The other week, after being confronted with an outfit on Instagram, I proclaimed to the room (the Slack room, that is, we don’t speak to each other at Jezebel) that the print toile was coming back.
Indeed, toile is coming back! In February Domino magazine noted that the preppy, feminine print was making its way to fashion and interiors. After all, Oscar de la Renta and Dior both showed toile extensively in their 2019 resort collections. Reformation has some toile dresses on the site and last year Vans and Opening Ceremony collaborated on a toile collection of shoes. Now Laura Ashley and Urban Outfitters are doing another collection together and guess what it includes a lot of? Toile. TOILE.
This was inevitable given where so much of fashion has been going. Prairie dresses and a general fetishization of rustic, pastoral fashion (cowboys included) is in right now. “It’s strange but telling that affluent people continue to decorate their homes with images of happy poor people,” Colette Shade wrote in an essay on the print in 2015. “Toile seems to hang in stately living rooms as a reminder that everything is okay, showing wealthy people how idyllic poor people’s lives can be.”
Toile also fulfills a grating, general daintiness that’s been pervading a lot of indie fashion right now. A lot of cool, Instagram-popular brands like For Love and Lemons or Reformation or Réalisation Par, currently design for a very specific, hyper-feminine woman, whose dresses cling to her skinny body like corsetry, as if every customer wants to dress like a sexy milkmaid. I see these dresses on Instagram and don’t have a clue what women actually do in them, because they don’t appear to be capable of actually moving or sitting down or ingesting a full meal. Pair these outfits with trending tiny sunglasses, tiny shoes, tiny handbags, and everything is ridiculously precious, as if we’re all supposed to dress up for a Victorian teatime and play with our toy-sized accessories.
So, get ready to dress like a fancy couch for spring. Or, you know, just keep wearing whatever you want because clothing trends will continue to come in wave after wave after wave, drowning us all in an ocean of badly made fast fashion, forever!