NEW YORK Have you thought about pique lately? It's enjoying a revival, especially in such 60s-inspired styles as sun dresses with bouffant skirts and A-line shifts.
After years of fabrics that cling, it's nice to contemplate wearing something made of a cotton that's sturdy and firm enough to give you a shape instead of the other way around. Granted, not all of today's pique clothes have the traditional bandbox crispness. They do have the familiar waffle-weave surface, but the feel is softer, more like linen.
Pique comes in all colors, but clean bright white is by far the most chic. The problem is keeping it white and crisp. Between wearings, a pique garment should be steam-ironed on the wrong side with a slight mist of spray starch.
Though some women swear by hand washing with a mild soap, most prefer to send their precious pique to a dry cleaner.