sneaking up on fall (when fall is still a distant dream)

lips | necklace | tee | bag | pants | shoes
lips | necklace | tee | bag | pants | shoes

(No, it’s not quite so green here…that’s a little flight of fancy.)

Today I’m cross-posting with Lisa of Privilege about that dicey season between summer and fall, and transitioning wardrobes. If you haven’t discovered Lisa’s blog yet, you’re in for a real treat! She’s been focusing lately on home decor and her lovely garden, but also tackles style with a discerning eye, and distinctive voice.

Fall has always been my favorite season, and since moving to Los Angeles (from Northern California) 23 years ago, I’ve had to learn to adapt to a climate that treats fall as an afterthought, something to get around to, oh, maybe by Thanksgiving. Fashion websites, magazines and style blogs taunt me come September. It’s become my yearly wail of frustration that I can’t join in the “boots and sweaters” brigade until we’re closing in on the year-end holidays. But I am learning to adapt, and to find ways to work some fall style into my wardrobe even though September and October (and sometimes November) tend to be our warmest months of the year.

Color is one way to approach this conundrum. I look for lightweight pieces in fall-ish colors, like these J.Crew Sunday slim chinos in “hillside green.”

olive chinos
nice mid-rise on these and the fabric is really soft.

The color IRL is a little deeper than it looks online. Better in person, I think. I’ll be able to wear these now, and for the next few months.

Or this linen boatneck tee (a warm weather favorite of mine) in “dark cognac.”

linen jersey tee shirt


(A note about these and other linen knits: I always line dry them, never put in the dryer. I’ve found they hold up well when I do this.)

Or I might wear an open silk blouse in place of a jacket. Everlane always has some nice color options, and I especially like this “warm tan” shade to pair with other fall colors.

Accessories can be a way to sneak in some fall style without overheating. In addition to color, certain prints and textures can skew autumnal. Leopard, or snake print, for example:

snake chain shoulder bag

This Michael Michael Kors snake print bag can be worn over one shoulder, or pull the chain through to wear cross-body style. (Here’s a larger tote version.)

For cooler mornings (or over-cooled offices), perhaps a linen scarf in a soft, rusty red…

linen plaid scarf

The large check pattern on this Madewell scarf also channels that fall vibe.

medallion necklace
be still, my heart

And then there’s this gorgeous French Kande cracked agate necklace with a vintage French medallion from the new “Concorde” collection. Wear now with a tee, later with a sweater.

You can see Lisa’s post here.

Do you look forward to fall, or do you hang onto summer as long as you can?


Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for See complete disclosure policy here.

living in linen…

posted in: Shirts, Tops | 16

Hermès Kelly double tour bracelet

It’s been HOT here lately, and I’ve been living in this Eileen Fisher chambray linen shirt on weekends. It’s cool enough for running errands, dog walking, etc. outdoors (and I love being able to pop up the collar to keep the sun off the back of my neck) but is covered enough that I don’t get chilled in air-conditioned interiors. Yes, it gets a little rumpled, but that’s part of linen’s charm 😉 and I still feel more put-together than in a tee shirt.

Sandals are Everlane from last year (similar here and here), jeans NYDJ also from last year (similar) and the bracelet (several years old) is Hermès.

Next year we’ll be traveling to Europe in July, so I’m making a note to myself to remember to include a few linen shirts in my travel wardrobe planning.


Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for See complete disclosure policy here.

Labor Day getaway: Los Angeles

travel wardrobe for long weekend
top: cardigan | tee | shirt | dress middle: tee | bag | belt bottom: skirt | shoes | skirt | shoes

Today I’m delighted to be cross-posting with Janice of The Vivienne Files! We thought it would be fun to build travel wardrobes for a Labor Day weekend getaway in each of our respective cities. (Chicago for her, Los Angeles for me.) Janice does some amazing things with creating mix-and-match wardrobes so I’m really looking forward to seeing what she puts together.

I also wanted to make good on a long-standing promise to address reader requests for a travel wardrobe with skirts rather than pants. I’ve used midi-length skirts and a maxi-dress for this exercise, but you could easily substitute other lengths to suit your preferences. Also, because LA is such a huge area with dozens of microclimates, I’ve focused on one area: the westside, close to the coast. That means though the days may be warm, it tends to cool down somewhat in the evenings. I’ve tried to select pieces that can dress up if needed, at least to the degree we Angelenos will. 😉

You can click on links in the image caption above to see the individual pieces. I’ve added some accessories in the wardrobe mixes below, will add those links in the captions.

