Style

A WEEK OF REAL OUTFITS: 5-21-21

I’m sure a lot of you felt the same, but this spring – after a year of pandemic life – my usual interest in putting together outfits was all but gone. And then last week I took a few days off work, the weather hit a consistent 75 degrees and all of a sudden I was excited to get dressed again. The results were 7 days of outfits that I couldn’t wait to put on and go out into the world wearing. Talk about a mood booster. Hoping you all have a sunny weekend ahead and are inspired to dust off some real outfits of your own.

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.

WORK FROM HOME DAY:

Beach Boys T-Shirt, Vintage Skirt, Statement Earrings, Sandals

MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR:

White T-Shirt, Bag (old from Anthropologie), Polka Dot Shorts (gifted), Sandals (old from Marc Fisher)

MID-WEEK ZOOM CALLS:

Cardigan and Shell, Jeans, Gingham Heels (old from Talbots)

PICNIC IN THE PARK:

Dress (gifted), Bag (old from Talbots), Stud Earrings, Sandals (old from Talbots)

FRIDAY DATE NIGHT:

Earrings (old from Lulu Frost), Vintage Silk Top, Jeans (old from H&M), SJP Heels

AFTERNOON AT THE MUSEUM:

Suede Jacket, Grey T-Shirt, Printed Midi Skirt, Sandals + Bag (Old from Talbots)

DINNER AL FRESCO:

Black Dress, Hoop Earrings, Leopard Heels

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NAP DRESSES AND THE START OF SUMMER

I took a couple of days off of work for a long birthday weekend – which just so happened to coincide with the nicest stretch of weather we’ve had so far this year. Coupled with the new vaccine mask mandate and it really felt the whole city was outside celebrating alongside me. Which made it easy to cross quite a few things off my post-pandemic bucket list. Explore the Upper West Side, visit the Natural History Museum, eat at the Central Park Boathouse and get a mani/pedi – check, check and check!

On Saturday we spent some time picnic-ing in Washington Square Park and it really felt like the start of summer. I was happy to break out this new blue dress for the occasion. Blame it on Bridgerton’s Regency-era costumes and Hill House’s infamous “nap dresses” – both well timed for a global pandemic audience – but these smocked, empire waist, puff sleeve dresses are everywhere this summer. This floaty version is from Few Moda – an online retailer that sells clothing made in the same factories as brand’s like Reformation and Zimmerman, but offered at a fraction of the price when you subscribe to a membership. I was a little bit skeptical but they sent me this dress and I can attest to the fact that the quality is great and I would have gladly paid $54 instead of the $200+ that those other brands would charge. Especially on items like this that are a bit trendier. And if I just so happen to be able to wear it from for a picnic and also for a nap? All the better.

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MY SPRING/SUMMER WISHLIST

I know I always say this but I really can’t believe it’s almost May. Isn’t it still 2020? Time is funny these pandemic days. I have a lot to look forward to this month – my second vaccine shot, my birthday, warmer weather, a couple of days off work, a weekend at the lake. All in all it feels like high time I dusted off my ‘real wardrobe’ and added a few new pieces, to be mixed and matched from now through August. Below, what’s caught my eye.

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MY WARDROBE STAPLES

I realized that for all my talk about focusing on building up my ‘wardrobe staples’ over this past year or so, I hadn’t taken the time to share exactly what those were. From a flattering black mini dress that can be layered or worn alone to the softest bra I’ve ever worn – below, all the pieces that I own, love and wear constantly. Some of these pieces I’ve been wearing for years and others are more recent finds that I find particularly rave worthy.

