The years I spent simultaneously doing a great deal of travel for my job and dressing in very nice clothes taught me an interesting lesson: you do not have to be particularly dissatisfied with your sense of style to find yourself feeling totally off your game when visiting a city whose aesthetic differs from your own. Paris, interestingly, never gave me a complex. But Milan always made me feel like a total shlep. And LA—because I am a New Yorker and child of the 80s whose wardrobe will always be weighted heavily to the color black—makes me feel like an overgrown Wednesday Addams.
I alluded to this the other day when mentioning my imminent trip to LA, because I am quite envious of how well the natives employ color in their wardrobes. I could never move quite so far out of my comfort zone, so instead I fake it up with accessories. I bought this Etoile Isabel Marant belt specifically because I knew it would add dimension to outfits when I had otherwise failed to do so, and while it was not cheap, it is working out nicely on the cost-per-wear front. (Here is something on a similar theme that’s much cheaper.)
My poppy blue mirror lens Illesteva sunglasses both put me in a better mood and make me cuter. I wish there was a scientific way to prove this.
You guys know I love a blue handbag, and this is just an excellent blue—it stands out but also feels like it’d be quite versatile.
There are those who believe that snakeskin footwear can be considered a neutral, and I am one of those people. It is for this reason—and also because they look so eminently walkable—that these idle in my shopping cart.
I never get on a plane to go anywhere without one on my Chan Luu scarves, and their silk and cashmere blends are especially perfect for this time of year. Pink might strike you as an odd choice for somebody as allergic to girly as me, but this is such a good, dusty, greyish pink that it comes off really chic.
It’s possible I’ll show you more of these as we venture deeper into the summer, but I wanted to make sure to toss a few out pre-Memorial Day. First up: I’m a sucker for a good canvas-and-leather combo, and this one is just so dreamy: it’s from LL Bean, and looks far more expensive than it is. It’s also backordered until July, but I’m thinking it’s worth the wait.
My mom owned a set of monogrammed T. Anthony suitcases in their signature purply blue back in the 70s, and I always thought they were the chicest things ever. So of course as soon as I could afford to, I copied her—not with a set, but with a couple of well-chosen (and loved) pieces, to which I would one day be thrilled to add this excellent specimen.
Like your favorite summer tote, but with a lot more utility.
The fact that the palm trees are upside-down just slays me.
This is big enough for a small laptop, but doesn’t come off at all I’m-shlepping-my-laptop-ish.
As roomy as a tote—but delightfully hands-free.
Like you took a rugged little rucksack and ran it through the streamline machine.
I like how much this croc stamped leather number resembles a bucket bag in shape.
Sometimes when I see an item that makes no practical sense in my wardrobe—but is so positively loopy in its adorability that I feel it must be mine—simply posting about it turns out to be enough to scratch the itch. The jury’s still out on whether or not that’s going to work in the case of these fantabulous clog sandals from Sophia Webster.
I have never understood why more designers don’t make shirtwaist dresses more of the time: it’s such a winning silhouette—at once crisp and feminine—and one that’s almost universally flattering as well. Finally, this season they’re all over the place, and, I am loving how many have really standout prints. On the top of my I want I want list: this clever black and white number from MM6.
The crazy riot of color and pattern here is almost too much, but the careful, tailored cut keeps things in check.
A check print studded with stars: almost too much genius.
I will never understand why it is so hard to find a good black button-down. Everlane‘s gets all the details right.
The just-right slouchy trousers will take you far.
I wear this perfect three-quarter-sleeve tee even as I type.
A universally flattering A-line with just a touch of asymmetry for interest.
A classic trench is perfectly chic, but one in black always strikes me as infinitely more so.
Reader, I totally bought it.*
At Rising States, an awesome store in my neighborhood about which you will be hearing more soon. But I got the last one. Thrillingly, I found others.
It’s the perfect uniform for running around the city this time of year, and I’m doing a lot of running around now that the weather’s finally nice and the final traces of my blasted pneumonia-induced torpor are just about diminished. At first glance this comes off as a pretty young look—especially because of the sneakers—which is why the the inclusion of the blazer is key: blazers make anything look more polished. They’re magic that way. Throw in some boots or heels like our lady here, and I’d argue that the look even goes somewhere rather sexy, in a French masculin/feminin sort of fashion.
I snagged myself a nice Etoile Isabel Marant blazer on super-markdown during the Net A Porter winter sale. It’s perfect for right exactly now, and it looks very much like this.
A leather lapel (or in this case, a faux-leather lapel) is quite rock and roll, but in the slickest possible way.
I can’t wear khaki near my face without looking totally washed out, but if you can, you totally should because a khaki blazer is so chic.
I just think the woman above looks so cool in her ringer tee that of course I had to include one.
My current favorite top to wear with a blazer and jeans is striped and very much like this one.
Just obscenely overpriced for what it is, but too, too cute, and worth including for inspiration alone.
I’m more than likely wearing my new beaten-in R13 skinny jeans when I leave the house in this particular ensemble. I have looked forever for the perfect washed-out black wash and these are they. And I love the crop. (Here’s a very cute and far less pricey option.)
My rule with sneakers is to keep them on the dark side, mostly because it grows the look up a little. But the other reason is totally personal and arbitrary: light-colored sneakers make me feel like my feet are of Mickey Mouse proportions. These navy Stan Smiths with the snakeskin tab are a fun take on the old standard.
Simple, clean, and perfect.
So classic, and—in a way I can’t fully articulate—rather fashiony too.