Monday, June 7, 2010

Favorite Fabric: Chambray

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer and I have the perfect fabric for this time of year: chambray.

The technical definition of chambray is a woven natural or synthetic fabric with a colored (usually blue) warp and a white or unbleached weft. I know what you are thinking: "What on earth are warp and weft, Renee?!?!?" Warp is the vertical part of the weave and weft is the horizontal. But who cares about that? I care about the fact that it is a lightweight, soft, comfortable fabric in a lovely shade of blue that looks like faded denim. And I always prefer it when it is made with natural fibers like cotton. Natural fibers are always better than synthetic. Since the denim with denim trend is so popular right now, chambray is all over the place. I don't personally recommend actually wearing jeans with a denim shirt or jacket, but I do recommend stocking up on fabulous chambray pieces while they are readily available. Like these:

3/4 Sleeve Chambray Safari Shirt, Banana Republic, $59.50

I like this shirt because it has interesting details- the epaulettes on the shoulders, the flaps on the pockets, the button flaps that hold the sleeves up- they are all great and make for a far more interesting shirt.

Can we talk about how fantastic this dress is? It was MADE for me! But it was made for you, too. It is perfect for just about anything. You could wear it running errands, or to a cookout with your family & friends. It will look great with flats, heels, even a pair of low-top converse for a little bit of a hipster vibe. Dress it up! Dress it down! It's the new LBD: Little "Blue" Dress! In the winter, treat it as a jumper and layer a turtleneck underneath with tights.

Button- down Skirt, Levi's, $29.90

I am not normally a fan of light wash denim, but because chambray is lighter- like cotton- this skirt works for me. The flowy nature of the fabric makes such a difference. I also like the gentle gathering- it creates a nice a-line without being too full. Definintely a flattering skirt for any body type.

Western Shirt Dress, Gap, $69.50

I know that you all are probably sick of hearing about how much I love dresses, but how can you deny how fabulous they are? This dress is absolutely charming and I would love to spend a summer afternoon in it! I also love that it's a shirt dress. When I think of chambray, I don't actually go immediately to dresses. To me, chambray is mostly about shirts. Unfortunately, most chambray shirts are boxy and not flattering at all. So I appreciate that this is a flattering, more feminine version of the boxy chambray shirts I'm so accustomed to seeing.

Converse Shirred Top, Target, $24.99

Fortunately, chambray pieces are available in less structured shapes for an even more comfortable, casual vibe. Because this top is so flowy, so different from the structure of a typical chambray shirt, I would actually be fine with pairing it with dark- and ONLY dark- denim- jeans, a pencil skirt, capris, walking shorts- all of the above would work with this top. In addition to dark wash denim, you could try crisp white, or my personal favorite pairing with blue- chocolate brown.

But chambray isn't just for the ladies. Oh, no. It's actually very common for men's work shirts- as in construction and building, etc. But it works just as well in fashion as it does in function. Check it out:

Now go out and get yourself some chambray, everyone! It's the new black!


Beth said...

Wow- I didn't even know this fabric had a name-see how much I know? Love the pintuck dress. That is adorable

Maria said...

I didn't know the fabric had a name, either. I bought a black chambray dress on Saturday! Up until now, I was calling it "a denim-y kind of cotton fabric, but lighter than denim."

Renée T. Bouchard said...

Glad to be of service ladies! :)

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