This time of year, it seems I am always wearing some type of plaid. But aside from plaid, one of my perennial fall/winter favorites is houndstooth. The houndstooth pattern is said to have originated in Scotland. It dates back to the 1800s and was traditionally worn by shepherds, which is how it derived the original name of “shepherds check.” The distinctive 4-pointed shape is also called “dogstooth” in reference to the ragged edges of the check pattern. When the weave is rendered in a smaller version, it is sometimes called “puppytooth.” The French viewed the pattern a bit differently…their translation of houndstooth is pied-de-poule – “chicken foot.”
Over the years many fashion houses have embraced houndstooth. It was a favorite of Christian Dior in the 1930s. On the current runways, it has been featured in collections at Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Moschino, Armani, and more. Most of the time it is shown in traditional black and white, although more and more designers are starting to play with it in bold colors. I find houndstooth to be very versatile. On a large scale it makes a statement, while a mini pattern will look almost solid from a distance.
I love a good pair of patterned or checkered pants. This pair is vintage, stolen from my mother’s closet…sorry mom (similar here). One thing I like in particular about vintage pants is the fit: many pairs have a high waist, which is way more flattering and elongates the leg. Because the pants have a hint of black, I decided to top it with a black and white Express houndstooth coat (similar here). And to give the outfit a mandatory pop of color, I’m wearing a man’s tie and Catherine Malandrino red sock boots.