From 20th-century work wear to standard-issue U.S. Navy shirting, chambray has taken quite a journey since its earliest appearances centuries ago in Cambrai, France. Now a closet staple for ladies and gents alike, the fabric boasts classically good looks – but it’s also a fresh canvas for trending details. Read on, then button up.

Chambray 101

What it is: Chambray is a lightweight woven fabric (generally cotton) comprised of colored thread and complemented by bleached horizontal yarns. Traditionally, it tends to be indigo or light blue in color.

What it isn’t: Though the hue may suggest otherwise, it’s not denim. So those of you who haven’t jumped on the all-jean bandwagon yet can layer your blues without hesitation. Wondering how to nail the look? Mix a dark-wash top with lighter bottoms (or vice versa).

Build your collection: Go beyond the classic-cut button-front shirt. Try a sheath dress for another wardrobe multitasker. While chambray is best known for blue, colors like red and grey put a spin on the tried-and-true fabric. To take it to the next level, just play with pattern (think white floral or tonal stripes).

By Susie Kostaras, Associate Content Editor

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April 7, 2015

What Are You Really Wearing3

The chambray shirt has officially solidified its status as a wardrobe staple – but what exactly is it?

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t denim. It’s a lightweight double-ply woven fabric comprised of colored thread (usually indigo) and complemented by a bleached horizontal thread.

The “classic cut” of the shirt has humble roots – it was the standard-issue uniform for the U.S. Navy through World War II. Today, it’s revered as a timeless piece thanks to iconic American brands, like Ralph Lauren, that popularized the menswear trend.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

What’s your favorite way to wear chambray? Share in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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March 19, 2013