You’ve noticed that knits and jersey are not just for Sunday afternoon couch lounging anymore. Decidedly non-slacker tee-shirts, skirts, cropped pants, leggings, even cocktail dresses are showing up in silk jerseys and luxe knits, and one designer responsible for elevating these kinds of materials and pieces to new places of drape-, shape-, and sex-appeal is New York’s Alexander Wang.
The Wang look is young, yes, and in many cases, you would not be wrong for feeling only a size 0 or 2 can wear this stuff (waifish model-turned-muse-turned-stylist Erin Wasson is the ultimate Wang girl), but when you see the line on retail racks and can look beyond how it’s styled for the runway, it’s versatile and supremely wearable. (Check the baby blue-n-black runway spring/summer 09 runway look above, from style.com, You can be slouchy without looking like a slouch.) The CFDA thinks so too; the 24-year old designer is the latest winner of their annual Vogue-sponsored $200,000 Fashion Fund award. Folks, that’s a big deal.
Adding to Wang’s appeal + approachability is his new diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang — in fact, I added a piece to my wardrobe this weekend.
Pat at Merge in Fremont has a great selection of the not-at-all-basic tees; the necklines are deep and feminine, the armholes are stretched wide and just a little fluttery, and they’re all pleasingly tunic-length—though not in a uniform way. The medium I tried on hit just below my waist, the small was as long as a mini-dress, and the x-small was a fewer inches shorter, and just right. Weird, but who cares. I also love the just-barely-sheer quality (made way more sheer in this window pic), which conspires with the draped, lived-in shapes to give the tees, tanks, and tee-shirt dresses essential, day-to-night appeal.
Obviously, you can wear a piece like this with just about everything in your closet, but I’m most excited about pulling mine on over cropped, boxy, knit pants. I was wearing the ‘pants’ below, a pair of ‘vintage’ pre-drop crotch fad numbers (probably mid-80s so that term isn’t entirely accurate) by cult Japanese designer Issey Miyake when I scored the Wang tee at Merge, but Pat has some great options if ‘baggy’ and ‘cropped’ are what you’re after. I’m thinking specifically of a great new Philippines-based sustainable line called Eairth that’s new to the store. Pat has some of their olive drab short pants, the crotch of which is just barely dropped. Perfect if you like the trend but you’re unwilling to endure MC Hammer comments. There’s next to nothing online about Eairth, but it’s great stuff—earthy, yeah, but modern and super Brooklyn-meets-Bombay—so you’ll just have to get to Merge to see it.
As I was finally tearing myself away from Pat’s collection of tailored-yet-comfortable and luxe-meets-loose pieces, an incredibly chic frequent shopper entered and delayed my exit. I just couldn’t stop checking out her look; a couple of loose layers on top of skinny skinny ankle-zipper leggings and open-toed medium-heeled oxfords. Everything she had on was either black, black, black, or charcoal, and her short, waxed-but-messy hair (also black) was a key accessory. Gorgeous. I’ve already established what a fan I am of the open-toed anything, (see previous Spring Training posts here and here if you can stand any more on the subject) so I’ll just let the picture below illustrate how perfectly Pia paired hers with those obsession worthy leggings.