Part Eight: The Chemise
Defining the modern-day chemise is tricky – some purists insist that the term can only refer to a loose shift or slip worn under a dress to protect the garment from body oils and perspiration, while others lump all sleeveless nighties into the category.
The French word chemise actually translates to the simple “shirt,” though a “chemise de nuit” is a nightdress. I guess that doesn’t help much. Here at Lille, we’re sort of ambivalent on the issue. In my world, a chemise is a multi-purpose garment not unlike a longer version of a camisole – it can be worn as a layering piece, but is also comfortable enough to wear to bed. A slip, in the most functional sense of the word, is a chemise made of silk or nylon that slips off fabric, preventing the outer garment from riding up or clinging uncomfortably. That being said, a sheer cotton chemise like the Chloe by Poet (pictured above) works wonders under a sheer dress to provide opacity, though it does not necessarily slip as well as other fabrics. It’s certainly comfortable enough by anyone’s standards to function as a nightdress.
Semantics aside, we have some incredible new chemises in stock by Araks. The intricately detailed Justina in White could be the perfect bridal nightgown, and the Susie in Lapis is elegant enough to wear on its own on a hot summer day. Details like contrasting violet silk straps and delicate center darts are so perfectly executed that you won’t want to cover them up. The aforementioned Chloe is currently on sale, marked down to $48 from $60, though quantities are limited (more coming in the Fall.) Sara already blogged about Eberjey’s new organic cotton babydoll chemise last week, but you should know there are more O’Girl chemises coming soon, along with the new cotton mousseline chemise (pictured below) by Bodas that is sure to be a crowd pleaser!