Memorial Day may be in six freaking days, but summer is still a little ways off, and I’m feeling like my wardrobe needs something in a nice, lightweight bomber jacket for the awkward, transitional temperature ebbs and flows we’ll be experiencing along the way. A bomber is cute and dressed down enough to wear on weekends, but the best ones are grown up enough to look nicely polished too. Plus, they’re the kind of piece that will be equally handy in a few months, when summer starts wending its way into fall. I love a crochet detail, and have been obsessing over this very grown-up option on my last few visits to Rag & Bone.
Grey looks awful on me, but this super-lightweight, gauzy piece is so damn well put- together that I’m tempted to break my unilateral embargo on the hue and give it a go.
I spend a great deal of my outdoor time from June until September with a dog on his leash in one hand, and an iced cappuccino in the other. And when I look at the big expanse of white on this excellent silk jacket, all I see is a big fat dry cleaning bill waiting to happen. But that’s just me, and this is such a very chic little item. Certainly others of you could pull it off?
You’re just going to have to indulge me on this one.
I love Zara when they out-French the hipster French labels and do it for under $100.
If this isn’t the perfect summer tote, then I don’t know that such a thing exists: with its light-on-light canvas and exactly right leather details, it’s like the handbag equivalent of white jeans and a nice crisp shirt.
It’s funny. There are some trends that strike me as so horribly wrong I can’t even get inside the head of the person they might appeal to. Mullet dresses are a little that way. And then there are others that seem equally awful, but then at some point the worm turns, and suddenly and inexplicably the repulsion is replaced by attraction. This is where I find myself vis a vis drop crotch pants—an article of clothing I would have said never to long ago if I hadn’t learned that one should never say never. Thoughts?
Two Texas boutiques—because Memorial Day is alarmingly close, which means summer is not too far away. And Texans know what’s what when it comes to dressing for the stinking heat. I’ve been a big fan of Austin’s Kick Pleat for years, and pop in whenever the rare opportunity rolls around to visit Austin: the vibe is lively and fun, but never silly trendy. This Brochu Walker dress is everything that is meant by the word breezy.
I almost never go in for a pink dress—even the tiniest hint of girly comes off all wrong on me—but this one has a kind of slouchy, weekendy sophistication that I can really get behind.
And from Myth and Symbol in Houston, a store I just recently discovered while puttering around the web, and which seems to work an ever-so-slightly arty but still quite streamlined angle: a perfectly clean drawstring waist shift from Black Crane. The short, just-a-wee-bit flowy sleeves are so much more flattering than no sleeves at all.
Another nicely long dress—all the best summer dresses are on the longer side, no?—with a flatteringly high waist and bold, almost tribal print.
Some women approach the acquisition of lingerie with the unfettered, obsessive glee that others reserve for shoes or bags—it’s their thing, and they love putting something so beautiful, feminine, and secret on every day as they get dressed. I am totally and boringly the opposite, preferring instead to return to the same short list of tried-and-true pieces again and again. They’re nice tried-and-true pieces, though: this very basic mesh bra from Cosabella has been a mainstay for years: it conforms to your natural shape instead of trying to mold it into something else entirely, which I appreciate. And it comes in a delightful array of colors, which is good for those of us who might otherwise default to black.
Once, several years ago, I asked an editor to do a short piece on the prettiest T-back bras, because I feared that none existed and it was getting on tank top season. She came back with this sexy little option, and I have loved it ever since.
No underwear I have ever worn has proven less likely to show even a hint of panty line than On Gossamer. They are feather-light and insanely comfortable, and why the entire world isn’t obsessed with them is a mystery to me.
A good silk cami is essential—they render all sorts of otherwise too-sheer tops completely within your reach, and make whatever you’re wearing hang just that more nicely that it might if you had on a cotton cami.
Your slip is the last place you want lace or frippery or even really seams, if you can help it: everything should be in the service of creating a nice, clean line. Commando’s is the best I’ve seen.
Every time I put together a post on plus size clothes—like this one on spring dresses—I am amazed afresh at how completely the apparel industry is blowing an opportunity. Why is there this mass misconception that every woman over size 12 just magically ceases to care about fit, style, and quality? The mind reels. Please, plus size ladies, if I’m missing any good resources, send them my way. Help me work harder to serve you better. Meanwhile: as I’ve stated before, my most important criteria when evaluating pieces for this category is to select only items that I would absolutely wear myself—not just pieces I think are good—for plus size. And I can say without reservation that I would die for this floral confection. It may look intimidatingly body-con at first, but all that strategic ruching provides brilliant camouflage for lumpy bits.
Another floral, this one with with more daytime potential and a little more breathing room.
The print on this waisted, retroish dress feels like a kind of geometric/art nouveau hybrid, which shouldn’t especially work, but really kind of does. And the pops of lavender keep things fun.
I’m not typically a big fan of the maxi, but this works for me: there’s not an excess of volume, and the way the print fades out toward the bottom keeps it from coming off too loud.
This scarf print is probably completely insane, but it amuses me. And I like that it’s kind of arbitrary and and fashiony, because you don’t get a whole lot of that in this category.
A nice, diaphanous cowl neck dress is easy and simple and hard not to love. And the sophisticated print keeps things from getting too sweet.
