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

Kayu Mini Behati Tassel Straw Tote

Kayu mini Behati tassel straw tote and Castañer Carina espadrilles.

I’ve always considered the first day of August to be the beginning of the end of summer. Every year around this time, I reflect on my summer accomplishments and contemplate whether or not I’ve spent enough time outside. My reflections on the present season have led me to realize that I’ve spent too much time inside, and now I feel obligated to take full advantage of August. Step one of savoring the remainder of the summer: carrying a straw bag. I often daydream about being back in Paris. Recently, I’ve envisioned myself there carrying a variety of straw bags. I’m not doing anything particularly thrilling—being in Paris is enough. The straw tote symbolizes a carefreeness that many of us haven’t experienced in a long time.

Kayu’s mini Behati tassel straw tote was the first addition of its kind to my closet. I’ve been carrying it often, even on walks around the block. The brand produces bags made of real straw, not the synthetic, straw-like material commonly found in similar products on the market. Furthermore, the brand’s bags are woven by women in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia; the craftsmanship has been passed down through generations. The company’s social impact initiative and handmade approach to production make my purchase even more meaningful. Although I’ve only made one purchase from Kayu thus far, I’ve added a few more items to my dream list. I know I’ll have to stow the mini Behati away when fall arrives, but for now, I’ll enjoy the joie de vivre it stirs up within me.

Works Sighted

Kayu mini Behati tassel straw tote; Castañer Carina 60mm wedge espadrille

The Tank Dress

Tank dress and Superga 2750 Cotu classic white.

I occasionally wake up and decide that I’m not getting dressed. This presents a predicament because I believe that part of getting ready for the day is dressing for it. I don’t want to eat breakfast in my pajamas. Let’s say that I wake up late and lunchtime is just around the corner. That’s when I reach for my tank dress. The easiest piece of summer clothing in my arsenal, it’s made of cotton and feels just like a tank top in dress form. I own three of them, all identical, and all in navy. Sometimes I throw on a linen button-up shirt over it. Lately, I’ve been leaving the shirt unbuttoned, but sometimes I feel like tying the two front, bottom ends together in a knot at the navel. A pair of Superga sneakers completes this look every time.

Works Sighted

Gap Factory dress (old); Kate Spade sunglasses (old); Superga 2750 Cotu Classic (white)

Further Reading

Everlane’s Party of One tank dress; Everlane’s long weekend tank dress; Everlane’s luxe cotton seamed tank dress; Everlane’s luxe cotton A-line tank dress; Madewell linen-blend v-neck tank dress; Vince tiered tank dress

Everything You Need to Know About the Superga 2790 Acotw

Superga 2790 Acotw in navy.

If you haven’t read the preceding post on the Superga 2750 Cotu Classic, have a look at it before diving into this one. Unless you’re a Spice Girl, I recommend getting acclimated to the Superga 2750 before acquiring the Superga 2790. In the preceding article, I discuss the comfort of the 2750’s 1-inch, vulcanized sole, which cushions the impact the wearer receives while walking. The sole of the 2790 is half an inch higher than that of the 2750, and, although you may not think a half inch would be significant, traversing the pavement in the 2790 is equivalent to walking on air. I am especially grateful for them when I am on my feet all day.

That being said, there’s one caveat. While the 2790 is exceptionally comfortable, I can’t wear them every day like the 2750. I tried wearing them every day for three weeks in 2018 whilst hopping around the U.K. My feet hurt after a week, and I had to buy a new pair of sneakers without a platform. However, let it be known that I was probably averaging 30,000 steps a day during this period—far more than usual. I’m still wearing my first pair of 2790s, which I purchase in September of 2018. The heels are a little worn down, but I haven’t replaced them yet. In contrast, I wear down several pairs of 2750s each year.

Originally, I ordered the 2790 in white, black, and navy. The white version looked like boats, and I decided against them. When it came down to choosing between the navy or the black, I gravitated towards the navy pair. I wondered if it made sense to own both the 2790 and the 2750 in the same color. Then, I came to my senses. You can never have too much navy.

Like the 2750, the 2790 is extremely versatile. I wear this style with skirts and dresses in lieu of heels. They also look amazing with skinny pants. I’ll now reiterate some points from my Superga 2750 post that also apply to this one. It is important to lace and tie these shoes during the fitting process. Your size in the 2790 and 2750 will probably be the same; this is true for me. They don’t have arch support, but the comfortable sole is fair compensation. You’ll have to break them in, but the process isn’t terrible. Don’t attempt to meet your 15,000-step Fitbit goal in these shoes during the break-in period. If you buy them in white, you may clean them in the manner descried in the preceding post. I wear Bombas socks with these too. Lastly, the 2790 is the most affordable platform sneaker of quality that I’ve found. I’m not paying $200 for a sneaker that can’t be resoled.

Works Sighted

Superga 2790 Acotw (Navy)