French lessons

Mais non!
I really like this skirt, from Talbots. But why is it dry-clean only? (Prime suspect: the lining.) As we know, linen develops a nice soft hand when washed, and it's hardly beyond our skills. Even the model looks none too happy about it. Talbot's theme this spring is France, but French women have savoir-faire about upkeep costs.


Une erreur
This Eric Bompard sweater (ordered on sale) turned out to be one of the worst cuts ever, and had even the usually supportive Le Duc rolling his eyes. The sleeves were so tight I worried about splitting them trying it on and attached to the body with diamond-shaped gussets that twisted. Weird and ill-fitting is not Bompard, what happened?

I'm out about $25 for shipping/handling, which reminds me to stick with styles I know. When a piece has a non-standard fit it should be noted in the copy; even a euphemism like "narrow sleeve" would help.



Mariage estival
On a happy note, my Parisienne GF Huguette e-mailed to show me, via the Ventilo web site, what she's buying for a June garden wedding– a fresh approach equally elegant on a larger woman, and so easy to wear. Huguette spends a lot, has one of those three-foot long closets and wears her things into the ground.

And for those of us fretting about whether long skirts are over as we consider spring and summer, I noticed this at ever-cool Ventilo. Long skirt, little jacket, scarf. It's the mix that lifts it, comme d'habitude.

Baba cool

A djellabah worn with big bangles is another less-conventional casual wedding or party option. Huguette and I share Boho leanings and we like Antik Batik's embellished silk version. This one's on Net-a-porter, $665; Huguette hits the St-Suplice boutique. These are easy to copy if you have some yardage and basic skills, but cut still counts, it is not shapeless.
Jolie: Hava Djellabah by Antik Batik

Bonne journée!








25 comments

Rubiatonta said...

I had a peep at that skirt at Talbots recently -- the fabric would indeed soften up nicely when washed. And since I don't like my close-to-the-body clothes lined with that slippery stuff anyway (ugh, lined linen trousers - is there anything nastier?), if I find a garment I can't live without, I often take the lining out of it. (Hint: check the state of the seams before you buy.)

Anyhew, since I've got a nice length of black linen hanging around somewhere, I'm going to make myself a skirt for spring that approximates this style and save my pennies.

Deja Pseu said...

I decided to take a pass on that skirt, probably just a bit too voluminous for me, but am going to try the "Bardot" dress of the same fabric.

I'm not very happy with Eric Bompard right now: still have not received my sweater, and e-mailed them last week but have received no response.

Love that Ventilo ensemble that Huguette chose, very pretty!

DocP said...

I own the Talbots skirt. It is not lined. There is a bit of lining type fabric in the pockets, and of course, there is probably an interfacing in the waistband.

Belle de Ville said...

I love that skirt from Talbots, especially with the crisp white shirt.

materfamilias said...

So many labels, at whatever the price point, seem to recommend "Dry Clean Only" and there is generally no true correlation to the fabric's washability -- rather, they seem to be covering themselves, lazily, against any laundry eventualities without bothering to actually test a garment, or at least a piece of fabric.
I've successfully hand-washed lined wool, tailored trousers. Granted, I dry-cleaned them the first two years I wore them, and then decided I was ready to risk losing them. I've washed them two or three times now, just blocking them carefully when I dry them.
That's an extreme example, obviously, but at some point, I do generally get impatient with the dry cleaning requirement (and in Small City here, the Green dry cleaners are not available, so it's ecologically unsound as well). I really resent having to do the trial-and-error at my own expense.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Talbots has a lot of dry clean only garments...
your French GF Huguette's closet would be of much interest to me...I too have a 3 foot closet...I am interested in her high end clothing choices too.

How unfortunate about the Eric B sweater...I like the thicker knit jacket (sweater) that was not on sale...
why do they make sleeves so skinny anyway?

Demi-pointe said...

