Fashion & Beauty

Eyelet Candy


By Janet Kelly

BRODERIE Anglaise (English embroidery) is a fancier name for those round or oval patterned cut-outs in a fabric that give it a delicate, lacy effect. Believed to have originated in eastern Europe in the sixteenth century, the technique became associated with the Victorians who fell for the frills in the nineteenth.

Traditionally white and associated with hot weather, breezy eyelet is now available in a variety of colors, even black, and it’s not just for summer. And it never goes out of style. Brigitte Bardot wore it for her 1959 wedding. For spring 2021, Fendi showed a pale-blue tunic top and skirt in ethereal eyelet; Stella McCartney, a one-shoulder lacy-looking mini in shocking pink. At a gentler price point, Sea New York designer Monica Paolini, whose niche is sporty with a handcrafted touch, proved that the fabric can span the seasons, using it for a caped trench coat for spring and a black puffer for fall and winter.

If eyelet is too girly, not your aesthetic, etc., think small with eyelet accessories, such as belts, bags and shoes, too.

Below, our choices for the days ahead:


LEFT: The oh-so feminine-looking Delphine Eyelet Ruffled Top ($98, Anthropologie) is a wardrobe refresh in marigold and a perfect complement to your favorite pair of blue jeans. It also comes in a more conservative ivory.

RIGHT: Founded in 1994 and relaunched in 2014, Munthe is a Copenhagen label with an urban-boho vibe. Cut in a semi-slim fit with oversized sleeves with elastic cuffs, the cotton chambray, popover-style Think Eyelet Blouse ($220, Nordstrom) could make nice with white cropped pants.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Sea New York’s cream knit with ruffled eyelet bib detailing starred on the label’s fall 2021 ready-to-wear runway. You can pre-order the Santos Eyelet-Embroidered Wool Sweater (Moda Operandi for $395) with a $198 deposit.

How cute is this Braccialini Summer Clutch ($69.99, TJ Maxx) with a metallic print covered in laser-cut panel and sprinkled with pearls!

Remember Michelle Obama and her favorite Alaīa belt?  Imitate the former first lady’s style with the late designer’s Eyelet Embellished Leather Belt ($1,150, Net a Porter). Made from smooth black leather and punctuated with silver eyelets, the corset-inspired waist whittler has a suede backing that it will make it fit as nicely over dresses as bulky sweaters or blazers.Yes, very spendy, but as Cher Horowitz proclaimed to her would-be robber in Clueless, “It’s an Alaīa. ”

When it’s time to frolic on the sand, put your tootsies in these Beachcomber Flat Espadrilles ($96, Neiman Marcus). They’re made of neoprene, are water-resistant and quick drying.


Anine Bing has been on my radar lately. The designer, who was born in Denmark and grew up in Sweden, launched her eponymous label in Los Angeles in 2012. This Jordan Sweater (reduced from $349 to $279.20, Shopbop) with a classic silhouette gets its modern look from a pretty pink hue and open detailing. Buy now, wear now (remember, April is the cruelest month) and next fall.

If you’re breathing a sigh of relief that skinny pants popularity is fading, take a look at Theory’s Eyelet Culottes ($325, Saks Fifth Avenue). Wear with a swagger in your walk.

My preppy side still loves the borrowed-from-the-boys look of a classic Ralph Lauren shirt with its signature embroidered polo player. The brand’s new Eyelet Cotton Polo Shirt ($168) is a more summery interpretation with floral embroidery and delicate broderie anglaise.


LEFT: The quintessential answer to what to wear on a warm summer day—an Openwork Embroidered Dress ($69.90, Zara) with short balloon sleeves and a ruffled hem. To tone down the girlishness, wear with chunky flat sandals. Throw it on on top of a bathing suit for a cocktail party—when that sort of get-together can happen again.

RIGHT: Wouldn’t Ciao Lucia’s Torino Sweater ($335) in sandy beige with its slightly boxy, cozy fit be just what you want to own for one of those foggy, slightly chilly days at the beach?



LEFT: I love a classic, double-breasted trench, but sometimes I wonder — is that boring? Sea New York’s Camel Hazel Trench Coat ($395, Tuckernuck) with that charming eyelet-trim cape looks like it would make an outing in the rain and wind an occasion to look forward to.

RIGHT: For its fall 2021 collection, in part because of the focus on outdoors during the past year, Sea New York expanded its outerwear collection with choices such as this Wren Wooded Quilted Shell Coat ($795, Moda Operandi; preorder for $397.50), a black quilted puffer coat with an eyelet hem. If it tickles your fancy, you won’t have to worry about anyone mistaking their black puffer for yours. But if that concerns you, it’s also available in camel.

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3 thoughts on “Eyelet Candy

  1. Nancy G says:

    Memories of my childhood! That pink sweater is now on my radar.

  2. Nancy McKeon says:

    Maybe I’m too impulsive, but when I see something, I buy it. These things often move fast.

  3. Carol says:

    Love eyelet! Glad it’s back in this year. I actually bought a white thin cotton top at Talbots with eyelet on the 3/4 length sleeves which I am itching to wear, also have my eye on an eyelet tie dye shirt at Anthropologie… hoping I get a coupon or goes on sale.

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