Posts Tagged ‘winter with dignity’
No season is a more swift and efficient style killer than winter, and no one article of clothing is more responsible for that annual death of chic than the down jacket. They are as inherently unattractive as they are unilaterally necessary, and they make us all look a little bit like each other as we lumber down the sidewalk, all puffy and bundled. I have managed to dig a few up that I think are on the cuter side of things, though. They’e all thigh-length, because a girl’s got to stay warm. First up: this wooly on the outside, downy on the inside number with a hood and always- cute toggles.
I like the cocoon shape here, and the funnel neck looks like it’d be crazy cozy.
So very sportif in the navy, and nice and slim in proportion, with a black faux fur collar. I am forever a sucker for the blue and the black.
This one’s just like a really smart, big, well-proportioned hug.
A little bit on the shorter side, but I’m allowing it because it’s got leather sleeves, which is kind of to die.
You know what, guys? In this town, it simply does not pay to be a person who applies de-germifier every time she departs the subway, washes her hands compulsively, and takes Airborne daily as a preventative, because sooner or later, The Ick will get you anyway. Perhaps you are familiar with The Ick, that nasty malaise—neither cold nor flu—that leaves you in a state of permanent undertow, constantly tired, and too weak to contemplate even the simplest tasks. Microwaving oatmeal seems, for the first time, to have way too many steps. Walking outside in the brisk autumn air? That’s something the old You did. Or perhaps this will put The Ick in proper perspective for you: there is a FedEx package with a new pair of Acne boots in them waiting for me in the lobby of my building. I have known this for over twelve hours, and still can’t put together a game plan for going to retrieve them. All I want is to sleep, drink ginger tea, and watch MSNBC and Modern Family repeats on the USA Network. Eventually, I think bathing could be a nice next step. And then after that, I might put on leggings and my softest tee, and something exactly like this drapey, huggy big old cardigan. Because the desire to be stylish again is a key moment in any recovery.
My skin’s been on the temperamental side lately, so I’ve been playing it light on the makeup, foregoing my beloved bronzer even as my skin assumes its annual deathly winter pallor. The whole situation would be quite tragically unpretty were it not for my Benefit Cha Cha Tint, which goes on nice, creamy and sheer, and just a shade or three brighter pink than what anyone might describe as sweet.
Spring can be an awfully frustrating time in here New York: it used to arrive in April, but now takes its lazy-ass time, popping in once or twice for a quick hello but not quite settling in until May. At which point we get two or three weeks of idyllic, balmy weather and then there’s a sort of universal: It’s Memorial Day already? I’ve been dealing with the lag by deciding that if it can’t be sunny and 73 degrees outside, then I will simply make pretend, and blog as though it is. This approach, as it turns out, has not been universally embraced. “Please, no more breezy patterned frocks when it is so freaking cold,” a beloved (and usually quite supportive) friend implored the other day. “Have you even been outside this week?” She requested some in-between season wear, which is no problem by me: I could show middle-weight jackets and flowy sweaters till the cows come home. Especially dark ones, because that’s what I live in most of the time anyway—the prints and the brights serve as punctuation, and all of them work with everything here. This super-smart take on the stadium jacket, for instance, is so clean that you could have all sorts of bright, printy fun with a scarf and top and still look crisp as hell.
I love, love, love a lightweight, shrunken leather bomber. Especially one as minimal as this: they often work well on those of us who swear we can’t get away with leather jackets, and—hear me out—if the fit is snug enough, you can even wear it with dresses, as you would a cardigan.
Here’s a not-dissimilar vegan version for under $100—the quilted business might not be for everyone, but it’s kind of fun and unexpected. And it keeps a quite simple jacket from looking too simple.
Drapey sweaters in a variety of weights are what make my world go around in all weather, and this is as whisper-fine a layer as you’re likely to find; perfect for wearing over a tee or tank, but light enough to even slide on under a blazer for a little pop of cool.
Cocoon cardigans are such a (surprisingly) flattering shape, and if you get a lightweight one like this, you’re looking at a yet another perfect layering piece, one that is particularly cute over a long-sleeved tee.
