The beachy St. Barths-inspired collection, modeled by a Gwyneth Paltrow look-alike, features pineapple prints, chic stripes, crisp eyelet pieces, and postcard prints that evoke images of luxurious insouciance and have me daydreaming of my upcoming summer vacation. With his collection for Kohl's, Som expertly channels the French chic vibe of St. Barths with a few favorite items that caught my eye: the postcard print sweatshirt, pineapple print charmeuse trousers (worn by Jenna Dewan-Tatum), tie-dye shirtdress (worn by Kate Bosworth), and the versatile jersey motorcycle vest.
Sizing notes: my store stocked sizes XS to XL and 2 to 14, although the Kohl's website is stocking sizes XXS, 14, and 16, so that should make the collection accessible to a wider array of shoppers. I found the collection to be true to the Misses sizing at Kohl's.
Here's a closer look at the clothing on the racks when I went into the store on an unusually quiet Wednesday night.
I spent about an hour in the fitting room trying on all of the things that I gravitated towards. Yes, there were that many!
First up, my very favorite piece in the entire collection, the postcard print sweatshirt. I tried a size XS and 2 in everything (except for the striped romper). The blue part of the sweatshirt is a lightweight and soft rayon jersey, and the print is a quirky one that speaks to my fun side. Even though I don't love V-necks or even short-sleeved sweatshirts, this one had me at hello. The blue color, the easy fit, and the comfort were pleasing.
How to wear it? With white jeans, the Bermuda shorts, or faded skinnies and strappy sandals.
Above, I'm also wearing the eyelet tunic (here's a similar one from the collection), which has a comfortable, oversized fit and an eyelet panel on the upper back, and the Bermuda shorts, which I liked more than I was expecting. They were a non-sheer cotton sateen blend, and they felt dressy enough to potentially pair with a blazer or heels. Loved the just-above-the-knee length and the slim fit.
Above, my top pick for pants in the collection is this pair of pineapple print charmeuse trousers. The length was slightly too long, but the XS fit well, and the two side pockets made me happy. Pockets are always a plus, and they are prominent in this collection! The pants are made of ultra comfortable polyester, not too flimsy and not too thick. Just perfect for a warm spring day with the slightly oversized and tropical-themed pineapple tank top or parrot T-shirt, both of which are slightly sheer and made of a poly/rayon blend. On the far right, I styled the striped/pineapple print charmeuse tank top tucked into the pineapple pants for a jumpsuit-like look. Loved the easy fit of the tank top and the mixed print design.
Above, I'm wearing the striped pieces: the colorblock flounce hem dress, striped romper, and fit and flare dress. The verdict on these three? I appreciated the tailoring of the colorblock dress, although the length was too long for me so I folded the waist under to shorten it. Loved the sporty feel of the white stripes, though. The striped romper was sold out in my size, so I tried on the smallest size they had - an 8. A little roomy, but I just had to try it on. Note the cute button detail on the shoulder. I appreciated the two front pockets, easy back zip, and wrinkle resistant poly construction. Bonus points for not being sheer or flimsy! I can see why this one was selling out so quickly at my store. I was on the fence about the fit and flare dress though, probably because I found the length a little too long. Otherwise, a comfortable and chic dress with an easy fit and stretchy waistband. I can imagine it with a skinny patent leather red belt.
Above, a look at the three maxi dresses I tried on. My favorite? The splatter print blue one on the left. I adored the stretchy banded waist, side slit, and cool color palette. The postcard print halter maxi was fun, and the sheer blue panel was unexpected. The armholes were too big on the side though, so that was slightly disappointing. I didn't love the striped maxi dress because the fabric was too revealing and stretchy for my taste. I'd recommend skin-tone undergarments with this dress. The sheer panels were a detail that I did enjoy, however. Just too many stripes in too many directions for me. I found it fascinating to note that in the Google+ Hangout with Kohl's last week, Peter Som referred to stripes as a neutral.
Above, the tie-dye shirtdress famously worn by Kate Bosworth and Kate Dimmock, Fashion Director of one of my favorite magazines, PEOPLEStyle Watch. It has a flounce hemline which is hard to see in photos, and the wrinkle-resistant poly construction felt comfortable and sturdy. Loved the sash at the waist, did not love the awkward sleeve length on me. I'd wear this with a white denim jacket, white belt, and beige wedges for daytime or metallic heels and a statement necklace at night.
Above, two pieces I liked but not enough to buy - the eyelet dress (which also comes in coral) and tapered jumpsuit. The dress was well tailored with a stretchy waist, pleating at the neckline, two front pockets, and crisp fabric. I'd probably belt it if I were to wear it in order to cinch and define the waist. I appreciated the easy fit, tapered legs, front pockets, and tie belt on the jumpsuit, but the two buttons on the back of the neck were tricky for me. I can imagine this chic piece with metallic heels and some sparkly bangles or earrings for a night on the town.
Above, I'm wearing the charmeuse print tank top in coral combo, the white moto jacket, and the black moto vest over the tank top in black combo (previously seen) with the French terry soft pants. I loved each piece, as they were all comfortable and versatile. I tucked in the coral tank top, and wore the black version untucked on the far right. The coral one has a fun banana print, while the black one has a pineapple print. The top is not as shiny as it appears in the lookbook, likely because they photographed it with flash. I adored the white moto jacket, as it's my number two pick in the collection. It's soft, easy to style with many things, and the gold hardware dresses it up ever so slightly. The sleeves lack any hardware, making them ideal for casually pushing up. It's as if Peter Som read my mind when he designed this; I need a lightweight and polished white jacket just like this in my wardrobe. As for the black moto vest and French terry pants, I found them to be incredibly comfortable and well-made basics that could be worn in a laid-back manner or dressed up with the right footwear and jewelry. Confession - the pants were so cozy I did not want to take them off. The front pockets and tapered legs were a huge bonus.
Above, the embroidered French terry sweatshirt and jàdorable striped tee with the French terry pants. The sweatshirt's embroidery (see detail photo below) featured rhinestones and a feminine floral pattern, which I loved because it reminded me of J.Crew's preppy vibe. I found the jàdorable striped tee to be really cute, although I would've preferred a smaller neckline.
As you can probably tell from the number of items I tried on, this was my favorite Kohl's DesigNation collection to date. Overall, I found Peter Som's line to be a marked improvement from previous collections at Kohl's. The fit, fabrics, and prints were right in line with my personal style and my active, casual lifestyle. They'd also be top picks for wearing on vacation due to the low maintenance (and no ironing required) of the polyester pieces. Anyone want to go to St. Barths? I know what I'd put in my suitcase!
If you shop or browse the collection, catch up with me on Twitter and Instagram to share your thoughts and favorites with #PeterSomforKohls.
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