Houndstooth (or dogstooth) is a delightful and sophisticated pattern with a rather odd name. The name houndstooth comes from the shape of the pattern, which, close-up resembles a canine’s canine (I don’t see it – depending on the pattern, sometimes I see a flower
with 4 petals?).
The pattern itself first appeared in 12th century architecture and emerged on fabric in the Scottish Lowlands as the glen plaid (GlenUrquhart), also known as the Prince of Wales check was popularised by Edward VIII when he was Prince of Wales. As a fashion pattern, it emerged in the 1930′s in a New York City based men’s and women’s high end clothier called DePinna. Their suiting included houndstooth checks along with gun club checks and Scotch plaids as part of its 1933 spring men’s suits collection. Though this pattern has a long and luxurious history, it was really popularized in the 1960′s with designers like Geoffrey Beene using it liberally in their designs.
At the end of the day, it is a type of ‘check’, much like Gingham, but it carries a much bigger air of sophistication than the others. Something about this pattern makes me think of luxurious fabrics and tailored suits. Much like a leopard print makes me think of sexiness, houndstooth makes me think of polished sophistication. Even in a crazy format like a bathing suit.
Bonus part of houndstooth is that a smaller pattern of it is called a puppytooth. Aw.
One of our members recently asked a question about Houndstooth and we went sort of crazy. Here are 8 fantastic pieces, but I could show more: