On the bedrock of trusty cotton, the pattern is an enduring classic that has never quite disappeared from the fashion lexicon generationally, unlike other notable fashion fads.
Its popularity, from sewing circles to red carpets, comes likely due to three (3) attributes championing its longevity: Durability, Adaptability, and being Chic.
Gingham, Plaid, Tartan patterns & microscopic Checks
These simultaneously domesticated and industrious patterns are keepers in times when weather and hard work test clothing, along with the demands for more sustainable purchasing choices.
It’s a time when one’s fashions must go the distance.
Michael Ludwig Studios makes art, and delivers necessity, through their garments. Mostly gender-neutral, durable, and reasonable, the designer plays with shape, colour, texture, and silhouette while never losing sight of the fundamental requirement for clothing: to be worn.
My usual wardrobe tastes – whether everyday wear or otherwise – usually involve matted neutrals, and there are barely any patterns to speak of. I savour:
- lasting tailoring
- colour palate simplicity
- and elegant (and predictable?) silhouette flattery in design cuts.
However, every time I plan a trip abroad, I try and push myself to try new fashion styles as I venture to new places – like Sex and the City’s iconic Carrie Bradshaw shapeshifting across New York. And when I came across Michael Ludwig Studios‘ past runway collections, and their labours of love during the pandemic lockdown, I was intrigued.
Michael Ludwig Studios found a way to make what’s sometimes viewed as an unremarkable and lowly pattern and textile, into something worth buying, for use at every level – this, in line with the check pattern (and its cousins) persistent appearance in renowned fashion circles globally.
See these patterns everywhere from the cult classic film ‘Clueless’ (Cher in yellow plaid is genuinely a Pop Culture moment), to sunkissed Summer streets in Europe and the Americas where gingham’s a staple in the heat. One could throwback the tartan & check patterns to 40s officewear and 60s street style, and as far back as the 18th century too, while Spring/Summer 22/23 saw gingham and plaid make their way to bikinis and co-ords.
Fashion legend Sarah Jessica Parker delivered on the 2022 Met Gala theme using gingham too!
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons dragged the check pattern to menswear with Prada’s latest, while Lela Rose was one of the brands that centred a whole Summer collection around gingham recently, and acclaimed Christian Siriano featured it and check in their Fall 22/23 collection.
Styling Tip: Play with proportions if you’re thinking of giving these patterns a try. Check out oversized blazers, and take care with your shoe pairing. Plaid, gingham, tartan etc. can very quickly go from endearingly chic to comical. When in doubt, pick a neutral item to even the look out – whether it’s a plain shirt, a simple scarf or belt, or dark & textured trousers.
By my recommendation: