Style

The $20 Amazon Skirt With Two Thousand Reviews

Grace Karin A-line skirt from Amazon, ASOS top, and Superga 2750 Cotu classic navy.

Pleats are the epitome of my aesthetic. They make me look polished, buttoned-up, tidy, put together…all qualities I strive to exude. Have you ever had a moment when an item of clothing, a pair of shoes, or an accessory just appeared before you? I don’t mean in a box marked free at the front of someone’s house. My colleague wore this Grace Karin skirt to the office one day, and I knew I had to have one too. She sent me the Amazon link, and just like that, I owned three of them (one in navy and two in black). This style is one of my biggest steals. Apparently, a lot of other women thought so too; 2,352 of them decided to write product reviews.

Although this skirt is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars, it’s worth all 5. There are a plethora of skirts under the same listing (including three dissimilar ones made of polyester), so read the description carefully before ordering. Also, follow the size chart provided in the product’s image lineup, not the one provided by Amazon. As I’ve already mentioned, I own this style in navy and black. Both colors have the same composition: 95% cotton and 5% spandex. The spandex helps to keep the skirt free of wrinkles. It doesn’t need to be ironed; a good steam will do the trick (here’s the steamer I use).

According to the description, you are supposed to hand-wash this skirt in cold water, but I refused. I chose to launder it in a garment bag in the washer on the cold setting, and it turned out fine. After a few washes, I noticed that the coloring of the navy skirt appeared to fade a bit even though I always let it air-dry. I don’t know if this would have happened if I had followed the washing instructions to a tee, but I’m really not concerned. For the record, I didn’t notice any fading in the black skirts after washing. Furthermore, the laundering process hasn’t damaged any buttons or zippers.

The skirt has a hidden zipper on the side, which zips up to the bottom of the waistband. There are two buttons at the waistband, and you may use either of them to secure it. The zippers aren’t made by YKK, but they are of sound construction. The product’s description says that there are two versions of this skirt, one with a zipper and two buttons (as I have described) and another version that zips all the way up through the waistband (without the buttons). Unfortunately, there isn’t an option to select your preferred version. All things considered, I really can’t think of a better skirt for $18.99.

Works Sighted

Grace Karin skirt; ASOS top (old); Superga 2750 Cotu Classic (navy); LARLiving large French market basket; Kate Spade sunglasses (old)

The Straw Market Basket

LARLiving large French market basket

My straw market basket inspires me to pursue adventures of a culinary nature. Large straw baskets are commonly found in the hands of market shoppers all over France. Aside from being stylish, they make a statement about the way the French shop for their food; les Français value fresh, quality ingredients and eating together in an unhurried fashion. My food goals exactly!

I used to go to the farmers’ market every Saturday morning. I enjoyed surveying all of the options around the perimeter. The Amish selling meat, eggs, and milk. The self-made cheesemongers. The produce. Everything at the market was deliciously fresh, but the prices were significantly higher than those at Trader Joe’s (my most-frequented grocery store). It wouldn’t have been economical of me to buy everything on my grocery list from local vendors, so I limited my market haul to a few items each week.

When I lived in London, I’d buy produce from the market on Church Street. In central London, I found the prices to be lower at the market than they were in the grocery stores. I’d buy everything else from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, or Tesco, but the market was consistently my one-stop-shop for all produce. Rarely did I spend over £7 on fruit and vegetables for the week.

My husband and I buy most of our groceries from Trader Joe’s, but I intend to start visiting the farmers’ market again for the experience. Ultimately, the outing is an opportunity to take a stroll in a pleasant outdoor environment, something that has been difficult to come by in Philadelphia as of late. Of course, I’ll be pretending to be in Paris the whole time anyway. You’ll recall that savoring the last days of summer is pretty high up on my list of priorities. Not only is the straw basket a farmers’ market staple, it is also roomy enough to hold picnic essentials. Think of throwing down your blanket in the Parc du Champ-de-Mars! I’ll be dinning en plein air at least once a week until the autumn chill sets in.

Works Sighted: LARLiving large French market basket

 

How to Get Ready for a Virtual Meeting

Warby Parker Jennings glasses, GLDN Yue Necklace; and J.Crew slim perfect shirt in linen.

It has come to my attention that some people aren’t dressing appropriately for their virtual meetings. Although you may not dress as professionally as you did when you were going to the office, I implore you to put an adequate amount of effort into your on-screen appearance. Connecting with your coworkers via Zoom or a similar platform instead of face-to-face doesn’t give you license to show up unkempt. It goes without saying that you should be fully dressed from top to bottom. Please don’t skip the bottom half because you think no one will see it. Anything could happen; you could be asked to stand up for a brief team stretch one day. Footwear is the only aspect of your look that is optional.

For meetings of a professional nature, a button-up shirt will look just fine. I usually opt for a white or blue shirt and an A-line skirt. Aside from my everyday stud earrings, I accessorize with either a dainty gold necklace or a silk scarf around my neck. I make sure my hair is ready for the camera, and if the situation warrants a little extra polish, I’ll take a few minutes to apply a bit of tinted moisturizer, brow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara.