Were I not to have one or two slightly-inferior-but-close-enough versions of this genius VPL cardigan wrap sweater in my closet already, I’d be having a hard time talking myself out of it. This is exactly the kind of piece—elegantly draped and desperately comfortable—that was made for wearing on long plane flights when you want to look reasonably stylish upon arrival.
I know. But the dregs of this bleary New York winter-without-end are really bearing down on me, and all I want to look at are bold and happy tribal-style things. So here’s a little roundup to finish off the week, and then it’s on to the next. How about a Mexican beaded bowl for all your little whatnots?
It’s styled quite casually here, but this embroidered jacket actually has very nice lines and could be part of a much more sophisticated outfit. In fact, it’s exactly the kind of piece the old crew at my former job used to love to dress up on shoots and make look way more fabulously expensive than it is.
I do not understand Anthropologie. It occupies a completely different headspace than my own, and whenever I go there, I feel as though I neither speak the language nor understand the customs. But I do like some of their home items, and find this duvet with orange stitching quite winning. And nicely subtle, for those who’ve stuck with white comforter covers their entire adult lives and aren’t entirely sure they’re up for the switch.
Of course, I’m a sucker for red and black in many iterations. And am mad with desire for this embroidered tote from crazy-great bag line Want Les Essentiels de la Vie.
Every year, it’s the same thing: at some point in March, I catch a glimpse of myself in a particularly honest mirror somewhere, and have a moment of clarity. I’ll pledge that the life of High Sloth I’ve been leading all winter must stop, and the (comparatively) more rigorous, healthy life I lead the rest of the year must begin again immediately. And that is usually that. At the moment, however, it’s taking a little time for things to click in—time that is only allowing my extra winter layer of chunk to grow just that much chunkier. And the only way to make it stop, I realized today, is to get drastic. And so I’ve set a rule: no more clothing purchases until I like the way I look again. Now it’s got to be all about leafy greens, getting to the gym, and taking the dog out for studiously long, brisk walks—stupid freezing cold or not. Yesterday, we took off for the Meatpacking district.
A girl trying not to shop could make better-informed choices than strolling around the Meatpacking. But I didn’t think a little inspiration could do me any harm, and how was I to know that there was a new Rag & Bone store on 13th Street? An especially lovely one too, with its own Jack’s coffee bar, which I am so all in favor of, and will definitely be back for. Here’s yet another jacket in that sweatery fabric Rag & Bone always makes jackets in: I’m nuts for the leather detailing, as well as the unexpected speckles of green and pink.
Rag & Bone can always be relied upon for a nice selection of really flattering tops that are both forgivingly cut and chic, which are two things that do not often occur in the same garment. This slinky tee with sheer panels flows so prettily. All you need is the right cami.
I would look so uncool in an army jacket, but that doesn’t keep me from being obsessed with them. And this one—with that clean cut and unexpected, but somehow totally right, button collar—is just tremendous.
And look at this: it’s early, but we’ve already got our print of the week:
Then it was off to Washington Street and Vince, because I’d seen this tunic in the window a while back, and thought it might be nice to wear with leggings, the way I like to do with dresses that are too short for me to consider them dresses anymore. Normally I might find a handkerchief print like this a bit much, but the very subdued color palette makes it OK.
This top is so boilerplate me that I can’t believe it hasn’t been in my closet for years already.
Post-Vince, I popped over to the Warby Parker eyewear store on Washington Street, where they were serving Colombe Coffee at the door (I am so loving this trend), because I remembered hearing that Williamsburg jewelry boutique Catbird was going to have a store-in-store there over the weekend. Turns out I missed them by a day, but no matter: it got me in the door, which is something I’ve been meaning to do, but half avoiding, for a while. It’s hard to be anti-Warby Parker, what with their socially progressive ethos and for-the-people prices. And yet they just seem to try so hard in a very certain kind of way: their brand is named after Jack Kerouac characters, for instance. And then there’s this, which truly nothing can forgive.
