I first saw this picture of Velvet Underground-era Nico back when we were putting together the second Lucky book, and it totally obsessed me, and then I ran across it Sunday and it got me going all over again. I love that she looks all slouchy and louche and glamorous, and of course that she’s reading the paper, because she’s probably sitting backstage waiting for sound check to happen and is bored out of her mind. One fact I learned in my days of writing about bands is that they spend a surprising amount of time sitting around waiting—for planes, for equipment to be loaded off the bus, and of course always for their turn up onstage. And I like how this picture kind of captures that mood—of the stall before the rush.
It’s a Liberty leopard print, guys.
It happens around mid-July: the weather can be stinking hot, with a humidity index of one thousand percent, and I can be shlepping around in my lightest clothes but nevertheless perspiring quite indelicately, and I will still get excited when I start seeing new fall clothes on the racks. It doesn’t mean I’m ready for summer to be over—skank and sweat or not, it’s still my favorite season by far, and I’m always sad to see it end. But I grew up in Houston—which is like the capitol of summer ick—and as soon as Seventeen magazine’s Back to School Issue hit our mailboxes, we called time on perfecting our Saint Tropez tans, hightailed it straight to the Galleria, and got down to business. And it didn’t matter that it’d be December before the thermostat hit the 50s; if Seventeen said we should be wearing cable knit sweaters, we’d be doing so by Labor Day.
But none of this makes me too unique: school hardwired most of us to think of fall as a time to evaluate our wardrobes and reinvent (if not torture ourselves in woolen materials in subtropical climates). As a Vogue editor grandly pronounced in The September Issue: “September is the January of fashion,”* and it’s true. Fall is when our fashion selves press restart. And that, I think, is why fall purchases can be such emotional ones: that notion of A whole new you may be an adolescent one, but its appeal is potent and enduring. And now I promise I will get right back to summer after showing you these three pieces that I’m quite certain could change everything for me. First up: this Veronica Beard blazer idles in my shopping cart even as I type. It’s faux layered—the sweatshirt hood and sleeves zip right off—so you look all layered up, but without the attendant bulk . Which I love, because when I was skinnier I used to layer with hoodies all the time but now, not so much.
I am sure my longstanding desire to wear a cape can be traced to one tweedy Seventeen back-to-school fashion spread or another, and three decades later I have yet to find the confidence to give it a try. But this number from Pure DKNY couldn’t make it simpler: the cut is so clean you could almost describe it as tailored, and I like that the arms are not lurking in some tent-like Great Beneath.
Everyone needs a sweater that’s a jacket that’s a sweater for those times when you’re about to reach for the same old boring V-neck but know you can do better.
“Those are the very definition of jolie laide,” said my friend Kiki last week out in Sag Harbor when I showed her a screen picture of these Blade Runner-esque leather espadrilles from Rag & Bone, which I had seen online the night before. And I know what you’re perhaps thinking: a little light on the jolie, a little heavy on the laide. But the part of my gut that tells me when things are awesome was telling me they were unstoppably so. An hour or so after our chat, I walked into a store in town and there they were. And they looked great on—in a slightly-cooler-than-me way—but not $450 worth of great, so I walked. But they obsess me still. Thoughts?
I love the look of long, skinny shorts, but you’ve got to be pretty long and skinny of leg to pull them off. This season I’ve been noticing roomier, more trouser-ish versions, which I feel could work for a wider variety of body types. I am very close to putting these from Rebecca Minkoff in my shopping cart. Thoughts?
I love my platform clog sandals from No. 6; I do. They’re surprisingly comfortable, make me super-tall, and the leather’s neutral tone goes with pretty much everything. But I seem to have a fundamental problem remaining vertical in them, most recently tumbling dramatically on my ass while walking the dog over the weekend in a neighborhood park. Falling down in public is a uniquely undignified experience, and I’m all for minimizing those. So I have retired the No.6 sandals for now, in the name of self-esteem, and also because I bruise easily. All is not lost, though! Net a Porter has just started carrying clog sandals by the Australian label Funkis, and they’ve got the same natural leather as my No. 6 pair, but at a far more manageable height, and at a fraction of the price. They have a version that’s slightly higher than these, but for now I’m sticking to the bunny slope.
I love the way head-to-toe black looks in summer—equal parts laid back and pulled together and just a tiny bit badass, too. Very New York chick. And aside from the part where she’s got her shirt unbuttoned past her bra, I feel Erin Wasson’s outfit here is a great object lesson in how to make the look work: keep things simple, pay attention to proportion, wear a clunky-ass platform, and even those of us who aren’t skinnypants, tously-haired models can to pull it off.
This oversized stand collar shirt is a softer alternative to a more traditional button-down, and it keeps things on the breezy side. You must tuck it in, even if you just do that tucked-in-front-and-not-in-back thing.
Erin is wearing super-skinny pants, something I no longer do: you can execute a perfectly credible version of this look with a more forgiving boy-cut skinny pair like this. (Yes, these are crazy stupid expensive R-13s; the market is annoyingly slim for good slouchy skinnies in black. This Frame Denim pair is still on the high side but not quite so bad; J Crew’s Matchstick cut is always a solid choice—size up one for more of a slouchy effect; or if you’re in the mood for a higher waist you might try these.)
These platforms look perilously high, but they’re good old Kork Ease, which means they won’t be torture to walk in.
Just a basic webbed Boy Scout-style belt, simple as you please.
A quick hit of gold against bare skin is so sexy.
Jane Birkin could deploy the simplest of pieces for the deathliest of chic like nobody’s business.
A cover up with real coverage.
The kind of towel that makes it very nearly impossible to lose sight of one’s spot on the beach after a walk.
Sandals that hold up better than flip flops when making one’s way across the deathly hot sand.
A go-bold-or-go-home tote.
A lightweight linen cloche: full-on facial coverage for those who aren’t nuts about a crazy-wide brim.
A daisy print against a black backdrop: all the fun with none of the twee.