Wholesome and HomespunMay I be bold for just a moment? You’ve been wearing leggings and a sweatshirt since March 2020, haven’t you? You may even be wondering if you’ll ever wear anything with a fitted waist ever again? What you need is something to smooth the transition back to dressing beautifully. Something easy to wear but smart. Something stylish, but not at all scary. It’s a toughie, but I have an idea…

Gingham! Is there a fabric more wholesome than gingham? Those candy-coloured checks turn up everywhere from school dresses to shirts on the back of Mods. Brigitte Bardot wore a pink gingham dress when she married, causing the couture dress to sell-out, and creating a shortage of the fabric as French women strove to copy the style. Dorothy Gale wore blue gingham when she travelled over the rainbow, the clean lines of her sweet pinafore dress being the one trustworthy symbol of her Kansas home amid the merry old land of Oz.

Gingham is unfussy, clean, and fresh. It is the very essence of 1950s Americana from musicals like Oklahoma and Carousel where the fabric was a byword for the homespun values of the mid-west farming states. Stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe wore gingham to show off their casual off-duty style. It was a look that could be copied by the girls in Woolworths and fuelled the fantasies of all the guys who thought those fancy stars were out of their league – look, they are just normal gals when off-duty!

Gingham has become a shortcut to a vintage American style that pulls at my heart. It’s apple pie, rosy cheeks, and the barn dance where you meet the love of your life. There is nothing complicated here, just fresh colours and cool cotton, you don’t need to think too much about a gingham dress. I think  you know where this is leading, don’t you? Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, and the sun starts to shine again, you can slip into this delightful vintage inspired swing dress in the sweetest  lavender gingham. Dainty ivory gloves and a 1950s fluffy petticoat would complete the retro look perfectly, but you could easily wear with a pair of Converse and a cardigan.

Rouge gingham is playful, tricking the eye into mixing the bold scarlet and white checks to suggest pink (the so-called Bezold effect), making this probably the cleverest little 50s swing dress you ever saw. Try alternating these red, white, candyfloss pink frothy petticoats to keep the look fresh and constantly changing.

Green, so fresh and zingy. Imagine a perfect spring morning, Boris has told you that you can go and meet up with six other people,* so what do you wear? Well, I’d lay claim to this vintage style swing dress in the most adorable emerald gingham. I might add a pair of sandals with a cherry red pedicure,  I may add some white orchid earrings and I think I should definitely wear a cherry bow hair clip.

I can spend an age deliberating over accessories, so it’s a blessing that our adorable gingham 1950s circle dresses are so easy to wear. Buy one in each colour and you’ll be back to your completely gorgeous self in no time. I’m glad we’ve had this chat x

*Don’t quote me on this, things change every bleedin’ day at the moment so check the latest guidelines.