Harly Jae Review
Thanks for popping into my little corner of the internet! Today we're diving into a Canadian-made, ethical brand called Harly Jae. I highly recommend reading the "Designer's Story" page - the way the brand got it's name is so so sweet! Based in Vancouver, Harly Jae is a slow fashion brand that carries neutral pieces in natural fabrics (think raw silk, linen, wool, etc.). I would say the style is more on the boho feminine side, with billowy sleeves and the fabric colours and textures but there are more structured items that are menswear inspired. It's a really nice mix and I feel like each piece has very special design details that can't really be found elsewhere.
F.Y.I. I purchased all these items with my own money and all opinions are my own. All the links are just normal ones (no affiliates, nothing like that). This is all just my experience, my opinions and what I think about the brand and their clothes!
From their website: "Feminine and vintage-inspired womenswear designed to follow you in your journey towards a conscious lifestyle."
I've been swooning over this brand... for possibly 2 or 3 years... I just wasn't ready to take the plunge, especially while I was in grad school. Well, school has come and gone (I graduated -that sounded dramatic) and I got a full time job while dealing with a major chronic skin flare up. Basically I had to switch over to only natural fabrics (bedding & clothing) and I was desperately uncomfortable all over my arms, hands, neck and face (so... my entire upper body). I needed to find clothing that fit my personal style, fit my petite frame (I'm 5'2" and a 00 or XXS) and also would not irritate my skin problems. Insert - Harly Jae. For reference, I'm wearing an XS in all the HJ pieces I'm posting about today!
What I love about HJ is that the designs are feminine yet not frilly, considered but practical and the necklines, billowy sleeves and natural fabrics meant my skin would be at bay. The first piece I got was the Paysanne linen dress in the colour Tan. I didn't take a picture of it unbelted, but it's just loose and flowy from that seam near the top. It has a really pretty neckline that is a mix between a square and v-neck, drop shoulders, three-quarter sleeves that have a drawstring and a ruffle near the hem. This is a midi length, but is more of a maxi on me.
I fell in love with this dress and wear it belted or with a cropped jacket on top (either denim, leather or this fabric moto jacket). I like the cropped silhouette with a flowy dress like this, because it accentuates the waist subtly. When I got this dress, I did find a small hole in the pocket (oh, did I forget to mention - these dresses have pockets!!), which I sewed up with a bit of bias tape because I love the dress so much - I did reach out to HJ about that and they were so sweet about it and gave me a gift card to put towards a future purchase (which I promptly did). I can't emphasize enough how sweet the team is at HJ - every interaction I've had with them has been positive!
So... with that gift card I purchased the Paysanne mini dress in caramel. This one is actually made of silk noil - it kind of feels like a washed and worn in linen with little bobbles. It's super comfortable and breathable to wear and I personally like the special texture! I really love this dress because of the colour, but it also hits at such a flattering point (not too too mini!). With this mini style, I wear it loose, with a jacket or belted. I also think this colour looks great with sheer tights or knee high boots for the autumn. I has pretty much all the details of the long version - just cut shorter (and no ruffle or tier at the bottom).
Fast forward a bit and I then pre-ordered the HJ House Blouse in the colour sand. The colour sand is lighter than the tan shade of the Paysanne dress. This piece is also in the silk noil fabric and is a button-down blouse with a double button detail, v-neckline (with collar) and elastic at the bottoms of the sleeves so they can be a bit billowy. I love button downs (especially linen ones) and it's a go-to style for me in the spring and summer. This one is unique because of the buttons and the sleeves, and once again, it's a natural fabric with a flowy shape that doesn't irritate my skin.
This top equally looks good untucked and loose - but I would probably pair it with skinnies or leather leggings, rather than the mom jeans that I'm wearing in these photos!
Finally, last but not least, let's talk outerwear. The HJ Wrap Jacket in latte was also a preorder item. It's made of virgin wool and is super soft (not scratchy or uncomfortable at all)! Above, you can see the jacket styled the intended way - wrapped tight. It features drop shoulders, two front pockets, belt loops with a matching tie belt and straight cut sleeves (maybe it bells out a bit). As you can see the sleeves are a bit long on me, but because they're a loose sleeve, it's really easy to roll them up and I think it looks equally cute with 1 or 2 rolls. The jacket is unlined, but like I said the fabric is very soft and malleable. - it isn't still or scratchy. Since it is a lightweight fall jacket, I think it also can be worn like an open cardigan in the winter as a layering piece.
This is how the jacket looks open with one roll on the sleeve. I think I rolled them a little sloppy here (oops) because I know it looked better than that when I wore it previously. I'm wearing a chunky turtleneck under and I still have lot's of room to move my arms comfortable. I will say, I think the shoulders throw me off on this piece - I kind of wish they were either more fitted or more of a drop shoulder... Right now I think it's sitting in an in-between place that I'm not sure is the cutest on me. That being said, this jacket is so comfy and I can fit all my chunky knits under it or it looks great with just a tee - so it's a keeper!
Now the last way to tie this piece is by leaving like an exposed centre line down the middle. Once again, sorry for not perfectly distributing the fabric at the back - but I'm taking my own pictures so it's hard to juggle everything! But, I think you get the idea. This way of tying it is a fun change from a full wrap and it means you get to show off more of your sweater or top from underneath!
Wheewww... long post! I hope this helped you to get an idea of Harly Jae as a brand. Honestly, I don't like picking favourites... but this might be my favourite Canadian-made brand. I really love the quality, the design details, the colours and the fabrics. I find that a lot of local shops focus on loungewear and ultra casual items, but I personally like to dress up a bit more. Everything I have from HJ feels like it'll last forever, has washed well (although not the jacket - that's dry clean only babyy, so I'll dry clean it at the end of the season, or beginning of next) and really fits my personal style. I love everything on their site (even the things that won't suit my body shape!). There are definitely a few things I have my eyes on, but that'll probably wait for a year - give it time to simmer in my brain. In any case, I hope this review was helpful and if you have any questions, please drop them in the comments below!