What Is Chevron Print?

The Zig-Zag Pattern That Is All the Rage

person wearing chevron print top and sunglasses in the city

MIKA KNEZEVIC / Stocksy

For most of us, solid colors are the bread and butter of our wardrobe. It's not that we don't like prints, instead, we envy those who can rock head-to-toe patterns and not look like a walking eyesore. But the thing is, wearing patterns can be tricky. Sometimes large prints can overwhelm a petite figure while smaller ones can appear downright dizzying. Pattern preference also comes down to personal taste. Leopard print could be your bestie's fave but it may not be for you. Still, prints are a quick and easy way to take your OOTD from blah to bam and, in our humble opinion, worth incorporating into your rotation.

While there are many patterns out there—floral, paisley, plaid, oh my!—if there's one that reigns supreme in terms of its appeal to both the print-bold and print-shy alike, it's chevron. Not only is this classic design super flattering, but it's also incredibly versatile and can be played up or down with color. You may recognize chevron in Missoni's iconic knitwear, but this popular print was around long before the Italian fashion house took to making zigzags in vogue.

To learn more about chevron print, from its ancient history to a gallery of our favorite zigzag looks, keep scrolling.

What Is Chevron?

Coined in the 14th century, the word "chevron" is of French and Latin origin and derived from its resemblance to adjoining building rafters. A chevron print consists of inverted “V” shapes in what looks like an uninterrupted zigzag pattern.

The History of Chevron

Back in the day—we're talking 1800 BC—chevron first made its appearance in Greek art forms like pottery and stone carvings. Flash forward to 19th-century Paris, where chevron could be seen in the new parquet flooring being rolled out as part of the city's major redesign. Chevron continues to be a popular flooring pattern today and has even expanded into bathroom tiling and kitchen backsplashes. Outside the world of art and design, however, this inverted "V" is found as an insignia on both military and police uniforms. Think of it as practical patchwork, if you will.

Chevron vs. Herringbone

Janelle Monae wearing an orange shorts suit with boots and a herringbone jacket

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images

Another popular zigzag variation, herringbone is named for its resemblance to the skeleton of a (you guessed it) herring. Its use can be traced back to Egyptian textiles, jewels of ancient kings, Roman highways, and traditional wool tweeds from Ireland. If you've ever found yourself scratching your head when trying to decipher herringbone from chevron and vice-versa, you're not alone. These patterns are super similar, but they aren't, in fact, the same. Whereas herringbone looks like a broken zigzag of sorts with the end of one rectangle meeting the side of another, chevron is a seamless zigzag with each side meeting point to point without interruption.

Chevron Fashion

Model Godeliv Van Den Brandt with afro and wearing chevron black and orange printed dress

Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Chevron's foray into fashion came in the early '60s à la Missoni's colorful, striated knitwear. It was especially trendy in the 1970s with It-girls flaunting chevron skirts, dresses, and tops galore. And when Missoni teamed up with Target in 2011 to launch a limited-time collection, it seemed like everyone wanted to get their hands on this kaleidoscopic print—and still do. Chevron remains as relevant and popular today as it did when it made its fashion debut decades ago. To prove it, we've rounded up our favorite chevron looks below.

Metallic Maxi

Spanish actress Ivana Baquero wearing a long black and gold pleated chevron skirt

Samuel de Roman / Getty Images

All eyes are on this mesmerizing maxi. Pleats lend movement and take these zigzags from static to undulating. The black and gold color combo is elegant and eye-catching. We're sure that a 21st-century Cleopatra would approve.

The Minimalist

Tamara Taylor wearing a long-sleeved black velvet top with minimalist gold chevron pattern

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images 

Tamara Taylor drapes herself in black velvet that is oh-so-elegant. The large, albeit, minimalist, print is super flattering as lines trace and emphasize her figure. Oh, and don't think we didn't notice that leopard clutch. It's purrrfect.

Rainbow Bright

Samara Weaving wearing a colorful sequined chevron tank top with black bottoms

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Image

A little sequins and rainbow palette can go a long way in elevating your style and boosting your mood. Whether you're going out to a party or just want to bring the party to you, this fun and festive tank is the answer.

Monochrome Madness

Ludovica Martino wearing a black and white chevron formal gown

Elisabetta Villa / Getty Images

If Beetlejuice ever met high couture, this dress would be it. Equal parts romantic and equal parts edgy, Ludovica Martino looks divine in this black and white ensemble. Chevron paired with stripes combined with plaid shouldn't work, and yet, it most definitely does. Keeping the color palette monochrome is what brings these different patterns together.

Fun and Flirty

Laura Barth formal chevron dress with v-neck and ruffled sleeves

Ernesto S. Ruscio / Getty Images

The silhouette of this evening dress is jaw-droppingly beautiful. A deep v-neck cut echoes the chevron and does not go unnoticed. To complement the sharp geometric print are ruffled sleeves that add movement, not to mention a fun and flirty flair.

Pile on the Print

Laura Harrier wearing a chevron vest with red shirt and striped pants

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Laura Harrier combines a chevron vest with pinstriped pants to create this dapper darling ensemble. She proves that pattern pairing can work and work well, as long as you strike the right balance. Incorporating a solid red top breaks up the two different prints and keeps them from becoming too overwhelming.

Colorful Accessories

Asian woman with colorful chevron print scarf, Stella McCartney sunglasses and a black trench coat

Claudio Lavenia / Getty Images

Let's not forget accessories. Chevron print makes its way into this vibrant scarf that is just as chic as it is cheery. What better way to brighten up a dreary winter day than with a pop of color?