Q: Cool menswear-looking vest.
Q: What would you do for a 30th birthday dinner outfit in the South in November?
A: Happy birthday! I would wear something FUN like this Rhode, this Love the Label, this frothy Jonathan Simkhai. If you’re more of a jeans gal, go big with a fab top like this, this, or this and pair with heels! (Also: I know a lot of us are “over” puffed/exaggerated sleeves, but I am still wearing mine and I love the dramatic tops from Caroline Constas, like this, which would be perfect for a festive dinner out. I just pulled one out earlier this week to see Father John Misty that I shared on Instastories and got a lot of messages from Magpies saying they’re also not over the dramatic sleeve! Caroline Constas has great options.)
Q: I mostly don’t buy dresses that aren’t great wardrobe staples. Fave capsule pieces?
A: I admire your restraint! Buying boldly patterned, impractical dresses is my toxic trait — ha. But I do have a couple of standbys that I pull out a lot and just re-style with accessories. I have specifically been blown away by how much I have reached for this Maxwell and Geraldine dress. I like it with sneakers, Vibis, or sandals in the summer, layered with delicate gold jewelry, but it’s also been great this fall with ballet flats or suede loafers and a striped cardigan over top. The stripes are like a neutral, and it’s just so comfortable and flattering (slightly longer smocked bodice does wonders!). I also have a utility dress from Madewell that is almost identical to this (mine just has buttons instead of zipper down front) that startles me with its…well, utility. I like this paired with sneaks or ballet flats depending on the situation, and I often throw a scarf around my shoulders to dress it up. Denim dresses are also a great capsule buy — I have a denim shirtdress I bought from Target in a kind of acid wash that I have worn countless times, layered with a cardigan or gussied up with interesting shoes. I would love to upgrade with this wear-forever CO (would look just as good on a 22 year old as it would on a 82 year old), but something like this Everlane, this Zara, this Gap, this Target, or this Ralph Lauren feel thrillingly fresh and could be styled tons of ways within a single season. Denim is, essentially, a neutral and these dresses would look incredible paired with captoe ballerinas, this season’s on-trend cowboy/western boots, or sneakers (high tops!).
Of course, shirt dresses in solids of stripes have been wardrobe workhorses for me for years. I specifically have an olive green shirtdress almost identical to this Alex Mill that I’ve had for at least a decade that I pull out EVERY season. The styles from Daphne Wilde are perfect, too. If you don’t love the self-tie waist, you might consider this Jenni Kayne caftan-style dress — super versatile in all three colors.
I am loving the idea of a silk tee dress, too — I’ve seen street style starlets dress these with sneakers and/or chunky knits to great effect.
Oh! And I bought a dress from La Ligne similar to this newer “Amy” style in a dark plaid last winter that surprised me with its versatility and rewearability. They have a lot of great dresses in solid colors (love the Claire) that are sure to function similarly.
Q: Starting new job in office five days a week. SOS! Need new wardrobe but don’t love collars.
A: I would buy a bunch of cashmere crewnecks and cashmere tees in colors like navy, brown, camel, cream — these pair perfectly with anything from skirts to denim to trousers and look polished, no collar required!
Q: Advent wreath recs.
A: I prefer something simple and modern — ours is a brass ring with four candle spots similar to this or this. I also saw someone use this set of Fig and Dove candlestick holders as an Advent wreath set she arranged herself — chic!
Q: Halloween costume ideas for 3yo boy who loves Cars and Thomas?
Q: Paris at the end of September. Cocktail-ish. Under $200 with support for chest.
A: This draped wool Zara or this OTS Tuckernuck are insanely chic. Pair with pointed toe, embellished heels like this, this, or this for a divinely sophisticated look. I also love this burgundy Moon River — looks just like La Ligne, but under $200.
Q: Accessories for styling and warming up an all white kitchen.
A: I love the warmth/rustic vibe of the finds in this French-inspired kitchen post. Other ideas: consider patterned dish towels like this or this, a fun artichoke objet, a striped runner, a set of cookbooks with bold covers you can stack (like this or this), a wood fruit bowl, a bold tray to keep at the side of sink for jewelry.
Q: Gifts to ask my friends to be MOH and bridesmaids!
Q: Early October wedding, cocktail attire.
Q: Postpartum work clothes.
A: Check out Daphne Wilde’s shirtdress sale! Polished, flattering, and breast-feeding friendly! Shirtdresses in general are great investments and have more “give” in terms of size-shifting — also love this cord style and this chocolate brown utility style. This Tory Burch dress also looks amazingly sophisticated but skims the figure.
Q: Fall jacket (a la Kindergarten soccer sidelines).
Q: I’d love recommendations on a dress to wear to two fall weddings (no overlap in guests so excited to re-wear). Both will be in warm weather (Austin & San Diego). I’m a size ~6 and don’t like ruffles/puff sleeves, and (the hard part) will be in my first trimester with baby #2, ideally not sharing that news broadly. Lots of constraints! But would love any ideas!
A: Congratulations! I’m thinking something like this black Staud or this dramatic Cecilie Bahnsen. I think the smocking would stop before bump on both and just flatter you in the chest area while giving lots of room below. Or maybe this Staud column dress, or this dramatic long style (also comes in a shorter length)? I feel like you could disguise the bump with these figure-skimming styles!
Q: Warm, vegan maternity coats for NE winter.
A: Ah, yes. You really need a proper maternity coat if you live somewhere truly cold and are pregnant during winter. You just can’t make a regular coat work and survive! I learned this the hard way in the Midwest. If you already own a Canada Goose, they do sell this clever maternity extension so you can make yours work with bump! I own their Trillium parka and wish I’d known about this!!! Other maternity-specific outerwear I like: this quilted one is chic — and it’s under $200, plus 20% off ATM — and this Gap puffer looks perfect. I would buy either in black because it’s more versatile and you can dress up/down more easily.
Q: 50th birthday in October – sophisticated casual and out to dinner dress.
A: Happy birthday! For casual, I love this Cara Cara or this one, or this Rebecca Taylor. Such fun patterns — they feel festive, seasonally appropriate, and joyful without being over the top. For dinner, I love this, this, or this (all out!).