For me, the word checkerboard still evokes terrible visions of a pair of pink and black Vans I owned aged 13, mid emo phase, and apparently set on making my wardrobe as family-upsetting as possible. But checkerboard is in a different place now, and so am I.
Last spring, when a domino trail of lockdowns began, brightly-colored checkerboard print suddenly seemed to be everywhere. A potent new tool of the Instagram algorithm, the alternating dark and light squares popped up in a deluge of color variations across scarves, plates, pants, and pretty much everything in between.
As is often the case, womenswear got it, and nailed it, first. Now, colored checkerboard has trickled down into menswear, popping up in new collections at a quickening rate, from NOAH to Marni. Virgil Abloh's Louis Vuitton SS21 collection is defined by the pattern, with warped checkerboard dressing coats, turtlenecks, trousers, and huge hats.
The timing of this latest, louder resurgence is appropriate. Warmer weather coupled with the fact that we can only hang with friends in the park makes it the perfect time to put fits together with your chosen picnic blanket in mind. That's before we even mention the ubiquitous crochet. These two go hand in hand.
We're declaring it a season essential. As such, we've picked out 10 of our current favorite checkerboard pieces from across the net.
Scroll to get your checkerboard fix.
Story MFG Greeting Shirt
All-over checkerboard print clothing can get a little intense, to say the least. If you prefer the subtle approach, this shirt by purveyor of natural fashion Story MFG is a nice option. Alongside the hand-block-printed checkerboard sit some of Story's recurring earthy motifs, including mushrooms and snails.
I'm glad checkerboard is back with a new lease of life. Why? Because you get super nice contrast in otherwise minimal pieces when you introduce some check.
The Conspires Coach Jacket
Though it's check all over, the use of tonal shading in this coach jacket's pattern makes it subtle enough to still style easily. The shiny satin coating takes things up a notch.
Jacquemus Baseball Cap
The pastel summer hues that Jacquemus is known and loved for turn up again, this time for a cute as hell cap. How long before this one is all over IG?
LASTFRAME Rib-Knit Tote Bag
Checkerboard and the DIY knit look team up for a powerful partnership that's entirely of the moment. Quite possibly the tote of summer 2021.
Rototo Crew Socks
Because no "Yes, I'm doing full checkerboard." statement is complete without the socks.
Xenia Taler Plate
Once you've successfully matched your look with your picnic blanket, why not extend things to the tableware, too. Made from repurposed bamboo fiber, the peach colored plate is also an environmentally-friendly choice.
Comme Des Garçons Wallet
The Comme Des Garçons wallet game is one of the very best out there. The Japanese label is only cementing that statement by including checkerboard in its accessories game.
Paloma Wool Pants
If you're looking to blame someone for last year's explosion of checkerboard print on IG, then Paloma Wool would likely be one of your prime suspects. Not settling for the status quo, though, Paloma warps its beloved print for a psychedelic pair of pants.
Good Worth Lighter Case
In a time when the park is the only place to show off looks and accessories, a gold checked lighter becomes strangely valuable.
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