Still, they make a lovely product. This pair of sunglasses is called the Winston, but I call it the Angus McCain, because they’re like the ones worn by a very nefarious character on my favorite underappreciated BBC drama (and here I am saying that Warby Parker is trying too hard).
I always surprise myself by liking those sunglasses Audrey Hepburn wears in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, because I so severely lack the Audrey Hepburn chip. And I kind of like these too, because they remind me of them, only lots lighter.
Just choose one that’s sufficiently lightweight for layering, and go to town. I’m putting this Iro jacket first because it’s my birthday in a couple of weeks, and I want certain individuals who like to claim that I am tough to shop for to see that I am making it very, very easy this year.
Another one from Iro. Iro is killing me this season.
If this bandana print jacket had been presented to me during a pre-photo shoot walk-through at my old job, I would totally have had one of my not-on-my-watch moments and excised it from the rack. But I am currently finding it quite charming.
A straightforward cotton version from J. Crew that plays it as lady as it does tomboy, which I like.
This one might be on the thick side for layering, what with the leather sleeves, but its overwhelming cuteness prevented it from exclusion here. Truly, in a season of bomber jackets, the best take I’ve seen yet.
Possibly the most layer-able of them all: the material Rag & Bone uses for this jacket—which they seem to do a new iteration of every season—is stretchy and comfortable like a sweater, but reads structured like a jacket.
Here’s your light and weekendy get-on-an-airplane-looking-put-together-but-still-totally-comfortable option.
A lot the Northeast wasn’t so lucky—and my heart goes out to those who got smacked this weekend—but I’m feeling quite grateful that the Blizzard of the Century decided to give New York City a pass on Friday night. Saturday morning was nothing but clear, bright skies, (mostly) shoveled sidewalks, and the kind of lightly giddy mood on the streets that comes from knowing that a bullet was dodged. The neighborhood was full of tourists gamely mucking about, kids playing in Abingdon Square Park’s relatively-unsullied milli-acre of snow, and, of course—in this, the most doggie-dense area of town—a thousand pooches frolicking in the snowbanks. At any given moment, at least half of them could be counted upon to be wearing Pawz, disposable little balloon-shaped rubber booties that protect from the rather ouchy effects of salt on their vulnerable little paws. Pawz are a bitch to get on—somewhat like trying to fit four little condoms on somebody who doesn’t understand there’s an upside to wearing them—but they get the job done. And although the matchy-matchy look here wasn’t intentional, is there any denying that Sammy looks boss?
BTW: when the snow gets half-slushy and it’s time to pull out your serious mucking-about boots, consider reaching for your favorite cropped jeans too. They’re just the right length to not get all bunchy when you pull socks over them, and just in general keep things on the smoother side. File that one under Counterintuitive But True.
By Sunday afternoon, I realized I hadn’t actually left my neighborhood since Tuesday. This is a surprisingly easy thing to do in New York if it’s winter, and your universe involves Fresh Direct, working at home, and at least one nearby cafe that you can treat as a second living room. Still, this was a troubling thought. As was the realization that I couldn’t recall the last time I’d had one of my little city shopping rambles. The sun was out, but it wouldn’t be for long, so I decked Sammy out in his Pawz and off we went. The first stop was APC on West 4th Street where, rather predictably, I was drawn immediately to this blue leopard print parka. I communed with it for a few moments, and then moved on. As one does with items that have a certain appeal that can not be denied, but are bat shit crazy nevertheless.
Way, way more real-world tempting was this canvas and leather tote with an unbelievably good dot print that almost reads like tweed—you really have to go to the site and zoom in to get a good sense of the scope of its excellence. If I still worked in an office I would be all over it.
As it is, I’ll probably just get the tee.
What I really found myself flipping out over, however, were these amazing quilts—all of which were made in India with archival APC fabrics. This one with the yellow and light, light brown has nothing to do with the rest of my home, but I want it desperately.
I like how this one’s design is somewhat like a traditional quilt’s, but then again totally isn’t.
