the gift I’d give…

Dream Kitchen

The topic of this month’s By Invitation Only is “if money were no object, I’d give…”

If money (and space, and time) were no object, I’ve wave a magic wand, and give le monsieur our kitchen renovation, all done (having skipped the painful renovation process) and with plenty of space and storage.

It would include a huge pantry…

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and some state-of-the-art wine storage.

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But the best part is, we’d be done, all of the headaches and bickering bypassed, and we’d be able to enjoy entertaining in this space over the holidays.

A girl can dream.

By Invitation Only

To see the rest of the By Invitation Only fantasy gift ideas, go visit the linkup at Splenderosa.

All photos from

tux luxe

Marlene Dietrich made it transgressive, Yves Saint Laurent made it chic,
From transgressive to darkly chic to quirky. A woman in a tux is never boring.

From Marlene Dietrich to Emma Watson, when a woman wears a tuxedo, it creates Presence. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of woman who could make an entrance in a full-on tuxedo, but on me all that stiffness and structure just doesn’t work, either with my body or style persona.

But mixing a tuxedo-esque jacket with softer or casual pieces…now that might be the ticket…

Dress up or dress down a tux jacketJacket: Karl Lagerfeld
Luxe: Wendy Brandes jewelry here and here | Eileen Fisher top | Karl Lagerfeld pants | Rebecca Minkoff bag | Nicholas Kirkwood shoes
Laid-back: Ray Ban glasses| French Kande necklace | Eileen Fisher tee and jeans | Givenchy bag | Tabitha Simmons boots (similar look, less pricey)

Like its velvet cousin, a tuxedo jacket can glam up basic separates. It can be worn over a dress, or give an I-planned-it-this-way edge to jeans and a tee. A lot of brands are currently offering a version of the tuxedo jacket and they are available in all price ranges (many on sale too).

Is there a version of the tuxedo jacket in your wardrobe? How do you wear it?


If there’s anything from J.Crew on your wishlist, get up to 30% off with code MERRYMERRY.

Madewell is offering extra 30% off sale items off with code MERRIEST.

Nordstrom still has a lot of Eileen Fisher on sale.

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Sunday at random

1. bracelets // 2. scarf // 3. cashmere // 4. decor
inspired by sea and sky. 1. bracelets // 2. scarf // 3. hoodie // 4. vases


Thanks to all of the commenters on yesterday’s post who shared such great tips and experience with home renovations. I’ve bookmarked those recommended websites and will be doing extensive research before we start anything.

Do visit How I Wear My: Sweater at Everything Just So and The Rich Life On A Budget. I love my sweaters, and was inspired seeing the myriad styles of knitwear and ways to wear them. Jill and Adrienne put a lot of work into these posts!

If you’d like to receive posts from une femme d’un certain âge directly to your email inbox, there’s an easy-to-use Subscribe feature on the right sidebar. Just enter your email, click the subscribe button. You’ll receive an email requesting you to confirm; just one more click and done!

And because ’tis the season, I’ve updated my Shop page with some nifty gifty ideas.

How is your weekend going? Any holiday parties on the calendar?
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the moon must be in “dilapidation”

posted in: Domestic, Housekeeping | 35
Not really my bathroom.
Not really my bathroom. I wish. Source.

An acquaintance of mine had an expression, “a house is a pig that never stops eating.” The past few days, the pig has been particularly hungry! Does it ever seem like everything in the house breaks at once? We’ve had clogged drains, both the ancient washing machine and relatively new dishwasher needing repairs, and after the first good rain of the season last Sunday, a truly foul smell emanating from one of the bathrooms. After ruling out additional plumbing problems, we’ve determined that the cause is old wood cabinetry that’s developed some serious mildew/rot over time.

Just for good measure, my cell phone stopped working too. :-(

Our house was built in 1941, and other than converting a small back den to a master suite 11 years ago, all of the work we’ve done since moving in (1997) has been cosmetic.This particular bathroom hasn’t been updated since probably 1969 (by prior owners), and we’ve been talking about doing some serious renovation both in this bathroom and our kitchen for some years now to address both poor design/flow from prior owners’ rework and major wear-and-tear. There are some steps we can take that will knock back the mildew in the bathroom and buy us a few more months, but ultimately it looks as though we’re going to have to bite the bullet and undertake a major project next year.

Have you done major home renovations? Any particular tips or wisdom to share?


essentials: black pants

posted in: Business Casual, Denim, Pants | 13
Black jeans are a versatile dress-up/dress-down choice. Source


Given free rein, I’d probably wear jeans every day. But there are days at the office and the occasional social event that require a bit more formality, and in those instances, black pants have become my go-to outfit starting point. Every woman has her wardrobe essentials, and black pants have become one of mine.

I have three pair in my wardrobe that have me covered for just about any occasion.

Vince strapping trouser

The dressiest of the three are these Vince “Strapping” Trousers. They’re a very lightweight wool, and nicely tailored. There’s a band of fabric along the outside seam that adds a bit of structure and (I think) makes the pants drape well. I frequently wear these to the office on “meetings” days, but they also dress up with a velvet jacket or something sparkly on top for more festive occasions.

Eileen Fisher Rock Star Pants

Next on the formality hierarchy are these Eileen Fisher Ponte Knit “Rock Star” pants. Yes, they have 5-pocket styling, but I tend to wear longer tops over them, so they present as a slim black pant rather than a jean. These are the “dressy pants” option I travel with, as they are comfortable, non-bulky and washable (hand wash, line dry). I will say these are cut smaller than other Eileen Fisher styles, so you may want to size up. I’m so glad Eileen Fisher brings these back every year. My first pair held up well for a couple of years, and I’ve just replaced them.

Frame denim le skinny crop

These black denim jeans (Frame Denim “le skinny crop”) are the most casual of the three, but with the right shoes and other outfit components, they can look surprisingly polished. These have a decent amount of stretch, but can be worn all day without bagging, and run true to size. The mid-rise hits right below the navel.

Do you have any old-faithful black pants? How do you dress them up?


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