Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Naomi talks about Ilana Kohn’s Ellis Jumpsuit.
A couple weeks ago, Jews celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the year per an ancient calendar, and the kick-off of a 10-day period where one, ostensibly, takes stock of their life before apologizing and starting fresh. It’s custom to eat things that are sweet and round on Rosh Hashanah: sweet so that the year might be, round to call attention to the fact that everything new returns to something old, eventually. It’s less common, but there’s also a tradition to celebrate the holiday with a new haircut or new outfit. Torah-endorsed back-to-school shopping, basically.
Since leaving my parents house I’ve kept some Jewish traditions and dropped a bunch, but I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Rosh Hashanah with a nice meal and new outfit. This year, because dresses seem to prompt my most astringent moods, I spent the summer looking for a jumpsuit fancy enough to wear at a wedding. In late August, just before this year’s earlier-than-usual holiday and unfortunately after the weddings had passed, I found it: a floor-length, cotton-silk blend pantsuit by Ilana Kohn, a textile designer who’s been doing collections of classic everyday clothes for a couple years. It’s sleeveless but conservatively so, with a pretty high neck. There’s a belt for cinching the waist that can be pulled to the front or back; the pants verge on JNCOs-wide.
This week, writer Janet Malcom profiled designer Eileen Fisher in the New Yorker, saying her garments have satisfied women who want to look good, but even more desperately want to look like they don’t take looking good too seriously. I’m not yet ready to drop hundreds on a wardrobe of forever-chic boatneck sweaters, but Kohn’s jumpsuit, as simultaneously relaxed and buttoned-up as a Fisher staple, feels like the right way to start this year, the first of my really-pretty-grown late-20s.