Gingham for Grown-Ups – 12 Ways to Wear It

Do you hesitate to wear gingham because it conjures up images of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz skipping down the yellow brick road in her blue and white gingham pinafore? How exactly is a grown-up gal supposed to wear this wholesome print and still look chic?

Here are 12 ways to wear gingham, so you look more sophisticated than sweet.


Gingham moto jacket over 40

1. Choose Modern Shapes

Boxy checkered tops with big, short puffy sleeves may have looked cute when you were five, but won’t at fifty! Thank goodness that as we’ve matured, so has gingham. This spring there are many interesting, sophisticated, and even sexy gingham pieces for grown-up gals.

Gingham clothing with clean lines and structured shapes is easiest to wear over 40 and always looks chic.  Try cropped gingham pants, sleek pencil skirts, crisp reimagined gingham shirts, and flattering tie-front tops. Or try a moto-style jacket like this one that gives gingham a cool edge.

Flowy gingham pieces are also an option, although too much frou-frou or frills can make you look a little girly when you are “north of 40”.

2. Slip on a Pair of Gingham Shoes

Another way to step into this trend is with a pair of gingham stilettos, flats, or slingbacks. What great conversation starters, and a fabulous way to punctuate an outfit! 

Gingham pants over 40


3. Wear a Sexy Cold Shoulder

Gingham, sexy? A  gingham top or dress with an off-the-shoulder or cold shoulder neckline puts a sexy spin on this classic summer favorite. 

4. Mix Gingham with Another Print

Mixing prints is modern and hip. Wear gingham mixed with florals, a gingham skirt with a graphic print, or mix two ginghams of different colors and sizes.

5. Try Colored Gingham

Instead of the classic black or red gingham, try yellow or turquoise.

6. Buy a Gingham Swimsuit

Make a splash in a cute gingham swimsuit. They’re everywhere this summer, and I guarantee you’ll be surprised at how fab they look!

7. Get A Gingham Trench

Bored of your khaki trench? Pep things up with one of the many gingham trench coats out there that look classic but perky.

8. Pair Chambray with Gingham

Chambray shirts are being worn with everything, so why not gingham. Try one of them tucked into a pair of gingham pants or a feminine gingham skirt.

9. Combine Lace with Gingham

A gingham and lace top is very 2018, especially ones with interesting details on the sleeves.

10. Get Ruffled

Ruffled gingham tops are making waves this spring, and are nice if you want a very feminine look.  For example, a crisp gingham blouse with ruffled bells and sleeves worn with a classy pair of plain pants can be elegant and statement-making.


Gingham for women over 40 red top

11. Wear It in Small Doses 

If you’re afraid that gingham will wear you instead of the other way around, try it in small doses. The pretty gingham ruffle on the sleeves of this gorgeous red t-shirt is all you need to own this trend. Doesn’t it look fantastic in these white jeans and slides?

12. Add Gingham Accessories

Still not sure if gingham is really for you, but want some of that fresh summer feel? Try a gingham hat, belt, clutch purse, or a chic scarf.

Do you get the idea?

Will you be wearing gingham this spring or do you think it’s too junior? Let me know if you have been shopping yet and what you have found.

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30 thoughts on “Gingham for Grown-Ups – 12 Ways to Wear It

  1. I bought a navy blue gingham with smocked sleeves top & it is so cute and makes my petite shoulders look more expansive, so that is good. I also got a pink & white checked top with bell sleeves like the black & white one you posted except for no ties …….just a blouse that buttons in the back. I wear it with white jeans with vertical flower embroidery at the bottom. It was paired like that in a circular that came out. It made it look more modern than sweet. LOL! I didn’t think I would like gingham since it was huge in high school, but I do! Never say never!

  2. I love that gingham is back on trend. It’s a fresh print that looks great with solids or plays well with other images. I bought a top in black & white gingham last year and wore it a lot. I’m thinking of a short trench to up my coat wardrobe. After all, when it’s cold or rainy, that is all the world sees of your outfit.

  3. I bought a gingham top last year and wore it often. I can’t wait to warm up so I can rotate it into my wardrobe again.
    I’m afraid I have to disagree with those who say it should be left in the past. Put a new face on it by adding it in small doses. It feels fresh and new this time around. Feminine without being too girly.

  4. I have a black/white silk gingham waist wrap top I’ve been wearing for years and always felt it was “in style.” Glad to see gingham on the runway in more significant numbers!

  5. I have a picture of myself in 1973 wearing a black and white gingham long party dress! So I don’t think I want to go there again. Yes, gingham was everywhere that year.

