Q: Casual, pretty nursing friendly dresses for running after littles.
A: I see you, mama! I wrote a post a few weeks ago on great dresses for all phases of motherhood, nursing included, that would be a good jumping off point. If I were buying something today to use immediately, I would consider either this Maxwell and Geraldine (I can’t tell you how often I reach for this when venturing out with the kids and/or traveling, as I am now, wearing this exact dress — it’s ultra-comfortable, flattering, and so cute paired with sneakers like these or my Vibis — what I’m currently wearing — or my Hermes Orans, and I find it holds up well in the laundry if you wash on delicate and then just lay flat to dry) OR something in a gauze material — so, so soft and launders so nicely (it’s meant to look crinkled!). Plus, the material is semi-absorbent (#nursingproblems). There are cute ones from Xirena and Alice Walk that would make good investments — solid colors that can be dressed up/down and accessorized a million different ways. My other immediate thought was this J. McLaughlin, which I think would work for literally any stage of life, from just out of college through retirement, and is so versatile. If you’re looking for more of an exclamation point, I love this Parterre, this Carolina K, this eyelet Sezane, and this Rochelle Behrens would be cute with sneaks (why am I still obsessed with the GG high tops? after years of debating them, I keep wanting them). If you’re looking for something more wallet-friendly, I had good luck with Mango — a shirtdress like this or an on-trend knit dress like this would be chic and functional — and this Brooks Brothers (on sale) would be cute.
Q: I love your blog and would appreciate any help you can provide on finding a desk for my five-year-old son. I just can’t bear to watch him color hunched over on the floor anymore. The dining room table doesn’t work and I feel like he’ll need something in his room.
A: Thank you! What a great upgrade for your son. I really love this C&B style. Comes in a chic army green or classic white. I find CB has great quality for the price. Alternately, you might consider this reasonably priced adjustable table/desk — clean lines and a clever design. Last but not least, if you’re in a small space, this leaning desk, which can be configured with matching bookcases, is such a great buy. It’s under $200 on its own and is a great, sturdy quality. It almost looks like built-ins when installed. We used the bookcases in our NYC apartment and I was obsessed — the design (no wood along the bookshelf ends) means it does not block out a lot of light and keeps the space airy and bright.
Q: Question for next time! In my dream world, I’d dress like Sofia Coppola. Particularly, she wears blue ankle-length trousers (cigarette cut?), and I’m having trouble finding something that’s not skinny ponte-type, or wide-leg. Help!
Q: Wedding guest dresses (mountain formal).
A: Fun! This HB is serving up major cowgirl-goes-to-a-formal-event vibes — LOVE. So different from the pack. I also love this Christy Lynn and this Reformation — both florals that have an outdoorsy chic vibe to them. My other thought was this Alexis (currently in my cart), but I’m not totally sure what “mountain formal” means and think a shorter hemline might be a no-no. A few other thoughts…
A NAVY SLIP DRESS NEVER FAILS
Q: I’m getting married this fall and looking for gifts for my parents, MIL, and bridesmaids.
A: Congratulations! For parents – a heart-felt note and flowers or dinner delivered the day after the wedding (and possibly something additional for your mom, selected from the following ideas for your MIL). For your MIL, I like the idea of something monogrammed from Leontine Linens or a Herend figurine of an animal/figure that has specific significance to her (like a doxie if she’s a dachsund owner). If you have a less intimate relationship, something like a Smythson notebook (with her initials) or a jewelry roll from Wolf would be timeless and elegant. For bridesmaids, I like the idea of a robe or pajamas from Lake, earrings they can wear to the wedding from Nicola Bathie, packing cubes from Paravel, or a gift card to a favorite local salon for a mani/pedi or blowout post-wedding. It is so luxurious to have someone else pay for that pampering!
If none of those ideas feel right for anyone, a classic monogrammed LL Bean tote — preferably embroidered with nicknames/pet names you have for each! — is always a good fallback. Laken Ashley also has a cute shadow letter embroidery variation on this theme.
My other thought was this $22 white plush robe, which so many influencers have been raving about lately. Nicola Bathie and Being Bridget have given it to everyone they know…pretty good endorsement!
Q: Work clothes that can travel.
A: I feel like dark colors (black / navy) show wrinkles less easily and looks polished in general. Pair these pants with a matching color cashmere crewneck (tone on tone or shades of same color = so pulled together / has a perspective). While traveling, slip into a pair of chic sneaks (<<I’m writing this on the Amtrak to NYC and there is a very chic lady wearing straight leg cropped work trousers with these), and then switch into heels at destination. A navy blazer (upgrade/investment picks: VB or Smythe) with a non-wrinkled tee and dark wash jeans and loafers if you’re in a less formal environment — Mr. Magpie and I called this “the entrepreneur uniform” back in the day, and we both rocked it. Ha! Finally, I know this sounds a bit stuffy, but Brooks Brothers has a non-iron button down that a lot of people swear by!
Q: A good crossbody bag for mom life with two littles.
A: I have been wearing this FRP all summer. The length of strap is adjustable, and the size is perfect for toting phone, wallet, keys, sanitizer, a snack or two. The one downside is that the top doesn’t close entirely. Nothing has ever fallen out for me, but just a hazard warning since us mamas are often bending over our children. For more an investment, I’ve eyed Celine’s trio bag forever – so chic, timeless, and zippered top! I’ve also always loved the look of Clare Vivier’s bag – roomier than the FRP, has a fun contrasting strap, and zippered! This ACNE is ultra-chic for fall, and I’m eyeing this tiny kisslock style myself. It IS petite so it’s more for just your own essentials, but I find I need this shape a lot.
Q: Chic basics for Europe (Vienna) in fall.
A: I would pack perfect vintage-fit denim, cool sneakers (these, these, these), a black camisole dress to dress up or down, a great coat like this or this, a few sweaters (esp. cashmere polo, this wear-with-anything cardi, and a bold stripe), layering tees in white and black, fun ballerinas for a pop of color…and one great statement dress that makes you excited to go out to eat on a special night or two. And this lounge set for travel days/hotel lounging. Also – I think Celine’s trio bag would be the perfect travel bag — zippered top and all!
More inspo for this wardrobe here.
Q: Family photo outfits — September in our yard in MA.
A: I just shared a bunch of thoughts on family photos yesterday, but specific to your inquiry — maybe this dress for you? A gorgeous fall pattern but the navy would make it easy to match with the littles. This for a mini, this over a button-down with khakis for a micro. The shirtdresses from Sruti Dalmia and Parterre are also good jumping off points!
Q: 9-12 month baby girl outfit for my sister’s baby shower. Pink and citrus – hot weather!
Q: September wedding in Maine – outdoor, no dress code on invite.
A: I feel like a broken record, but this Alexis! SO chic. Also into this Agua Bendita because I feel like it could be worn with flat dressy sandals if you’re not sure of the terrain. This Damaris Bailey is wildly chic and the berry color works well into the fall and winter. I also LOVE this Missoni-esque style from Bloomie’s. 70s chic. The colors feel like they’d transition nicely into fall. This Christy Lynn is spectacular, too, and these pretty Ref dresses are fail-proof.
Q: Baby shower / maternity photo / newborn photo dresses.
A: Casey Marks has great dresses for this in blue, pink, or floral. This Parterre is elegant and has a self-tie waist to adjust to your body / above bump. This painterly dress is whimsical and HAPPY and I think the silhouette would work for newborn photos or baby shower with smaller bump.