In a season when women are looking for clothes that give definition to the body rather than hide it, few fabrics work better than jersey. Because jersey is a knitted fabric, used by most designers for fall in wool and occasionally in cashmere, it can be used well in narrow clothes that trace the figure but also have "give."
Donna Karan, Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene are among those who are masters of wool jersey in dresses and separates. (Jersey differs from knit in that it is a fabric to be cut and sewn,while something that is knit is knit into a shape and size.)
Other designers choose jersey because of its supple quality. Oscar de la Renta uses jersey handsomely in dresses that slide over the figure, but he likes the way it moves away from the body and so uses it for full swing skirts as well. Gloria Sachs has revived the wool jersey blazer and trousers for a modern version of the classic navy pantsuit.
One thing that has undoubtedly boosted the use of wool jersey on Seventh Avenue is that wool jersey is one of those rare fabrics that can be produced in this country as well as anyplace in the world.
This season, the idea of using jersey, particularly gray jersey, is not confined to American designers. Claude Montana, in his collection shown in Paris in March, included three superb long gray jersey dresses. Yves Saint Laurent, who has always used jersey, created more clothes in jersey this season than he has in years.
While most of the clothes in jersey are for daytime wear, several designers, including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, have used it for evening, since the fabric offers a modern, sleek and comfortable way to look at all hours.
Pictured here are some of the variety of styles in wool jersey about to come into the stores for fall: