What Is a Herringbone Pattern?

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Herringbone is a widely-used pattern in fashion, especially in fall and winter, for both men and women. However, "herringbone" can also be used to describe patterns in several other contexts.


A herringbone pattern is a series of lines that, together, create an interesting optical pattern that draws the eye toward it. The pattern is created with rows of short and slanted parallel lines that are opposite each other. In other words, one row will be going one way, and the row next to it will face the other way. These "V" shapes are called chevrons.

Name Origins

The word "herringbone" comes from the herring fish, which lives in shallow waters. This oily fish is very bony, and the bones resemble the parllel lines of a herringbone pattern.


Herringbone pattern is popular in fashion, especially in suits and coats, for men and women. These pieces of clothing are often made out of tweed or twill fabrics.


While there are many ways to pave a walkway with brick, a herringbone's zig-zag pattern, according to Better Homes and Gardens, is considered the best for walkways or patios that are irregular in shape and size. The interlocking pattern is also considered to be stately and formal.


In theaters and airplanes, a herringbone pattern is often used to organize seating, with the seats creating a series of chevrons.