4 Ways to Wear It: The Gingham Shirt

My Gingham shirt is a year-round staple in my wardrobe

A gingham shirt is a classic closet staple

If I had to pick 10 pieces from my wardrobe to save from a (super duper slow-burning imaginary) fire (that I knew about a few days in advance), my navy and white gingham shirt would definitely be on that list. I’ve had mine for four years, and I wear it ALL. THE. TIME. It’s one of my most worn wardrobe basics, and I wear it three seasons a year. In the winter I switch from the navy cotton version to a black and white flannel version, so I essentially wear the same style year-round. I also have a turquoise one, and have forced myself not to buy it in every.single.color.imaginable.

 

HOW TO WEAR GINGHAM THREE SEASONS A YEAR

If gingham is the perfect spring pattern, and it also makes you want to take a summer picnic, how can it be perfect for fall? It’s all about what you pair it with. So why does the first outfit put you in the mood for crunchy leaves and apple cider? First, the boots. Come spring-time, no one wants to wear boots anymore. As soon as the snow gets slushy and the crocuses appear, we are slipping into flats and sandals (and freezing our feet off for the privilege!). In the fall we can’t wait to stomp crunchy leaves and get cozy in our boots!

The jacket could also be worn with the spring outfit, but the combination of the dark wash jeans and the jacket is a nod to the shortening days. In the spring we are looking forward to a little more daylight each day, and we reflect that by pairing the gingham shirt and jacket with white jeans for a spring look.

Next is the orange sweater. Some of you don’t love orange, but when it’s paired with navy, it doesn’t scream trick-or-treat. I’d love for you to give orange a try, but you can also swap it out for a red, purple, burgundy, or yellow sweater and still get that fall vibe. Any autumn leaf color will do! In the spring, pairing it with green reminds us that the earth is coming back to life!

In the summer the shorter sleeves, lighter fabric, bare legs, and sandals put us in the mood for watermelon and barbecues!

The color combination, boots, and layers make this outfit all about fall. I write more in-depth articles about how to achieve a seasonal look in the Stunning Style Wardrobe Guide. If you don’t want to figure it out for yourself, I’ve done all the work for you!

Fall was the third guide in a row I’ve included the gingham shirt. If you want more in-depth ideas about how to make your wardrobe pieces work for you across the seasons, I try to carry over pieces from one guide to the next so you get maximum use out of your wardrobe. And now in the Stunning Style Society I’ll be able to give you more styling tips on these items throughout the season! It’s one of the parts I’m most excited about!

HOW TO FIND THE PERFECT GINGHAM SHIRT

I actually have three gingham shirts, but I’m paring down to two. The first is super thin, super lightweight, and in some ways a little floppy. It’s perfect for rolling the sleeves on warm days, but I wish the collar had more structure. The lighter weight fabric is more breathable on hot days, and the slightly boxy cut means it’s not clinging to me. I’ve had and worn it for coming up on 5 years. I love to wear it in the summer with the sleeves rolled above my elbows. For me that’s as good as a short-sleeve shirt. The sleeves won’t stay rolled on my forearms because of the lightness of the fabric, but up that high they stay put.


I recently snagged a new one that is very tailored, has a more substantial fabric (and collar), and I really love it for wearing alone and layered. That collar stays put! The tailored fit is perfect. I can roll it to 3/4 length and it won’t move. I wear this one in the fall, winter and spring. It layers beautifully and is tailored enough to wear alone.

Apparently I bought the last one in the entire world, because when I purchased it the sales associate was shocked I had it in my hands. She said it sold out in about 3 seconds. I even had her check online and in other stores so I could direct you to it, but there were no more. If you want to check Poshmark or eBay, it’s from Banana Republic, it comes in numbered sizes (2, 4, 6) and it’s the Riley fit

 Can you see the difference between the two? This one has a more structured fabric, darts and a more tailored fit. Can you see the difference between the two? This one has a more structured fabric, darts and a more tailored fit.

For the summer I had bought a short-sleeve popover, but I’ve found I don’t like to wear popovers in general. They can’t be as fitted or tailored as I prefer because then they won’t pop over, will they? I need my button downs to button aaaalllll the way down. Instead, I prefer to wear shirt number one with rolled sleeves, as described above. I show you exactly how I roll the sleeves in the video below.

A gingham shirt gets all the heart eyes from me. It’s so versatile, and I consider it a neutral, and an extremely classic wardrobe item. If you want to try pattern mixing, gingham and stripes is a perfect first try. Last week when I was professing my undying love for this shirt, my sister-in-law asked me what I wear mine with, and I thought I’d share the answer here with four ways to wear my beloved gingham shirt.

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4 WAYS TO WEAR A GINGHAM SHIRT

I LOVE to layer with this beauty. I love it under sweaters, and as an unexpected twist, it looks so cute under a short-sleeved sweater! Whenever I do that I get compliments galore! It goes great paired with a bold color or neutrals. If you layer under something tailored, make sure the fit of your shirt is equally tailored or it will be all bunchy and unflattering inside and look weird poking out of the bottom.

 

Gingham is such a classic print that I consider it a neutral. It’s the perfect candidate for pattern mixing. I love it underneath this bold striped sweater. The key is to make sure both are on the same scale. No, the gingham isn’t as large as the stripes (or you wouldn’t even see the gingham pattern). But it is bold and discernable from a distance. It doesn’t blend from across the room. It’s big enough to stand up to the stripes.

 

Gingham is a pattern that can easily go from summer picnic to business professional, depending on what you pair it with. I love it with a pencil skirt. It’s a great opportunity to pull in some color in your skirt, or keep it more conservative with navy. To dress it up even more, unroll the sleeves and add a blazer.

Make it work triple-season duty by rolling the sleeve above the elbow. The trick is to only roll twice or it will be too thick. Fold it once so that the bottom of the cuff comes just above the elbow, then fold it one more time and cover as much of the cuff as you want. You can see I left the top part peeking out. In hot weather this is best with the thinner version because it breathes. Would I wear this to Disneyland in August? No. But for a normal day of in and out on a hot day, it’s great.

If you want to see how I rolled my sleeves, check out the video above.

How do you wear your gingham? What is in your top 10 favorite wardrobe staples?

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2 thoughts on “4 Ways to Wear It: The Gingham Shirt”

  1. I just ordered my first gingham shirt. It’s on its way to me right now. I know I am going to enjoy trying all your different ways to wear it!

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