Gingham Style Defined

Gingham Style is not to be confused with Gangnam Style…Go Gingham is where you can get to be stylish and frugal! But what is it exactly? Well maybe this will help…

I was interviewed recently and given a list of questions to answer about my style. I don’t think the story will run so I thought I’d share the questions and answers anyway.

www.gogingham. com Gingham Style
Traveling light meant 1 pair of shorts went to Austria. I wore these to run in and then walked around in them for days! Or did my shorts walked ME around?

My husband just asked me why I was pressing “publish” on this one (he’s my editor) and I said, “Because it’s fun! Remember that frugal, fancy, and fun girl you married? She wants to publish this!” (I said that with both of my hands on both of my hips….) Sweetie, it’s my blog and I’ll post what I want. Snap.

1.  How do you define your style?

My style is classic with a little bit of sass.

www.gogingham. com Gingham Style
This second-hand Ralph Lauren shirt was a total score! French cuffs, too.

2. If you were on a segment of a style show, how would explain the various steps you take to achieve and maintain your style?

When pulling together an outfit, I begin by thinking about the season – spring, summer, winter or fall and what the weather is like. Different colors and fabrics work in some seasons and not in others, so my outfits are really seasonal. What to put on top, then bottoms, and layering, too, in case I suddenly get hot, which has been known to happen.

I try and pull together outfits regardless of the activity. Whatever is on the agenda: exercising, gardening, cooking, grocery shopping, meetings, social events, are all times when I think before I get dressed. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I think, “Man, this is going to look bad,” when I’m heading off to the recycling center, garden supply store, and then home to move plants in the yard but I shrug my shoulders and off I go!

Plumber's outfit
Yep, that’s my plumber’s smile! My first plumbing project circa 1991 – I cropped out any trace of the other plumber’s smile.

3. What are your shopping tips for your particular style?

Try and buy-second hand, first, and splurge where it counts. For me, the splurge is on shoes. I don’t buy shoes often but when I do, I like to buy good quality shoes that I can wear for years. Having a few good accessories that can dress up an old outfit is another way to really change a look. You do have to be careful not to over accessorize.

4. Are you strictly department store or do you design and make your own clothes?

I definitely make my own clothes if I can’t find what I’m looking for. I sewed a skirt for a 3-week trip to Europe that went with every single top I brought along in my carry-on bag.  Yes, one carry-on bag for 3 weeks in Europe, but that’s how it worked – one skirt that went with everything.

In grade school, I had to wear a uniform and had my mom sew me a reversible plaid vest that went with all the acceptable uniform colors. I had dog-eared the J.C. Penney catalog looking for what I had in mind!

Gingham Style
Sixth grade fashion with a school uniform!

5. What do people say about your style?

People want to know where I shop and ask to tag along while thrifting and going to “The Bins” (Goodwill Outlet Store). It can be hit or miss when shopping second-hand so finding a friend or two who like to thrift really helps.

6. Who, if anyone, was your role model–or did you evolve your style yourself?

I love Katharine Hepburn’s style but I also love mixing old with new, but always with an eye for quality. I worked for Ralph Lauren Corporate for 9-years and as part of my compensation, received a clothing allowance. I still wear lots of my clothing from those years.

Katharine Hepburn
Always an inspiration: Katharine Hepburn

The clothing I still have fits but I have moved buttons and reinforced seams that were under high-stress and were begging for extra strength! I’ve passed some items onto my daughter and sold or given away the others. (That darn gravity!) Because Ralph Lauren leans toward classic, many of the styles I still like and they’re still very wearable. I jumped for joy while shopping at Goodwill recently and found a brand new Ralph Lauren suede jacket. Total score!

7. Add anything that explains how you achieve your particular style, and conditions – such as you may live in the frozen tundra or in the tropics, country or city that dictates or influences your style.

I live in Portland, Oregon where it rains often, so rain gear is essential. That and having a hair style that can get wet! Jeans can be worn to almost any event in Portland, which can be good and bad. I like to dress up and wear pretty things but it’s easy to be lazy and just wear jeans everywhere!

8. Any details that you think important, such as do you pitch clothes after one season?

No, I keep what looks good on me and then wear it until it wears out and then I try and mend it or re-purpose it.  I made an old Ralph Lauren skirt into cloth napkins for Thanksgiving.

Dress = top   skirt copy
Go Gingham style! Thrift store dress became a top and skirt that went to Spain.

Stained clothing or yellowed whites really get on my nerves. I try and get stains out of everything. I’m also not afraid to buy second-hand clothing that’s still in great shape except for one or two little stains or a small hole or rip. Knowing a few mending techniques is really helpful. I can’t believe what people get rid of and I’ve benefited from that, because mending or changing a button doesn’t take much effort.

9. Do you have a one-year haven’t worn rule?

No, my rule is more of a “do I like this enough to keep it” rule. Also, the age old question, “Does my butt look fat in this?” My poor husband.

10. What makes you reach for an item of clothing?

Style, fit, fabric and season – and what I need. If I have something similar at home then I really question whether I need another. Except cashmere. Cashmere I always have room for.

11. Are you always sure or have you made expensive clothes mistakes?

Sometimes I regret NOT buying an item! Does that count? I try and buy expensive items second-hand. No regrets when you purchase your clothing by the pound or your purse at an estate sale for $2.00. The exception is shoes. I love shoes and have to stay away from shoe stores otherwise I’m tempted.

12. What does style mean to you?

Style means looking your best in clothes that are becoming to you. Knowing what styles, fabrics, and colors that are complimentary are key to looking good because then you feel good in what you’re wearing.

Sara Tetreault: My favorite outfit
My husband and polar fleece with jeans are my favorite outfits!

13. How does style help you in life?

Style helps me have a creative outlet. I like seeing something and thinking how I might like to make it, re-make it or buy it. Having style gives us an opportunity to express ourselves, live beautifully, and look our best.

What about you? What defines your style? Pick a number from above to answer or go with all! I can’t wait to read your responses.

Go Gingham related links:

How to make a waistband smaller without pins!
How to turn jeans into capris – easier than you think!
How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!
A second-hand dress becomes a skirt and a top: Dress = top + skirt

8 thoughts on “Gingham Style Defined

  1. Katharine Hepburn is one of my favorites! And I can’t believe what you did with that dress from the Bins. I didn’t see a number to pick? But my style is…classic comfortable with a twist. 🙂


    1. Rita, classic comfortable with a twist is always in style! Well done.
      Katharine Hepburn is the ultimate. Style and grace are what she’s all about.
      Thanks, Rita!


  2. Sara, you have ALWAYS had great style! From the time we worked together at RL, through having babies, and now teens, you have always lived and looked stylish! I have always admired the way you put things together!


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