When the time comes to turn on the webcam, I utilize a white wall with decorative molding for the background. I want people to pay attention to me (not my belongings) when I speak. I level my laptop with my face and shoulders for the best vantage point. My standing desk has been particularly useful to this extent, but, even when the desk is raised fully, I still require a few books to elevate the computer the rest of the way.

I realize that most people who started working from home due to the current state of things may not have a home office or a space that lends itself to a makeshift one. As with everything in life, you’ll have to do your best. You may not be able to orchestrate every aspect of your setup perfectly, but you can put on a clean, wrinkle-free outfit, do your hair, and make sure your face is presentable. With a bit of creativity, you should be able to raise your laptop or webcam to a height that flatters your face. Also, I shouldn’t have to point this out, but I will for good measure: attending virtual meetings whilst in bed is not professional behavior. Your coworkers shouldn’t have to look at your bedsheets, no matter how nice they are.

If you’re congregating with friends, no one should care what you or your background look like; a friend is someone who accepts you regardless of your appearance. However, I suggest that you show up to your virtual happy hours looking presentable so that those closest to you aren’t left to unnecessarily question your wellbeing. Of course, if you haven’t been doing so well in the current situation, it’s a good idea to confide in trustworthy friends and family members. But, if you’re thriving, there’s no need to give those closest to you the impression that you are unwell.

Works Sighted

Warby Parker Jennings glasses (old); GLDN Yue Necklace; J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen

Warm-Weather Rain Essentials

Planning a stylish outfit with the rain in mind isn’t difficult if you are prepared with the essentials. Sometimes, the rain is so torrential that going outside requires more than grabbing an umbrella on your way out the door. I’ll never forget the time I attended a fashion forum at FIT. It rained continuously that day, but I was determined to arrive looking and feeling my best. I spent a great deal of time coming up with the perfect outfit for warm-weather downpours, and I’ve repeated it in a similar fashion over the years. This winning look is composed of rain boots, an A-line skirt and a complementary shirt, a lightweight jacket, and a rain-appropriate bag.

Rain Boots

Knee-high rain boots are perfect for a walk in the mud, but otherwise they can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear for an extended period of time. I’ve owned the same Hunter Chelsea-style rain boot for years, and they continue to meet my needs over and over again. My black, glossy style is similar to the boots included in look #1. I don’t feel the need to take them off when I get where I’m going; they’re versatile and extremely chic.

Umbrella

A cheaply made umbrella never did anyone any good. I am partial to London Undercover. I’ve owned the umbrella pictured in looks #1 and #3 since 2018. It has survived London rain and excessive Edinburgh winds. While I don’t recommend that you subject it to high winds, the fact that mine is still intact after being open in the elements of Scotland attests to its durability.

Lightweight Jacket

If you haven’t done so already, you must find a lightweight jacket suitable for warm-weather rain. I usually wear a trench coat on days like this. Since I am accustomed to carrying an umbrella, I don’t necessarily need to wear a waterproof jacket (unless the windspeed is high). I love the way the belts on coats of this style define my waist. Additionally, the traditional mid-thigh length always seems to be right.

A-line Skirt and Complementary Shirt

Think of how pleased you’ll be when you arrive at your destination in your dry outfit. I usually wear a skirt when it rains because I’d rather not walk around with wet pants. When you walk in the rain, the motion of your stride kicks some water up onto your legs. I can dry my skin with a paper towel if need be, but drying wet pants isn’t as easy. Aside from the A-line silhouette being my favorite, it has the same waist cinching effect as the trench coat. Furthermore, the fabric of the A-line skirt flares away from the body, so even it it were to get wet, I would barely notice because the fabric doesn’t cling to the body. Pairing my skirt with a nice top makes going out in the monsoon-like weather worth my effort.

Rain-Appropriate Bag

You don’t want your belongings getting wet or your bag damaged from the rain. Under these conditions, I always carry Longchamp’s le pliage, the original version that’s made of polyamide canvas. I own both the shoulder bag and the top handle versions. They keep my belongings dry, and the leather handles and side tabs add a hint of practical refinement to the piece.

Works Sighted

Look 1: J.Crew Factory classic trench coat; J.Crew ruffle-neck top in end-on-end cotton; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (black); Longchamp le pliage shoulder bag L (black); London Undercover automatic umbrella (black); Hunter original Chelsea (gloss)

Look 2: London Undercover automatic umbrella (navy); Barbour Inglis waterproof jacket (mist); J.Crew flutter-sleeve jersey T-shirt with swiss dot; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (navy); Longchamp le pliage shoulder bag L (navy); Hunter original Chelsea (navy)

Look 3: Barbour Inglis waterproof jacket (slate blue); J.Crew tie-shoulder linen top; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (dark grey); Longchamp le pliage top handle bag L (gun metal); London Undercover automatic umbrella (navy); Hunter Original Chelsea (black)

Develop Your Personal Style with These 3 Habits

J.Crew dress and Castañer Carina espadrilles

Window Shopping

Window shopping is one of my favorite pastimes and an essential first step in surveying the world of retail. Window shopping online is an effective tool for browsing a large quantity of products efficiently. If you decide to visit a store in person, utilizing the company’s website to establish your interests in specific items in advance will add purpose to your visit. Whether you decide to browse online or in store, both means of window shopping will help you determine your clothing preferences. Don’t be afraid to look at items outside of your budget. You won’t be able to find a reasonably-priced version of the $3,000 Chanel skirt you discovered if you’re not aware that the Chanel skirt exists in the first place.

