The Man Repeller

This Pattern Has Been Trending Since the 1700s...

Email sent: Mar 12, 2019 12:30 pm

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This Pattern Has Been Trending Since the 1700s...

But now it's really blowing up.

Bonjour gentlepeople! It’s MR Office Coordinator Starling Irving here in your inbox to address the elegant elephant in the room: Toile De Jouy. My favorite pattern has made a triumphant return! Not that it ever left. It’s been trending since the 1700s, so it would be fair to label me as a bandwagon fan.

Like Cher, Toile De Jouy is iconic enough that it’s happy to get to the point without much fuss, so it’s often referred to simply as ‘Toile,’ pronounced: /twall/. Even if the word has just made your acquaintance, you’ve seen it around before. It’s that pattern with a creamy background adorned with blue or pink imagery that lures you closer. Sometimes it reveals itself to be a floral print, and other times it presents cows and water buckets and women in straw hats lounging under trees watching their beaus play melancholy violins.

I moved into an old Brooklyn apartment a couple of weeks ago and am still in the process of negotiating specified quiet hours with my ancient clanking radiator. The Toile pillow covers I recently purchased on Etsy have proven to be the cherry that highlights the charming side of my aged living quarters. Further than charm, Toile pillows seem to pack a very particular plush punch.

There’s been a steady stream of Toile seeping into the fashion world from the river of interior design over the last 200+ years, but the latest tricklings have been styled with an admirable angst. Toile has become so elegant that it’s edgy, so preppy that it’s punk. It likes your cute white summer dress, but it beckons you to consider wearing a Victorian underthing as the outermost layer.

Toile looks equally fabulous with pearl clips and sparkles as it does with dark lipstick and fishnet stockings. Due to its positioning in the center of the Classique/Unique venn diagram, I hereby suggest that Toile be known as The Maximalist’s Neutral. When I wear the pattern, I feel like I’m saying a lot without my voice box having to lift a teatime pinky.

Toile says, “I didn’t have a dress fit for the revolution so I ripped down my great aunt’s musty curtains and wore them with a belt.” Toile says, “I’m going to bite into this jelly donut and if it oozes all over this aubusson carpet, that’s not my problem.” It says, “I skipped prom and snuck onto the schoolhouse roof to drink Peach Schnapps while stargazing.”

As if touched by the grace of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, a youthful jolt has electrocuted an ancient look back to life. We can have our cake and eat it too, all while wearing converse sneakers and fabulously impractical swimwear. See some of my favorite Toile shopping picks below to get in on the fun.

For the days you need to look sharper than a knife
And the nights you need to lounge with a box of macarons
This sleeve resembles a lullaby
Who wants to go sip some sangria on the French Riviera with me?
JAJ! (just add jeans)
Would store Pixie Stix in this pocket
These will add a pep in your step
And this will add some sweetness to your slumber

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