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A WEEK OF REAL OUTFITS: 10-12-21

This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year to get dressed. Light layers. Bare legs are passable but you can also get away with a sweater. That back to school feeling (and style inspiration). I love it all. Below, a week’s worth of the real outfits I’ve worn lately.

P.S. These outfits are a mix of things already in my closet and a few new pieces. In the case that something is no longer available, or vintage, I linked a similar item.

P.P.S. Sorry that these are kind of crappy iPhone pictures. But they’re taken quickly on the go!

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A HYBRID WARDROBE FOR WORK TO WEEKEND

This past year and a half has drastically changed the way we work. And likewise the way we dress. I’ve been on a ‘hybrid’ model since the start of this year – meaning I work 3 days a week at home and 2 days at our Brooklyn office. And it occurred to me that I’ve started to transition to a hybrid wardrobe to match. A dressier trouser at the office, but just the blazer paired with jeans for video calls from home. A sweater for when it’s chilly at the office that can just as easily be worn into the weekend. If the mantra used to be “dress for the job you want” – I think it might now be, more accurately, “dress for the life you have”.

These separates from Talbots are a great example of pieces that can go from WFH to the office to the weekend – worn more casually or pulled together for a more professional look. A checked blazer, matching trousers, chunky cardigan and relaxed fit jeans. I swapped in one comfortable pair of heels, sneakers, a t-shirt and a button down and the options are kind of endless. They’ll all be getting a lot of wear this Fall and beyond.

Are you getting dressed up for work these days? Or still gravitating towards more casual pieces? I’ll always lean towards getting dressed but still want to be comfortable. All about that hybrid balance.

FOR A TUESDAY COMMUTE TO THE OFFICE:

FOR A BIG MID-WEEK MEETING:

FOR A DAY FULL OF VIDEO CALLS AT HOME:

FOR CASUAL FRIDAY:

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LET’S CATCH UP 9.24.21

ON MY MIND:

  • I watched the premier of The Wonder Years reboot this week and had all the feels. I grew up watching the original and it’s one of those shows that just makes me really nostalgic for being that age. Not to mention that Winnie Cooper remains a major style muse for me. I love that they’re heading back to that era but showing another perspective.
  • Adam and I are both in pretty busy seasons of work, but I’m determined to carve out time for some fun date nights and a day trip or two this Fall. Hopefully we can make it back upstate and maybe I can convince him to see a Broadway show with me? I’d love to catch Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick in Plaza Suite.
  • I’m probably late to the game here but I’ve been listening to Kacey Musgraves new album Star Crossed on repeat. So good!
  • I’m finally getting a full weekend at home after being away at least partially for the past 6 weekends in a row (cue me coming down with a cold last week). I plan on hitting up the Union Square farmer’s market for pumpkins and switching my wardrobe over to fall clothes!

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I finished The Mothers by Brit Bennett last week and really loved it. It was her debut novel and I found that I liked it more than The Vanishing Half – which was so popular last year. There was something more subtle and searing about this one and I loved the way it explored motherhood from many different angles. Regardless – I’m sure I’ll be reading anything Bennett comes out with from now on.
  • Claire and I (my other half @prettywords) both are reading Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead right now and are totally swept away. It’s really fun to be reading at the same time so we can discuss and it makes the fact that this is a 600 page novel feel a bit less intimidating. The story moves back and forth through time, focusing on a female pilot in the 1950s, her parents in the 1910s and the actress playing her in a movie in 2010s.
  • My New York book club chose Colson Whitehead’s new novel, Harlem Shuffle, as our next book and I’m really excited to see what this one is like. I love The Underground Railroad and Nickel Boys, but this latest book is apparently a bit of a departure from those and more of a suspense/mystery.
  • If you read my Fall reading post then it should come as no surprise that I pre-ordered Alice Hoffman’s last book in the Practical Magic series – The Book of Magic. I can’t wait until it arrives in early October.

IN MY CART:

  • I mentioned on IG stories but for the first time in a long time I’m really excited about fashion again. And I’ve got the overflowing online shopping carts to show for it. Trying not to go crazy but who am I to resist a cute plaid mini skirt on sale?
  • I’m the worst when it comes to buying new makeup. After my favorite eyeliner was down to a stub I finally reordered a new one. It’s a bronze-y brown that’s not too metallic but has just enough shine to brighten up my typically tired eyes.
  • It’s ironic that after spending the last decade working in the jewelry I rarely buy any. This pearl and onyx ring feels like a piece I’d wear forever though. Thinking of treating myself after a big year at work.
  • Blame it on the pandemic or just my getting older but my threshold for uncomfortable shoes has dropped drastically. Inez convinced me of their comfort with these strappy sandals and I’ve only heard rave reviews about their boots. I can’t stop thinking about these perfect tan suede ankle boots and code STEELE15 gets you 15% off.
  • I’m always stalking this brand for sales and finding this floral mini dress at 70% off feels like a major steal. So cute for those date nights I mentioned!
  • I love the idea of these high waisted drape-y trousers. They remind me of some of my favorite 90s sitcom working women like Helen Hunt in her Mad About You years.
  • With my 2 day a week commute to Brooklyn, I’ve found myself officially needing to carry a “commuter back-pack”. My last one was from this same brand and has held up great for 6 years but it finally needs a replacement. I like it in black this time around.