  1. Converse Sneakers – White sneaker trends tend to come and go (don’t even get me started on the $500 Golden Goose sneakers that look ‘scuffed up’ on purpose…) – but to me, Converse will always be in style. I buy one new pair every year or so depending on how unkind New York streets have been to mine and because I prefer a worn in but not totally tattered look.
  2. High Rise Ankle Length Jeans – At 5’4″ these skim my ankle bone and have a flattering slim cut and nice high rise. Plus a medium rinse that pretty much goes with everything. They’re kind of the Goldilocks of jeans.
  3. Wireless Nude Bra – Possibly made of actual butter. This gives the shape of wearing a real bra but feels better than a sports bra. How is this possible? I’ll never know.
  4. Lace Balconette Bra – If I’m not wearing the aforementioned butter bra, I’m in one of these unlined lace balconette styles.
  5. Black Mini Dress – I’d been looking for some form of this dress for ages and this one is just perfect. I can layer a collared shirt underneath or a sweater over. Looks great with heels, flat or boots. It’s perfect. Runs small though so I sized up.
  6. Black Ballet Flats – Audrey Hepburn in a shoe. These are Italian leather and continue to mold to your feet. They are on sale right now and I’m almost certain I am going to nab the nude color.
  7. Neoprene Backpack – Thoughtfully designed, comfortable to wear and very durable. I’ve had mine for several years now and it’s the perfect size to tote to the gym or as your personal item for travel.
  8. White T-Shirt – These are drapey but not clingy. Lightweight but not see through. Basically perfect. I size down to an XS as they run pretty big.
  9. White Button Down Shirt – I like my white shirts to be slightly lived in looking – so you can wear them under a blazer or throw them over a bathing suit. I take a size 4 in these so that there’s plenty of room to breathe. Nothing worse than button gaps on a button down.
  10. Cashmere Crewneck Sweater – I now own this sweater in 3 different colors (size small) and have had the oldest one for 3+ years I think. They hold up very well in a delicate wash and hang dry and are now at a crazy good sale price. I will likely grab the black color to round out my collection.
  11. Reversible Leather Belt – I buy a size small and then poke a couple of extra holes so that I can wear it on my hips or up high on my waist. Great quality, I probably won’t have to replace this for decades.
  12. Black Crossbody Bag – I prefer a small bag and this one is the perfect size for essentials and then some. I got this one maybe 6 years ago and I’ve basically put it through the ringer since then. Caught in rain, traveled with it, carelessly tossed it around. It’s worn in beautifully.
  13. Double Breasted Blazer – Deep navy wool with gold double breasted buttons and a boxy, but not oversized fit. This is my dream blazer. And if the brand was good enough for Abraham Lincoln.. it’s certainly good enough for me.
  14. Striped Breton Tee – A French maritime brand from the 30’s, I bought mine in Paris but I found the same brand available and offering sleeve monogramming here which would be a nice touch. I now have 3 of their tops and they hold up so well.
  15. Straight Leg Jeans – These are the most recently purchased item on this list but I’m a big fan already. A true 90s fit – high waist, straight leg, no stretch. I find them super comfortable and surprisingly flattering. I took my usual waist size but as they loosen up I actually probably could have sized down.
  16. Leather Satchel – This is kind of the ultimate ‘work’ bag. Big enough to fit a laptop and your packed lunch, but not so huge that you feel like you’re carrying a suitcase on the subway. I like that this is really minimal in terms of hardware too. Clean and classic. Another item I know I’ll have for decades.

SHOP MY WARDROBE STAPLES:

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A WEEK OF REAL OUTFITS: 1-12-21

I always find myself hitting reset on my wardrobe in January and going back to basics. Usually we’re coming off a season full of sparkles – and although it was more like a season full of sweatpants this holiday season, it still feels good to be getting up these first couple of weeks of the year and putting on a real outfit.

Below – the outfits I’ve worn this past week. If anything was older or unavailable to shop, I linked a similar item.

BACK TO BACK ZOOM MEETINGS:

This dress is quickly becoming my go to for instant polish. I found this lace blouse on major sale and I love the way it adds a little interest to the look while still being neutral.

MORNING WALK AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD:

I got these boots and high-rise flare jeans back in the Fall and I’ve worn the combo countless times since. A navy sweater and silk scarf feels a little bit retro, a little bit modern.

LUNCH DATE:

Last weekend, we took advantage of a warm afternoon and grabbed lunch outside at one of our favorite neighborhood spots. I can’t wait to wear this dress with bare legs come spring, but until then – tights, boots and a headband for good measure. This print looks to be sold out now, so I linked two other prints still available.

AFTERNOON AT HOME:

While I like a pair of sweatpants as much as the next person, a stretchy pair of jeggings and a simple top is a nice alternative when you want to feel a little more put together. I love the subtle ruffle on the sleeves and peter pan collar details on this shirt.

CASUAL FRIDAY:

My no-fail combo is a simple pair of jeans, t-shirt and a great oversized blazer. I usually pair with my favorite lucky charms (mostly vintage charms and mine + my grandmother’s ring) and throw on a scarf if I’m heading out at lunch to grab a Diet Coke.

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.