Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's unfair to make fun of Jersey

Cotton jersey, that is. I realize that it's not silk or velvet, and that's it's pretty damn ubiquitous, and that we've all pretty much been wearing it since day one. Not terribly special. Or is it? I mean, we all know that it's comfy and easy, but could it possibly also be. . . ridiculously stylish? Gorgeous? Original?

Well, my answer is yes, and several designers seem to agree with me. Still being a fresh young thing myself, I can't say who it was who first starting using cotton jersey in new and interesting ways, but I can tell you about several people who currently do. The jersey gaucho, the item to usher soft, stretchy pants back into style--whether or not that's a good thing--was, I believe, first pioneered (in this millenium) by Rachel Pally. Now, if you're anything like me, you've seen enough gaucho pants to last a lifetime or five, so I won't bother with a picture. Her basic tees are pretty nice too, though--I especially like the chain-link printed ones.

Moving beyond slouchy LA basics, Daryl K. has also done some nice things with soft, stretchy fabric. The first pictured top (which is Daryl K.) would be as at-home at a cocktail party as with jeans. The top directly at left, however, is Roland Mouret (yes, I know he's no longer designing under his own name, but it is still possible to buy some of his pieces), who is probably the last designer that most people would associate with cotton jersey. I mean, I know the picture is small, but trust me, the top looks more like it was made of silk chiffon than jersey, and it's every bit as detailed and structured as his signature pieces. While you could wear this top with jeans, it was undoubtedly designed for going out on the town, for seeing and being seen. It'd also be perfectly appropriate for high tea.

Clu is a line that I've had my eye on since I saw one of their dresses in Teen Vogue a while back (not that I read Teen Vogue or anything. . . ok, I totally read Teen Vogue. I really like it). They do a great job of making basics special and unique, and moreover, just plain pretty. It seems to me that they rely largely on strategically-placed gathering to do the job, but it works. It's quite flattering.

You don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars to benefit from this trend. Just a week or so ago, I got a jersey dress from H&M for $12.90. It was such a good deal that I'm going to say it again--I got an adorable black drop-waist jersey dress for $12.90! And I know that it's kind of lame that I talk about them in like, every entry, but another reliably fabulous source is American Apparel--I actually have two of the pictured skirt, I like it so much. Once again, the gathers make it fantastically flattering.

I'm not a big fan of people abusing basics and wearing boring t-shirts and jeans every day. But with pieces like these, it's possible to be t-shirt-and-jeans comfy and Daryl K./Roland Mouret/Clu stylish. I love it.


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