Know Your Patterns

When you were a kid, you learned your shapes and your colors. As someone who is upping your fashion game, you need to learn your patterns.

From left to right: tattersall, a three tone gingham, windowpane, houndstooth, and glen plaid

In this Quick Tip Tuesday, we’re going to learn about two categories: stripes and checks. There are many patterns in each, so let’s get started.


Stripes (biggest to smallest):


-Bangle Stripe-

Usually about 1/4″ wide and a solid color on white.




-Pencil Stripe-

Width varies, but is thinner than a 1/4″ and there is more white than colored stripe.



-Pin Stripe-

Pin stripes are usually one to two threads wide. It is also sometimes a broken line like the picture below.



-Hairline Stripe-

Hairline stripes are so close together that from a distance they look like they are a blend of the two colors.






Checkered pattern with even squares made by horizontal and vertical stripe crossing each other usually on a white background.




Uneven colorful checks and stripes intersecting each other. Usually a casual summer fabric.



-Tartan Plaid-

Most often found on Scottish kilts or flannel shirts. Consists of horizontal and vertical stripes that cross each other to form different sized checks. Usually only used in casual situations.




Small, broken, pointy checks that repeat in this connecting pattern.



-Glen Plaid or Prince of Wales-

Small and medium houndstooth type checks that repeat in a pattern to create large checks from farther away. This is usually done in a subtle color and white and is most commonly seen in suiting fabric.




Thin alternating colors that are usually darker than their background.




Thin single colored stripes that form large checks that resemble that of a windowpane.



-Graph Check-

Small checks that resemble graph paper.



-Pin Check-

Similar to hairline stripes, these checks are one thread wide and look like a solid color from farther away, but up close appear as miniature checks.



Thanks to Christina Lee at for the images and inspiration for this post.


“Many variations of the major patterns exist as designers are constantly trying to come up with new and different styles. Shirt patterns are often enhanced or can be a combination of different patterns.” – Christina Lee



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