Get-To-Know Your Patterns


Over at, they highlight the importance of knowing your patterns and we agree; how many patterns do you recognize? How many are you familiar with? No need to be 'fashionable' if you aren't aware, right?

Be sure to ceck out the prints and its history:

Argyle PatternArgyle is a clothing pattern which consists of a checkerboard of interlocking diamonds. Many argyle layouts also feature layers of overlapping motifs, adding a sense of movement, texture, and three-dimensionality. The name of the pattern comes from the region of Argyll in Western Scotland, from which the design originated. Argyle has a sporty connotation from its golf background.

Border Tartan Pattern Border tartan is a pattern formed by cross-weaving small dark and light checks. It is much plainer and less colorful than the more well known Tartan textile pattern (also known as Plaid). Border tartan gets its name because historically it is associated with the region surrounding the Anglo-Scottish border. Border tartan is invariably made from black and white fabric, although historically a more yellowish fabric was used.

The novelist Sir Walter Scott was also well known for wearing border tartan trousers.

Border tartan has many names, and is also known as Shepherds’ Plaid, Border check, Border Drab, and Northumbrian tartan.

Check PatternCheck” is the name given to patterns which are made up of a combination of horizontal and vertical lines of different colors. Commonly associated with Celtic countries such as Scotland, where woven dyed wool with a check pattern was a staple item of clothing for many centuries.

Plaid Pattern Plaid (pronounced “plad”) is a common textile pattern formed by criss-crossing horizontal and vertical strips of colors. In Europe, the pattern is more commonly referred to as Tartan.

In the early 19th century, the pattern came to fashion among the nobility when King George IV visited Scotland and brought the pattern back to Britain. More recently, the Punk subculture in Europe adopted plaid in the 1970s as a form of rebellion against authority and the establishment.

Digicam PatternDigicam is short for “digital camo”, and is a type of camo paternconsisting of pixellated blotches of color (typically green or brown).

Today, digicam is used by the majority of the major militaries in the world, and has made it into the world of fashion as well. Like traditional camo, digicam has strong military associations, and is worn by those who want to convey that association.

Herringbone PatternThe herringbone pattern is a V-shaped pattern typically found in clothing made from twill fabric.

The herringbone pattern gets its name because the shape made by the weave resembles the skeleton (bones) of a herring-fish.

Herringbone is often found in casual sportscoats and blazers, and is typically a combination of black and another color, such as white, grey, brown, or blue.

The herringbone pattern dates back to over 400 b.c.

Houndstooth PatternHoundstooth is a jagged checkered pattern which originated in Scotland. The pattern has traditionally been a repeating motif of black checkers weaved into a field of white, although in recent times, designers have begun experimenting with other colors as well.

Houndstooth enjoyed a spurt of popularity in the 1960s and 1980s, when it was picked up by Chanel, and most recently in 2005 when high end designers such as Emporio Armani, Lous Vuitton and Moschino began incorporating the pattern into their designs.

Houndstooth is a very loud as far as patterns go, but is versatile because it has a both modern and classic feel. Like Herringbone, houndstooth has traditionally been found in knit and woven clothing items:

Paisley PatternPaisley is a textile pattern, resembling a twisted droplet, which originated in Persia and India (although it’s name comes from Paisley, a town in central Scotland).

Paisley is known by many names. Among American traditionalists and quiltmakers, Paisley is known as “Persian pickles”. They also variously known as “Welsh pears”, “mango seeds”, and “cypress tree” (from which the design originated).

Paisley today can be found in many fabrics, especially those with Indian origin. They are also a common motif on handkerchiefs and bandannas, as well as neckties and the flourishes found in many t-shirt designs.

Because paisley is commonly found in bandannas, there is a slight hood/gangster association with paisley:

Tartan PatternTartan is the name for the fabric pattern formed by a criss-crossing of multi-colored bands, running vertically and horizontally.

Tartans are closely associated with Scotland and were originally created by interweaving multicolored threads (which is where the name of the pattern originates, from the French word tirer), but these days the tartan pattern is often recreated using dyes.

The word tartan is used to describe the criss-crossing pattern in Scotland and most of Europe, but in North America the pattern is referred to as “plaid”.

See the entry on Plaid for more information on this pattern.

Toile de JuoyToile de Jouy, or simply “toile”, is a decorating style that originated in 18th century France. The name of the the design in French means “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas”, which was a town in north-central France.

The motif consists of a white or off-white background, with a fairly complex image on it, usually depicting a pastoral scene. Toile is most known for its use in curtains and upholstery, but is also seen in dresses, aprons, bandanas, and even shirts.

The flowery nature of toile has made it more common in women’s clothing than men’s, but toile can occasionally be seen in dress shirts and neckties for men as well. Done right it can look French and sophisticated, but done wrong it just looks busy or feminine.

Polka Dot PatternPolka dots are a series of circles of of different shapes (and often colors) that are spaced out in an even pattern.

Polka dots were originally worn by flamenco dancers and other performers. They briefly came into popularity during the late 19th century, when polka dancing was popular (hence their name), but haven’t really come into fashion again except for a brief spurt of popularity in 2006.

Because of the colorful and playful nature of polka dots, polka dots are more common in women’s clothing than they are in men’s. However, if you want to add a touch of playfulness to your look, or want to do a throwback to earlier times, polka dots might work for you.

Like any bold pattern, polka dots are best used in moderation. It’s hard to get away with wearing a polka dot shirt or pants without making a very dramatic statement:

Pinstripe PatternPin stripes (also spelled pinstripes) are a pattern of very thin stripes (often as thin as a single pin/thread, hence the name) that run vertically.

The pin stripe has come to be associated most commonly with the pinstripe suit, a traditionally conservative form of business attire. However, pin stripes can be found in many other pieces of clothing as well, from blazers to socks.

Pin stripes are a simple but effective pattern that breaks up the monotony of an otherwise uniform piece of fabric. Because pinstripes run vertically, from top to bottom, they help to draw the viewer’s eyes vertically as well, which makes them a good design choice for people who are shorter or overweight, who don’t want to draw attention horizontally.

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