I like the Talbot's skirt too. And if it is not lined - all the better! I too am interested in Huguette's closet. The choices, the deciding factors, how to get through the special occasion, the very occasional business meeting, the daily errands and marketing. With fewer things worn to the ground the cycle must start over again. Oh, well then things would, of course, be more (consistently) current. Maybe now I get it...?

DocP said...

I just looked at the skirt again. The tag says "dry clean" as opposed to "dry clean only". I have heard that "dry clean" items can be washed, but dry cleaning is preferred. "Dry clean only" is really supposed to be dry cleaned. There is a hem self facing - in other words, rather than the hem being turned under, there is a seam with a separate piece of the same cloth underneath. I think that helps the skirt billow/flare out at the hem. I don't know if there is interfacing at the hem, but it is possible. It is a very different silhouette than we are currently used to seeing.

lagatta à montréal said...

It is odd indeed, as linen garments become so much softer and nicer when washed. I love the colour - there is too much fullness at the him for my ample bum (gores work better when I want fullness, and I do like swirling skirts - they make me happy).

Too bad about the Bompard - looked so pretty in the photo.

lagatta à montréal said...

The HIP, not the him, or the hem. I like the fullness at the hem.

Mardel said...

I rather like that Talbots skirt as well, but see the dry clean label as just laziness, or perhaps it is protection from lazy laundering. I think I need a new pleated skirt for this coming season.

I hope my Eric Bompard fit, but it should according to the bust measurement and length. I got an email telling me about 10 days. I shall wait eagerly.

LPC said...

Yay. Love the Talbot's skirt. Am preparing for summer, and considering what now, in my mid-50s, will work. That might do the trick.

Duchesse said...

Rubi: Yes, lining could be cut out and I kind of resent giving them the satisfaction of buying it.

Pseu: There is a notice on the site advising that the sale merch can take up to three weeks b/t ordering and shipping, then there is shipping time. Might be the reason?

DocP: Description says lined, wonder why. Have you washed it?

Belle: I have th style in black cotton (Jones) and black silk (MaxMara) and ear both a lot.

maerfamilias: I thought it was a cya move (on part of maker) too, till I washed a black and white jersey skirt on delicate, and it ran into blotches. You just never know, so I think they should make more things washable.

hostess and demi-pointe:
Huguette buys mainly Ventilo, Joseph and Irie, in grey, taupe and navy. Hundred dollar panties and two hundred dollar bras; Huguette changes her lingerie entirely for new lovers, which is to say, often. Eres swimsuits, Desmo bag. She is thin, and spends a fortune on skin treatments which involve some kind of electric current, but no surgery.

She has worn a blunt cut with bangs, which she in her charming English calls "bangles" since I've known her, over 30 years.

For business, she wears strict little jackets with a pencil skirt, again mostly Ventilo, for leisure her skirts (Irie) are worn with a fine cotton tee. She does not wear jeans except for white jeans in summer. She is 59, a psychologist who works with large corporations.
In the summer she has been wearing full, below the knee shirts with ballerinas for casual wear. Tees, not blouses.

DocP: Thanks, I've also seen a skirt that has wiring at the hem, like a crinoline, to get this effect. Some labels now say Dry Clean or Hand Wash, a command I understand.

Lagatta: Gore are better to skim hips. But the ah. bottom line is why could they not make the skirt forthrightly washable? There is a reason that Bompard model is all teisty in the pose, it hides the odd cut!

Duchesse said...

Mardel: Let me know what you think, I should have stuck with styles I know fit-and next time, will!

LPC: I can definitely see you in that skirt!


lagatta: Typo by me this time: "Why model is all TWISTY..."

Duchesse said...

All: Dadgummit, I'm writing my comments on a train and have so many typos. Apologies.

Demi-pointe and hostess: For summer H. wears a full SKIRT, not shirt. She also buys clothes by Margaret Howell, Kenzo scarves and has a green Mulberry satchel.

Her weakness is wine and ice cream, and she a she would say "but I must tell you I am very particular."

Tiffany said...