    1. Hi Anne, At first I could not see myself in gingham! Too little girly, but I’m trying to keep an open mind – that keeps you looking modern.
      If I come across a sophisticated outfit with a touch of gingham, I may go for it. I am still keeping my eyes open.
      Cheers, Deborah

  6. I’m not sure I could wear this new trend; the pants, while pretty teamed with the white top and gorgeous necklace in the pic you posted above, remind me too much of my ex-hubby’s chefs pants, which I spent a lifetime washing and ironing, ugh!!

  7. I like the freshness of it, particularly after another brutal winter. Don’t warm to the runway outfits, but your idea of “less is more” with the fabric is spot on. I also like seersucker and dotted Swiss.

    1. Hi Linda,
      That’s right. That was Maryann’s trademark, wasn’t it? The blue and white gingham shirt tied at the tummy with cut-off jean shorts. Does that mean you will be modeling some gingham for us this spring? I will pop over to your blog in the next few weeks to see heers, Deborah

  8. I love the look! Fresh and sophisticated. Where can I find the sleeveless white top featured? Thanks!

  9. Gingham.. wow. I would have never considered it – but after reading your recommendations, I might!
    As with every trend, trying it and seeing if it suits your style is essential. Sometimes, you can be surprised.. sometimes, not.

    Thank you, Deborah, for another thought-provoking article. I always look forward to these posts!


    1. Hi Martina, You are so right. Give something a try. I can recall a few things I never thought I’d wear, but then I did, just because I found the correct variation of the trend that suited my personality. I tend to go for more subtle, elegant interpretations of a trend. So, for example, with gingham…A sandal with a bit of gingham may be enough for me. Whatever works! Cheers, Deborah

  10. I think the gingham looks very fresh for Spring! I purchased a hot pink and white gingham top and can’t wait for it to arrive! I wouldn’t have thought of wearing it with a white skirt, but I may try that, along with regular denim and white jeans.

    1. Hi Mary, Fresh…I keep hearing that word—your right. After a long winter, something light and feminine like this can be so exciting.
      I’m looking forward to how everyone is going to wear it. I will look around on Pinterest and do a follow-up post with photos, and if anyone has photos (good quality- no blur), send them in. Cheers! Deborah

    1. I’m getting a lot of yes votes! Fun. There are so many trends that hang around year after year, but gingham hasn’t been in for a long time, so this feels exciting. Still, it’s a bit of a challenge over 40. You don’t want to look like you are channeling Ellie Mae Clampet. Didn’t she wear gingham shirts? I will post more ideas on how to wear gingham 2015 as styles become available. Cheers, Deborah

    1. o.k. …a no… I see your point, too, Heidi. Those visuals do strongly come to mind. Did you ever think that gingham would be such a divided topic? What about everyone else? Are you camp gingham or camp NO gingham?
      Thanks for popping by to give your opinion, Heidi! Cheers, Deborah

  11. I was prepared not to like it, but that outfit you put together with the red heels is something I’d wear.

    1. Surprise, Surprise. I remember cargo pants first came out (beige, big side flaps, and pockets), and I hated them years ago. Then I came across a slim, black pair of cargo pants with more refined bags on the side, and I was in love. It depends on how far the trend goes, whether it is for you and also, as you pointed out, what you wear with it. It can make all the difference. Good to hear from you, Karin. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers! Deborah

  12. I probably won’t be wearing it. Honestly doesn’t fit with my classic/boho aesthetic. Generally, it reminds me of my girlhood and old, Southern lawyers from the movies. LOL.

  13. I love it. I am a big black and white fan, interspersed with a pop of color from the shoes, a scarf, or a necklace. I love throwing on a fuchsia scarf or chartreuse matching bag and shoe. I cannot wait for spring!!!

  14. I do not think I will be embracing this trend. Gingham seems more appropriate for children’s wear, and I am not sure that the graphic lines in gingham are a good idea for less-than-perfect figures.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Yes, gingham has traditionally been associated with kids, sweetness, and naivety. Still, designers are finding ways to make it grown-up and rather sexy this season—for example, gingham in more fluid fabrics, mixing ginghams, and sophisticated gingham accessories. We will see if they succeed. I think the key to gingham, no matter what your size, is a small amount on the part of the body you want to highlight. So, for example, if you have a big bottom, you do not wish to wear gingham pants. But if you have great legs, pair of gingham heels would be attractive to emphasize your gams. Any print will always draw attention to the area of your body where you place it, so make sure gingham is going on in one of your favorite and most flattering areas. Cheers! Deborah

  15. I bought some black/white cotton blend gingham fabric to make a princess-seamed cropped top of a Lisette pattern by Butterick!

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