Q: Black velvet dress to go from work to dinner.
A: I think this Emerson Fry or this Ann Taylor are what you’re after. I also have seen this Saloni dress IRL and it would be demure enough for a work party but probably not for daytime at work, and the same goes for this Rhode. You might have to layer a cami beneath! For a formal work affair, can you EVEN with this black velvet cape dress and some glitzy earrings?!
Q: Postpartum fall/winter clothes.
A: I would buy a couple of longline statement cardigans you love to layer over nursing tanks and leggings for the early days. I love this style from Ann Taylor, this Ulla Johnson, and this Everlane. I felt like that formula enabled me to be comfortable, made nursing a breeze, and could be dressed up for visitors with a statement headband and spiffy flats.
I would also buy a handful of shirtdresses/button-front dresses (love this cord one from Daphne Wilde, this Mille, and this By Timo — all of them are loose-fit/self-tie waist so accommodate wherever you are physically in the post partum period) as well as a handful of nap dresses — so pretty, nursing-friendly, and easy to wear. Storq used to make a great nursing caftan and I wish they’d not discontinued it — I loved it! — but they have lots of other more loungewear oriented pieces for pregnancy through post partum that are worth a look.
Finally, in case you’ve not heard of it, Buru is a site designed specifically to accommodate mothers — you can sort their products by function, including “easy access” (for breast-feeding).
Q: Chic wastebaskets.
A: I like the ones from Kassatex. I have this one in my powder room. A few other chic options:
LACQUERED GLOSS STYLE IN WHITE — I IMAGINE IN A CHIC OFFICE
MONOGRAM — CUTE IN A CHILD OR TEEN’S ROOM
Q: Business trip to SF.
A: Fun! I haven’t been to SF in years but I did spend a lot of time there at one time in my professional career and the vibe is definitely more casual than East Coast and MidWest. I’m not sure your line of work, but I think most places are denim-friendly out there. I would reach for looks like this: a pair of contemporary-feeling jeans with a cashmere crewneck, a quilted liner coat and some suede flats like these or these (look for a ton less with these!). This reads casual but polished. Personally, I wore a lot of shirtdresses out there that could be dressed down with flats — styles like this from Thierry Coulson, this elegant CO, and this Daphne Wilde.
Q: Holiday cocktail party dress.
THIS ANN TAYLOR — LOVE THE WAY IT’S STYLED, WITH BROWN SUEDE BOOTS!
Q: Attractive outdoor toy storage. Long shot, I know.
A: This bench-style would be chic if you’re talking smaller things like baseball mitts, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, etc., or this similar driftwood situation. If it’s more sports gear (balls, baseball bats, etc), I like the idea of this, where children can easily spot items — though they wouldn’t be protected from the elements. If you’re thinking of even bigger items, like bikes, ride-ons, etc., I would maybe visit a hardwore store for an outdoor shed or look into something like this?
Q: Dresses for holiday family pics.
A: I find this La Ligne to be ultra-flattering and mildly holiday-ish in a sophisticated, muted way. The sleeves are on-trend and the cut is 100 100 100 100 (imagine I’m typing the emoji there). Damaris Bailey’s dark green florals are also stunning and feminine — Emilia Wickstead on a budget! — and I ordered this style but also love this more formal variation. The Saloni bow dresses could also be a chic option you’ll wear for Christmases to come!
Q: Affordable holiday dresses.
Q: Gifts for a friend who’s a major foodie.
Q: Winter coat while pregnant. (I live in Chicago!)
A: Tricky because it gets cold there. I did have a Canada Goose while pregnant there but I remember when my bump got too big for it and wearing it open in the front just did not cut it. My mom bought me a maternity puffer from A Pea in the Pod similar to this one, and I gave it to my sister (wonderful hand-me-down, as no one wants to buy a coat that will be worn for a few months). Unfortunately I think this is one of those situations where you need to bite the bullet and buy a proper maternity coat.
Q: Dress for an outdoor January wedding at a California winery.
A: Had to check the weather for this one — assuming it will be in the 50s at night? I would go for this Damaris Bailey, this Caroline Constas, or this Hunter Bell with a cropped jacket or cashmere wrap.
Q: Winter boots for a toddler boy.
Q: Navy peacoat for men.
Q: Under $100 fun going out tops (dinner dates) for winter/fall.
A: Cute — a few favorites:
SILK CAMI — A GWYNETH P.-VIBES CLASSIC
Q: Cute comfortable water resistant shoes for work (i.e., playground time).
A: You’re in luck — there are a bunch of chic Chelsea-style rainboots that would fit the bill. I think these from Target are incredibly chic and only $25! Have heard good reviews about this specific pair from a friend. I also love these lace-ups from Bernardo! I also love these trending lug-sole ones from Sam Edelman in the bone color!
Q: Affordable oversized camel/tan turtleneck.
Q: Matching Christmas outfits for 4mo girl and 2.5 year old girl.
A: Lots of cute holiday outfits for littles here, but I really love the tartan from La Coqueta (this is made in sizes to fit both!), or the plaid from Beaufort Bonnet (this for baby, this for big sis). Finally, check out the sweet matching pieces from Sal E Pimenta, like this bubble for baby and this dress for sister.
Q: A belted navy coat under $100.
A: For the first time, I’m stumped. Is this a unicorn style? I could not find one that I liked that fit these specs. Let me share a few options that dance around the criteria in case they work:
THIS BELTED WRAP COAT — NO NAVY, BUT GREAT ALTERNATE COLORS (THE CAMEL!)
THIS UNBELTED GAP (FRENCH STREET STYLE VIBES)
THIS BELTED COAT — I LIKE THE POCKETS AND SHAWL COLLAR AND THE PRICE IS RIGHT…NO NAVY THOUGH
Q: Flower girl dress for a black tie wedding in D.C. in April.
Q: Dangly linear earrings that make a statement, but that I can also wear more than once.
A: Elizabeth Cole has a bunch of fabulous ones out this season. I feel like this gold pair would go with SO much and would be complementary versus the center-point (thus, easy to wear again and again). That said, I’d probably go for this pair by the same brand. They’re more of memorably bold statement but goodness! Don’t you think people will thank you for wearing them twice?! They just wink at you. I also SUPER love these ones from Shrimps.
Q: Travel tote bag.
A: By car, Paravel. It’s enormous and makes finding things easy. I love this for “overflow bulky stuff” like curling irons and shoes that don’t quite fit into baggage. They also make the bag in a small and medium size that would work for travel more generally. (E.g., I wouldn’t advise the large size for air travel — don’t think it’d fit under a seat and would be pretty bulky.) If you’re traveling with children, the MZ Wallace Metro is where it’s at. Weighs next to nothing on its own, and has a zipper at the top, which is SO handy for jamming in that extra thing on the top and not having it fall out while you’re carrying a baby on one hip and the bag on the other shoulder. For work, I used to liked to travel with my Cuyana zip-top back in the day for a similar reason — it doesn’t have great structure but that was kind of handy because I’d just slide it under the seat, and if it collapsed to the side, it didn’t matter because of the zipper. It fits a laptop easily and looks sophisticated.