The gingham shirt is a true classic. Stylish, timeless and highly versatile, it looks as good with jeans and trainers as it does with chinos and brogues. This guide tells you everything you need to know about the gingham shirt, including the reason behind its name and what you should wear it with.

What is Gingham?

Gingham is a simple plain-woven fabric. The way we identify gingham, as being a contrasting-check shirt, was not the way in which the fabric was originally known. "Gingham" comes from the Malayan word genggang, or “striped”. It wasn’t until later (when the fabric made its journey from southeast Asia to the Western world) that it appeared as a check or plaid pattern.

Common colour combinations include blue/white or red/white, however it is available in many more styles. True gingham is distinguished primarily for being a "dyed in the yarn" fabric. This simply means the yarn is dyed before it is woven. There is no right or wrong side in gingham as it has the same appearance on both sides. This is because the fibres are already coloured before they are woven together.

What’s the Difference Between Check and Gingham?

Gingham is dyed with overlapping stripes of colour combined with white thread, creating a crisscross pattern. In comparison, a checkered pattern is typically squares in two different colours in alternating positions. When you think of a check shirt, imagine a checkerboard or a flag displayed at the start or finish line of a race.

How to Wear Gingham

There are plenty of ways to wear gingham. Whether you’re dressing for work or the weekend, gingham can be teamed with your favourite formal or casual wear. Below are three outfit ideas that will work for a wide range of occasions:

  • Gingham shirt with chinos and trainers.
  • Gingham shirt with navy suit and shoes.
  • Gingham shirt with jeans and brogues.

While you might think a gingham shirt looks more casual than formal, you can easily dress it up with a tailored suit or your favourite formal accessories.

What Tie Can You Wear With a Gingham Shirt?

If you decide to create a formal outfit, you may wonder what tie you can wear with a gingham shirt. The safest (and arguably smartest) option is a solid coloured tie. However, if you’re dressing for a wedding, or simply wish to be a little more adventurous, make sure you pick a tie with a larger pattern to avoid it being overpowered by the gingham check.

If you want to find out more about what tie to wear with shirts, take a look at our guide to finding the best shirt and tie combinations.

Alternatively, you can shop our full range of men’s gingham shirts, including a wide range of formal and casual styles.