Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Touch of Gingham for Summer

Do you remember your first blue and white gingham dress?  I do. 

Little Miss Maddie in a Dress Made by Her Mom
I remember the crisp feel, the faint rustle it made when I ran and the way it always reminded me of the blue and white checked tablecloth Mme Mère used for summer picnics.  Not too surprising, really, since she made both from the same bolt of fabric. 

Reese Witherspoon in Gingham Vest
Gingham is a hot fashion trend this summer, and I love the idea that in an increasingly stressful and complicated world, something as sweet and simple as gingham is making a comeback.  We tend to think of summer fabrics as airy and gossamer, like fairy wings, but cotton gingham is actually quite sturdy and durable. 

After all, Dorothy went all the way from Kansas to Oz and back again in her little, blue and white gingham dress with no sign of wear and tear. 

Whenever I approach a “fashion trend,” particularly if it’s retro (i.e., something I wore when I was young), I ask myself if it’s something I can credibly wear today.  The truth is that recycling a trend from your youth, if done with care, can absolutely work.  Since gingham is a textured material, which can add a bit of bulk, the right fit and structure are essential to making this look work for those of us who see our youth but dimly in the rear view mirror of our lives. 

Here are a few suggestions on how to add just the right touch of youthful gingham to your wardrobe this summer. 

This may just be the perfect, little girl’s gingham dress for big girls like us from Anne Klein.  It has all the charm of Dorothy’s little blue and white gingham dress with a fit and flare silhouette that flatters just about any figure at any age.  It is 100% cotton, fully lined, with a removable sash and is available on line at Nordstrom and at certain of their stores. 

Black and white gingham always says summer to me.  I have a two-piece black and white outfit that I’ve been digging out of the storage closet every summer for years and years, and I never fail to get compliments on it.   

This cute little dress from Julia Jordan, also available at Nordstrom, has a sweet, school girl collar, but the curved hem on the full skirt gives it a nice bit of sass.  It is 100% cotton. 

If head-to-toe gingham is a little too much for you, try a gingham top, like this blue and white check gingham top from Zara in 100% cotton.  The flared sleeves are just adorable…

And the detailing on the scooped back is just too cute, n’est-ce pas? 

If you’ve still got the arms for it AND you’ve been taking good care of your décolleté area, this is such a breezy, little top to throw over almost anything from skinny jeans or cropped pants to a slim or flared skirt.  It can easily be dressed up with some great accessories for a garden party.  The Scarletta Cold Shoulder Top in apricot gingham is a cotton/linen blend with adjustable spaghetti straps.  It’s available at Club Monaco

If you’re still not sure whether or not wearing gingham is in the cards for you this summer, why not just add an accessory in gingham for a splash of fun. 

How about showing off your freshly pedicured and polished toes in these black, blue and white gingham slides from J. Crew?  Oh, and if you act now, there’s an extra 40% off if you type in the Code COOLSTYLES. 

Or, how about this hand-woven Proud Mary clutch from Accompany with fabric tassle?  I have a real weakness for tassles.  We call them passementerie in French and it's truly an art. 

Still too much?  How about something small and discreet? 

The next time you’re having lunch with the girls and need to do a quick check of your lipstick, why not take out a gingham compact mirror from Charming Charlie?  The girls will love it, guaranteed.  And, at a tiny price of $8, you and your girlfriends will love it even more. 

So, add a bit of gingham to your wardrobe this summer and feel like a kid again.  


  1. Dearest Marie Therese,
    Oh sure I've had many pieces made in Gingham but so far I know, never in blue.
    Orange/yellow I had and I still have some black & white Gingham.
    Sending you hugs for July,

    1. Dearest Mariette,

      I think gingham would look adorable on you. Have a wonderful 4th of July.

      Big hugs, ma chère,

  2. Dear M-T, I love gingham but was concerned about looking to "girly" (vs womanly) in the fabric. Thanks for offering many grownup options to wearing this summer trend.
    ~ Cheri

    1. We big girls can do/wear anything the little girls do/wear, albeit in our own way.

      Let me know if you add a touch of gingham to your summer wardrobe.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

  3. I love gingham sleeveless blouses - I have a short sleeve A-Line dress - Top is black-white gingham with a black collar and skirt is black - Looks very elegant!
    Have a great summer, M-T - It's hot here in FL with some thunderstorms... ~ Rose

    1. Dear Rose,

      Your gingham dress sounds lovely and, yes, very elegant.

      Have a great summer, too. Hope it's not too, too hot and not too many thunderstorms.

      Cheers, my friend, M-T

  4. I have a blue and white gingham apron from years back that I treasure. My mother sewed the tea apron and I cross-stitched a lovely repeating rose pattern in darker blue on it. The cross-stitch pattern was copied from my grandmother. So, in that one accessory there is the work of three generations, two of which live only in memory.

    Thank you for bringing back some lovely memories for me.

    Honey Bee

    1. Dear Honey Bee,

      What a beautiful comment. It truly touched me. I'm so happy to have played a small part in jogging that wonderful memory.

      I would so love to see a picture of your blue and white gingham apron. Perhaps, if it's not too personal, you might consider sharing that with us.

      Please stop by again.

      Cheers, M-T

    2. Dear Marie-Therese,

      Thank you for such kindness. I would love to be able to share a picture with you, but, alas, I have neither the expertise nor the equipment needed. My little phone is not quite that smart.

      Your blog is such an inspiration, so uplifting and informative. I appreciate the lighthearted humour, too.

      Have a wonderful summer.
      Honey Bee

    3. Dear Honey Bee,

      I know exactly what you mean about your phone not being quite that smart. In fact, you'll be shocked to know that I don't even own a smart phone. I keep waiting for my old flip phone to die, but, so far, it's hanging on for dear life.

      Enjoy your summer.

      Cheers, M-T


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