Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gingham: The Pattern of Warm Weather

While seersucker and madras get a lot of love when warm weather hits (and for good reason), they are, after all, fabrics and not patterns. When it comes to my favorite warm weather pattern, gingham takes the cake. It already kind of resembles a picnic tablecloth (particularly red gingham), so the associations with warm afternoons in the sun come easy.

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.

UPDATE: Knockaround sunglasses

Back in March I bit the bullet and ordered a couple of pairs of sunglasses from Knockaround. I wrote a review about the glasses which can be found here. In that review, I indicated how one of the pairs had developed a crack in the frame and within less than two weeks had completely broken. Due to their stated return policy (or lack thereof), I didn't bother contacting Knockaround about it and just chalked it up to that being a side effect of buying inexpensive sunglasses.

Well, last week, I received an anonymous comment on that post from a person who said that they had the exact same problem, but that after contacting Knockaround about it, they sent him or her a new pair. Intrigued by this, I sent an email to Knockaround's customer service and they agreed to send me a new pair. Upon getting home from vacation this past weekend, sure enough, I found a new pair waiting for me in my mailbox.

I wanted to write this follow-up as I felt like this was great customer service, and companies that provide such service, particularly on inexpensive and relatively disposable items, deserve recognition for it. If you were on the fence about getting a pair or two based on my previous review, I would encourage you to give it a shot.

I should also note that the other pair of Knockaround sunglasses that I got are still in good condition.