Chambray: A Fashion Lesson

I didn’t think I was going to be one to jump on the chambray fashion wagon, but one day I realized the incredible versatility of a chambray shirt, and I just *had* to get one of my own. But before I introduce you to my first outfit, let’s begin with a quick fashion lesson.

What is chambray? Contrary to popular beleif, chambray is not necessarily a lightweight blue denim shirt. Of course, that is what comes to mind when we think chambray, but its actual definition is a lightweight fabric (usually cotton) that uses a colored warp (down) weaved with a white filling yarn (across). The colored warp is usually blue (which is partly why we think denim), but it doesn’t have to be. And although it is usually plain, it can also be in stripes or checks or other patterns. The end result is something is generally something that seems to be like denim, but you may actually come across some items that are chambray, but don’t look or feel like the typical denim-like chambray at all.

Now that we have that out of the way, a little background on this particular shirt. I splurged on this J.Crew Selvedge Chambray shirt. I’m still debating as to whether to keep it because compared to what all the other petite ladies have spent on theirs, this thing costs a bloody fortune. It’s regular price is $98, but I bought with 20% with my J.Crew credit card and 4% cash back from ebates, which brought it down to about $75. Yea, I know. Ouch. But I’ve searching for the *perfect* chambray shirt for MONTHS. Everything was either too light or too dark, too sheer, had some sort of weird details on it, or fit was too big. This was truly only one of two chambray shirts that I actually liked (the other one was a Ralph Lauren Cristo Chambray Shirt, which turned out to be much too big even in XSP). This J.Crew chambray is an XXS and it fits fairly well and the color is a perfect medium blue. I have a few complaints, one being  it’s a bit too wide in the shoulders and even though you can’t see it in these particular photos, it’s actually too long which makes for weird proportions when the shirt tail is not tucked in. The material is a medium-weight. I actually find it difficult to layer things over this (sweaters and blazers) because it is a thicker material.

Here is my first outfit incorporating chambray. I decided to do something more work-appropriate because I’ve been slacking on those types of EOTDs lately.

I’m having an angry face day.

J.Crew Selvedge Chambray Shirt / H&M Lace Skirt / Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger / Ann Taylor Signature Pump / American Apparel Clutch

I’ve been *dying* to try out this combination just to see what it would look like IRL, as opposed to in my head. Because as I’m sure some of you have experienced, sometimes an outfit should work theoretically, but in actual practice, not so much. Of course, if your office is extremely conservative, I wouldn’t try this. Because hey, the shirt does look like denim. I also did some crazy experimenting with textures in this outfit.

Betcha thought you’d never see those giant baubles again, huh? Actually the vision I had with this outfit was a necklace that looked more like this:

Kate Spade Cascade Short Necklace, $78, from Piperlime.

…but orange. But since I don’t have one of those, I thought that this would be the next best thing.

Help me decide, ladies! Is it too expensive for chambray even though it’s the only chambray shirt I’ve found that I actually like? I’m having a little buyer’s remorse over this thing, so I’m leaning towards sending it back. =(



  1. AUBS* August 19, 2011

    request for just the shirt, untucked.

  2. Michelle August 19, 2011

    I think this shirt is beautiful! I love the stitching. It has a lot of character!

    But…it does bunch up weird in the front when tucked.  It does have some bulkiness to it, and it is stiff, not slouchy. 

    Try styling it a few more ways before making your final decision.  It is such a nice piece!!

  3. Amber August 19, 2011

    this is such a cool look! i have a chambray shirt from this summer too, and the fit is not great. mine is actually to small across the shoulders and bust. that is a lot to spend on it if you’re not totally happy, but it honestly does look great. most of the time i think j. crew’s stuff is worth it
    Easy Petite Looks

  4. Cee August 19, 2011

     J.Crew has sales often enough, so I would say return. I think the slightly wide shoulders and longer hem will be easier to swallow if you had bought at a great deal.

    You wear high-waisted pencil skirts amazingly well. The bunching/extra fabric probably wouldn’t be as noticeable if you pair the top with a bottom that sits lower… but it all depends on how you plan on styling this top.

    I know how hard it is to wait patiently until the perfect item comes along, but hang in there Cher!

  5. Jane Squared August 19, 2011

    I have also been on the hunt for the perfect chambray top.  So far I’ve settled for this denim styled top from J.Crew (outlet?) as a substitute.  It’s thin enough to layer… so thin it can be almost see-through, so I have to wear the right undergarments with it.  Plus,it has a super floppy collar + a wrinkly button placket which makes me seem not so put together.  Anyway, my less than stellar experiences with something that I don’t love definitely helps me side with Cee!

  6. Little Nashua August 20, 2011

    Send it back..too expensive for a not perfect fit.

  7. Cher August 20, 2011

    Haha. I can’t fulfill this request. I’m a country away from this shirt at the moment. But it goes below my butt

  8. Canadianpetite August 20, 2011

    I tried that Ralph Lauren shirt too from The Bay and agonized over returning it but XSP was overly big on me too. I finally found THE ONE on Tristan’s tunic version (a dress on short me lol). 

    You styled this shirt well. When do you have to return? Keep looking. If it had been a deal, I would have suggested getting it tailored or shrinking it. Have you tried the Ann Taylor Refined Chambray?

  9. Cher August 20, 2011

    I haven’t tried the AT one, but I’m not really a fan of the color or the shirring on the new version. I think I’m going to have to keep looking. =(

  10. Really Petite August 21, 2011

    Hum..I like it but it’s a bit spendy for a not so great fit…I say send it back and wait for the perfect one!

  11. Katherine August 21, 2011

    I love the chambray shirt on you, but also love the reptilian clutch!! So cool, I didn’t know AA did those 🙂

  12. Stephie August 23, 2011

    I adore the chambray top paired with the necklace and skirt! Great combination. Imo, if you’re not in love with the shirt, I’m sure you’d be able to find “the” shirt eventually 🙂 

    Btw, I’m a new follower of your blog and I absolutely love your style! You’re giving me some great ideas for work outfits too! So glad I found you!!!

  13. Cher August 25, 2011

    Aww, thx Stephie! And I think you’re right, I probably will be able to find “the” shirt eventually. I just have to be patient!

  14. nadzimbakri May 20, 2015

    nice entry dear…love the look…love the details about it


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