Style

WARM WEATHER GETAWAY STYLE

I am trying to play it cool but I’m very excited to be heading out of town next weekend. Pre-pandemic (doesn’t that feel eons ago?) we had fallen into the habit of heading somewhere warm every year around this time and it really saved me from the winter doldrums that set in without fail by about mid-February. Our last trip was March 5, 2020 and I was so grateful we somehow snuck that in, but two long years later and I am absolutely in need of vitamin D, a pool and temperatures in the 80s.

Naturally I couldn’t resist picking up a few things for the occasion. While they’re technically for the trip, I know that I’ll be wearing all of these often this spring/summer. I’m especially excited about this swingy eyelet shirt dress that I’ll re-wear at the office with flats, this lace-up sweater that will be so cute with cut-offs on summer nights at the lake and these suede sandals in a walkable heel height that will go with virtually everything. And – in an effort to show restraint – just one of the books that will inevitably make it into my carry-on next weekend.

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NEW YEAR, SAME STYLE

It’s a new year.. and I feel really content to be entering it with the same ‘style’ as last year. And the year before. Of course, I’m always weeding pieces out of my closet that no longer serve me or feel quite right, and adding new items that I think will fill in the gaps. But for the most part I don’t have any gnawing new year feelings to ‘refresh my wardrobe’. And it’s a relief.

Likely a combination of age and the fact that I’ve been really conscious these past few years about honing in on what feels most like ‘me’. Which is to say a mix of classics and more modern pieces, a balance of feminine and masculine, and things largely influenced by the 90s (think Carolyn Bessette not Courtney Love) and the late 50s/ early 60s. These days I try to collect items that are ‘forever pieces’ – even if they won’t physically hold up for as long as I live, they’re items that I can see myself wearing now, and in my 50s or my 70s.

This wasn’t always the case for me though. I can vividly remember standing in front of an overstuffed closet back in 2017/2018 and thinking I had absolutely nothing to wear. If you are in the same place now, or consistently fall victim to picking up trendy items that feel great in the moment but then feel tired in a year – I feel you. My best advice to combat it is to do a major closet cleanse, keeping only the items that truly fit and bring you joy. Then make Pinterest mood boards of the styles and outfits that you think you’d feel great in. From there, slowly and thoughtfully find pieces that will work with the items you already have and push you towards those mood board looks until you can cobble your closet back together.

I started this for myself in January of 2019 and now 3 years later I can reach into my closet nearly blindfolded and put together an outfit. It’s not an overnight process but it’s one that, for me, was well worth the effort.

So if you see me in this outfit again in a year… or a decade… that’s fine by me.

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Exact handbag, jeans, and white shirt are linked above, vest is vintage and exact blazer and heels are old.

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HOLIDAY STYLE TWO WAYS WITH TALBOTS

I’m short on words these days and long on to-do lists. We’re already racing our way into December and I’m finding my schedule filled nearly every day. Which is why it’s helpful to have a few festive pieces on hand that can be styled more than one way. A cardigan that works buttoned up as a fun little shift dress, or unbuttoned as a casual outfit topper fits the bill. Finish with a peppering of plaid and you’re good to go. Luckily Talbots has lots of pieces right now that feel holiday-ready yet still classic enough to easily mix and match with the things already in my closet.

Now if only I could be in two places at once I could maybe keep up with all the things on my agenda…

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P.S. This cardigan looks like it’s sold out right now but I’ve seen some stock come back in stock so keep an eye out! And if not, this one is another great option – I love the pearl buttons!

Thanks to my friends at Talbots

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HOLIDAY BOOKS TO READ THIS SEASON

It’s officially holiday romcom reading season! By this point in the year, my mind typically of mush from my full-time job and an otherwise busy schedule, so a couple of years ago I started gravitating towards really light, fun holiday books in December – and it’s since become one of my favorite seasonal traditions. Sure, they’re sometimes a little bit cheesy, but they’re also full of heart and go down easier than a cup of eggnog. Besides this year’s new releases I’ve also included a few that I loved from years past as well as a couple that aren’t romance focused at all – but still perfectly seasonal. Happy holiday reading!

And a friendly reminder – I’ve linked these to Amazon so that you can easily see what they are – but independent bookstores need your support, especially at the holidays. And since it’s Small Business Saturday, why not pick one of these up from your favorite local shop?!

On My Reading List This Year:

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox: I’m reading this now and it’ a mix between movies The Holiday and The Parent Trap (a city to country + twin swap) plus both twin sisters are bakers, one as a host of a British Bake Off-esque show and one in a family run bakery. Lots of hijinx so far.

