Gracey On: Houndstooth

This is houndstooth:

Houndstooth image via Wikipedia


Houndstooth is a textile pattern so named because it resembles the tessellations in a hound’s teeth:

Hounds Teeth Tessalations


It was invented in the 1880s by Lady Hughes-Botham, noted hunting dog breeder and textile factory owner.  Lady Hughes-Botham came up with the pattern for use in her factory as a way to commemorate her beloved dogs.  Eventually, the pattern was copied by other textile factories on both sides of the Atlantic and houndstooth can now be found throughout the fashion world.

Of course, as with anything in fashion, houndstooth has come and gone.  The first modern iteration of houndstooth I personally remember was in the 90s.  Man, I wanted a pair of  houndstooth stirrup pants sooooo bad:

vintage houndstooth stirrup pants


And I probably wanted to wear them with a majestic, blown-up houndstooth sweater like this one:

vintage mutli colored blown out houndstooth sweater

Ah, the 90s.  Those were good times.

As you may have noticed, houndstooth is currently back in style.  The trend started a couple of years ago with Salvatore Ferragamo’s Fall 2011 collection, worn most memorably, for me, by Lady Gaga:

Lady Gaga in Salvatore Ferragamo houndstooth

And houndstooth is still going strong.  This look was shown by Balmain for S/S 2014:

A model walks the runway during Balmain show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear  Spring/Summer 2013 at Grand Hotel Intercontinental  on September 26, 2013 in Paris, France.

Not that you have to wear head-to-toe houndstooth.

No, one of the things I like about houndstooth is that it’s effective in small doses, like a clutch or a shoe.  I also like that it plays well with both neutrals and colors: You can be part of this Fall’s black and white trend or throw some also-trendy cobalt in the mix.  And I like that you can find it in small scale, large scale, and even different colors so that houndstooth can work in pretty much any wardrobe.

What about you, Already Pretty Readers?  Is houndstooth part of your wardrobe?



P.S. I totally made Lady Hughes-Botham up; she and her hounds aren’t a thing. (But maybe they should be.)

Images 1 & 2 via

Image 3 via iofbeholder vintage

Image 4 via owlephant vintage

Image 5 via

Image 6 via

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Already Pretty contributor Gracey hails  from Fashion for Giants. She’s essentially your average blogger, except that she’s taller than average (six foot) and bigger than average (size 14). She also likes to think that she’s more amusing than average, but that could just be vanity. In addition to being tall and plus-sized (and possibly hilarious), she’s also a thrift store shopper, a vintage lover, an Oregonian, and a bike commuter.

Likes: Gracey likes to shop, to blog, and to terrify her co-workers with brightly colored outfits.

Dislikes: Robot uprisings, too-short skirts, and leggings as pants.

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19 Responses to “Gracey On: Houndstooth”

  1. Dee

    I am so glad you told us you made up the story about Lady whats her name — I really believed that story — it totally makes sense! So how DID that pattern get started, do we know? You are such a hoot Gracey, I always read your blog too. PS. I ike houndstooth and know I have a few things in that pattern somewhere in my wardrobe, I just can’t think this early.

  2. Ann

    I had a houndstooth suit in the 1990’s. I currently have a houndstooth cardigan I picked up at Target last fall. I love it and wear it often!

  3. Alex

    I’m a University of Alabama alum, so of COURSE I wear houndstooth. But I’m really glad I don’t have to buy it all from the school store. I have houndstooth boat shoes, winter coat, two scarves, and short-sleeved sweater top (in addition to the official U of A sweatshirts and t-shirts)… but I never wear more than one piece at once!

    • Amy

      HAHA! I just came here to comment that I wear houndstooth because I’m a diehard Bama fan. So far, I only have the famous houndstooth hat and a pair of houndstooth flats, but I am trying so hard to find an adorable houndstooth dress or skirt (in a size 16/18).

      Roll Tide! 🙂

  4. sarah

    ha! I totally believed the story about Lady Whats-her-Botham, too! =) And I have a big piece (5 yards) of heavy-weight woven cotton houndstooth sitting in my studio, waiting to be used. I got it for a song years ago, but could never figure out what to do with it since it is (get this) white and HOT PINK houndstooth. But woven! Not printed! Which makes it some awesome fabric.

    I was thinking I might make a big ol’ midi skirt with it. I might even tub dye it first, to tone down the hot pink-ness. Still haven’t decided. (And even if I do make a rockin’ circle midi skirt, there’s still the matter of what to do with the other half of that fabric???)

  5. mo

    I would love to find a houndstooth pencil skirt to replace one I clearly didn’t value earlier in my life. It’s such a classy and flexible print. I guess it’s time for some thrifting …

    • sarah

      Mo, I’ve got a classic Ann Taylor pencil skirt (wool, fully lined) in a camel and ivory houndstooth that is never going to fit me again (ah, younger, skinnier days). It’s a size four, I believe – it fit me when I had a 26″ waist, 36″ hips. If you’re interested, drop a post on my blog or something? If you’re willing to pay the postage, I’ll pop it in the mail for you – might even be cheaper than thrifting it! =)

  6. Sue

    I found a houndstooth pencil skirt a couple years ago in a local consignment shop and snapped it up. I’ve worn it several times. It’s great with black patent pumps.

  7. Monica H

    I love houndstooth! I bought a houndstooth blazer from Banana Republic of this year and it’s my new favorite thing. I have to be careful not to wear it every single day as my work cover-up. It perfectly fits the tailored-classy-versatile-but-not-boring look I’m going for. I want to buy other houndstooth items too, but so far I have resisted since I don’t want to have a closet full of only houndstooth!

  8. Mary

    The average woman in the USA is a size 14, so how is being a size 14 bigger than average?? Just curious

  9. Shaye

    I retroactively want those houndstooth stirrup pants for my stirrup pants-wearing middle school self.

    I do love houndstooth but I’m not sure I’ve EVER owned a garment in this classic print! I’ll have to keep an eye out.

  10. Ruth

    I like your comment about adding cobalt, below a picture in which you can just see the tip of a cobalt shoe.

  11. K

    I love this post! I agree with the other commentator that you are a hoof; your posts both here & on your blog are funny and memorable and I look forward to them.

    I love the houndstooth pattern (and well, most geometric patterns) and am happy it’s coming to more stores. I need to find more pieces so that like lady gaga, u can one day wear it head to toe. (I did do this once for plaid; I wore 19 pieces of plaid at once and called it Mad About Plaid.)

    I too believed your story about Lady Huges-Botham: as I was reading it, I thought wow, that’s such an awesome way to commemorate her beloved dogs. I wish I could think up something as lovely & animal-inspired to commemorate my beloved past cats and bunnies. It’s a great story.

  12. Nadine

    Houndstooth is, hands down, my favourite pattern of all time! It abounds in my wardrobe, my home decor and I would totally drive a houndstooth car, if it were possible.