, it is associated with the rural countryside of things. Some ways to wear Gingham are in a casual outfit for an afternoon at the ranch or farm or even dressed up with a blazer and skinny jeans for some city flair.


Gingham can be worn year-round but is most appropriate for fall and springtime. It is a great pattern to have in your wardrobe, as you can wear it daily with a multitude of color schemes, including black and white, blue and white, red and white, pink and white, or any other combination that works for your style.


men wearing checkered dress shirts and jeans


Including Gingham into your wardrobe is easy too. It comes in many different styles like plaid, stripes, or checkerboards found at any department store (Macy's, Sears, Khols).


The best thing about Gingham is how easy it is to style. For example, all you need to do for your casual outfits is pair them with some colored jeans and a t-shirt or button-up. Then, dress it up with some dress pants and heels for work, or throw on a blazer over your favorite outfit to give it new life.


So don't forget this classic pattern next time you're out shopping because Gingham will be the go-to print that has endless possibilities for your wardrobe.

The different types of gingham

"Gingham" is a word used to describe different fabric patterns.

The most common name would be "checked pattern" due to the resemblance to the checkerboard game. The word originates from India, and it means, roughly translated, "striped cloth." First introduced into Europe in the late 18th century.


The first Gingham was made by hand using yarns of different colors, so it had visible stripes, but the patterns nowadays are woven.

There are four main types of Gingham Fabric


black plain checked fabric

Characterized as having a dyed warp and white weft threading - traditionally also called "domet" or "domat".


pink paisley fabric

This type is also called "Indian gingham," Its weft yarns run diagonally to warp yarns.

Jacquard woven

jacquard gingham fabric

Same as paisley, but the pattern is formed by a machine that imitates handlooms.



This is where a pattern is printed on a cloth with ink.

plain print gingham fabric

There is also a different method of dyeing the fabric – with one yarn dyed before weaving and another dyed after. This way, if you cut across the warp and weft, you can see two colors as in plaid fabrics.


Gingham today comes in many variations from pink to blue, with dots to stripes, but the most popular are blue and white.

Why wear Gingham?

There are many reasons for wearing Gingham today – it is considered a classic summer fabric that has become an icon of "casual chic" because of stars like Marilyn Monroe, who loved to wear them on their daily outings. Also, it looks good with other materials, which means it can be used for summer dresses, blazers, and skirt suits.


woman wearing dress shirt made with gingham fabric

Gingham is a versatile fashion fabric that makes it an ideal choice to add a touch of tradition and refinement to your wardrobe. The most common name would be "checked pattern" due to the resemblance to the checkerboard game. The word originates from India, and it means, roughly translated, "striped cloth." It was introduced into Europe in the late 18th century.

Gingham style guide

What is gingham style? Again, it is NOT Gangnam style! Gingham is a plaid pattern with squares of interlocking colors, usually checkered in black and white or blue and white.


men dapper style with checked dress shirt


Gingham creates a classic shape, mainly boxes with hard lines. It is traditionally a popular fabric style used in the USA in the summer.


It has also become popular in Europe and Asia. The fabric with this pattern is typically cotton, refined with a simple check design. This has made the checkered style a popular mainstay of men's fashion for some time now.


You would find this style in the high street shops, but you will also find it in the more economical brands. It is a classic pattern that can be kept modern by wearing it with fresh colors and modern prints. For example, try Gingham with pastel tones to create an even fresher take on this classic print! And for something more fun, try it with neon or a solid color to make a statement.


gingham oxford dress shirt with shoes

Gingham can be an excellent choice for those who want to create a simple style, as it is very wearable and easy to combine. Don't forget that this pattern goes well with denim - the classic pair is jeans and a checked dress shirt.


If you're looking to stay on-trend while being yourself, Gingham is your pattern! It might feel like everyone else has it in their closet already, but I assure you they don't, so this will always be a timeless classic for you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published