If you’re like me and you love sustainable fashion, you might already know of Maison Cleo, the mother-daughter owned label based in northern France. They are known for their sustainability friendly tie-front tops, over-sized puffy sleeves, and the fact that each piece is hand made and to-order. Also… They infamously sell out in minutes every time their e-shop opens on Wednesdays. See an example of one of their Instagram posts below, of some of their new arrivals!
Now, I have been following the Maison Cleo Instagram account for a year or two, and I’ve always been besotted by said tie-front tops with the puffiest sleeves imaginable. I’ve also always been super impressed with how they keep it real about how they run their business. Marie Dewet, the daughter in the mother-daughter Maison Cleo team, is staunchly anti-fast fashion, and makes that known, both on her personal Instagram account and on Maison Cleo’s account itself. Recently, they even started a movement where they posted a “receipt” of what all goes into the making of each of their pieces. This receipt includes the fabric, the time of production, fees for shipping and Paypal, and others. But this exercise in clarity proved that Maison Cleo was committed to producing hand made ethical pieces for a fair price, and called for other fashion brands to do the same.
However, when I say fair price, I must also say that Maison Cleo blouses have always been out of my price range. But I knew that I would eventually want to invest in a piece from them, and was recently able to save up enough to buy my own. And, as with all luxury purchases (I imagine), it was an experience.
So first, I did a little daydreaming. Scrolling through the Maison Cleo Instagram and their e-shop, what pieces did I like the most? What would I get the most use out of, and what would be the most flattering on me?
I tried my best to strategize. Their clothes sold out so incredibly fast, I needed to know exactly the pieces I was most interested in. So a day or two before the e-shop opened, I picked three options. Two different styles of a red gingham and a blue gingham top (can you tell I love gingham??). I knew I would be happy with each, in case I tried to buy one and it winding up to be all sold out. I copied the links of the web pages to an email and sent it to myself, so that it might make my life a little easier when I was attempting to access the website on the day.
And then, the day before the shop opened, Maison Cleo posted a new piece they were listing the following day. It was a beautiful yellow gingham top, in a similar style to the others I had selected, with the same tie-front and puffy sleeves. This new addition changed the game. Yellow is my favorite color, if you didn’t know! So I copied down this new link in my email, and fell asleep so I would be ready to rumble in the morning.
I woke up on Wednesday morning on July 8th, and as the 12:30 opening time approached, I prepared myself. I brought up my email, opened each link, and did the same on my phone. To be honest, it felt a lot like I was waiting to buy concert tickets for someone like Taylor Swift or Harry Styles. Or, alternatively, if you’re a former college kid like me, it felt like when I signed up for my preferred housing choices when I was living in the dorms. That is, sitting on the edge of my seat and sweating it, re-re-re-loading until the moment the e-shop opened.
I refreshed the web page for the yellow gingham top, and at 12:30 exactly, I was allowed to choose my size. And it worked! I was so excited, and added it to my cart. Shooting up to the top of the web page, I attempted to check out.
This, my friends, is where I made my mistake.
In order to make a purchase through Maison Cleo’s website, you need to first have an account on their website. Which, of course, I did not know before logging on that morning… Big oops! Frantically, I autofilled all of my info to create my new account, and in the long run it only took about 30 seconds to do. But alas, it was too much time to take in order to keep their arguably most desirable piece in my basket, since it was their newest addition to the shop.
So, of course, it was too late. The yellow gingham was all sold out, and I couldn’t help but feel a teensy bit disappointed. But alas! I wasn’t going to give up just yet. I decided to check the other pieces that I had chosen before, and my next best choice, the blue gingham version of the same blouse, was still available! So, I was able to nab one in my size. I clicked on the check-out icon quick, put in my Paypal info, and voila! A Maison Cleo piece of my very own would be on it’s way to me.
And then, just about three weeks later came the magical moment where I received my package and opened it up!
Let me tell you, I was instantly enthralled! When I tried it on, it fit me like a glove. For reference, I got a size 40 (or a size L), and my measurements are 38″ bust, 32″ waist, and 42″ hip. The stitching and the overall quality of the garment was obviously extremely well done. The blue gingham fabric is so obviously of the highest quality. The collar is even way more intricate and artful than I was expecting… There are two flaps (for lack of a better word?) surrounded by the frilly, pleated detail along the edges. And do NOT GET ME STARTED on the puffy sleeves! This blouse was just everything I imagined it would be and more, and I know I’ll be wearing this piece for years and years to come.
I will say, while this is not necessarily a gripe since this is definitely an attribute of the top that I appreciate, I do think the front of the top should be addressed. The ties in the front leave a big enough gap expose quite a lot of midriff, cleavage, etc. It’s designed to be this way, and I do plan to just wear a bralette underneath it sometimes, even to just make it a little cooler for humid summer days. But in the interest of modesty, if you buy a similar top be prepared to have some tank tops or other light layering pieces to put under the top. What I ended up doing was wear a vintage royal blue scarf (that was once my grandma’s!) tied as a bandeau top beneath, so that a little skin was still exposed, but I didn’t flash the girls to unsuspecting passersby. I may even play around with this idea a little bit more too, maybe even wear some floral scarves beneath to peek through!
Overall, I would give this dreamy blouse an 11/10. Chef’s kiss. Tres bien. It was totally worth the wait (and the investment). I honestly have to restrain myself from wearing it every single day. I paired it with my favorite Levi’s here so we could just focus on the blouse itself, and I really do love how it looks with denim. But I’m also super excited to experiment with this blouse and pair it with some lemon yellow shorts, worn over a slip dress, or even with a pair of simple jean shorts also. The sky’s the limit, and as you all know, I’m pretty shameless.
So, if you’re interested in getting yourself a piece from Maison Cleo but you’re feeling intimidated by the competitive nature of their weekly e-shop opening, never fear! I have some tips for you.
First off, don’t be like me. Make a damn account profile ahead of time. Have multiple different options for pieces you would like to buy, and that way if your first choice sells out you can move onto the next. Have the links to each choice set aside ahead of time, and have them up, loaded, and ready to go well before the opening time. Also, know your measurements and size choice ahead of time! If you’re an American like me, the French sizing chart is a little bit more confusing, and you don’t want to accidentally buy the wrong size. And finally, while I’m not 100% sure if they accept payment through anything but PayPal, I would recommend just using the PayPal app so that check-out is quicker and you don’t have to worry about filling out all your shipping info in the heat of the moment.
What do you guys think of this look? I would love to hear your thoughts/feelings/emotions, and even suggestions on how to style it! Go on over to my Instagram @thegingerintrovert and connect with me there, I would love to chat!
Until next time!