These are outfits I wore the first fall and winter after I set out to whittle down my wardrobe. Here’s what the following spring and summer looked like. What my style looked like before. How I got started. First lessons learned.
Life in the Fall
Nov 8, 2013
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ever since I was little, when our teachers passed out All-About-Me! surveys my answer for favorite season was always the same: “Fall, when the leaves change.” In my Proust-filled high school years I instead called it “Autumn, when the leaves fall” (and boy, did I think that double entendre was clever) but it’s always been rooted to that same golden month in Georgia – when you start finally wearing your riding boots and pea coat, go driving in the mountains, build bonfires and s’mores, pick pumpkins, and sneak kisses on hay rides. Well, imagine sneaking kisses on hay rides.
And even with college crossed off my bucket list, every year around this time I find myself with the same hankering for a back-to-school shopping trip. This round I focused on shopping only to a list, and started with my existing closet for staples (cape, watch, sunglasses, and crafting a cozy turband). Then I added some vintage finds (top, bangles), a couple new basics (leggings, flats), and a very, very deliberated decision which culminated in bringing home this handbag after a month-long expedition for “the one.” Welcome to your forever home, lil Pashli.
Phillip Lim Pashli Medium “Mixed Media” Satchel (sold out, thrifted from Ebay)
Black Medium Pashlis: The Real Real / Shopbop / Nordstrom / Net-A-Porter
Michael Kors Runway Watch in Gold: Nordstrom
ASOS Link Pointed Ballet Flats (these run large and wear out quickly, would not buy again)
DIY Turband (instructions below!)
DIY Knit Turband
Nov 12, 2013
A few people have asked where I purchased the knit turbands and headbands keeping me warm and hiding inevitable ufff hair days… They’re all recycled from old sweaters and super simple to DIY.
The trick is to pick a fairly lightweight sweater with long or stretchy arms. Chop the sleeve at the shoulder and tuck the wrist-end an inch or so into the larger shoulder-end, then hand stitch it shut, using a strong upholstery thread to scrunch the ends together before knotting off your thread.
A no-sew version: For very thin knits or old stretchy tees, just cut the whole bottom half off the shirt, fold the raw edge under and twist the loop twice into a circle eight, then fold that in half to create a thicker headband with the turband “knot” look. For no-sew silk scarf turbands, see Leandra’s official Man-Repelling how-to. Stay cozy!
DIY Penfield Wayland Shirt
Nov 25, 2013
“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” -Stephen Covey
Instagramming along a few weeks ago I came across this Penfield chambray shirt, warmly yoked in buffalo flannel. After finding it sold out, I fell directly into NEED THIS TO GO PUMPKIN PICKING OR LET’S BE HONEST MAYBE TO PICK UP A PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS FALL AND THIS IS TARTAN WHICH IS ALSO FALL $80 WHAT A DEAL I WILL WEAR IT FOREVER territory as my hunt shifted to online thrifting. Nothing. I mulled over a blue version (only red will do), and a fancy reverse plaid body/chambray cuffs one (but not that much red), and then sort of quietly resigned to a lifetime of desperately stalking preppy eBay sellers.
But there, there, I consoled myself – we have a sewing machine, remember? Ahaha, Martha taught me well! At this point I may have blacked out from the adrenaline. (Yes, gentleman frequenting this blog, this is normal lady on an apparel mission behavior, thank you for your concern.) So I pulled down a couple of thrifted button downs and spent the next two hours – two hours – Frankensteining my way to a pair of flanneled shoulders. And since that night, I’ve worn this shirt exactly two times.
Really, the whole unadulterated idée fixe reminded me that I am not immune to a very feverish session of wanting (needing) fashion that can’t be had (Isabel Marant for H&M, anyone?), but also of something much bigger that keeps knocking the back of my mind: The clothes we wear are all sewn together, at some point, by hands – whether they be your own, those of an adult you’ve never met, or maybe even a child’s – something I need to remember to research next time I’m stricken with the crazy need-it-now bug.
