Fashion Trends

Ask Magpie: Spring Jackets, Crossbodies, Travel Sets.

By: Jen Shoop

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First, a quick PSA that the Saks Friends and Family sale ends today, and these magic platforms I have fallen in love with are included (and now only available in a handful of sizes), as is my favorite oversized woven tote (and the popular Naghedi crossbody in a great green color!). I’m personally obsessed with the Glyn platforms because they add several inches of height without any heel pain, but I also noticed this higher-heeled version is on sale for even less ($121!). I shared a few more of my favorite Saks F&F sale finds here. (In the linked photo, I’m wearing this adorable Mille dress that just launched, but had to mention that as of today — hope this is valid when this post goes live — Mille is offering an extra 50% off sale items, including my favorite everyday dress, meaning it’s $60!!!)

Q: Spring jacket like your Cara Cara one.

A: Mine is the Marissa, which Cara Cara releases in new patterns every season or two. The current options aren’t super spring friendly, but still very chic. I also love this Brora (on sale for under $100), this Julia Amory, this SZ Blockprints, and this Free People.

Q: Any suggestions for a dress to wear to Adele in Vegas in May? I love the Ulla Johnson Virdian Gisele, but would prefer to keep it under $500.

A: How fun?! This dress has a similar shape and good concert vibe. Different shape, but this is from the same collection and SO fab. Also love something like this.

Q: Red crossbody with top handles.

A: This was my white whale for awhile — really hard to find — but I finally found a very chic option! For something a little more casual, I love these Naghedi crossbodies! I’ve seen several moms at my children’s school with them. Really fun in the poppy red. And I own and love this Lily & Bean Hermes-inspired bag, but it’s much smaller – can really only fit a card case, phone, keys. (Upgrade pick: TB’s mini Lee Radziwill in red croc. It does come with a crossbody strap, confirmed here.)

Q: What would you recommend wearing (travel set?) for an overnight flight to Italy in July? Ideally something comfortable enough to sleep in, but that won’t look too rumpled upon arrival.

A: Kilte’s cashmere set in black, because I’m always freezing on flights. But given time of year, maybe you don’t want to wear something non-repurposeable, so I’d also rec one of Frank & Eileen’s chic travel sets. I would vote for the Carmel or Aspen in navy or black.

Q: Best everyday t-shirt?

A: I wear J. Crew, Uniqlo, and Leset all the time. J. Crew is a little thinner and sometimes I prefer that for layering / tucking into certain waistlines. Uniqlo is a bit thicker with more polish. And Leset I prefer when I’m wearing nothing as a top layer since it’s a bit boxier and speaks for itself.

Q: I have an early June family wedding in Vermont. The wedding invite says “formal: fancy dresses and full suits”, which is a little more formal than usual in my family events (typically I see cocktail or semiformal) and what I’d normally expect based on the venue. So I’m trying to figure out what to wear without being conspicuously overdressed or underdressed among the other guests. I’d prefer suggestions under $200 since I’m not sure about my likelihood of re-wearing the dress and would prefer nothing strapless. I would consider Rent the Runway, but I’m petite and if it’s supposed to be a full length gown it will probably need to be hemmed. It’s still likely going to be pretty cold still and the wedding is partially outside, so suggestions for a coordinating topper/wrap would also be appreciated.

A: Tricky for sure! I would look at the brand Bardot – lots of occasion-ready dresses under $200. This sunshine yellow floral looks dressier/more formal thanks to the corseting detail and elegant neckline, and you know how I feel about this $129 floral (you can see me in it here). I absolutely think you could dress either of those up with high heels, big earrings, a clutch. This Reformation dress is on sale in limited sizes for $156 and would be perfect, too. And several Magpies have raved about this Ulla-inspired dress — under $200, too. Over budget, but this red linen statement is HOT. For a wrap, I always recommended Alice Walk’s! These sell out frequently.

Q: Looking for recs for birthday gifts for my nieces turning 8 and 10… they love horseback riding, are junior lifeguards, but honestly are just the sweetest kids who will love anything! For their last bday I gave them initial necklaces and they went nuts :). 

A: So sweet – what a thoughtful aunt! I would reach for these water bottles personalized with initial stickers with their initials, and these cute little straw toppers. Or a set of books you liked from your childhood at that age — I loved Nancy Drew and Baby Sitter’s Club. Finally, a sweatshirt from Athleta. I was surprised that this was one of my daughter’s favorite things she received for her seventh birthday!

Q: More hostess gift ideas, under $20.

A: Truffle popcorn (seriously delicious), Red Clay peach hot honey with some fancy crackers, gorgeous hand soap, Swedish candy, pretty matchboxes, fun cocktail napkins. Wrap any of these in a big cello bag tied off with a double face satin bow.

