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that one gil rodriguez top
when basic feels good
If you follow slow fashion/LA fashion people on Instagram, you know the top I’m talking about. It’s long sleeved with a wide balletic neckline and aggressively cropped. The tomato red colorway looks equally great on film and flash photos. It’s called the El Tigre top.
The first time i saw it, it reminded me of an 2010s American Apparel ad (the saturated colors and simple cuts). I was skeptical of the quality because of the American Apparel association in my head. Nothing particularly bad, it just did not hook me.
I was not convinced about Gil Rodriguez pieces until seeing and trying on them in person. My first piece was a green bodysuit as part of a closet sale trade with my friend Kara. As I browsed her rack of clothes, the verdant green color caught my eye. I rubbed the fabric gently between two fingers—it had a surprisingly nice weight with a velvety finish—not the thin cotton jersey material I’d pictured in my head. That bodysuit quickly became one of my most reached-for pieces last summer. The fabric is smoothing, stretchy but not constrictive. They really mastered the right level of fabric compression. The necklines and cropped shapes keep their pieces feeling a notch more dressy than a crew neck tee shirt. It’s everything a wardrobe basic should be.
This pushed me to buy the tomato red El Tigre top that was on sale on TRR. I get the hype now. The more I wear it, the more it makes sense to me that it’s an LA based brand.
It’s essentially a pair of long sleeves and a bandeau bra. The bottom half of your torso gets to be exposed. There’s a deceptive paradox about the top because I can’t decide whether this top reads as modest or sexy. And I love that it sits in that place of tension. It just works in the climate (weather wise and fashion culture wise) of LA.
I believe some brands are best experienced firsthand with your hands and eyes, and Gil Rodriguez is one of them. I made sure to pack it for my most recent trip to LA: