Q: Milestone birthday gift for my mum!
A: Happy birthday to her! My first thought was something she can wear daily that has sentimental value because of a special engraving with a nickname, date, etc. Not knowing budget, I would suggest an engraved pendant from Aurelia Demark, or, for a smaller budget, one of the personalized pieces from Merci Maman. I also love a special trinket from Herend — you can pick a motif/shape that has personal resonance to you and her. For example, maybe she’s a poodle lover, or oyster aficionado. Then she can keep it at her bedside or on her desktop. As a heads up, you can often find Herend objets on Etsy at a good price, like this pelican, or this baby shoe. I gave my mother one of the Herend baby shoes as a thank you after she took care of me when my daughter was born via c-section. Growing up, my mother had a set of these Herend baby shoes on the coffee table in her formal living room — one for each of us five children. I loved the idea of adding to her collection as a grandmother.
Q: Back to school for me — drop off, playdates, etc.
A: I would invest in a fab pair of shoes and a statement coat. TBH, as the weather drops, you’re mostly wearing a coat anyway, so these are the main markers of style — and I love the way a pair of shoes can make you feel pulled together even if you’re wearing your daily routine of jeans and a layering tee. I am personally lusting after a pair of Loewe trainers to pair with jeans and dresses for everyday wear; a pair of Western boots like these; and about twenty different pairs of loafers — ha! I am curious about trying a chunkier loafer (like this), but also love this Gucci-inspired pair, and this slipper-like pair from Toteme. But maybe you’re a Birk girl, and these shearling pink ones are calling your name, or maybe you want those loud Gucci boots! TL;DR: dial up the style factor on footwear and outerwear! For coats, there are so many fabulous options out this season, but my two consistent favorites are this Ganni and this faux shearling.
I think you can then buy a few inexpensive statement knits to layer in against the splurgier coat/shoes. Zara (love this), Mango (love this), Gap (everyone loves this), and H&M (love this) always have great knitwear finds at reasonable prices.
Q: Blue and white bridesmaid dress — 24 weeks pregnant!
A: Fun! I’m not sure about the season you’re planning for, but Reformation is a good starting point. I like this one — think it could work with a smallish bump. If we’re looking for fall/current season, this Ulla or this Anna Cate. For a gown, this LSF.
Q: Riding boots.
A: I like Loeffler Randall’s take on this trend with the slightly exaggerated sole. For an investment, Khaite has a fabulously minimalist, modern option out right now, and Gucci’s is timeless. (You can get the Gucci vibe for less with these.) For a solid pair that feels Khaite-like and is logo-less in an appealingly upscale way, check out this pair from Flattered.
Q: Cute boots for fall that I can commute in and still wear around the casual office.
A: This water-resistant pair is under $100 and looks a lot like Jimmy Choo’s Youth boots, and these Sam Edelmans (also waterproof) were wildly popular last year. I’d style both of these pairs with more feminine pieces — think sweaters with embellishments/jeweled buttons, blouses with oversized collars, statement headbands, bold patterns, etc., to temper the edginess of either style. If those are still too edgy/moto for you, I love all the Western boots out this season. These ones from Madewell are available at a great price, but they are suede, so if you’re in a climate that requires a lot of walking through rain/snow/sludge, I would turn instead to something like this or this. The Westerns can be worn with cute fall dresses!
Q: Flower girl shoes for my baby — something dressy but not too expensive.
A: OMG – look at these $11 shoes. They are BEYOND with the big bow?! I’d go navy.
Q: Crossbody for handbag diplomacy during the school run.
A: Haha! I’ve already blabbed too much about APC’s Grace bag, so will focus on other options: this tiny Gucci is so fun and would be a delight to pattern mix-and-match with; this mini Mansur Gavriel in a startling and unexpectedly chic shade of green; or a cheap thrill like this or this in a fun color.
Q: Sneakers to wear with jeans.
Q: A classic trench coat.
A: Gold standard: Burberry. Banana also does great ones at reasonable prices — I had one I wore for most of my professional career that I somehow lost track of and regret losing. Finally, love the dramatic proportions (longer length) of this affordable COS and have heard good things about this $129 one from Mango.
Q: Dressy casual work to weekend lewks.
A: This is my sweet spot for everyday fashion, even though I work by and for myself. Ha! I like to wear a dress that’s just a hair dressier than it needs to be at all times — that’s sort of my M.O. For some reason, that makes me feel pulled together? Anyhow, I shared a bunch of great everyday dresses here that could be a good starting point, but some others that float to mind:
Q: Recently purchased a (bold for me) red Longchamp for fall and interested in purse essentials.
A: Good for you! Love a bold fashion moment. I shared some of my favorite small leather goods here — I am mistress of pouches, card holders, wallets, etc. I am never without a pouch that contains my favorite lipstick (bourbon rose is my color), keys, sanitizer, pens (these are my favorites — I love them so much, I gifted a bouquet of them to Grace when I saw her in Charleston), and hair clip. I just transfer that pouch plus wallet/card holder from bag to bag. If you’re more of a always-carry-the-same-bag gal, this Cuyana organizer is super clever.
Q: Baptism dress for my will-be 14-mo-old daughter and myself. Will be on October 1, outside of NYC.
A: This La Coqueta, layered over white tights. For you, I am loving the idea of a tweed dress like this or this (ignore the shoe styling on the latter and pair with embellished flats). If that’s too buttoned-up, you might consider this Cara Cara, this Alemais, or this OPT for something appropriate both for season and Church.
Q: October beach wedding!
Q: Furniture for my new home! Dressers for the kids’ rooms, couches, end tables, etc.
A: Crate and Barrel is probably my favorite “big furniture retailer” from which you can buy online and I think the quality tends to be superior than the pieces you can buy from West Elm and Pottery Barn. To your specific questions, I like Crate and Kids hampshire dresser and their Jenny Lind one — just love that spindle detailing. For couches, despite my preamble to the contrary, I slightly prefer the styles PB has on offer — more traditional than C&B — and we loved the Buchanan style in our old home. We also have a fabulous couch we bought from Jayson Home in Chicago that has lasted a long, long time despite heavy daily…love from children and a big dog. Pricier, but they are really fantastic. End tables: this grasscloth-wrapped style, this scalloped S&L, these Jenny Linds, anything from Oomph, and this PB.
Q: Comfortable shoes for city walking.
A: Supergas. They go with everything — jeans, dresses, etc — and can be tossed in the washing machine when needed.
Q: November evening wedding in Middleburg, VA. Cocktail attire with no puffed sleeves!