Paisley print can best be described as a curved teardrop or kidney. The pattern is repeated over and over on the fabric, and there are usually smaller variations of the same design within it. For example, there might be just a few larger paisleys, but an uncountable number of smaller ones weaved within it.
Paisley print is as classic as you can get. Most of the designs we see popping up today are new to our culture. For example, galaxy print only came to be around a decade ago.
Paisley, on the other hand, originates back to right around 250 AD.
The History of Paisley
It’s generally believed that the paisley design originated in Persia around 250 to 500 AD. As with anything that ancient, there is some disagreement – some believe it started in India.
Regardless, it quickly spread throughout different cultures and became an icon. The meaning of it varies, as does the actual design itself. The design in Russia is straighter compared to the design in India, and in India it means fertility – not so much in Russia.
Paisley really took off in the 1800s when the East India Company began importing it en masse. The amount of paisley entering western civilization was astounding, and it’s still prevalent here today.
The peak of paisley in the United States was in the 1960s. In that time, men still wore simple, powerful suits, but the dresses of women were bright and cheerful, much thanks to the paisley design. When combined with bright colors, paisley evokes a fun and soothing emotion in us.
Popular Paisley Apparel
While it was especially prevalent on dresses in the 1960s, it’s transformed to be applicable for both men and women.
Women often find paisley on their skirts. Not necessarily the short skirts that you’d see at a club, but the longer skirts that are fit for formal occasions and such. It adds a nice touch to a plain outfit without getting too extravagant.
Men can now wear paisley, too. While the formal, solid-color suit is always a good choice, it’s now considered a little over the top for anything besides work and formal occasions. You’ll often find paisley on ties and pocket squares. Usually, paisley is sold in a set, so you’ll get that dash of personality on an otherwise plain suit.
Where’s paisley going?
One thing is for sure – it’s not going anywhere. It’s one of those styles that will look good for centuries to come. It’s entrenched in so many cultures that like the yin yang, it holds a certain significance that modern designs simply do not.
It made fade in, it might fade out. But it’ll always be there in some way, shape, or form, and you can always feel safe wearing some paisley out on the town. Possibly in this new Supreme x The North Face collection released on the 20th of November!