Remember that pair of checkered Vans you bought sophomore year of high school that now collect dust at the bottom of your shoe pile? Yeah, me too. They were red (and don’t even pretend you’ve never had a shoe pile).
But good news — if you’re a trendwatcher or looking to be a trendsetter, checkered patterns are about to be everywhere this spring. And the best part about this trend is that you can find checkers and gingham at almost any thrift store.
At the average Goodwill or thrift shop, you’ll certainly be able to find checked button-downs in the men’s section, checkered blazers, and if you’re lucky, somebody’s grandma’s gingham pants. Check out a consignment shop’s curated selection of vintage and you’re sure to find something delightfully reminiscent of a party scene in a John Hughes film.
Checkered patterns have been slowly popping up on the runways since the fall/winter 2020 season and have only gained momentum on the spring/summer 2021 runways. All sorts of brands — from high-fashion designers like Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, and Christian Dior to the more affordable brands and online shops — have been pushing checkered patterns lately. If you’re looking to invest in a statement piece rather than scour your local second hand shop, you can surely find options in abundance in your favorite stores or online.
If you’re anything like me, you might be a little wary of checks for fear of looking like a NASCAR flag. Not necessarily the vibe I like to go for. But if you start viewing your patterns as complementary to your solid colored basics, you’ll be able to mix patterns with ease.
Checkers, like stripes, are essentially the neutrals of the pattern world, and pair nicely with any single-colored clothing item. But they also have the unique ability to set off a more intricate pattern and let it shine. Add a plaid jacket over your checkered shirt before you head out the door for some texture play, or throw on some tartan pants and your favorite sneakers for an easy streetwear-inspired look.
If you’re scared of pattern mixing and looking like a 6-year-old whose mother let them get dressed by themselves for the first time, the key to pulling it off is confidence. Following a monochrome color palette can help your fit to look more cohesive, while also nailing another trend that has taken the fashion industry by storm.
If you’re not sold on checkered patterns yet, or think that this is just another fast-fashion fad, consider the versatility: For decades, checks have been adored by skaters and preppies alike, the two aesthetics that fashion designers have historically loved to reimagine and remarket as revolutionary. If fashion has to repeat itself every couple of decades or so, let it keep on repeating the iconic looks of the ’80s.