When the person who popularized a piece is so influential their name becomes synonymous with the piece itself, we call that an eponym. Or, simply, a word derived from the name of the person who inspired it. Fashion is rife with eponyms, but here’s a peek at three of our very favorites.

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Continue reading “Name That Muse: The Leotard and Other Pieces Inspired by Real People” »

September 10, 2013

History isn’t always so black and white – just take houndstooth, for example. The fall-favorite pattern, often found on menswear-inspired styles, has quite the interesting past.

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Continue reading “Get It in Check: A History of Houndstooth” »

September 3, 2013

Trend alert: the evil eye has taken over as the must-have motif on just about every accessory. But where did this symbol of superstition come from? And just what does it mean?

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Continue reading “Double Take: Origin of the Symbolic Evil Eye” »

August 27, 2013

As reliable as it is comfortable, jersey is the go-to fabric for floor-length maxis – but what is it about this material that has us draping for joy?

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Continue reading “Fabric Rundown: A History of Jersey” »

August 20, 2013

If you’ve already scored designer driving loafers for fall, you’re on the right track – their buttery leather exteriors and slip-on shape make them a must-have. But that hardware adorning their forepart? Well, that’s what makes them iconic.

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Continue reading “What Are You (Really) Wearing? A Horsebit Hardware History” »

August 13, 2013

As a top trend in 2013, chiffon combines elegance with effortless style – but what exactly makes this sheer beauty such a standout?

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Continue reading “What Are You (Really) Wearing? For the Love of Chiffon” »

August 6, 2013

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Baffled by brogues? Get the scoop on this on-trend shoe here:

Brogues – a general term referring to the wing-tip oxford style – originated in Ireland and Scotland in the early 20th century. Countrymen wore these low-heeled, leather lace-ups with perforations (which were originally designed to allow water to drain from the shoes in wet terrain) as casual outdoor walking shoes.

Today, brogues still often feature cutouts, though they’re more for fashion than function. Rock this city-slicker favorite in leather or suede with a two-piece suit or blue jeans. Or snag some style bonus points and try a pair done up with multicolored soles and seam stitching.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Want the lowdown on fabrics and more? Follow our What Are You (Really) Wearing? column every Tuesday.   

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July 30, 2013

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Want to get the look of laid-back sophistication? The oxford shirt is the epitome of this paradox. But just what about the prep school–inspired staple has everyone buttoning up in order to dress down?

Just before the turn of the 20th century, a Scottish mill produced a number of fabrics named after prestigious universities. These included Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and, of course, Oxford. Out of all the fabrics, the “oxford cloth” – with its breathable basket-weave construction – took off. In fact, before the short-sleeve collared shirt was produced, oxford cloth was so popular that polo players wore it for lightweight comfort during matches.

Thanks to Ralph Lauren, light blue is the most recognizable oxford shirt color, but pastel variations and white are also very common. When paired with a navy sport coat, the oxford fares well in a more formal setting. But we love it done up casually, too – worn untucked with haphazardly cuffed sleeves for weekends or relaxed date nights.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Want the lowdown on fabrics and more? Follow our What Are You (Really) Wearing? column every Tuesday.   

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July 23, 2013

Sun protection

Now trending: stylish sun protection. That is, cover-up designs made from fabrics that can protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. We’ve learned that layering on this “UPF” clothing, as it’s called, is just as important as lathering on the SPF. So let’s shed some light on it, shall we?

UPF – short for Ultraviolet Protection Factor – is the measure of how much sunlight a fabric can shield. Materials with tight weaves and complex pigments have a higher UPF-scale rating. Put it this way – a basic white cotton tee rates at about 5 UPF, while synthetic stretch activewear often comes in at 50+, the highest and most protective.

Industry ingénues like Mott 50 have really put the “fun” back into functional cover-ups. Not only do we love their laid-back looks, but we applaud their efforts in supporting melanoma research and sun-safety education.

So gammas, be gone – here’s to years of healthy (and happy) skin.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Want the lowdown on fabrics and more? Follow our What Are You (Really) Wearing? column every Tuesday.   

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July 16, 2013

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Second only to the polo shirt, there are few summer styles as preppy as the chino pant. We’ve admired the short version (sans polo) as a longtime Kennedy family favorite for touch-football games – but what exactly gives this staple its completely casual appeal?

Like most menswear styles, the chino pant is military-inspired. It was part of the standard-issue U.S. military uniform for most of the 20th century. The style gained real popularity after WWII, though, when army surplus clothing became a mainstay in wardrobes of the preppy post-war generation.

While the casual construction has remained mostly the same, today’s chino is best done in pastels with embroidered nautical motifs. No matter which style you choose, there’s no doubt – the modern take on this classic is the unofficial party pant of summer.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Want the lowdown on fabrics and more? Follow our What Are You (Really) Wearing? column every Tuesday.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

July 9, 2013