Several winters ago, on a Sunday night so frigid that under normal circumstances nothing would have made me leave the house, I traveled to the farthest reaches of the Upper East Side for an impromptu dinner party. It was at the home of a friend’s recently deceased godmother—a fearsome/beloved fashion world eminence of whom there are a very few each generation; a woman for whom scholarships are named, and short documentaries are made. My friend was having people over to pay tribute to her famously sprawling Park Avenue duplex—and by extension, the woman herself—before movers came the next day. The evening was memorable in many ways, and highly instructive in one. Most of the woman’s important clothes had already been sent off to the Costume Institute, so there wasn’t much to see in the way of flash. But my friend directed me to an unassuming-looking hall closet, and when I opened the door, I saw something truly amazing. One long rack of no less than forty versions of the same exact quite simple shift dress, executed in every fabrication and color you can imagine: cotton, silk, tropical wool and charmeuse, houndstooth, black, fuchsia, and simple dove grey. Here is what she wore for the last decade or two of her (very long) working life: pretty the exact same thing, every day. This discovery overjoyed me, and whenever I feel like I should be taking more and bigger chances with my wardrobe, I think of that closet, and that woman, who knew exactly who she was. And it is in that spirit that I present my second installment of the things I wear all of the time—but sadly, do not have in multiples. I’ve extolled the virtues of the Clare Vivier messenger bag on more than one occasion, and I’m very fond of this tote shape, too. And of the blue and the black, which is an unstoppable combination always.
A slouchy black dress with just a little bit of something unexpected going on never lets me down. And I love the sleeve length here—just a couple of extra inches throw a lot more sophistication into the whole enterprise.
Tops with some interesting drape to them are a cornerstone of my wardrobe—because they’re cool, but also of course, because of their superior powers to camouflage one’s less desirable spots gracefully. I’ve got a Helmut Lang top from another season that’s very much like—but not identical to— this one, and I wear it so much I hate when it’s time to send it to the dry cleaner.
The jacket that makes the outfit interesting.
Walkable platforms—inevitably quite 70s-inspired in design, although that’s never really a conscious choice.
One of the most overdone fashion magazine stories in the history of fashion magazine stories—and one they’ll just keep running, because we just keep eating it up—is the Fashion Uniforms story. There are women for whom clothes are a canvas, and every day is a fresh opportunity to Create anew—and that is fabulous and a gift; it is. But the notion of getting it all down to a science is vastly appealing to a lot of us. And not because we don’t love clothes or getting dressed any less, but because we want to be able to put our finger on a look—or even just a set of pieces—that we can say is identifiably ours. And to return comfortably to this as home base, even if we wander (and, in fact, precisely because we do wander). I definitely have a uniform—more now than ever, probably, although I would be hard pressed to name it. And it’s absolutely centered around a handful of essential pieces, although I could never have predicted which ones those would turn out to be. Do any of you remember last June when I asked whether you thought this Nili Lotan top was worth $285? Reactions were mixed, and when I visited the store to check it out for myself, I decided it wasn’t even close. Then, on my visit to LA in January, I came across it in black, marked down 30%. I wear it endlessly. Here it is, also on sale.
Madewell makes a lot of their tees with linen and—as I have said before—I can not say enough good things about this. They wear and hang so well, and much better if you hand wash them (possibly you have noted by now that I’m a touch obsessive on the topic of hand washing favorite t-shirts). This stripey one is in such regular rotation that it’s slightly embarrassing.
I love a nice wraparound sweater, and own enough to outfit a small dance company. If I wasn’t holding myself to an indefinite embargo on buying more, I’d definitely go for this little number from Alternative Apparel, because it’s just $68 and lightweight cotton and would layer so well.
This is the season that I walk away from skinny jeans with my head held high: more power to those who can still occupy that space, but I can’t take the jeggings-ness of it all anymore. I’ve transitioned to the slouchy skinny jean, which is a different beast entirely. Check out this pair from J Brand. They’ve got a boyfriend shape, but then taper, which is so much more flattering. And I continue to like J. Crew’s toothpick jean, but sized up—for that all-important slouch.
I thought you guys would make all sorts of diaper load jokes when I bought these R13 crossover jeans, but you were actually rather supportive. Even I had my doubts, but these are so flattering that a dear friend who came over for dinner not long ago made me change out of them so she could try them on, and then grabbed my laptop and ordered herself a pair on the spot.
These Zara trousers are a nice spring-weight alternative to those, and mighty cheaper too. Although it’s always a crapshoot with Zara and pants when it comes to sizing, lord knows.
Red clogs. I know. Nobody could have been more surprised than me. They’ve been sitting in my closet since the nineties, I’m pretty sure, and have rarely gone farther than around the block for milk, but suddenly I think they’re the shit. Go figure.
Big hoops for going out to lunch or a party. I have a nice gold pair, but live in fear one will fall out and I won’t notice until later, so usually they stay home and I wear a dirt cheap pair like these instead.
Our summer sandals work hard for us—there is no time of year we are out and about as much, and often in shoes not built for the expedition. The key to finding a really stylish and also utilitarian pair is to search for something that looks like it could handle a week’s vacation in a very chic city where you’re going to be walking everywhere. Forget about flimsy and go for something with a little more heft—like these, all of which call out to me with their natural leather and their pops of color.
A clever commentary of our culture’s obsession with status-bearing goods and a really cute bag all at the same time? I’ll take it!