I actually remember trying to replicate this outfit. In Houston. In September.
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.
*A statement that, like Diana Vreeland’s “The bikini was the biggest thing since the atom bomb,” is laughable only if you neglect to filter it through the prism of the fashion universe, in which case it makes all the sense in the world.
Considering what an excellent venue they are for stunning patterns—so much surface area!—I would do well to make room for some nice, full ladylike skirts on my style map. This abstract zebra print would look great now with bare legs, and even better come fall with black tights.
Just a smashingly gorgeous floral that could go ladylike or even kind of edgy, depending on how you had your way with it.
The thick band of of blue at the hem is what saves this skirt from too-girliness and gives it a necessary shot of sophistication. I’d wear it to a summer cocktail party with a just-pressed white button-down, some big gold hoop earrings, and my hair piled on top of my head.
“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’m not so much of a bracelet person—they drive me nuts when I’m typing—but I love the way they look against summer-(fake)tanned skin. This clever pyramid tennis bracelet provides a nice stealth touch of punk.
And the smiley faces here make me think of a Cartier love bracelet gone goofy.
I love when designers go all counterintuitive with eyelet and do it up in really clean, basic shapes, instead of going all fluffy prissypants with it. This Rebecca Taylor tee (also here on sale in limited sizes) has been on my mind since I saw it in her Madison avenue store earlier in the summer.
Black eyelet becomes immediately more sophisticated.
A slouchy option from Rachel Comey.
Flat sandals always feel a little too close to the ground for city wear—I walk a lot, and it’s nice to have at least an inch separating your feet from the filthy summer streets. But when I’m out in Sag Harbor—as I have been all this week—I’m either barefoot or wearing my K Jacques Marathon sandals, which I bought in Paris on vacation when the strap on one of the shoes I was wearing that day abruptly broke in convenient proximity to their store. Three years in and they’re still going strong: not bad at all, considering how trashed most summer shoes look by Labor Day. UPDATE: Here’s a very similar pair that’s available in lots of sizes if yours is sold out.
My hair’s default state is frizzbo, and the humidity out here is turned up to 11 at all times. When things get dire, I smooth on this Absolute Beautifying Potion from Davines—just a few wee drops will do.
I didn’t buy this Maria Cornejo silk jersey dress as an investment piece, but now I’m quite pleased to be able to rationalize it as such: it’s feather-light and comfortable as a caftan, and very dress-me-up-dress-me-down. Note the sleeves, which gently camouflage arm junk while still letting you feel like you’re going sleeveless.
My Sag Harbor packing philosopy: if it doesn’t fit it in my LL Bean tote it doesn’t go.
Tan towels from Kate Somerville aren’t cheap, but they’re so easy to use, and unlike other brands I’ve used in the past, turn your skin a color actually found in nature.