Q: Mother of the bride dress, summer country club wedding, cocktail attire.

A: Congratulations! This, this, this, or this!

Q: Best bras? Need to overhaul.

A: I still think the True & Co reigns supreme (on sale in select colors/sizes here, and many Magpies have sworn the ones from the Target collab with the brand are identical, but half the price). I wear this most days of the week. Invisible beneath most clothing and supremely comfortable. They are slightly matronly, though — when I want to feel less so, I like the ones from Negative, though these are unlined and offer no support so I prefer these when not wearing, for example, a fitted shirt. Great beneath loose caftans and blouses. Finally, Haven Well Within sent me this bra and I’ve been wearing a lot, too. Runs slightly small — I took an XS and it’s pretty snug. And these cheap Amazon ones are folded into the rotation frequently in the summer beneath caftans, etc.

Q: Black cocktail dress, but not boring.

A: This!

Q: Need ideas for newly remodeled bathroom showers, but forgot to add shelf or ledge for ladies shaving. We need white for sure or cream. Florida beach living. Teak? Not sure.

A: Yes, I would do a teak bench! Something like this or this — the latter is actually gray but think I might prefer its boxiness to the sloped style I linked first.

P.S. More recent Ask Magpies here and here.

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24 thoughts on “Ask Magpie: Spring Jackets, Crossbodies, Travel Sets.

  1. Hi Jen! Any ideas for swimsuits and sundresses for very uneven boobs? I’m breastfeeding and right now I’m working with 1 B-cup and maybe an H. I can’t really do anything high necked either since I need access. I’m not necessarily self-conscious about it but it’s very obvious. Fellow Magpies, help a gal out! The pool we go to opens next weekend and I have nothing

    1. Great question – I’m leaving this one open for Magpies who might have experience the same, but the first thing that came to mind was the swim brand Stylest, because you can shop by “solution” — e.g., whatever you’re seeking your swimwear to solve for you —

      Might be a good starting point.


      1. Thanks for sharing this!! It also reminds me of the Sidestroke swimsuits from Summersalt – very popular!


        1. Update: I took my unpadded Seafolly suit (puckered in the vein of Hunza G but sized, I take a 12) and took two cups from a sports bra and added them to the slacker side. You can’t tell!

  2. Appreciate you tracking down some red bag options within my parameters – it was oddly difficult to find that combo, wasn’t it? I’ve been stumped. LOVE the Lily & Bean option and am going to order, thank you!

  3. For June Vermont wedding, I know you said you would consider RTR – I recommend! The monthly membership fee is under 200 (honestly may be under 100 if you are a first time member?) and you get 5 items for a month with a swap out (so a total of 10). I do this for every formal event, work event, vacation. Usually I’ll try to order my “event dress” in the first shipment and then if it does not work out you get a swap to try again. Plus you can add in a statement coat/sweater/extra dress/whatever to meet your 5 items. I am a huge fan because I usually don’t end up re-wearing formal dresses anyway, so I am spending about the same amount and wearing a much higher quality dress.

    1. Love this perspective! I loved using RTR back in the day when I was doing a lot of public presentations and needed a slew of work appropriate dresses that I didn’t want to wear more than once or twice.


      1. This was my question, so thanks to you both! I wasn’t aware that RTR had options beyond event rentals, but that definitely gives me more confidence in trying something out, so I can send it back if it doesn’t work (finding the right length can really be a challenge for long dresses!). Jen’s ideas really helped too, I think I was over-thinking formal and that it had to give “evening” vibes, but a lot of Jen’s suggestions could be dressed up for formal or down into cocktail with the right accessories, so I think the re-use potential is much higher than I thought.

        1. Also genius to use RTR for work events! I travel once or twice a year for conferences or presentations and they tend to be more formal than my every day business casual and those conference ballrooms are always FREEZING, I never know what to bring.

        2. Yay! So glad – yes, I am pretty flexible in my thinking about evening wear. I think with a high strappy sandal, an updo, a big earring you can get away with a midi or tea length.


  4. For the person asking about a travel set for a long overnight flight, I’m going to throw out an option I don’t ever see mentioned but which has worked perfectly for me many times… I would recommend a slip dress (doesn’t need to be pricey but a heavier fabric is warmer and less likely to wrinkle… I have a couple from target I use) + soft sweater or cardigan (cashmere is ideal but it doesn’t have to be cashmere). It is unbelievably warm and comfortable for trying to sleep on a flight and looks chic. Also a convenient outfit for getting compression socks on/off. Great opportunity to go monochrome.

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