*Image above via Mija Mija.
Q: Snappy casual outfits.
A: I am loving the utility chic trend right now — it is casual but has a definite perspective, as seen on Mija above. (She is wearing Nili Lotan, but you can get the look for less with this Free People or this Pistola. I shared a little roundup of other inspired pieces here, including her minimalist-chic black sandals.) If that’s too edgy, I would go for some fun statement blouses to pair with your favorite jeans — I few I love at the moment:
Alternately, I like to “rough up” (?) staples like solid colored tops and striped tees by pairing with statement footwear, like hi-tops or spring sneakers (more great spring footwear here), and then layer with several pieces of everyday jewelry (think a couple of gold necklace with personal significance) on top to make it all look intentional.
Q: A large soft leather tote that will fit my laptop and then some.
A: Have you considered Cuyana (they also have a zippered version great for travel)? I still reach for this when I’m schlepping my work gear around (laptop, cords, notebooks, planner, etc.) because it’s sturdy, well-made, but not crazy expensive and so I don’t need to fret about it as much. For something a bit more upscale, Mansur Gavriel makes beautiful, unassuming, classic styles, and Clare Vivier offers pieces with a bit more funk to them. For a splurge, I swoon over the pieces from Metier. So elegant and distinctive.
Q: White sneakers that don’t get trashed in the rain. Are Golden Goose worth it?
A: Honestly, I was just telling a girlfriend that I can’t believe their staying power in my closet! I bought mine in maybe 2017 and there was a year or two they didn’t see much light but I’ve been wearing them constantly this winter/spring, and the sneaky thing is that since they’re made to look distressed, you literally cannot tell that they’ve aged or been worn all up and down Manhattan and Bethesda! I like this new pair with the pink stars on the side. I’m a firm believer in “wear what you love” and my pair still bring me joy and have held up wonderfully over time.
However, if you end up going with a different brand (I am also really loving my white pair from Madewell this spring) and don’t want the distressed look, I also swear by these sneaker cleaning wipes, which are specifically made to treat sneakers. They keep white sneaks looking fresh!
Q: Gift for a female friend throwing my baby sprinkle for me.
Q: Dress for my son’s Baptism in two weeks. Day event but needs to be a lil fancy and prefer sleeves.
A: Congratulations! I wrote a post on what to wear to a Baptism (plus how to dress baby, what to give as a guest, etc) here, but I think my top pick is this elegant style from Emily Hertz’s collection. Beautiful, form-fitting but not tight, sleeved, the perfect length! Just nails it all.
Q: Travel wallets and organizers.
A: I love Neely & Chloe’s style, and have heard it’s wonderfully designed for all your day-of travel needs from Nan Philip, who owns it and gives wonderfully detailed and forthright reviews. For more of a splurge, Smythson has a wonderful multi-zippered pouch that would be excellent for travel (you can get the look for much less with this very similar Royce style), and Anya Hindmarch has a clever clear crossbody situation that would keep everything you need (ID, boarding pass, glasses, etc) immediately at hand. But in general, I am a pouch lady through and through and can’t recommend them enough for travel days. I shared all my favorite pouches here — these clear Truffle pouches are heavy-duty and wonderful for TSA-approved liquids in particular. I have a few and use them constantly, but originally bought them when I was traveling twice a month for work and attempting to streamline my travel days.
Q: Spring jacket for NYC work trip. Not utility, so trench? What’s cute?
A: If you work in a creative field where fashion-forward is embraced, I am totally lusting after the statement patchwork ones from SEA. (You can see my DC friend and fellow creative Lauren Neff in one here — so, so chic.) I shared several similar patchwork/quilted coats to varying degrees of intensity in this post — J. Crew has one that nails a similar floral/quilted vibe with a bit more polish/structure that may be better suited for work though. If those styles feel too loud, J. Crew also has the same ladylike coat in pastels. I have also long loved these gorgeous capes from Marta Scarampi — so chic layered over some smart pants. Last but not least, I actually think a raincoat would be versatile, practical, and striking in this pretty green hue. And of course if none of those suit, a trench coat will never, ever go out of style. I like this one from Barbour, and Mango always has chic styles at great prices.
Q: Outdoor blankets for dinner guests when it gets chilly.
A: So thoughtful! People absolutely love Chappy Wrap throws for this purpose, and they have some really fun spring/summer patterns to choose from (love this sage trellis/bamboo print). They are machine wash and dry and I’ve heard they hold up beautifully, so you don’t need to fret if they get a little dirt or spill on them, or if you leave them out for dew to collect on. They also have a specific set of water-resistant blankets but those are really more for heavy-duty picnic/tailgate situations. (Still, not a horrible idea if you intend to more or less keep the blankets on a porch.) Alternately, I would go inexpensive with these Target throws (love them in all the colors, but especially the cheerful yellow and Serena-and-Lily-esque blue) — you can get five for around $100 and if one gets destroyed, you won’t have heartburn about it. Stow in a cute basket like this right by the door.
Q: Classic white button up.
A: I know many women who swear by Gap’s button-ups, and have heard the ultra-chic Caitlin Fisher wears them. For something more casual, I love Ralph Lauren’s white oxfords and the slightly boxy style from Ayr. For buttoned-up uber-traditional, you might consider J. McLaughlin, Boden, or Theory.
Q: Amelia Island wedding in April. Long floral dress under $300 – no pastels.
A: My first thought was this $248 Scotch and Soda — I love the fabulous flutter sleeves and bow at back — but not sure if that hue of melon reads as “pastel” to you? It feels so beachy-chic! Alternately, love (!) this loud and happy Farm Rio. Mille has some fabulous ones, depending on the level of formality requested — I love this in particular — and this $128 steal from Lost + Wander is currently in my cart. If the affair is dressier, Reformation is just the ticket (similar floor length style available here). This backless yellow floral also turned my head — so striking and beachy! Last but not least, this En Saison!
Q: Men’s bathing suits, not surfer style.
A: Mr. Magpie has several pairs from Vilbrequin that he loves — this is a European jetset style trunk with a shorter inseam than many American brands. Ralph Lauren has a pair that feel somewhat similar for much less and come in really good colors, too. It’s funny you asked this because I was also just eyeing this striped pair from European label Beach Club Apparel for him, and I also love this lemon-print style from OAS.
Q: Bathing suits!
A: I think about half of my Magpie readers will be stunning beaches and poolsides across the nation with the exact swimsuit I bought for myself this summer: Maygel Coronel’s Rosa style in white. But there are SO many fantastic swimsuits out this season. People rave about Hunza G (and the “inspired-by” style at Aerie, which the internet is OBSESSED with) and many of you have written to extol the virtues of this flattering Tory Burch style. I am also a longtime fan of Solid and Stripe’s Anne Marie style — it is SO flattering on. I own in a few patterns. For on-trend prints, you might consider Agua Bendita, Johanna Ortiz, or more affordable label Capittana (so fun!). And then of course there’s Marysia! I own a few of their suits already, but have been eyeing the Antibes and Mexico styles all the same. You can get the look for less with this style from Mango or snag one of the final Marysias on clearance here. Finally, for budget swim, H&M always has great styles — love this one and this one.