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Style: Menswear fabric adds class

Mary Carol Garrity

It all started with a fashion intervention. When I was a little girl, for Easter Mass, all the other little girls’ mothers dressed their princesses in frilly pink and blue frocks. My mom put me in a well-cut, no-nonsense khaki and cream dress. When I protested, wanting to look like the other girls, she gave me a knowing look and said, “Honey, you’re just more of a tailored-dress kind of girl.” In my heart, I knew she was right. And I’ve had a deep and abiding love for classic styling and menswear fabric ever since.

Want to see me get all dreamy? Start talking about my crushes: Harris tweeds, houndstooth checks, pinstripes, herringbone and plaids. Throw in some leather and velvet, and I melt. This time of year in particular, when the yummy colors outside scream to come in through your decorating, menswear fabrics really tug at my heart. I find every way possible to add them to my home, switching out my summer weight accent pillows for a buffalo check or stripe, or resting a plaid throw over the foot of my bed. For me, this fall ritual is as delicious as pulling on your favorite sweater and pair of jeans on that first cold day of the season.

When it comes to elevating the look of a room using classic menswear fabrics, nobody does it better than Bruce, our marketing and visual manager at Nell Hill’s. Before I was lucky enough to snare Bruce, he worked for Ralph Lauren as men’s clothing coordinator, and he managed Polo stores across the country. So I asked this seasoned pro to share some of his styling secrets with us.

“Think of decorating your home as you would create a beloved outfit,” Bruce suggests. Your choice of colors, fabrics and patterns for your home should all reflect your authentic style. To get you started, take a fabric you love to wear in your clothing, then use it to upholster a sofa, sprinkle it onto your furniture through pillows and throws, or capture it in a duvet.

Black striped sofa

In your home, that may mean covering your sofa in a stunning beaded pinstripe, like we did on this timeless Chesterfield sofa. Then, add your unique stamp through an assortment of accent pillows. To give this grouping a fresh edge, we picked fabric and trim that reinvent the beloved Greek key pattern. Another of my big crushes.

Country patterns

You can also take a few favorites and bring them to life on a sofa. Our base is a relaxed denim upholstered piece, one of our biggest sellers right now. Like a pair of well-cut jeans, it goes with everything. We then added a pile of plaid pillows in some of fall’s most sensuous shades of olive, rust and camel.

Ready to make your interior spaces cozy, cuddly and filled with classic charm? Menswear fabrics in every color and style imaginable are just waiting to be transformed into the upholstered furniture, pillows, bedding and table linens that will make your home a reflection of your true style.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at nellhills.com.