Peter Pan for grownups?

When strolling through Montréal's grands magasins, I clocked the fall trends, that is, those styles ubiquitous at various price points– and therefore a signal for me to exercise caution, but you might think otherwise.

I left an afternoon's walk-through thinking: baroque, trompe l'oeil and Peter Pan collars. At home, an e-mail from J. Crew awaited, trumpeting the same Peter-positivity.

I remember them from seventh grade or so, and then again, for a brief moment in college years: the chaste collar obscured the merest hint of any Wendy's décolletage.

J. Crew offer it as an alpaca sweater, at $90 (and then, the drycleaning; that collar is not detachable.)

I can see it on a somewhat petite woman over 50 if she is the type to wear, say, a pencil skirt or skinny jeans and heels, but this is an almost juvenile sweater (pouf shoulders!) that would look silly on more strongly-built women. 

It occupies the same universe as tiny floral prints, ruffled or piecrust collars, velvet headbands and kitten heels: sweet, and flirting with twee on mature women, especially larger ones. 

Marc Jacobs does it on a graceful paisley, merging two trends, baroque and PP. A good career piece, and you can open it to relieve the clutch of that little collar. But Madonna, $585 for a cotton blouse you are supposed to dry clean?

I imagine someone with a grey bob, perfect flannels, tomato nails and this Markus Lupfer sequinned Peter Pan sweater, could make me eat my words about the primness being off-putting. (Price, $421.)

Annabel Dexter-Jones sticks a hot pink Peter Pan on her sheer lace blouse, which creates a burlesque of propriety, no?  You might have to raid Captain Hook's treasure chest: price, $545 at net-a-porter.

Eric Bompard's 100% ultrafine cashmere Peter Pan crew is about as adult as they come, with a trompe l'oeil collar that's really stitching and non-girlie colours like clover green, shown. Price, 195 €. Ask the Lost Boys to shake out their piggy banks, but it is washable!

A Peter like this is more than a flash in the Pan, and in supple, extrafine cashmere, leaps beyond the twee. I think that's at the heart of trends for grown women: finding a well-made, more sophisticated version makes the difference.


barbara said…
So glad to see you back, Duchesse!
And, as always, you nailed that Peter Pan thing.
I missed your esprit, your expert eye and the variety of your topics.
No better blog for women of the Elegant Age under this skye!
Meanwhile I eliminated some blogs from my blogroll, some repeat same thing like a tibetanian prayer wheel, others have advertising on their site. No no.
Yes, you're a gem.
Unknown said…
I like the blue lace shirt but would prefer it without the collar. Definitely don't do dry cleaning if I can help it. Lots of brands seem to put dry cleaning on the label when the garment is often washable.
Kristien62 said…
I haven't donned a Peter Pan since my grade-school uniform. The lace is interesting, but I agree with Chicatanyage, without the collar.
Susan B said…
Nope, can't get on board with Peter Pan, even on the Bompard sweater. It just reads as too twee to me.
SusanG said…
Peter Pan collars? Too prim and childlike for me.
materfamilias said…
I share your indignation with the notion of dry-cleaning an expensive garment -- made in a fabric that could easily be rendered washable. These days, if the makers won't go the extra step to pre-wash their cottons and silks or using construction techniques that take advantage of wool's washability (knits, at the very least), I'm just saying no. . .
And isn't the latest Bompard catalogue scrumptious!
Northmoon said…
No Peter Pan collars for me either.

I feel confident ignoring the 'dry clean' labels on washable fabrics like silk and cotton and handwashing gently instead. That label is just to provide liability insurance against those careless individuals who would toss the item in the washing machine and the dryer.
Gretchen said…
Welcome back, and hoping you had a delightful summer! Peter Pan collars, and Peter Pan men, are big NOs in my book. I have to say, kitten heels make god sense, though. I like varying heel heights and find a kitten heel, or a Louis heel ( which is rare to find these days) is so much nicer than some of those squat heels. The best low heel remains those on Ferragamos, however.
Anonymous said…
I would definitely consider that deep blue sweater (at a quarter of the asking price.) It reminds me of vintage Chanel, rather than the sprigged Villager and Liberty-print blouses I wore in junior high school, with the inevitable circle pin on the collar...

Welcome back, Duchesse. You've been missed!

Mean Mama said…
Glad you are back; you were missed!
Duchesse said…
batbara: The occasional comment like you have given today keeps me blogging; thank you!

chicatanyage: I have a black lace longsleeved t-shirt (Anne Fontaine), surprisingly useful. But it is also washable.

Kristien62: Yes, though also expensive. Good lace is, though, wherever applied.

pseu: I'd like to try that sweater on but not enough to order it.

Susan G: And does even childhood have to be prim :)

materfamilias: I keep petting the
little bits of wool (in the print edition), but a distressing number of styles this year stop at XL, not XXL, which was better for women with busts.

Northmoon: J Crew sweater is alpaca, so *should* hand or deicate wash but I worry about the colourfastness, with that contrast collar.

Gretchen: Oh, kitten heels make sense and look wonderful on some woman... they look like someone else's shoes on me, rather incomplete. A 2.5 inch heel, not too fine, is better if I'm going to wear a heel at all, which is rare.

C. Oh! I had those Villager blouses too, and they 'had' to be Villager, with Peter Pan or slightly more spread collars.

Mean Mama: Thank you; I have a lot of blogs to catch up reading, too.
This is the kind of thing that can be retro-cute on VERY young women. Personally, I've always hated that collar, though I believe there was a similar collar on some craftsmen's work blouses in the 19th century.

The only garment there I like at all is the Bompard pullover, because of the lovely green colour and beautiful material, but I'd want it in a scoop without the silly strangling part above the stitching, and no trompe d'oeil collar.

I can't wear high heels any more, but prefer the Tango or Cuban heel in the previous post as if I'm wearing a heel, it will be to dance in at a wedding or other important party. One of my favourite pairs of shoes ever was of that height; the heel was not very thick but it was so perfectly designed that I could walk for km in it. But that was 20 years ago, with no trace of arthritis. I'd rebuy those in an instant for a party, though. Three little straps, but not as high up the foot as Mary Janes. I loved those shoes.
Swissy said…
Duchesse, you're back! How lovely. Hope you had a good birthday fete. On Peter Pan: No. Thanks.
Jill Ann said…
Hi Duchesse, I'm so glad to see you are back! Hope you had a lovely break. Apparently we "mature" ladies are not the target audience for the Peter Pan collar trend. I never did like them, and especially wouldn't wear them now at age 55. Like you, I'm fairly tall (5'7") and busty, though I've lost weight recently; but Peter Pan collars, puffy shoulders, and all but the most subtle ruffles are a big "no" for me.

I spent several hours today at the Houston Galleria, our largest & fanciest mall, just browsing trends. Other than the Peter Pan, I observed animal prints (yay), colored denim and corduroy, moto jackets, and a color palette featuring maroon/burgundy, cobalt, emerald and forest green, and mustard yellow. I had gotten into my head that I needed a pair of mustard yellow jeans, so have been hunting those for a few weeks. I now have two pairs in slightly different shades, one from Ann Taylor, and one from Kohl's, surprisingly; now have to decide which I like better. I am planning to wear them with black, dark navy, or cream tops, leopard shoes or scarves. Considering aubergine or burgundy as well, but not sure. Forest green, maybe?
Duchesse said…
lagatta: It is a sad day when beloved shoes just can't be coaxed into more wear! And almost impossible to find quite the same ones again.

Swissy: Feels like ages ago, but yes, a picnic in the park watching that tango was just the thing, and I did buy a caftan.

Jill Ann: ah, those are jewel tones. I like green myself, but some jewel tones are too harsh or I get nervous and defualt to neutrals. A friend of mine ordered some coloured, narrow mustard jeans from J Jill- have never bought there but hers look great. It's fun to shop for cool pants when you lose weight!
LPC said…
I've seen these all around, but haven't been tempted:).
Anonymous said…
I am attempting to use Janice's plan, one item a month for the coming year. I love your roundup of fall trends. Glad you enjoyed your break, but I missed your blog.
I recently bought a blouse recently with a peter pan collar. It wasn't the collar that drew me to it, it was the print which had Airedale's on it. Being a sucker for any thing Airedalean I had to have it. It also has a bow that I thought would be detachable but isn't so styling it will be hard to say the least.
I really like the Bompard sweater. The color is amazing!
Northmoon said…
Duchesse you are right about colour-fastness, and red is especially liable to run which would ruin the non-detachable collar.

PS Glad you're back!
Duchesse said…
Debbi: Bow *plus* Peter Pan, I can only say, hope those beauteous Airedales triumph!

Northmoon: I've had great results hand-washing silk scarves. But with the price of that sweater relatively low I don't trust they dye quality.
Oh gosh never a peter pan collar fan...
the fashion police would shoot first and ask questions later!
Gail said…

Or just wear a Peter Pan collar with a large dash of irony...
Susan said…
I agree with you that small delicate women can wear styles that those of us who are a more average size cannot gracefully wear. I still think a woman would have to have just the right look to pull of the peter pan collar.

I haven't been out looking at the fall wares yet--but will be looking to see if this collar is common this fall in Dallas.
Wendy said…
Have you seen the peter pan collar necklaces? I'd doubt I'll try this trend, but I'd be more likely to buy a metallic version of the necklace than a blouse or sweater. Less expensive, less commitment, but more versatile.
Duchesse said…
hostess: Or at least placed under house arrest!

Gail: Irony in attire, on a mature woman is very hard to pull off... can look like one is trying to be young, or simply trying very hard. I just don't seek that effect, as it is too much effort to summon, interpret and then present irony over 60. (My opinion of the "eccentric elder" dresser is known to readers here, and many don't agree.) At the same time I like an offbeat touch like dipped-end coloured hair or a feather-trimmed top.

Susan: I can 'see' the kind of woman who could wear it but there are few of them, once they leave school.

Wendy: A necklace is usually a big purchase for me, so I'd avoid anything this-year-trendy but I have seen them at Carlotte Hosten here, made from beads, and also saw a fake fur one.

I just remembered the French name for that collar; it is a col claudine.

Col claudine : col plat posé autour d'une encolure posée au ras du cou, plus spécialement utilisé pour les vêtements d'enfants.

Col Claudine : col avec bouton et à petit rabat arrondi, souvent associé au stéréotype de la petite fille sage. (French Wikipedia).
Anonymous said…
I am not crazy about the Peter Pan collar for the reasons that have been stated, but...I am happy to see some movement toward collars and set in sleeves! I am so tired of the slouchy look!
Mardel said…
Peter Pan collars never appealed. Not at my height.

So nice to have you back with your spot-on eye and your wit.
william said…
So very glad to see you back, Duchesse, I have missed you so much! Love the Eric Bompard sweater! Thank you!

Duchesse said…
Anon@11:14: I like sweaters with collars and set-in sleeves but the requisite finishing does drive up the price.

Mardel: Yes, it does relate to height. "Cute" just does not look good, and I think we cannot carry off girlish styles as log as our more petite sisters.

Francie: the EB extrafine cashmere is a wonderful weight; fortunately it comes in more tailored styles, too. One of those knits you can wear under a jacket without looking upholstered.
Anonymous said…
Deffo not for me! Wouldn't suit my round face or 35 year old self... I'd feel like I was trying to be much hipper than I actually am.

pinkazalea said…
Good post. I bought one to try, but it is fitted like a t-shirt and the peter pan collar is dropped a little. You are right - anything else hinting of twee would not be good.
diverchic said…
Blah! I hate Peter Pan collars! They remind me of that nasty, supercilious Carol girl from my grade seven class. Yech!

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