Then it was off to lower Fifth Avenue—not the most thrilling destination, but the most convenient for somebody who’d gotten a late start and was traveling by foot and with dog. I popped in to J. Crew, but somebody had majorly flipped the switch on Springtime in there—it was Liberty schoolboy blazers and lilac-hued cashmere sweaters as far as the eye could see. I’d be back, of course. The lower Fifth Avenue J Crew is one of the great constants of my life.
Madewell was in more of a transitional mode: I want this this chevron-print peasant blouse madly, even though the neck is a bit high for me. There is always the possibility of wearing it backward, with the button unsnapped and the label cut out, a trick I’ve employed more than once. Also, it is just as—if differently—cute in the red.
I wasn’t in a dessing room mood but when I am, I will be back for these swing tees, which seem to be just about the right length, have a nice slouchiness, and are super-soft. Also, that’s just a great blue.
Couldn’t one almost frame this safari scarf and use it to decorate a child’s bedroom or something?
My next—and final—stop before home was West Elm, because I am desperate to find new side tables for my living room sofa. And can I just say? That maybe it’s just me, and maybe it’s just because it’s always so mobbed on the weekends when I go, and maybe it’s just the weird feng shui of that 18th Street store, but I can never really shop at West Elm. I’m fully prepared for the problem to just be me, by the way. And because I do actually like West Elm’s stuff, I think I need to hit up their big Brooklyn store. Another day.
Fashion Week stops for no one, because to do so would be to risk inciting a (practically Zoolander-ian) International Fashion Incident. Literally—if Proenza gives Schoeuler a case of mono and they decide they need an extra week, London, Milan, and Paris do not cheerily throw up their arms and agree to split the difference. There are serious negotiations about this type of thing, and not the kind that conclude with a big round of double-cheek kisses. So my guess is that, eight inches of snow tomorrow night or not, there will be shows on Saturday. If Diane von Furstenberg and the entire CFDA Board of Directors themselves have to get out there and operate snowplows with the Army Corps of Engineers, there will be shows. And at those shows, there will be editors who leap from Town Car to venue in just exactly whatever footwear they would have chosen were the city an not arctic-style disaster zone, because no matter how ethereal and manicured she may appear, a true Fashion Person has the drive and commitment of a Navy SEAL when it comes to not letting the weather get in the way of a look. Personally I always preferred the editors and stylists who managed to work their big old crazy clomping snow boots into some chic but seasonally appropriate outfit—usually just jeans and a sweater and a scarf, and nothing that a trend-crazed street photographer would stop to snap, but unstoppably chic nevertheless.
My friend Cynthia lives upstate in an extremely cozy on the inside, Ice Storm on the outside midcentury house in the woods. A pretty country hike is yours for the taking simply by walking out the front door; she’s got the kind of garden that makes you think it’s not too late to take up gardening; and the only sound you hear at night is absolutely nothing. I envy it all enormously and frequently—except in the wintertime. There’s nothing quite so bleak to me as the beautiful, verdant countryside in the shriveled up, nasty old cold, when the snow gets as un-fresh and as gray as the sky.
None of that seems to bother Cynthia so much, although yesterday on the phone (Cynthia still likes a phone call; so excellently 20th century of her) she did share her desire for a nice, bright season-defying handbag. I’ve always loved the idea of bright bags, but when it comes to making purchases, I almost always return to neutrals, if for no reason other than versatility. The only real exception I make are members of the blue family: it’s a color that can both stand out and blend in. Like this J Crew number, for instance: its nice purply overtones remind me of T. Anthony luggage, which is never a bad thing.
Get rid of the tassles and wear the big plate that reads COACH on the inside (only, that is, if you share my distaste for logos) and you’ve got blue/black colorblock chic for days.
It’s definitely on the casual side, but there’s something quite witty about a leather version of the ubiquitous Baggu bag.
Just a much more reasonably priced version of a fancy-pants shape.
OK, this is straight up purple, but it’s a really good, rich purple, and the hobo shape is so classic that you can totally rationalize the purchase on the grounds of I’ll-wear-it-forever.