5 Ways For Grownups To Wear Gingham (& Not Look Like Dorothy)

When did gingham become a thing? If I recall, it was a HUGE thing for me when I was in my “Wizard of Oz” phase, which lasted for a long t– (OK, no, I’m still in my “Wizard of Oz” phase and I refuse to leave it). I had quite a few gingham dresses, and even pink gingham sheets for a while. But let’s be real: I was a child. Even I, in my elementary-aged mind, decided at some point that gingham was “too babyish” and it was time for solid sheets and jeans. No more folded-over frilly socks and Mary Janes for me!

So, fast-forward to 2015. Adult me is seeing gingham is the trend for 2015. My first thought is, “Gingham? Really? High-end fashion is freakin’ weird.” My second thought is, “Aww, ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ I haven’t watched that in a while.” And my third thought is, “Huh. Maybe this could really be a thing.'” Thus, I decided that it’s time to give gingham the comeback it deserves.

Now, the question is this: How do I, as an adult, wear gingham without picking up a Cairn terrier, sparkly red heels, and a couple of inanimate and/or deadly animal friends? The answer is this: easily. It can be worn on the street, in the office, and anywhere else you feel like rocking it. The look comes together as both retro and modern, and you juuuust might end up feeling very Audrey/Marilyn 2015.

Here’s how to take it from high-end runway to home:

1. Via a Dress


Ahh, the gingham dress, as seen here alongside many other gingham pieces at Altuzarra’s Spring 2015 show. This particular dress isn’t going to be confused with my old Dorothy costumes—the slit alone proves that—but the way it’s paired here with strappy pointed-toe shoes and a cinched waist makes it very adult-appropriate.

Can’t fork over the cash to buy ready-to-wear fashion straight off the runway? Me either. Try this out:



This Forever 21 dress may not include a crotch-baring slit, but for less than $20, I think I can deal. Taking a cue from Altuzarra, I paired this skater dress with strappy shoes—flats or heels, depending on the girl and the occasion, of course—as well as understated gold jewelry and an optional brown belt. The accessories are all pieces that most of us probably have lying around at home anyway, so this look has the potential to be both fabulous and super cheap.


2. Via a Skirt

Olivia Palermo

Similar to the dress, the gingham skirt (rocked here by Olivia Palermo) is very retro feminine and fun. Not quite ready to spend $1,300 on the beautiful Michael Kors version of this look? That’s OK, this look is easily recreated for a fraction:


The knockoff (but nonetheless adorable) skirt can be found for mere pennies here. The top featured here is a simple black scoop neck tee, and I followed Olivia’s lead by rounding off the look with a gingham heel, although I think a plain black or brown flat would work just as nicely.


3. Via a Pair of Shorts

Diane von Furstenberg

DVF delighted us with this matchy-matchy gingham outfit in her spring 2015 show. As fantastic as this model looks, (bt dubs, is this one of the stars of “Pretty Little Liars?” No? I Googled this and came up with nothing. Anyway…) I don’t know if I would have the bravery to rock the same pattern on my top and my bottoms. If you do, go for it. I applaud you with my loudest football clap, because a golf clap would not do this outfit justice. However, if you’re only half-ready to try it out (and not willing to pay for half the DVF shorts), try this:


These Oasis shorts are easy on the eyes and the wallet. To add some color, I chose a flowy blue H&M top which could be worn alone or with a simple blazer if need be. As I’m discovering is the trend with gingham, the runway fashion was paired with strappy shoes. I preferred a nude flat here, but to each her own. This entire wardrobe is versatile (you can even wear this to the office if they allow shorts), but it’s also fun and easy. Ten points to gingham shorts.

4. Via a Top

Oscar de la Renta

Whether a shirt or a coat, gingham as a top can round out a beautiful outfit perfectly, as seen here in Oscar de la Renta’s spring 2015 line. This particular de la Renta coat may be a little pricey, but the same style can be made for far less:


It’s not exactly the same (turns out inexpensive pink gingham coats are tough to find), but you still get the idea: this pattern isn’t just for kids. It really couldn’t be any clearer in this ensemble, which, thanks to this black gingham coat, would be a perfect springtime OOTD. Switch out the shoes and pink skirt with something in a deeper color for autumn.

5. Via a Swimsuit

Miami Fashion Week

This swimsuit was rocked in Miami Fashion Week, and I’m fairly certain I found it in the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. Since gingham is already a vintage pattern, this high-waisted bikini pulls together a very retro look. If you’re not into this style, Marc also has this gingham bikini. If you prefer more coverage, LOFT carries this adorable ruched swimsuit for a similar price, as well as this tankini. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a simple black gingham print on any swimsuit—they all look very stylish.

The moral of my story is this: no matter how you choose to wear gingham, you’ll look fabulous (and ahead of the trend—while I’ve been seeing it everywhere in the fashion world, I haven’t seen much of it on the street…yet.) There are ways to take cues from the biggest names in fashion without paying top dollar for the look, and with a little research, you too can rock a gingham style.


Sorry, I had to throw that in somewhere (especially since the girl on the right is totally wearing gingham).

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