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  • Writer's pictureParisian Niche

The Vichy Pattern - Your Wardrobe - The Francais Way…


image: amazon.com

You'd better check yourself before you... (Yes, P'Niche is aware she just dated herself!)


While we have previously discussed the many merits of the Breton top, let's take a closer look at her fashionable sister, the Vichy pattern, and how to update your own wardrobe - the français way. P'Nichers, we're talking from the Vikings to current couture (with some royally fashionable stops in between)...


image: fredericmagazine.com

What we like to call Vichy (gingham to many people), originated in the French region for which it's named, and we must actually thank the Vikings for this iconic pattern.


It seems that back in the 11th century, the Vikings had produced this pattern on their linens and other various home furnishing fabrics. You can see in this medieval Saxon manuscript, from circa 1300, that the Vichy pattern was the go to home décor item of the time.


Now, fast forward to the 17th and 18th centuries, when the design really found its popularity soaring. It was, of course, mass produced in Vichy, France, and exported overseas. Even US President George Washington was known to request items with "covers of check" in any color.


This humble fabric has stayed true to its roots. It is a commonly found (usually cotton) material. Not made of delicate silks, linens, or adorned with embroidery, it is entirely utilitarian in its strength and durability.


That said, it was still considered quite dear and added pops of color to a home. It was easy to launder, accessible to many, and wildly coveted.


Even today, Vichy remains timeless. It can be styled in an infinite number of ways to enhance your wardrobe, home, and beyond.


image: masterclass.com

The Vichy patterned fabric is produced with both medium or fine yarns. The coloring is on the warp yarns and always on the weft (or grain) of the fabric. As such, this fabric has no "right or wrong" side with respect to its color saturation. Thus, it is frequently used as a test fabric (similar to muslin) during fashion design projects, before cutting into more expensive, delicate fabrics.


image: cosmopolitan.com

While the fabric has been known for its long lasting strength for nearly a millennia, it has definitely made its way into the hearts and wardrobes of many the celebrity.


Music sensation Pharrell Williams gets it just right here in a very Parisian chic way. Even with this (fabulous) hat, by styling a bold Vichy shirt, and leaving the rest of the look monochromatic, he allows the checked button down shirt to absolutely pop and be the star of the show. Well, secondary star to Pharrell, of course!



image: elle.com

Now, you know P'Niche will never miss the opportunity to chat about the royals and their always fashion forward, but timelessly elegant, fashion sense.


You can see here that Diana, Princess of Wales, pulls this Vichy look off with effortless whimsy and fashionable playfulness.


She chose to highlight the Vichy print in a slim fit pant, while matching her tops to the exact corresponding colors of the checkered print.


She looks decidedly well put together, comfortable, and above all... chic!



image: www.tipitent.com

Now how to incorporate this fabric into your own wardrobe? There are an infinite number of clothing staples that reflect this pattern, which has been having a real moment in the 2020s.


Button down blouses, interesting pull over shirts, like this (non-sponsored) smocked number from Tipi Tent, pants, scarves (of all shapes and sizes), swimwear, hair bands, scrunchies, and even shoes, are widely available for purchase.


While Vichy has been getting paired more and more with other patterns (in a similar color scheme) like florals and polka dots, P'Niche likes to keep the rest of my outfit simple and monochromatic to really allow that Vichy pattern to stand at attention and be noticed.



Gents, we want to see you in your Vichy prints as well! Most commonly in a shirt form, you can pair with a bold tie, or leave tieless to best show off the pattern.


You can also find pants, shorts, swimwear, etc. in a great Vichy print, but again, do let the rest of your gorgeous look remain monochromatic to pop those checks.


image: markandgraham.com

Of course, as the Vichy pattern started in home décor, it has remained enduringly popular in interior design and accessories. Most popular, of course, is for picnics.


The pattern is also used in food and beverage marketing and packaging. In the kitchen of any Parisian home, you will find (at least) a jar of Bonne Maman preserves. The red and which check jar tops are simply iconic. And P'Niche insider tip, some of the lesser known Bonne Maman jam flavors, that are not sold in the USA, are absolutely wonderful souvenirs to bring home from Paris to friends and family!


image: etsy.com

When in Paris, I love to shop for Vichy patterned items at:


25, rue Royale, 75008

Métro: Concorde (Lines 1 and 8)


Not in Paris? No problem! Check out P'Niche's fave (non-sponsored) online items:


I want this Marie Marot blouse so badly, I can taste it!


This gorgeous Men's Vichy shirt (in 2 colors)


A scarf more to you liking to ease into the look?


Vichy picnic set for your apéro to go



What do you think, P'Nichers? How will your incorporate the Vichy pattern into your wardrobe and / or home décor? We'd love to hear in the comments below et à bientôt!



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