The argyle (occasionally argyll) pattern is made of diamonds or lozenges. The word is sometimes used to refer to an individual diamond in the design but more commonly refers to the overall pattern. Most argyle layouts contain layers of overlapping motifs, adding a sense of three-dimensionality, movement, and texture. Typically, there is an overlay of intercrossing diagonal lines on solid diamonds.
The argyle pattern is derived from the tartan of Clan Campbell, of Argyll in western Scotland, used for kilts and plaids, and from the patterned socks worn by Scottish Highlanders since at least the 17th century. These were generally known as "tartan hose".
Argyle knitwear became fashionable in England and then the USA after the first world war. Pringle of Scotland popularised the design, helped by its identification with the Duke of Windsor. Pringle's website says that "the iconic Pringle argyle design was developed" in the 1920s. The duke, like others, used this pattern for golf clothing: both for jerseys and for the long socks needed for the plus-fours trouser fashion of the day.
Payne Stewart (1957–1999), who won the U.S. Open and a PGA championship, was known and loved by fans for his bright and "flashy" dress; he wore tams, knickerbockers, and argyle socks.
It has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last few years, due to its adoption by Stuart Stockdale in collections produced by luxury clothing manufacturer, Pringle of Scotland, as well as the prominence of the pattern in high-end pret-a-porter American fashion. Argyle socks are worn by revivalist golfers playing with hickory clubs in the pre-1930 style.
As a knitting pattern, argyle is generally accomplished using the intarsia technique. Argyle patterns are occasionally woven.
Some sports teams use bright, contemporary interpretations of the argyle pattern: for example, the Garmin-Slipstream professional cycling team, nicknamed the "Argyle Armada", and the Norwegian men's curling team at the 2010 Winter Olympics.