A Girls' Guide To Oz: Fashion's Gingham Trend
With March well underway, spring fashion is slowly seeping into daily life. Gingham, or as Boyfriend calls it, "tablecloth plaid" is one of spring's biggest, most wearable trends, and is already trending on social media and popping up in store windows.
Spring fashion has always felt like a light-hearted affair compared to the stark runway looks that return en masse each fall, but never has it felt more like child's play. The return of gingham means the return of whimsy, and a feeling of youthful escapism and dress-up.
Wondering what I mean? Gingham has a long been the fabric of choice for girls looking to create their own reality, run away from an oppressive narrative, and escape the monotony of reality.
Case study #1? Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She was transported from humble roots in Kansas to the wilds of Oz in a gingham dress. The simple, checked pattern communicates her youth and rural background, but is mute enough to allow her big dreams and wanderlust to be projected over top. She wants adventure, but knows where home is, and the intersecting lines in her gingham frock display these desires colliding perfectly.
And, we can't talk gingham without talking about the woman who came the closest to being a real-world Dorothy, '60s screen siren Brigiette Bardot. Widely considered the thinking man's sex symbol, she was all drop-dead curves and slim cigarettes, helping make nouvelle vague films famous and bringing French cinema across the pond. But before all that, she was a young blonde girl whiling away on farm in rural France. She wed when she was 18, in a gingham dress, and escaped to the city to build a life in her very own Oz. The marriage didn't last, but the image of a fresh-faced farm girl yearning for more did, with her gingham number becoming the stuff of fashion legend. Only Bardot could take what was then considered a poor person's fabric and make it sizzle and sing with sex and freedom.
This spring's incarnation of gingham has shown not much has changed. Fashion label Altuzarra featured plunging-neck gingham gowns that put the breastbone (and perhaps the wishbone?) on display, and I can envision a young Bardot wearing one on the train to Paris. Diane Von Furstenburg, meanwhile, created matching top-and-short gingham sets that would have provided a chic and wearable option for Dorothy to pack on her travels.
In an age where travel bloggers are filling our feeds with new pockets of the world, and an age where the news makes us feel the world is getting a little worse each day, who can blame a girl for wanting something more? To want to explore and find a little magic, a little good?
Gingham, worn best with an open-toed shoe and a sense of hope, is a trend I'll be behind all season long.