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10 FALL BOOKS TO READ THIS SEASON

I tend to read “seasonally” whenever I can – lighter books in the Summer, longer classics in the Winter. In the Fall I like to read books with an autumnal feeling. Ones that feel like a cozy hug or have a hint of magic. Below – the top 10 books I’d recommend picking up this season.

  1. Practical Magic Series by Alice Hoffman: Okay, okay so this is actually 4 books, but I’m counting it as 1 since it’s a series. Following a generations of a family of witches, the first in the series inspired the classic 90s movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock – I’ve seen it a million times and it never gets old. Then there’s Rules of Magic – set in the 60s/70s in NYC and my favorite of the series so far. Last year brought Magic Lessons which is old Salem and has a very cozy feeling and this Fall will be the last book – The Book of Magic. Honestly I’ve loved them all.
  2. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller: This is the perfect summer into fall book to me. Set at a lake house in Cape Cod, a family convenes as their lives diverge. It has an incredibly strong sense of place (you feel like you’re in the cabin with them in the woods) and vivid, complicated characters. I couldn’t put it down and it’s absolutely going to make the cut as one of my top reads of the year.
  3. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix: Described as Sweet Magnolias meets Dracula – this is the vampire story I doubted I’d even like and ended up loving. It’s a mix of early 90s small suburban town nostalgia meets campy thriller. Just trust me.
  4. The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson: I read this book last October on a whim after seeing it as a staff recommendation at The Strand and it exceeded my expectations. It reminded me of ‘Are You Afraid of The Dark?’ in that it was sort of nostalgic and kitschy without being actually scary and had so much heart to the story. If you lean toward literary fiction but want something that feels seasonal, I think you’d love this.
  5. The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow: This one is pretty lengthy but if you’re looking for an engrossing slow burn, world-building type novel to disappear into this Fall, this is it. Sisterhood, sorcery and suffragettes set in “New Salem” during the early 1900s. A cozy, magical book that I really enjoyed last Fall.

6. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller: Basically the literary version of an episode of Gilmore Girls. This was such a sweet comforting read set at a small town bed & breakfast in Vermont. You’ll want to hug this book at the end.

7. Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs: If you like David Sedaris but want something that’s slightly seasonal – I loved this one. Burroughs is one of the few authors that I find myself truly laughing out loud to and these sharply written

8. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: Set between early 2000s Brooklyn and late 1700s Paris – this is a sweeping story about a young woman trapped in time after making a deal with the devil. I loved the settings and the longevity of the storyline and while there’s an obvious suspension of belief with the premise – there was so much that felt really real to me.

9. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn: I rarely go in for the blockbuster thrillers but I loved this one when I read it a few years back. A Hitchcock Rear Window-esque story with a reclusive woman who watches her neighbors from her New York apartment but things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t watch the Netflix movie and go in spoiler-free.

10. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett: I basically just put this on every list because I love it so much – but there’s something about a drama-filled family story with this really vivid house at the center that feels right for reading in the Fall. Plus there are some ‘coming home for Thanksgiving’ plot points that tie it in. And if you are more into audiobook – Tom Hanks reads this one and it’s just a delight.

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SEPTEMBER, A FRESH START

To me, September always feels like a fresh start. No matter how old I get, it still reminds me of the unnerving promise of a new school year. Brand new shoes to break in and pencils to sharpen. The first crisp chill in the air that finally allows for sleeping with the windows open. Anything seems possible again in New York in the Fall.

This year has not been short on challenges for me. Largely at work but personally too and, quite obviously, for the world at large. In a lot of ways I found it just as hard as 2020. And I don’t think I’m alone in having spent much of the year sort of stagnant (or languishing as the New York Times so aptly coined it). And on top of that, last Fall was extremely stressful so I don’t really feel like I got to savor it. So more than ever I feel gripped by the desire to use this next season to the fullest. To slow down in the little moments while simultaneously adding fuel to my bigger pursuits. To feel like my best self. Or, at the very least, some some slightly improved, slightly more sane version of myself.

I want to get back to being creative, just for creativity’s sake. Taking photos, writing, playing the piano. I want to get back to exploring the city. Back to date nights and dressing up on a Tuesday just because. Dust off the shoes that have been similarly languishing in the back of my closet for a year and a half. I want to go on long walks in the cool morning air, treat myself to fresh flowers and get a regular manicure. I want to be better about creating a balanced work/life schedule and at the same time – allow for spontaneity.

September is always a fresh start. What will you do with it?

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