Keep track of your favorite outfits and items in a way that works for you; I use Pinterest. A visual reminder of your tastes will guide you through racks of endless merchandise. The term ‘window shopping’ implies that the customer is browsing without the intention of buying. Don’t allow overly-eager sales associates to upend your time of self-discovery. You’re allowed to say, “I’m just looking.”

Many brands roll out new pieces every month. In order to determine which items are worth trying on in the fitting room or ordering online, evaluate how each item on your list of favorites would complement your lifestyle. It doesn’t make sense to try on something that you can’t see yourself wearing on a regular basis (unless you’re doing it purely for fun or for a wedding).

Trying on Clothes

A visit to the fitting room enables you to try on multiple sizes and styles before making a purchase. If something doesn’t work for you, it is best to find out before you pay for it. Don’t overlook the importance of selecting the correct size if you opt for online ordering instead. It is a good idea to order multiple sizes at once if you are unsure about fit. It’s not wise to keep an incorrect size or an unflattering item because you don’t want to be bothered with returning it. Returns really aren’t that arduous if you are familiar with the process and policies of the retailer you’re dealing with. Companies will oftentimes offer free shipping with a spending minimum and flat-rate returns. This means that if you spend above the minimum, you won’t pay for shipping, and all of your returns can go back in one box at a flat rate (usually between $5.00 and $7.50). Once you’ve tried on enough clothes, you’ll eventually curate a mental list of your favorite retailers and learn what sizes fit you best within each brand.

Remaining True to Yourself

You’ll know that you’ve grown into your own style when you spot an item of clothing and think, Aah, I have to have this. Your wardrobe should be a labor of self-love, and you should feel good in your clothes. Never settle for something that doesn’t suit you. If it is worth the money and effort to have a piece of clothing modified or tailored for you, by all means, do it. However, if you don’t have any intention of taking an ill-fitting piece of clothing to the tailor, don’t buy it. Quality over quantity, my friend.

Works Sighted

J.Crew dress (sold out); Castañer Carina 60mm wedge espadrille

Seersucker in Summer

J.Crew Factory dress, Castañer Carina espadrilles, and Kate Spade sunglasses.

Many fabrics have the ability to transcend different seasons, but seersucker is not one of these. It belongs in summer. You may begin to wear it in spring, but only after the low temperatures have disappeared from the forecast. If the meteorologist predicts snow, your seersucker pieces will have to wait a little while longer for their moment.

Nothing says summer like those blue and white stripes. Although you’ll see seersucker in solid hues and stripes of various colors, the fabric is traditionally worn in its signature scheme of blue and white. The shade of blue and the width of the stripes vary between garments but still maintain a general air of uniformity. The term ‘seersucker’ is derived from the Persian phrase ‘shir o shakka,’ which means milk and sugar, and the material has a texture that is simultaneously smooth (like milk) and bumpy (like sugar). The puckered fabric pulls the garment away from the body, sort of like wearable air conditioning; you’ll have to feel it to get the full effect.

When the warm weather becomes stable, you may wear as much seersucker as your heart desires (caution: during the day, never at night). However, before you run off to scower the web for potential additions, I must inform you that acquiring a selection of seersucker is a rather slow process. It’s not like amassing a selection of white tee shirts. I’ve found that seersucker pieces of quality are far and few between.

I’ve come across some products masquerading as seersucker that were made mainly of polyester. Repeat after me: “Seersucker is made of cotton.” While it is permissible to add elastane or similar fabric for a hint of stretch, the garment should be primarily made of cotton. Swimsuits are the exception to this rule. Bathing suit coverups are not.

Works Sighted

J.Crew Factory dress (sold out); Castañer Carina 60mm wedge espadrille; Kate Spade sunglasses (old)

Further Reading

Brooks Brothers striped stretch cotton seersucker dress; J.Crew sheath dress in stretch seersucker; Brooks Brothers striped stretch cotton seersucker skirt; L.L.Bean Vacationland seersucker shirt; J.Crew Parke blazer in stretch seersucker; J.Crew Cameron slim crop pant in stretch seersucker; Brooks Brothers striped stretch cotton seersucker jacket; Brooks Brothers striped stretch cotton seersucker pants; Polo Ralph Lauren cotton seersucker blazer; Polo Ralph Lauren cotton seersucker pant