This morning I appeared on a panel with a few other women, and they were all quite smart and uniformly stylish—it’s easy to forget just how well New York women turn it out for the office every day when you longer have to turn it out for the office every day—but there was one woman in particular who caught my eye. Not the one wearing a straight-off-the-runway dress—although she did look perfectly smashing. Or the one successfully pulling off the tricky combination of a white top with a cream skirt—although she, too, was a vision. No, this woman was wearing what were all quite straightforward pieces, but she finished the look off with one deathly awesome accessory, with which we all became transfixed. And which I will get to in a moment. First, I’m going to cheat slightly, because she was wearing a shortish little striped dress sort of like this, which was cute for her twentysomething self, but maybe a little young for our purposes. So here’s a nice linen tee that keeps the stripes where they belong: up top.
And then, just because clean lines are nice, a smart little pencil skirt. I like this one because it’s a cotton/spandex mix, which allows for such essential activities as breathing.
This stylish lady had on a lightweight cropped leather jacket, which is a look I love, and the more lightweight the better: wear it unbuttoned and just like you would a cardigan, with dresses or jeans or whatever, indoors or out, and it’s the chicest thing ever ever ever.
And then: THESE sandals, which I wish you could all have been there to see in person, because I fear that only their craziness comes through here, and not their stone cold crazy perfection.
First of all, can we take a moment to appreciate the work of feminine wonder that is the shirtwaist dress? An A-line is maybe the world’s only uniformly flattering skirt cut, and the waist cinches at exactly the spot where most of us are smallest. It’s styled a little prim here, but this is actually exactly the kind of easy dress a woman with a woman’s body can feel pretty all day in.
And the print! Mermaids!
I like the idea of a signet ring, and I like the idea of wearing it on my pinky. Just like Prince Charles—with whom I share so very much else in common—does. The blankness this one, as well as its oblong shape, turn the whole enterprise kind of sculptural.
I am drawn to this tricked-out zodiac version, for reasons that are hard to fully articulate.
Remember how pretty French currency was, pre-Euro?
Yes, this would likely dwarf even the heftiest of pinkies. And it also exceeds the Girls of a Certain Age price limit. But I love a good cross bones, and this one is unstoppable.
A crafty, ethnic version.
Go full-on old school and get an engraved one from Tiffany. (Or check out Bauble Bar for a number of quite nice and very affordable engrave-able options, although you must scroll through all of the rings to find them, as a search on signet rings—oddly—surfaces nothing.)
Oops! A very early draft version of this was accidentally published over the weekend. Sorry about that, and please do try to pretend it never happened.
One particularly mean side effect of the migraines that have dogged me on and off for years now (and which are, knock wood, currently off) has been nuclear-level light sensitivity—the kind where the sun becomes a mortal enemy, and something to be avoided at all costs. Which is just exactly as awful as it sounds, multiplied by ten. At its worst, I lived like a vampire, working in an office that was retrofitted with blackout shades, and during my free time, obsessively checking the weather forecast for clouds. To shield my eyes on days when there was even the tiniest hint of light, I wore the most oversized sunglasses I could find, with lenses custom-tinted as inky-black as my optometrist would make them.
It was all quite hideously ironic—the longing for precipitation, the compulsive fear of getting “caught” in the sun—and like all hideously ironic situations, it led to more than few unintentionally quite comical moments. Like when I had a small health emergency —quite disorienting in the moment, but which turned out to be no big deal—and, as the paramedics readied me for departure to the hospital, I had the presence of mind to instruct a friend who’d come over to grab a few things I might need. Like the wallet with my insurance card, “And my Dior sunglasses! The Diors!” The paramedics, in what was surely a break from protocol, laughed out loud at me. And even I had to admit it was a pretty funny moment, if you didn’t know how totally funny it wasn’t.
My problems with light lingered for a few years after the headaches tapered off; it wasn’t until this winter that the dregs finally disappeared. And it has occurred to me lately that my recent (and aforementioned) affection for cheery, big sunglasses is probably somewhat related to this. For years, my sunglasses were as important a preventative step as any medication—aesthetics took a back seat (I even had to suspend my strict no-logo rule; if only these had existed then). But now I can have some fun, and fun I shall have. If I owned more than one pair of Karen Walker sunglasses, I’d say I was addicted, but at this stage in the game, I’ll just say I’m addicted to the notion of buying more, and leave it at that. These are satisfyingly clunky—but just short of zanily so—and indestructible, and delightfully logo-free. (Similar, but with a bit little less drama and a far lower price tag: this pair from Madewell.)
Old habits die hard, and I must say I am still drawn to that which is big and black and clunky. But doesn’t the purple lens set these apart and make them look all 50s and spy-like?
White sunglasses are a bridge too far for me, but I’d totally go for this pinky, creamy—I don’t know, do we call that clamshell?—pair.
These are YSL, and to me they somewhat resemble the big-framed pair that the actual Yves Saint Laurent used to wear every day—in a nerd chic move before nerd chic was even a thing.
A cat eye all in black feels way too costumey retro, but somehow this clear iteration feels like it could be quite chic.
There are florals, and then there are florals. And then there are those so stunningly wrought that they’re like wearing a little fairy tale.
You’ve all reacted so violently to the A Detacher sandals I posted this morning (and which I will go to my grave insisting are cute—albiet maybe only in person) that I’ve decided some palate-cleansing might be in order. So here’s a sampling of a few inarguably nice items for your inspection—all of them bags, because I’m arbitrary like that. How about this couldn’t-be-more-classic option from JW Hulme? Uncontroversial enough for you?
Or maybe this more equestrian—and somehow also more rock & roll—crossbody style is more your thing.
I have a big problem with people using words like yummy to describe anything other than food, but if the slouchy-soft leather on this oversized Ligne 6 clutch does not look delicious, then I do not know what does.
APC purses can be so minimal they almost don’t exist at all, but that can be an appealing thing in its way: a blank slate of a bag like this one can say a lot about the confidence of the wearer, and wind up making a far more lasting impression than any Statement Bag might.
One of the first I’m-a-big-girl-now purchases of my adult life was a set of T. Anthony luggage: it’s beautiful and built to last, and telegraphs Respect Me to snooty hotel concierge types. This duffle is very get-me-to-the-Jitney-on-time sportif; if you crave something a touch more feminine, look no further than this weekender.
Rather lot to pay for a summer flat, to be sure. But that utilitarian red strap is the kind of really unusual touch that almost never pays off—but totally does here, don’t you think?
Here is precisely why I always say not to judge all synthetics too harshly: this tee, which right off the rack looks slouchy and chic and perfectly broken-in, like you’ve had it for years. It’s 100% rayon and you would never, ever know.
This kind of looks like what might happen if a Doc Marten were to have an affair with a nurse shoe. I’m not certain that’s an entirely good thing, but still, I find myself oddly drawn in. Thoughts?
Yesterday’s post on the ring with a hidden diamond put me in mind of all the jewelry I keep seeing with just enough of the sparkly stuff to put a spring in your step— but not so much sparkly stuff that you have to shell out anywhere near four figures to pay for it. Like this rose gold ring with a diamond bar, for instance, which brings all sorts of quiet elegance to the party.
As talismans go, you can’t beat a horseshoe— for good luck and straight-up cuteness.
Itsy fishies with shiny, bright eyes.
Satomi Kawakita is one of my new favorite jewelry designers: her pieces are both delicate and un-girly, which is a combination you do not find everyday. My stack of rings suddenly feels incomplete without this hexagon.
From estate jeweler Doyle & Doyle’s heirloom collection: a fly perched and ready to strike.
And its cousins, the crawly little spiders.