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Love Me, Love My Houndstooth

10/28/2011 08:31 am ET | Updated Oct 08, 2012

In its February review of Ferragamo's fall/winter 2011 show, Style.com wrote, "Here's something you weren't expecting: Salvatore Ferragamo just might be the sleeper hit of Milan fashion week -- and all in shades of black, white, and gray, too." Sure enough, when I walked past the Ferragamo store on New York City's Fifth Avenue this July and the windows literally stopped me in my tracks. An aesthetically pleasing excess of black-and-white glen plaid and houndstooth -- including a glen plaid coat layered over a houndstooth skirt and matching purse and shoes -- made traditional patterns look new.

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The oversize houndstooth print in particular has grabbed the attention of celebrities. Actress Teresa Palmer and singer Selena Gomez were early adopters of the look, but pop star Lady Gaga, for whom too much is never enough, made it memorable when she appeared on The View in August. Wearing Ferragamo's houndstooth dress, clutch and shoes, she added a matching hat and sunglasses. Her ultimate "you'll-never-top-this" accessory? A houndstooth piano. Reality-television personality Kim Kardashian wore the same silk dress and posed on a matching chair earlier this month. The New York Times offered a few more celebrity examples as well as some suggestions about non-Ferragamo houndstooth items to purchase.

One easy way to hunt down houndstooth is to use ShopStyle.com, a shopping search engine that helps you explore thousands of sites at once. It's easy to save your favorites.

It's even easier -- and less expensive -- to shop your closet. Houndstooth has been around for a long time. You might already have some and if you don't, you can find good used pieces at your local thrift store (or on eBay). Whether you're buying new or old pieces, hold out for high-quality clothes that you'll be happy to keep for years because, while it may be a long time before a designer does anything with the pattern that's as eye-catching as Ferragamo's designs, houndstooth never goes out of style. Fashion bloggers have certainly found this to be true. While some of them are buying new pieces, others are donning houndstooth that they've had for years; purchased from second-hand stores; or inherited from their great grandmothers and husbands. Take a look at how they wear it.

Checkmate!