It's a Gingham life


If you went back in time by say 360 days or so, you’d find S and I under the chilly cover of a grand tree in Central Park, having a picnic with takeout Whole Foods boxes and bottles of Kombucha and tea that we’d carted from Columbus Circle. To our right would be a sprawling Italian family, their common demeanour as stereotypically Italian as you could get in the heart of NYC as they alternated between delivering the staccato of boisterous chatter and then just as dramatically falling silent in their descent into an afternoon nap on the grass. I ate an entire punnet of berries on my own as S lay beside me reading a book I’d picked up for him that morning in Williamsburg. It was possibly one of the most beautiful afternoons I’ve had in my life.

Picnics. Let’s talk about ‘em. Take some food and a mat outdoors, and suddenly the setting is a barricade for the merciless passing of time. The afternoon slows to the prime pace for good conversation and earnest enjoyment of the moment. We decided to have a picnic last weekend to straighten out the whirlwind of a week that we’d both had at work and beyond, and I dressed for the occasion in my best picnic mat impression. Just kidding! I love gingham, and these co-ords made me feel like an introspective Parisienne who’d just cycled to the farmer’s market in one of those pastel bikes with a wicker basket out front. If this were true I’d no doubt have a freshly baked baguette and boxes of sun-ripened berries in said basket. Though in the Singapore version of this story, we’re on a lawn in the Botanic Gardens chowing down on paprika pesto chicken ciabattas and roasted veggie skewers marinated in garlic confit, intermittently drawing out our phones to catch the Pokémon that turned up to join our party.

I once looked on in admiration as a friend paid for a black and white gingham baby doll dress that we’d both tried on at H&M. It was the cutest thing ever, but I’d been so fussy about the strangely wide neckline that I couldn’t bring myself to walk the final lap to the checkout. As prolific as it is as a fabric I have a hard time finding anything gingham that tickles my fancies because it is often either too baggy, cut shoddily, too short, or oddly coloured. Not to sound like a pompous connoisseur of sorts, but with age I’ve also acquired a newfound liking for midi skirts and dresses. Consequently it felt very much like I’d struck the lotto when I finally found a gingham crop top and midi skirt pairing that ticked the many, many boxes I’d inconvenienced myself with checking. Gingham styles are a vehicle for vicarious transportation to so many alternate realities - an all-American diner in the thick of the 1950s, a tea salon serving up buttery scones and clotted cream in the British countryside, or an instant picnic in the middle of a luscious green field. 

Can I really elaborate any further on my affinity for gingham? I think not. 

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