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Mary Katrantzou’s eclectic gingham dress explores the potential of this perennially-favourite pattern.

The spring-y sibling to plaid’s fall-weather appeal, gingham has an unfortunately saccharine reputation – harkening back to baby-doll dresses at lakeside family reunions – that makes most adults steer clear of it. Fortunately, this season, some brands decided to help gingham grow up, taking out the sweetness and injecting some serious style. London-based designer Mary Katrantzou featured colour-clashing ginghams at her spring/summer 2018 show; one dress had a drawstring waist, lending a cool athleisure feeling.

If sporty is your vibe as well, look to Guess’s slip-on sneakers to kick your wardrobe up a notch. The monochromatic scheme means they’ll go with everything (for maximum showing off, wear with cropped denim or a midi skirt), and the fray detailing is a modern twist that’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

For its latest celebrity collaboration, Gap worked with actor Sarah Jessica Parker to craft a range of breezy summer pieces inspired by her childhood. The line’s poplin shirtdress features a contrasting check and ruching along the front, meaning it has more in common with the chic looks she wore on Sex and the City than her formative fare.

Equally swish, H&M’s drawstring-sleeve blouse is contemporary but classic thanks to its toned-down gingham done in white, grey and black. Pair this top with a black pencil skirt for the office and denim for weekend drinks on a patio. Gingham does go best with the great outdoors.

Lyocell-blend blouse, $39.99 at H&M (hm.com).

Gap and Sarah Jessica Parker shirtdress, $94.95 at Gap (gapcanada.com).

Guess Martin sneakers, $89 at Hudson’s Bay (thebay.com).

Have a style query that needs solving? Send your questions to oparker@globeandmail.com.

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