Update: My Frankensteined Wayland shirt never fit quite right – I sewed the shoulders a little too tight – so I donated it (and my other chambray shirts) in 2015 and set up online searches for the real deal. A few months in, I came across the Penfield Wayland in my size on Tradesy for $40. The past two falls I’ve worn it every week.
Barbour Beadnell Jacket
Nov 13, 2013
Nov 25, 2013
“Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors.
Keep your behaviors positive because your behaviors become your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” –Gandhi
I am always interested to learn the daily habits of inspiring people – be they designers, writers, philosophers, or perhaps the odd physicist. Lucky me to stumble across Mason Currey’s Daily Routines, which indexes all sorts, from the early risers and procrastinators to night owls and naptakers.
I could take a page from Winston Churchill, who had a big breakfast in bed every morning, read all of the papers, took a walk round the garden, then poured a whisky soda in his study.
Then there’s Gertrude Stein. “The lady wears astonishing clothes: sandals, woollen stockings fit for a football-player, a man’s plush fedora hat perched high on her head, rough tweed suits over odd embroidered waistcoats and peasant tunics”. I seem to share at least three habits with the lady: Pimm’s liqueur, Ernest Hemingway, and… uniform dressing. Lately you may have noticed a lean serving of OOTDs (cough, OOTWs) and it’s a symptom of only wearing the tar out of black and grey jumpers, tweed skirts, and one most comfortable pair of booties. Add a statement necklace and stack of midi rings and you have le uniforme.
This year I’ve purchased exactly one new pair of boots and one necklace, and I’m loving them both to bits: Maharaja Fringe Strand Necklace (Bauble Bar) + Madewell Charley Booties.
Midi rings: H&M (these turn brass with a couple weeks of wear – would not buy again).
Boots Review: Madewell ‘Charley’ bootie in ‘Night Vision’ black (sold out, still on Poshmark). Similar H by Hudson’s “Emmett”. True to size. I ordered my normal size 8. A little tight at first, especially with socks – these break into your foot and are most comfortable after a couple of wears when they’ve had a chance to stretch out a little. Hits low at the ankle to wear with or without socks. Soft suede front, sturdy leather back. Charley is also made in a tan/brown ‘Cigar‘ color.
Black + Gold
Dec 3, 2013
“When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.” –Hesse
Do well and wellness will find you. Doesn’t it always seem that the best things come about when you’re not looking to find them? Growing up, Siddhartha was the first book that introduced me to this idea. When you stop asking for (and expecting) external changes, you are able to focus instead on gratitude, internal change, and doing your best with what’s been given to you. Then regardless of shifts in the world outside of your control, you are insulated in a quiet happiness and even-keeled patience that tends to radiate beyond yourself to others, too. At heart, you are able to find happiness in just being you.
The thought of finding wonderful things without expectation crosses into smaller parts of life as well. Out thrifting last week I stumbled across this beautiful* shirt while making my way through a sea of thick black jumpers. Intricately beaded and sewn together some twenty years ago, I can only imagine the life it had before finding its way here.
Beaded wreaths and leaves silk top: thrifted, similar on eBay.
Jan 29, 2014
I am a cold weather kvetcher. As soon as the mercury wanes in Hotlanta I reflexively respond to polite how-are-yous with, trying to stay warm right i-mean-am-i-right? This continues through every spring as I remain bewildered that it is still, somehow, periodically, cold outdoors. One could imagine I just wait miserably under electric blankets for months, waiting to break cabin fever and binging on hot chocolate, Girls, and adorable animals.
But quietly I confide to you this: I love cold weather. I love clunky riding boots and the Fair Isle socks that go inside them. When I hear snow is coming, I can’t wait to wrap up in Pendleton scarves and fisherman sweaters over flannel plaid button downs, to go crunching icy sidewalks in floofy little berets and wooly gloves. I love cold air nipping at my face and seeing my breath on brisk walks, hands wrapped around a big thermos of coffee that is the perfect company.
Imagine my delight when we landed in Colorado earlier this month – piles and piles of powdery drifts, friends to visit, mountains to ski, bourbony beers and flowery IPAs, and one luscious and lavender Head ski bib circa 1973, c/o my mom.