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer: I finished this last week and honestly, it was so fun to learn all about the traditions of a holiday that I’m only surface-level familiar with. There’s not a ton of diversity in these holiday books, but this one did a really nice job of weaving that into the storyline – apparently the author, similarly to the main character, suffers from chronic illness as well. I loved the bubbe (grandmother) character too.

A Wild Winter Swan by Gregory Maguire: From the author of Wicked (that inspired the award-winning musical), this book is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Wild Swan’ fairytale – and takes place in New York City at Christmastime in the 1960s. It’s one of the books I’m most looking forward to this season.

The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole: This one centers on an unlikely friendship between a young aspiring fashion designer and an older resident in her same apartment building and a certain dress brings them together. As previously mentioned, I love when older women get to be main characters in books (it so rarely happens) – so this one was an easy sell to me.

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis: A blizzard traps two people together one night and then fate keeps bringing them back together. Feels a little like Serendipity which is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Always in December by Emily Stone: A woman who hates the holidays runs into a man who gives her a reason not to. Set in New York, London and Edinburgh (three places I love) so this was an easy sell to me.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin: Paris at Christmas.. in a bookstore. Need I say more? I actually picked this one up last year and didn’t have time to get to it so I’m hoping to this year. Sounds very sweet.

Past Favorites:

One Day in December by Josie Silver: The one that started it all. I read this 2-3 years and was instantly hooked on this genre. It’s a classic girl meets boy, girl loses boy to girl’s best friend story. And takes place over the span of almost a decade and I couldn’t put it down.

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren: It’s Groundhogs Day meets Christmas in this book giving one girl many chances to get it right.. or wrong. A fun, festive read I liked last year.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva: A reimagined tale of what Charles Dickens life looked like as he wrote his beloved Christmas Carol. I loved going back in time to 1800s London and reading this fictionalized account of how his family and friends (and mainly himself) might have showed themselves in his famous work of literature.

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris: I’ve mentioned it many times but Sedaris on of my favorite authors. This compilation of his holiday-themed essays is a short, funny read that includes reflections on his time spent working as an elf in Macy’s Santa-land.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory: Loved that the main couple in this book was in their 50s roughly, it had a Royal storyline (the daughter is a stylist for a Kate Middleton type Duchess) and was diverse (all of the main characters are Black) – and a fun trip to London too! A nice book if you’ve had your fill of the usual 20 somethings falling in love.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss: This was one of my favorites that I read last year. The main character is reluctantly seeking love after focusing on a career that she loves and balancing relationships with her family and friends. She felt really well-rounded and realistic. Spoiler – love ensues.

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THE BLACK FRIDAY SALES I’M SHOPPING: 2021

I try to be really strategic when it comes to Black Friday/Cyber Monday – because honestly (and I say this as someone who makes their full time living in Ecommerce) marketing surrounding these sales can really push you into buying things you don’t need just because they’re on sale. That being said – I use this as a time to pick up gifts and a handful of selects items that are either classic wardrobe staples or pieces that I otherwise wouldn’t want to pay full-price for (like a fun holiday skirt that I will only wear a handful of times).

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and may the discounts be ever in your favor this weekend.

THE SALES I’M SHOPPING:

FAVORITES I OWN, NOW ON SALE:

  • I have a few nice wool overcoats for winter, but I needed another heavy duty puffer and this Lands End one is perfect for casual weekends. In fact, every time I’ve worn it so far I’ve been too warm – which is a good sign that it’s going to actually hold up to a New York winter. Their whole site is 50% off + free shipping.
  • I just got this long cardigan (40% off right now) in and am swooning – I’m going to share two ways to wear it this weekend. But suffice to say it’s the new (slightly unexpected) standout of my holiday wardrobe. Plus – this velvet blazer, these jeans in a simple straight leg, and this cute plaid bag – are all wardrobe favorites of mine and they’re all 40% off too.
  • This gold mirror (we have it in our room at the lake house) is nearly $100 off right now. It can be hung vertically or horizontally and I love that it is simple enough to fit with almost any decor.
  • I shared the Sarah Flint Perfect Pumps in my last blog post and I truly can’t say enough good things about the quality, comfort and fit. They’re a definite ‘splurge’ – but when you factor in how often you’ll wear them and how long they’ll last, the cost per wear feels quite practical. My code SARAHFLINT-BASTEELE gets you $50 off 1 pair, $100 off 2 pairs, $150 off 3 pairs or (if you’re feeling wild) $200 off 4 pairs.
  • This Grecian bust pot I bought last year is 30% off – it looks great on it’s own or filled with flowers.
  • This plaid wrap dress I wore on Thanksgiving is an extra 25% off its sale price – along with all the rest of the discounted designer styles at The Outnet.
  • My new favorite clean mascara is 20% off right now in the brand’s only sale of the year. I’m thinking of trying their brow gel too.

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.