My just-concluded vacation included many and varied activities: I hiked through a cloud forest, kayaked on a lake and swam in the Pacific. I dined on multiple ocean delicacies and learned more than I could have imagined there was to know about the Colombian Inquisition. I also took a rather massive tumble down a flight of stairs in the pitch-back of night finding my way back to my casita one evening (eco-lodges aren’t big on outdoor lighting) and split my knee wide open. A kind doctor at a country clinica stitched me up and—aside from some bad swelling and epic bruising— I was good to go. Only most of my shoes didn’t feel so great to walk in afterward, so I pretty much defaulted daily to the Tevas I’d been prevailed upon to bring for hiking and water sports. And guys, now that I’m back home, I’m still wearing them constantly. Several people have assured me that they look great, but I secretly still think they’re on the nuts side, and don’t care.
The proliferation of crazy-pricey designer kicks has put me in a contrary mood, so everything you see here is old school, and as such, rings in at under $100— which only feels right for sneakers. First up: the blue-on-blue of this pair from New Balance is poppy good fun.
I want to wear these with leather leggings and a big sweater come winter, like Maria Cornejo does.
Dying, dying, dying for these blue Stan Smiths.
The subtle pearl grey on these Onitsuka Tigers is a good alternative for those of us who want something light, but fear that straight-on white sneakers are a bit Nurse Shoe.
Slip-ons can feel so clunky to me, but these have a nice, streamlined feel.
I don’t put much stock in all of those magazine stories instructing women on the Ten Items You Must Have In Your Closet. We’re all different, and there are among us individuals who feel frumpy in white button-down shirts, and that’s got to be OK. But if I were to declare any one item a must-have, the black blazer would be it. Every stylish woman I know wears one, and each takes it in an entirely different direction, which you can do with blazers because they’re magic that way. I always feel a touch more confident when I’ve got one on, and they dress up anything you pair them with, as this picture so amply illustrates. You likely have one in your closet right now, but I thought I’d show you more, just for kicks.
Your absolutely perfect, couldn’t be-more-classic option.
The pocket flaps here look just exactly right, and it’s priced right too.
One of these days, I shall shell out for a Veronica Beard blazer. They all come with dickies, so you get a cool layered look without the bulk. I like the hoodie option here, but there are other, less dressed-down versions to choose from too.
The gold buttons here feel quite Euro-sophisticated.
I like the high, feminine waistline here, absolutely love the print, and believe that although the colors are summery, this dress will take you right into chillier weather with the addition of black boots, tights, and a cardigan.
Just one of the best striped dresses I’ve ever seen.
This smart black tee dress is comfortable, classic, and eminently packable.
A black floral looks right no matter what time of year it is.
If I still worked in an office, I would wear the hell out of this.
Clean-lined up top, flounce on the bottom; improbable, but it totally works.
Here is big-deal Vogue editor Virginia Smith, looking exactly right in a pair of wide-leg trousers. This is one fall trend I’m totally on board with—but still slightly afraid to try, as I am not the tall drink of water that Virginia is. So I plan to wear them with my highest, platform-iest boots so as to appear as close to endlessly leggy as I credibly can.
You can buy them in black, but I prefer this pair in navy, because it feels so fresh and sportif.
This somewhat splurgy pair from Massimo Alba has the chicest little thin black tuxedo stripes.
I like how these are fitted through the thigh—it’s a flattering option for those of us with actual hips.
I know I am going to catch hell for showing you something so abjectly autumnal before Labor Day even. But I feel it is at least worth noting that J. Crew has created an update of their Barbour-esque Downtown Field Jacket that comes with a hood and a zip-in vest—making it more Barbour-esque still.