Popeye was kind of hot, in his own way, and he’s kind of in vogue right now. In case you didn’t see it coming, Balenciaga’s Summer collection is all the proof you need that sailor is in. The most successful incarnation is a balance between the pricey and intensely structured Balenciaga version and Popeye’s ’70s version. You don’t have to be a real life WASP (in fact it’s probably better not to) to embody the laid-back millionaire look of a purebred on vacation. Mostly, you need stripes, brass, and lots of white.
X-Girl understands the importance of wear-ability and affordability. They have created a new line for spring and summer called “X-Girl Marine,” which features subtle boat derived details like anchors on buttons and white piping along the pockets of a lightweight cotton peacoat ($160). Balenciaga’s new jackets are less familiar, which could be a good thing, but they veer toward deconstructed doorman. The Marine line from X-Girl uses gold (color, not material) to reference the brass buttons and chains of sailors’ uniforms. Gray, pink, and yellow cotton cardigans ($118) have rounded collars and close with a chain clasp across the bosom.
A crucial and sometimes difficult staple of this look is the emphasis on white—the difficulty comes in the pants department, unless you’re super skinny or cool enough to flaunt that ass. X-Girl has sailor pants, ($138) complete with the traditional fold-over waist and striped back pockets, in navy or white. The stripes are in the contrasting colors, respectively. Pair these with a boat-necked shirt from Petit-Bateau and boat shoes, a colorful, girly version of which are now sold at Urban Outfitters. The real thing is better, (dark brown or navy Sebago’s are hot) and can always be found at generic stores like David Z.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 1, 2005