Gingham Is The Joyful Summer Print You Need Right Now

“Youthful optimism and nostalgia at the same time.”


You deserve to wear clothes that instantly put you in a good mood. For summer 2021, the gingham trend is going beyond the picnic blanket and offering that dopamine dose. You’ll find it in the expected dresses, but gym clothes, swimwear, and accessories are all getting the treatment, too. The latest gingham designs lend a fresh perspective to the iconic motif — think electric colors, poppy pastels, and rainbow palettes eliciting pure joy — all while referencing its more romantic 17th-century origins and the peppier iterations popularized in the ’50s and ’60s and again in the ’80s and ’90s.

“While gingham is a tried-and-true spring pattern, [it’s] dominating with a playful, fresh perspective,” says Wendy Wurtzburger, Anthropologie’s fashion director. Adding, “This year’s gingham trend has appeared in new, eye-catching color combinations across modern silhouettes.” Three-piece sets made up of bras, souvenir shirts, and shorts are an Instagram-loved version of the trend, as are coordinating cardigans with cute skirts and crop tops. Similarly, summer weight knits with cut-outs, ruching, or strappy detailing and feminine tops featuring bold sleeves or bustier detailing offer a more romantic take, while large-scale patterns covering dresses, flares, and skirts lend themselves to splashier moments.

“The pattern exudes both youthful optimism and nostalgia at the same time,” Wurtzburger continues. “Similar to the explosive popularity of checkerboard pattern, gingham feeds into that landscape of Y2K nostalgia mixed with cottagecore, resulting in lust for graphic squares.” This mashup of aesthetics ultimately renews gingham for widespread appeal — intrinsically sweet pieces more easily pair with utilitarian or sporty attire when they otherwise would have felt too precious or fussy.

Though the pattern is inherently preppy, Wurtzburger explains the freshness of styling sporty, sleek, or artisanal iterations of gingham in new ways. “We’re seeing it mixed back to the ever-popular Bridgerton effect of corsets and the like,” she tells TZR. “We think gingham is most fun mixed back in [with] unexpected pairings, like florals, in an exploded scale, [or] incorporated in unexpected places, like swim and active, with flirty details throughout.”

Of course, you can keep things simple (but plenty cheerful) by opting for a vibrant gingham top with denim or an effortless dress that combines a few bright hues. If a smaller accent sounds more your speed, try a checked sandal with your assortment of summer whites or a handbag to accompany comfortable basics on the go. When taking a dip or working out, you’ll radiate a sunshine spirit in a gingham bikini, sports bra, or biker shorts. However you choose to get your gingham fix, you’re sure to discover a mood-elevating piece or two that suits your taste in the choices ahead.

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Playful Tops

From tanks to crops, these are your perfect pairing with casual bottoms like jeans or denim shorts. Add sporty accessories to keep the look more relaxed.

Comfy Bottoms

You’ll master breezy summer style in a pair of gingham shorts, flares, or culottes. Bonus points for a bold two-tone iteration.

Matching Sets

A coordinated gingham moment is equal parts charming and cool in the heat. Try a sweet cardi and tank combination for a look that you can just as easily wear to work as to a weekend picnic.

Romantic Skirts

When aiming for dressed-up summer style, a gingham print midi is a must. Pair with a floaty white blouse for a retro-inspired look, or style it down with a tee.

Easy Jumpsuits

Whether multicolored or a single saturated hue is your taste, you’ll be living easy in a gingham print onesie. It makes getting dressed easy, and pairs well with both sporty and girly accessories.

Elevated Activewear

From sweat sessions to athleisure-inspired looks, gingham print leggings, crops, and biker shorts are decidedly fresh for summer. Wear these on a casual walk with friends, or bring bright energy to the gym.

Preppy-Sweet Swimwear

Gingham print swimwear is classic. Modernize your look by opting for a puff-sleeve bikini top, high-cut bottom, cut-out maillot, or two-tone one-piece.

Effortless Sandals

Gingham sandals — whether neutral or colorful — make for a punchy finish with everything from summer white dresses to everyday basics.

Handy Bags

Ditch your go-to leather tote or crossbody in favor of a gingham bag for instant summer ease. Look for lightweight materials and bold colors to lean into your breezy summer aesthetic.