Suggested activities:

visiting Getty museum
hat | necklace

The Getty Center. This is more than just a museum. See some exhibits, listen to a concert, have some lunch, admire the architecture, wander through the spectacular gardens. If it’s a clear day, the view is amazing in all directions. Plus you get a tram ride. :-)

travel wardrobe with skirts
wear the shirt open over the dress for more sun protection bracelet | necklace

Take a walk along Venice Beach to see some of the more colorful local inhabitants, 😉 then head over to Abbott Kinney Boulevard for some excellent shopping. Eat at Joe’s. Really.

travel wardrobe Los Angeles

Stroll Palisades Park in Santa Monica at sunset. Wander through 3rd Street Promenade and catch some of the great (and not so great) street performers. Stop for drinks and a bite al fresco at one of the many eateries in the area with outdoor seating.

travel wardrobe with skirts
bracelet | necklace

If art’s your thing, head over to the thriving Culver City Arts District and explore the galleries, then enjoy a late lunch at Father’s Office. For one of the most unusual museum experiences ever, check out the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Or if dinner and a movie is more your speed, try some of the delectable cocktails and dishes at The Wallace (one of our faves, reservations recommended) and then walk two blocks to the Arclight (newly remodeled) and catch a flick. If the night is still young, stop in for a nightcap at the bar in the historic Culver Hotel (open until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights). This is where the actors playing the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz stayed during the filming, and reportedly held some wild and racy parties!

Before you leave town, you’ll want to be sure to have breakfast at Huckleberry Cafe. Go early to avoid long lines, but even if you have to wait, it’s worth it.

See Janice’s Chicago wardrobe here.

Do you have any getaway plans for the Labor Day weekend?


Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for See complete disclosure policy here.

carry-on travel: liquids, toiletries, cosmetics

Re-post from May, 2015.

carry-on liquids TSA

In response to yesterday’s travel wardrobe post, a few readers have asked how I manage to travel carry-on with beauty products and makeup, considering the TSA liquids restrictions. It does take a little planning, but it CAN be done.

First, I should tell you that a) my makeup routine even at home is pretty minimal, and b) my hairstyle doesn’t require a lot of styling. I don’t pack a blow dryer (every hotel, apartment or B&B we’ve stayed in has provided one), styling tools, or a lot of hair products. I understand that some need more “intervention” with their hair or special products, which may make carry-on travel more challenging. I do however take my fully charged Clarisonic Mia which gets packed inside a shoe to save space.

What I do:

  • Collect samples of products, and watch for “gift with purchase” promotions that include travel sizes of products I use.
  • Check Sephora and Ulta for travel sizes of my favorite products.
  • If you like Paula’s Choice products, she offers most products in “sample” sizes that are very travel-friendly.
  • Decant favorite products into travel-size containers. (Can be purchased in most big box stores, drugstores.)
  • Use makeup remover towelettes before washing face, reduces the amount of cleanser needed. Some people dry them out to save weight and then moisten as needed, but to me this is more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Separate any prescription lotions, liquids, ointments…these do not count against your TSA liquids limit. My prescription Retin-A goes in a ziplock bag with other prescription medications.
  • I have never had cream compact foundation, mascara, lipstick, or other makeup in solid form questioned by TSA or other airline security agencies. Your mileage, however may vary. I put these in a separate cosmetics bag and leave inside my luggage.
  • Edit, edit, edit.
  • Remember that unless you’re headed to the wilderness, items like toothpaste, sunscreen, hand cream are pretty universally available.

You’ll want to have your liquids “baggie” handy and easily accessible when going through airport security. Don’t forget that tube of hand lotion you may have stashed in your purse.

A good toiletries bag will also help make packing easier. I stay away from box-like hard-sided options. I’ve tried a few over the years but love and have used the “emme” bag for our last couple of trips. I really appreciate the design of this case. It has plenty of room but folds down to a compact size that can be “squished” a bit into that open space in your suitcase. I love that it hangs for easy access in small bathrooms, has clear pockets to keep everything visible and has a detachable “clear quart-size bag” for your liquids. It also comes with a nice set of small travel containers and labels.

Speaking of travel sizes… L’Occitaine has a special on right now, get a free travel size when you purchase a regular size of their best-selling products (or get the set of 7 travel sized products with a $140 purchase). Use code TRAVEL, offer valid until August 16.

How do you deal with liquids restrictions while traveling with carry-on luggage?
Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for See complete disclosure policy here.

encore: rethinking classic

This post originally appeared in February 2015.

Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly
Images via Pinterest here and here.


When it comes to style taxonomy “Classic” is a word often used to describe a specific look. Symmetrical, tailored, polished, presumably timeless. Think white shirts, trench coats, Breton striped tops, black pumps, ballet flats…the pieces that always seem to comprise those “10 Items Every Woman Must Own” lists. While details and silhouettes may change over the decades, the idea is that a wardrobe of classics will cover you for most occasions and look good year after year. I’d always aspired to have a traditionally classic wardrobe, one with that kind of simple elegance exemplified by the style icons venerated by my mother’s generation: Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelley, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. (And more recently, by my own: Carolina Herrera and Ines de la Fressange.) It’s a look I’ve always admired and aspired to…and one that has never felt right on me. Many of those more tailored garments just didn’t fit, either physically or emotionally. They always skewed frumpy on me. But for a long time I persevered, thinking if I could just find the right cuts, the right sizes or lose enough weight, that iconic classic look would finally come together.

Over the last few years my style (both in preference and practice) has been evolving away from the crisply classic, and toward something softer, more fluid and draped. (And I should clarify, “fluid” to me doesn’t mean “flowy,” necessarily and I still avoid very voluminous pieces.) Even though these more fluid styles appeal to me aesthetically I resisted at first, having bought into the notion that opting for less fitted, less tailored clothing meant “giving up.” Giving up on attractiveness, on caring about my appearance, on femininity, and giving up on an ideal I’ve held in my head for decades. Instead, I’ve found that the softness, movement and fluidity feels more womanly, not less, and that I feel more myself, less self-conscious, more bien dans ma peau than when I was trying to force myself into more confining clothes. (Perhaps before I was also trying to fit myself into a mold of more contained, girlish femininity, another vestigial remnant of my mother’s ideals? Just a thought.) The fluidity suits my curvy shape better, too, and looks more current. I’ve bought and worn pants and skirts with elastic waists, even to work. The earth did not stop spinning, and I did not gain 80 pounds or stop washing my hair.  :-)

I’m going to take a sidetrack for a minute about that notion of giving up, or “letting oneself go” and fitted clothing. When Lisa at Privilege and I cross-posted about denim styles, she received a lot of feedback that she looked great in skinny jeans and should wear them more. Lisa has always expressed that she doesn’t like how she looks or feels in skinny jeans, not out of any insecurity but rather because they’re just not her thing. She posted a response to the comments, including acknowledging the cultural messages we receive about “good” bodies and displaying them. I’ve posted before about the notion of “flattering” which for most of us today, boils down to “makes you look thin(ner)” or whatever version of “conventionally attractive” you are attuned to. While most of us want to enhance our appearance, Flattering can become a real tyrant. If conventional figure flattery were my style Prime Directive, I’d probably wear nothing but fit-and-flare dresses. (They create the illusion of a waist, and highlight my legs.) But they aren’t my thing, and I’ve latched onto the notion of Flattering Enough, while opting for clothes that feel like a more organic expression of my self and style. It’s not about hiding or camouflage; it’s about starting from what appeals aesthetically and emotionally, and then finding a balance with what works for my body.

But back to the concept of Classic style, I think despite those “10 Items” wardrobe lists that keep popping up on Pinterest, cultural notions of style have also evolved in recent years. Whether every designer runway reflects it or not, comfort has become a higher priority, and fabrics with stretch have become the norm. (Fashion is having a Comfort Moment in a big way.) And outside of the fashion scene, our culture has also shifted in a more relaxed direction. The internet has globalized style to some degree, and that style is much more casual than even 20 years ago. The kind of tailored corporate uniforms that used to be expected in most workplaces would now be perceived as stuffy and out-of-date. Which isn’t to say that if you have a closet full of pencil skirts and crisp white blouses that you love and wear daily you need to get rid of them, just that there is no longer a single standard for what constitutes a classic wardrobe, or a work-appropriate one.

It can still be helpful, though, to think in terms of wardrobe “classics” (though by one’s own definition) in order to build and maintain wardrobe cohesion. What are those pieces that work for your lifestyle, body, aesthetic? What do they have in common and how can they work together? What design elements or colors are you always drawn to? These are your “classics.”

My classics? Jeans, slim black pants, soft jackets, tees, ankle boots, scarves. What are yours, and has your idea of a “classic” wardrobe changed over time?


Affiliate links in this post may generate commissions for See complete disclosure policy here.

1 2 3 4 5 431