Fashion Trends

Ask Magpie: Work Bags, Pops of Red, and More.

By: Jen Shoop

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Q: More everyday fall outfit inspiration.

A: Saw the photo above and immediately wanted to recreate. Great oversized/boxy/swing jacket, ecru jeans, boxy bag, even the Birk bostons!

P.S. Other good posts to look to for everyday style: here and here.

Q: Wedding guest in FL in October. Bride requests no black, but no other dress code. Outside.

A: Assuming it will still be toasty then — I love this orange gown; the mixed silk material and slight rustiness of the color read autumnal to me but it’s still appropriate for warmer climate! Also love this shockingly affordable dress — again, has a seasonal vibe (especially in the emerald green or rust) but would be totally comfortable in warm weather. More of a splurge, but I’m obsessed with this dramatic Rhode, and Johanna Ortiz is always a great pick for Florida affairs. Finally, love this splashy orange-pink dress.

Q: A good mauve nail polish.

A: A horrible unhelpful but truthful answer: I basically never stray from white-pink (OPI Lisbon Wants Moor or Let’s Be Friends) or bright red (OPI Big Apple Red or Essie Really Red), but am motivated to try a vampy color Katie of Beach Reads and Bubbly has been wearing, OPI’s Yes My Condor Can-Do, for fall this year. I know I will probably regret it. Any time I’ve tried a darker polish, my hands look unrecognizable and slightly unwell to me. Ha! Does anyone have a better rec for mauve for this Magpie?

Q: A request for next time:  outfits for all of the upcoming evening fall social events on the cal. Adult-only, non-dress options? (e.g. parent socials, cocktail mixers, date nights in the city, etc.) thank you!!

A: My Parker Edit isn’t a bad place to start. I designed it for business casual environments but a lot of the outfits feel perfectly polished/sophisticated for events at school, date nights, etc (and are not dresses). I love the idea of a great blazer over a polished tee with statement jeans and great flats. This has been my uniform lately, or sometimes I swap in a polished cardigan (love this, this, or this) instead. Another good formula: silk slip skirt, textured sweater, great flats.

Q: Rain jacket – something unusual but versatile.

A: Love the ones from Stutterheim (select colors on sale here). They have a great, fashion-conscious shape and come in fantastic colors. I also think this gingham one from Loeffler Randall is fun and unexpected.

Q: Fall looks with spring/summer elements (white denim, florals, light pink).

A: I’ve been wearing white/ecru denim around the clock. I especially love this pair and this pair. You can make them feel autumnal with a simple striped tee like this or this and slides like this or sneakers like this. For the floral piece — Tuckernuck has some really great fall florals out like this and this, and Mille always does great fall florals (I own this Charlie top in several patterns — great for tucking into high-waisted white denim for a transitional look). Same goes for Emerson Fry — check out their Frances blouse! Well priced, in pink/floral patterns, and perfect for tucking into jeans.

Q: Need rec for bridesmaid shoes.

A: These! Won’t compete with the dress and will go with everything (and be re-wearable til kingdom come). Also available in black, gold, etc. If you’re after something with a lower heel, these ones from LR are fun but might not work with every dress.

Q: Black tie wedding gown in black — comfortable and danceable.

A: This is gorgeous, and the strap around the neck means you won’t be fidgeting to keep dress up while dancing! This VB is also a timeless knock-out — L.A. Confidential vibes!

Q: An updated work bag that can fit a laptop.

A: Splurge: Bottega or Metier. More reasonable: Cuyana, Naghedi, Little Liffner Option One or Two, this J. Crew (confirmed can fit laptop but note that the top does not zip — may not be great if you commute via train), or this Etsy.

Q: Bright red everyday clothing pieces under $200.

A: Love this! Pops of red are definitely trending this season. I like this oversized cardigan, these NBs, this slip skirt, these Vibi Venezias, this striped knit, and this beanie.

Q: Feminine but not frilly fall dresses, moody colors — under $200.

A: This Wiggy Kit (actually past season and therefore on sale) is on my shortlist for Thanksgiving/fall. You might also take a look at Doen. This is slightly over budget but I adore it.

Q: Dress for my presentation at a big conference — special but professional.

A: I love the idea of a CO shirtdress. Timeless, classic, elegant, tailored, but definitely has a point of view. This would make me feel like a million bucks — a boss-lady. I also just ordered this denim shirtdress from Tuckernuck. It’s super dark wash and very structured so the denim looks fresh, polished, and sharp rather than casual. Imagine with a suede Manolo-inspired mule like this. This shirting striped dress is also excellent and timeless — but the slightly longer ankle length makes it feel more dramatic in a good way. I also think this dress, with a simple black pump, would be fab.

Q: Autumnal hue suit for a conference at the end of October.

A: Bigger budget: anything VB, but how fab are these wool pinstripe trousers with matching blazer, or these plaid ones with matching jacket? WOW. Smaller budget: these BR pants and matching jacket are VB-esque but currently 40% off, making the entire suit under $300.

Q: A black belt for trousers without a large logo.

A: Nili Lotan, Refine, or J. Crew!

Q: Narrow bedside tables.

A: These ones from PB are only 16″ — love this biscotti color. Also love these cloth-wrapped ones from WS (18″). Have also seen these drawer-less ones styled beautifully in bedrooms.

Q: Comfortable/casual shoe with some heel to wear with wide leg jeans.

A: I like a boot for this job — something like this.

Q: My fiance’s birthday is next month, and I want to get him something special to commemorate the occasion.  He definitely appreciates luxury items, and is an avid hunter and traveler. I would love any and all suggestions, keeping to under 1K if possible (we have a wedding to save for!).

A: I always try to graft gifts onto interests. What about some great, upgraded hunting gear? A new Barbour or Filson field jacket, a Tom Beckbe hunting vest or waterfowl vest, new Muckboots?

Q: 60th birthday gift for a minimalist sister.

A: One of these incredible under-$100 cashmere fisherman sweaters (size up / be generous in sizing) or an LL Bean tote with her initials on the side. Those are my front-running gift ideas for sisters for the holidays! Can think of no woman who wouldn’t love one or both of those items.

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11 thoughts on “Ask Magpie: Work Bags, Pops of Red, and More.

  1. That Wiggy Kit dress – WOW! I have somehow ended up with 3 green suede or corduroy dresses so exerting some self-control here but I’m hoping that some Magpies (is that the official name of your readers? 😉 ) snatch it up!

    I have a question for a future installment of ask magpie: wearing this dress ( to a wedding in a couple of weeks (black-tie, NY) but the ceremony will be outside, on grass, and the bride has instructed to take that into account when choosing footwear. I did a test-run of sorts of this gown at a gala last weekend and you could in fact see my shoes! I’m at a loss for something that has a block heel but is also pretty and fun! Would love to stay under $500!

    1. So sorry, but I have not! I know a few Magpies have written in over the past year or two saying that they’ve bought a few items from Few Moda that they love, but not sure if anyone has experience with the membership? Hopefully someone can chime in with more intel.


  2. I was so excited to see the response to the Q about big presentation dressing but ended up disappointed. The Hill House floral mini dress belongs on a 3rd grader and is about as far as professional as it gets. Does anyone have recommendations for blogs (or newsletters etc) that really cater to women who want to be fashionable but still appropriate in the workplace? These nap dresses and bows aren’t cutting it.

    1. The blog is run by a late 30s/early 40s mom who works in a law firm. She features workhorse pieces and always includes funny commentary about things marketed to working women like a pink linen shorts suit (what??). My favorite blog in workwear, with more elevated price points, is She is also a mom and has beautiful, simple work outfits that are on trend and classy without too much influencer vibe. For what it’s worth, Jen (re)introduced me to Spanx pants and that company has really upped their game. I’m gravitating to Spanx for easy pants and then flirting with some trends on the top or accessories. The Spanx wide leg black pants are incredible, so polished, so comfortable, and travel very well. I’m a mom and attorney in a big law firm in a big city and these spanx pants are a lifeline.

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