50's Fashion and Beauty

Fifties Fashion Fix: Gingham!

Hi there, retro lovers! I’m Retro Dee and welcome to a new segment of Fifties Fashion Fix where I’ll be featuring some of the most iconic patterns in Fashion History.  In this post I’ll be talking about one of the most popular patterns of the 1950’s decade: Gingham!

Yes, nothing says “retro charm” quite like the little checks of gingham. From dresses to tops to shorts and swimwear, gingham was popping up everywhere in the 50’s for women’s fashion. Even summer shoes were appearing with gingham print!

Gingham is daintier than regular check and presents well whether it’s mixed and matched or worn in a set. Dress sets with jackets were popular in the 1950’s as well as “bare top” sundresses. With a few buttons and a collar added, these cute and iconic classic clothes will never be forgotten.

And there’s no end to the colors gingham can be: black, red, blue, yellow, green and so on!

Vintage ad featuring gingham dresses from the Hordern Brothers catalog, Spring and Summer 1955-56


Gingham as a popular pattern began far before the 1950’s, but is synonymous with that era. The gingham trend peaked in the 60’s, lasting into the 70’s, 80’s and early 1990’s, but it never really went out of style. It’s a fun, eye-pleasing print, particularly in the summer months. You can still wear gingham today and be in style while simultaneously giving off a retro vibe.

I have a few fantastic gingham pieces in my wardrobe. When I first started looking for retro-themed clothes, gingham caught my eye even more so than the typical polka dots.

The very first true vintage item that I purchased is this mocha and black gingham check dress by J. Harlan. I believe it to be early 60’s. I might have the hem brought down an inch or two because it’s not quite calf length.

Vintage J. Harlan mocha and black gingham dress. Shoes by Chase and Chloe. Sunglasses by Nine West.


The next gingham dress I purchased is a 1950’s reproduction day dress in blue and white gingham by Vermont Country Store. This dress is a fantastic reproduction, complete with the 44″ long length. It conveniently ties at the waist. You just want to serve lemon aide on the porch in this classic style dress!

Reproduction 50’s style dress by The Vermont Country Store. Shoes by Chase and Chloe.
This dress is perfect for sitting on the porch swing!


But so far, the best find of my entire ever loving, dress-wearing life is THIS adorable red and white gingham dress that I got from Tabby’s Vintage Shop. It’s true vintage 1950’s and the label is Betty Barclay. I just love the iconic 50’s style: sleeveless with a collar, buttons from top to bottom, with a drop waist and a full skirt.

Vintage circa 1950’s red and white gingham dress by Betty Barclay, shoes by Chase and Chloe.
At Peggy Sue’s Cruise!


I’d love to own some true vintage black and white gingham pieces. For now I have a button up shirt from Olive and Oak. It’s a bit larger check, but I think it still passes for gingham! I can wear it and give off a 1950’s vibe without looking too weird and it has many styling options.

Shirt by Olive and Oak, jeans by Lands End, boots by Not Rated.
It’s also a great outfit for just hanging around!


Well that about concludes this segment of Fifties Fashion Fix featuring gingham! Stay tuned for a future post on polka dots, plaids and more!

If you like, you can follow me on Twitter @RealRetroDee and Instagram @mariepascal82 . Thanks for reading!

— Retro Dee

I do not get paid or compensated in any way to endorse any products, companies or stores.