Thursday, September 11, 2008

Are gile? Our gyle? Argyle!

With so many patterns available and a seemingly endless array of fabrics, today I'd like to talk about Argyle and other great geometric designs. Argyle is a pattern characteristic of diamond shaped blocks, usually set against a colored background. Cross stripes may accent the diamonds of color, leading many people to consider argyle as a type of plaid. Argyle is usually only found in knitwear, but has also been more economically screen printed on shirts. True argyle requires difficult knitting skills, as the patterns are often intricate and complex.

Plaid is generally associated with Scottish textiles. Many historical fashion sources date Argyle fabrics to at least the 1500s, when it first appeared as an iconic pattern on socks of the Scottish Campbell Clan. The Clan was native to County Argyll in Scotland - and so the diamond pattern became associated with the county it originated. And with all trends, by the 1700s, the pattern had migrated to England, where other colors and patterns were introduced. But diamonds last forever. All Argyle always has diamonds in the pattern.

As with any pattern, Argyle can be mixed and matched with other patterns. If the Argyle pattern is of a larger proportion (like on a sweater vest or sweater), pair it with a smaller pattern (like a shirt with thin stripes or dots). Argyle socks always spice up otherwise boring khaki pants and brown shoes. And Argyle ties or scarves bring a bit of nostalgia and prep to any ensemble. From prep to punk, Argyle is sure to bring an unexpected element to your wardrobe in the most pleasant way!

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