Years ago, a friend told me a story about her two spinster great aunts, who lived together on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Every morning, they’d go to the same coffee shop and pore over the menu and its myriad breakfast options. And every morning, after much deliberation, they’d order the same thing: one bran muffin each, lightly toasted. The tale of these two ladies surrendering daily to their own predictability amused me for a while—until I realized that this is what I do every morning when I try to get dressed. And while it’d be nice to tell you that gaining awareness of this inclination to inspect my entire wardrobe before settling for pretty much the same thing day after day did something to curtail the behavior, alas, it did not. It’s just something I’ve come to accept. At least I allow myself some variety, in that my uniforms generally rotate: I’ll run one into the ground, then move on to another, then another, and like that, until I’ve arrived back where I started. Right now, I’m deep into the color black—that great default of all wardrobe defaults, and one I often find myself drawn to once the weather turns frigid. It’s great for layering, because you don’t have to worry about whether everything matches, and it allows for a more streamlined appearance at a time of year when it’s easy to feel like a big old lumpy mess. Since all black can be a bit of a bore, I try for interesting silhouettes. There is a rather fantastic sale going on at Maria Cornejo right now, and I picked up this sweater, and I wish you could see it in person, because its genius does not totally come through here: there’s this really nice, dramatic draping in the front, and it’s a regular length in back, and you can wear it backward—as I have been—and it’s just super-flattering.
I always get asked this time of year about my favorite heavy-duty leggings, so I’m just tossing these in here, because they are the best I’ve found by far. Thick but not without adding too much bulk. Which is, of course, key.
Tube skirts are fun, but I rarely wear them because of the dangers inherent in doing so and having hips at the same time. I went a little nuts and splurged on this one during my Maria Cornejo outing after the salesgirl insisted I try it on, swearing that it was flattering. And she was right: it sucks you in rather Spanx-ishly but is still exceedingly comfortable. Also: here’s a much less expensive, more straightforward version from Zara.
And while we’re talking big purchases, my winner in the footwear category for fall was this pair of platform boots from Acne. They cost more than I’m used to paying these days for a pair of boots, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I can’t wear heels, and these do a really good job of looking chic and high without having much slope at all. They are also just supremely walkable, as in throw- them-on-to-walk-the-dog walkable—which is highest praise I can give a pair of boots.
It’s been a big year for me and blousy half-button-up tops, and it has everything to do with stomach junk. But I think even without my affection for their excellent camouflage capabilities, I’d be drawn to their clean-lined but just a touch peasanty vibe.
J. Crew’s toothpick jean is one of my favorites no matter the season—the crop is perfect for showing off your boots in cold weather—and I like that the denim here is less than pitch black, as too-black denim never looks quite right to me.