Just when I was wondering what I'd wear when it got too warm for my Uniqlo thermals and featherweight down jacket, I discovered Uniqlo's Ines de la Fressange (IDLF) spring line. I'm a couple of years late to this party but I'm glad I finally found it. I like classic clothing, and French clothing, I'm thrifty, and I've always admired Mme. Fressange. She is a former runway model and Chanel muse now in her 50s. She's also a designer renowned for her impeccable taste and seemingly effortless, quintessentially French style.
Her Uniqlo clothing reflects her style with good fabrics, simple shapes, and interesting details. (In general, that is; there are some duds, like a pink sweatshirt with her name across it, that I suspect were created just for us fashion-deaf Americans... or maybe for all the young Japanese women who love logos and pink. Uniqlo is a huge international brand, after all.)
The prices are surprisingly, almost shockingly reasonable, given the style and the quality. The most expensive piece is a thoughtfully designed trench coat with a removable lining, on sale for $100.
Everything is available online and in just a few stores outside of New England, so I've been keeping the mailman busy. I call him a "mailman," not a "postalworker," because it's how he announces himself over the intercom: "Mailman! Got a package for you!" I ordered many things in multiple sizes and colors and returned everything that wasn't just right. Returns were easy... once I hauled everything to a store (in Faneuil Hall or Chestnut Hill).
I like many IDLF jackets, sweaters, and shirts, but her dresses, pants, and skirts have less appeal or don't fit me. She doesn't design for curvy women, I'd say, but for her own tall, lanky figure. Some of her dresses have a period look, as you'll see below. I think these are keepers:
Lightweight linen shirt with pockets and bracelet sleeves. Looks best worn open over a tank.
Will come in handy on sunny days when I want a protective layer.
Basic cotton shirt with a few red-stitched accents,
which are an IDLF hallmark on buttonholes, etc.
A Gatsby-esque cricket sweater in cotton and linen.
Wool-cotton blazer. Cuffs unbutton and roll to show striped lining.
Matte-silver buttons keep it from being overly prepster. On sale for $60.
Casual jacket in linen-cotton.
This will get me out of my faded, bogus army jacket, which
looks like I pulled it from Fidel Castro's trash pile long ago.
Here are a few of the more costumey IDLF dresses. They look strangely familiar to me: I believe I wore dresses like these in previous lives, in the '30s and '40s. And I may be the reincarnation of a Utah Mormon lady or similar. Anyway, I'm not owning them again.
This wants a starchy pinafore tied over it and a bonnet. It insists.
My grandmother wore dresses like this with pointy-toed beige pumps and pearls.
This is supposed to be a "safari" look but I think it was swiped
from one of the Andrews Sisters after a USO concert.