Style

Throws for Outdoor Dining

So far this winter (late autumn according to the calendar), we’ve had snow on two occasions in Philadelphia. The weather has been alternating between cold days and unseasonably warm ones. Per the city’s Covid guidelines, unless you opt for restaurant takeaway, you must dine outside. I cook at home constantly, and enjoying a meal that I did not prepare myself is a real treat. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to savor food from someone else’s kitchen when I’m sitting at my table in the street.

Some restaurants are providing outdoor enclosures and/or heaters for their guests. But, not everyone will be lucky enough to find themselves in a heated enclosure. Those who don’t make it to the VIP section will have to grin and bear it at a table on the sidewalk or in the street. Some establishments are offering throws, but I thought, Why not bring my own.

Works Sighted

Brooklinen throw blanket / Garnet Hill waffle-weave throw / Garnet Hill brushed-cotton throw

Matouk pezzo throw / A&R Cashmere reversible cashmere-blend throw / Williams Sonoma solid cashmere throw / Williams Sonoma cashmere & wool equestrian throw

Magic Linen throw / Matouk initial pezzo throw / Peacock Alley Hudson throw

The Open-Front Cardigan

The open-front cardigan is an item of clothing that I didn’t own prior to working from home but have since acquired. The cold weather presents limitless opportunities to incorporate a third piece into my daily looks. With the spirit of comfort in the air, I’ve been giving my trusty grey blazer a break. Note: the term comfort is not synonymous with the extreme level of informal dress that has prevailed across the U.S.

If you’re not sure what a third piece is, permettez-moi d’expliquer. It’s an item that is layered on top of your outfit’s base. A third piece enhances your look. The base consists of a top, a bottom, and a pair of shoes. Jackets, blazers, vests, and cardigans are all viable third pieces.

I find that the open-front cardigan simultaneously adds polish and comfort to my button-up shirt/Martie pant uniform. Think of the opening sequence to Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood. The first thing Fred does is replace his suiting jacket with a sweater and his dress shoes with a pair of canvas sneakers. In an instant, he’s ready to teach the kids. I don’t have children, but I do have a cat who likes to be held. An open-front cardigan is more conducive to snuggles than a blazer.

Works Sighted

J.Crew Factory cardigan (old); J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (old); J.Crew Martie pant; Margaux Demi flats (black)

The Graphic Tote

The Daunt Books canvas tote has earned a spot in the new V&A exhibition Bags: Inside Out. To celebrate the occasion, I took my green bag to brunch this past weekend. Now is as good a time as any to approach the topic of the graphic tote. You may be wondering if there is room for graphics in a classic wardrobe. The answer is: Yes; but you have to select them carefully. If I had to describe my collection of graphic totes in a single word, I’d say that it’s curated. Each piece is tasteful and has personal meaning.

When you carry a graphic tote in public, it is bound to get noticed. If the graphic is exceptional, strangers may ask you where they may acquire one themselves. Dealing with these types of inquiries will be a walk in Hyde Park if your bag has sentimental value. I spent many relaxing hours browsing the shelves at Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street when I lived in London. On one occasion, a Selfridges sales associate asked after the origin of my beloved tote. I told her about how the books at my favorite shop were arranged on the shelves by country.

Daunt Books is more than a shop. It is a means of travel, a second home library, an intimate venue, and a place where gifts are found. The graphic tote serves as an advertisement for the establishment from which it was purchased. You, the wearer, should be sure that the name displayed on your bag is that of a business with which you’d like to be associated. I carry the green tote as a symbol of my love for Daunt Books, and when I see it slung over another person’s arm, I can’t help but wonder if the stranger and I share the same interests.

Works Sighted

Daunt Books canvas bag; Margaux Demi flats (black)

Tee Shirts with Ruffles on the Sleeves

I can’t resist a tee shirt with ruffles on the sleeves. Whenever one catches my eye, I can’t help but take a closer look. I purchased this particular style from J.Crew about four years ago. It complemented my A-line skirts so well that I ended up with several of them: one in navy, one in pink, one in black with ecru stripes, and three in ecru with navy stripes. I’ve kept my eyes peeled for similar styles over the years, and I have to say, I haven’t found many that meet my standards. Actually, I’ve only purchased one other similar style (the J.Crew puff sleeve tee) since 2016. Pay attention to the details, no matter how small, when developing your personal style. You’ll become known for them.

Works Sighted

J.Crew ruffle sleeve tee (old); Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (black)Margaux Demi flats (platinum)

Further Reading

Mango frill sleeve T-shirt (black); New Look frill sleeve T-shirt (white); River Island short sleeve v neck frill T-shirt (white); Alexander McQueen ruffled poplin-trimmed cotton-jersey T-shirt (black); Alexander McQueen ruffled poplin-trimmed cotton-jersey T-shirt (white); Victoria, Victoria Beckham ruffle sleeve cotton T-Shirt (white)

Shopping in Paris

One of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is curating a selection of souvenirs for myself. My recent trip through virtual Paris has led me to the online shops of numerous French brands and museums: Chanel, le musée d’Orsay, and Saint James to name a few. Clothing, shoes, and accessories refresh my wardrobe, while books that provide a contextual layer to my understanding of the sights I’ve seen serve as sources of comfort. The next best thing to being abroad is being reminded of the time I’ve spent outside of my home country. Also, I couldn’t resist a virtual day trip to le château de Versailles—not exactly in Paris, but close enough by RER C.

Works Sighted

Le Guide du Louvre; Eric Bompard classic v-neck pullover (navy); Toulouse-Lautrec L’expo; Sézane Sara pendent chain and pendant

Le Louvre: Le palais à traver les siècles by Guillaume Fonkenell; Saint James Breton shirt (marine/neige); Longchamp le pliage top handle bag L (black); Veja campo (white/nautico); Château de Versailles galerie des carrosses tote

Louvreuse Olga croco (black); Miss Dior eau de parfum; Diptyque Eau Duelle eau de toilette; Chanel ballerinas (black); Le Guide Musée d’Orsay; Hermès boucles et galons du tsar wash scarf 90 (blanc cassé/noir)

 

J.Crew Martie Pant in Bi-Stretch Cotton

The J.Crew Martie pant came into my life in March 2018. I acquired eight of them that year for fear that the design would be discontinued. (I’d suffered through the discontinuation of the J.Crew Minnie pant and wasn’t looking forward to repeating the experience.) Aside from the two linen trousers that I bought this past March, these are the only pants in my wardrobe. About two months ago, I realized that all of my Marties had expired except for one. I embarked on a quest to replace my beloved little black pant. (For the record, I also wear it in navy.) In an attempt to broaden my horizons, I tried on other pants from brands that weren’t J.Crew. Long story short, I’m now the proud owner of six new pairs of my favorite style.

I found the current version of the pant to be slightly longer than the version I’d purchased back in 2018. Cuffing the hems of the legs under once seems to do the trick…even though the little vents at the bottom disappear. I liked that I could wear the older version (pictured) with or without a cuff. The Martie pant is very comfortable on account of its stretchy composition (cotton/viscose/elastane), but it also retains its shape. I’ve worn them to work, on transatlantic flights, and for every occasion in between. They pair well with blazers, sweaters, button-ups, tee shirts, sneakers, and flats. This is the definition of a wardrobe workhorse.

Works Sighted

J.Crew Martie pant in bi-stretch cotton; J.Crew striped boatneck T-shirt; Loft blazer (old); Superga 2750 Cotu Classic Navy