Gingham comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and in a variety fabrics, though some variation of cotton is most typical. While it is usually worn in more casual settings, and the larger prints usually look best for this context, it can also be dressed up, usually with mini- or micro-checks and in a broadcloth-type of material. The photo below shows my own collection of gingham shirts.
From left to right:
-Brooks Brothers non-iron, navy
-LL Bean non-iron, "Aegean blue"
-Jos A Bank non-iron (now washed enough to no longer be non-iron--awesome), navy
-LL Bean non-iron, orange
-Old Brooks Brothers, dark green
-Brooks Brothers short-sleeve seersucker, navy
The two LL Bean shirts are actually new acquisitions, courtesy of my brother for my birthday. LL Bean has a great selection right now (here and here), with long sleeve shirts for $40. However, I think that I may prefer Lands End's offerings, which are currently on sale for $35 for long-sleeve non-iron shirts. Also, they are offering the shirts in exactly neck/sleeve sizes, which are always preferable to the S/M/L sizing that LL Bean offers. While LL Bean currently offers a pink gingham in their micro-check, I really like the fact that Lands End offers pink gingham in a larger check:
I also like their red version:
Lands End also chalks up another win with the pair of gingham shorts that they're currently offering (only in 9" inseam, but they can easily be hemmed to a decent length). They're also only $35:
While shirts and shorts are great, in my opinion, the king of gingham clothing is the gingham sportcoat. While I would settle for a regular navy gingham sportcoat, this multi-color gingham from Brooks Brothers is also a nice option:
Moral of the story, gingham is a great fabric for the summer. It's versatile, easy to find, and available in a large number of styles. Additionally, darker colors can even be extended into the fall. It's an easy choice for any closet.