Argyle is a familiar pattern that is most popular in the wildly popular socks and sweaters, consisting of layers of overlapping diamonds and crisscrossing lines that create the illusion of three dimensions. Although the original origins of the argyle pattern are not completely clear, one thing is for certain – argyle is here to stay in fashion, design, and pop culture.
The history and original origins of the pattern are clouded with mystery. The legend of the earliest origins of argyle dates back to clansmen living in the county of Argyll in West Central Scotland. Supposedly, the men cut their traditional plaid tartans to create foot coverings (the first argyle socks), and the cuts ultimately created the first argyle diamond pattern. Some historians are skeptical about the stated origins of the pattern due to the difference in spelling between Argyll and argyle, but there is general consensus that the argyle pattern originated in Scotland.
Argyle is the signature pattern of the luxury fashion brand Pringle of Scotland, who has been rumored to have created the first argyle sweater in the 1920s. Celebrities like Madonna, David Beckham and Nicole Kidman have helped to make the argyle-emblazoned brand popular and to bring argyle socks and argyle sweaters to the mainstream. Argyle is popular with both teens and adults looking to achieve the trendy “preppy” look for which argyle has become an icon.
Argyle first found its way onto the American fashion scene in 1949 when the president of Brooks Brothers came back from a golf tournament in Scotland with the pattern in hand. He saw a golfer wearing argyle and immediately saw its potential as a new casual look for American customers and returned to the United States to produce the first ever argyle stocks in North America.
The traditional argyle pattern has made a huge comeback not just in modern fashion, but in a few unexpected places as well. For example, the popular Slipstream Chipotle cycling team uses blue and orange argyle in all of their cycling uniforms and promotional materials. A search on eBay for argyle returns almost 2,000 items as of this writing, including not just the usual fashion items like socks and sweaters, but also in collectibles like lunchboxes, lighters, and even dinnerware. custom dress socks