Oh my goodness, that djellabah is absolutely lovely!

I wonder, with the EB sweater, whether the odd pose of the model was specifically designed to obfuscate the oddity of the cut? It's only when you look closely that you can see that the sleeves are quite tight even on a very slim model.

As for the skirt, I do like full skirts, but as they're not a silhouette we get often, I always feel a bit to dressed up or odd when I wear one. Must try again ...

Rubiatonta said...

RE: EB delivery time - shipping from Europe is taking forever these days, due to increased cargo security. (Yes, even if you haven't ordered a toner cartridge.) I just ordered a few things from Boden and they were much longer in arriving than usual. (Of course, that's no excuse for not answering customer service emails.)

Demi-pointe said...

Duchesse, thank you for your attention... to detail and to those who post comments on your site!
I think Huguette and you have inspired something in me. I am just not sure what it is yet!

Someone said...

I was going to say what Tiffany beat me to - beware clothing that looks like it's being jiggered by (or on) the model to make it look acceptable!

(Recently I was looking at a dress online that I was hoping was also decorated on the back, and lo and behold, it was the only one of about 5 items on that site that did not show the back view. Hmmm.)

And the djellabah...the return of the 60s/70s caftan by a more authentic, sophisticated name, non? Pretty fabric.

Someone said...

Erm - *the only one of about 5 items that I looked at*. Typos abound!

DocP said...

Pseu- I have not washed the skirt and probably won't. I ordered it online and it just arrived yesterday. We're under snow and ice here in New England, so linen is many weeks away. Much of my wardrobe is dry clean, so I don't mind one more dry clean item.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have been drawn to the indigo linen skirt and dress at Talbot's, but worry about the fullness--so glad to hear there is no offensive lining! I agree completely with Rubiatonta: HATE finding an acetate lining inside fresh, summery linen. I've removed linings, too, but it always irks me. I love, love, love Huguette's beautiful ensemble, and would wear it with pleasure (love the bangs, too!) I once put together a very similar outfit for a Colorado mountain inn wedding: delicately quilted Eileen Fisher putty silk coat over slim ivory pants and top. Light as a feather, and completely comfy. This rajah silhouette is so adaptable, I'm surprised that more women--and designers--don't embrace it.

C.

Duchesse said...

Someone: yeah, she is all hunched over, hugging the sweater in so you don't see that awkward cut. (Bompard is usually well-cut in both men's and women's styles.)

DocP: I've been steadily reducing drycleanable garments without ever intending to get to zero. If feels great not to drop $50-$60 every time I pick up from the cleaner's.

But what galls me is that the skirt *could* have been made washable, with a washable semi-rigid facing. If they can put leopard on shoes, they can make washable linen.

Anonymous "C": It's a look that may return with the glory it deserves as we 50+ women demand more and better styles. I bought three Indian tunics in beautiful handprinted cottons from an Indian boutique and love the ease.

Marie-C hristine said...

Something I learned from sewing and knitting: the more tortured the models' pose, the more likely there are major fit problems..

As to the skirts, interfacing is more likely to be the problem than lining. Cheap lining will usually go from sitting on it for a few days. Cheap interfacing will dissolve, or bubble, or deform or whatever, from one wash.

The real problem is that if they tell you to wash it and the thing self-destructs, they have to take it back. When they label it dry-clean, if it self-destructs your dry-cleaner is responsible. And I'm afraid your distinction between dry-clean and dry-clean only is fantasy :-).

I usually wash anything from the thrift store, figuring I can stand it if I lose the gamble. No problem so far, but as I said it's a gamble, and I would think twice about $90 worth of skirt.

Duchesse said...

Marie-Christine: Te distinction b/t dry clean and dry clean only was made by a commenter, not me. I avoid anything that can't be washed except of course the obvious like wool coats.

I destroyed a $300 Italian printed jersey skirt by handwashing it; the colour ran. Marked DCO but thought I could handwash... my costly mistake.