Designs with very thick, dark stripes make a bold statement and impact. Thin stripes or pin stripes are popular in men’s fashion for suits, trousers, shirts and ties, as seen in the displays. Wider stripes are often used for uniforms like school blazers, probably because of the neat, regular pattern that is not affected by changing fashions.
The square is one of the most common geometric motifs used for pattern.They have equal proportions and give the pattern a strong sense of stability and form. However, the term “to be square”, which means someone who is old-fashioned, formal or precise, is not because their clothes have a square pattern!
It was a term first used in the 1780s and was taken from square-toed shoes, once fashionable in the first half of the 18th century but not by the end of the century.
Squares can be shaded and placed on top of each other to create cubes, boxes and checks. Gingham, one of the most well known forms of check, comes from the Malayan word “ginggang” meaning striped. One of the most recognisable forms of Gingham made popular in the 1950s, uses pink and white check. An example of such fabric can be seen on a dress in this display.
Combinations of stripes and squares include plaids and tartans, which have strong associations with Scotland.