The first checkered print piece you owned (or have distinct memories of) might have been Vans' signature checkerboard slide-on sneakers, which dates back to the late '70s and has been a favorite of skaters and punk rock enthusiasts. However, you don't have to own a skateboard to wear the checkerboard print trend. In fact, on the Fall/Winter 2020 runways, labels like Arthur Arbesser, Mara Hoffman, Preen By Thornton Bregazzi, and Coach are modernizing the print.
"I think checkerboard is something like stripes for summer," designer Arthur Arbesser tells TZR. "It will always be an extremely good pattern, also because depending on size or color, it can work perfectly from very elegant to punky or streetwear." For its Fall/Winter 2020 collection, the brand drew historical references to create its abstract checkered print. "Fall 20 was inspired by Milanese architecture and interior, especially from the '60s and early '70s where the checkerboard pattern is often used for marble floors or tiled walls," Arbesser says. "But apart from this I always loved clean graphics like checkerboard and have used it in several collections over the years."
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi showed harlequin (a form of checkered print) for Fall/Winter 2020, as well as in past collections. "We have used harlequin in our shows for a few seasons now," creative director Justin Thornton tells TZR. "There is something so romantic about the harlequin, a dark slightly subversive romance." Thornton feels the pattern is both modern and historical. "It’s actually very easy to wear as it the prefect all occasion print from day time cool to masquerade ball."
Off the runways, you're probably already familiar with the checkered print pieces from cool-girl favorite contemporary labels like Holiday The Label, Paloma Wool, Giu Giu, KkCo, and Fe Noel. "Checkered prints are classic and have been used in various ways for decades," Felisha Noel, designer of Fe Noel, tells TZR. "In fashion, everything is constantly being reinvented. It’s no surprise they are on-trend again." The New York-based label's collection features a matching checkered top and bottom. "The Welfed Button Up Crop Top and pant are named after my grandmother's restaurant located in the tiny countryside town of Grenville, Grenada," Noel notes. "The checkered print is often associated with tablecloth’s of various eateries; so the simplicity and familiarity of the print symbolizes the nostalgia of my many visits to see her and to have a good authentic Grenadian meal."
The beauty of checkered print is you can go as minimal or as over-the-top as your heart desires. Below, see how 15 influencers subtly sport the print, and how they go all out.
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How To Wear Check Print: Match Your Mask
If you aren't matching your mask to your outfit, this photo might convince you it's time to start. On the other hand, if you aren't ready to commit to buying a checkered print piece of clothing, start with a mask.
How To Wear Check Print: Midi Dress With Bright Accessories
To liven up your look, couple a black and white checkered dress with loud pink pieces. Ground your dressy attire with chunky white sneakers.
How To Wear Check Print: Subtle Sweater
Test the waters with a sweater featuring a subtle checkered detail. This new Giu Giu can be worn with everything from a polished trouser to bike shorts.
How To Wear Check Print: Funky Pants With A Loud Graphic Tee
If your style skews adventurous, team up a funky checkered trouser and a colorful graphic tee.
How To Wear Check Print: Transitional Bodysuit
Both a bodysuit and tank are great for transitional dressing, just throw on a light jacket and you're good to go. Let the bold print shine by accessorizing with dainty gold jewels.
How To Wear Check Print: Incorporate Different Prints
If you're new to mixing prints, start out by balancing out a large print with a small one. And choose one style that's black and white to tone things down.
How To Wear Check Print: Go Colorful
Instead of the traditional black and white check print, try out a colorful style. For those daring dressers out there, opt for a vivid skirt on the bottom.
How To Wear Check Print: Classic Vans
Give your checkerboard Vans a skater-chic twist by pairing them with a floral top and gold jewels.
How To Wear Check Print: Colorful On Top, Neutral On The Bottom
Balance out a vivid checkered top with navy trousers and black booties. To tie everything together, consider matching your bag to your top.
How To Wear Check Print: Via Your Undergarments
As you're spending most of your days indoors, ditch the pants and opt for a cool pair of undies to wear around your space. All you need is a crisp white button-up for your virtual calls.
How To Wear Check Print: Play With Proportions
Play with proportions by mixing large and small checkered prints throughout your look. Give your look extra oomph by throwing on a vibrant sweater.
How To Wear Check Print: Easy Breezy Dress
An easy breezy dress is a wardrobe essential. Choose a long-sleeve style for fall, and accessorize it with a fitted jacket and black leather booties.
How To Wear Check Print: Matching Set
Laying on the couch all day? Running to get groceries? A checkered print set is fit for basically any occasion. When you're heading outdoors, slide on a cool chunky oxford or knee-high boots.
How To Wear Check Print: Match Your Interiors
Holiday The Label's Instagram-favorite Kokomo Pants look cool with a simple sweater, or another eye-catching print like leopard. Finish off the look with a checkered vase.
How To Wear Check Print: Under A Jacket
You can still be a minimalist and wear checkered print. Subtly show the print underneath a jacket with checkered tights.