Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top 5 Fall Desires

I have to admit that I am a bit behind on going shopping for Fall. I usually don't take my kids Back to School shopping per se because it is still pretty freaking hot in VA when they go back to school, so I know that new jeans will go unworn for at least a few weeks. Plus, I have discovered that things that look awesome before school starts might be eschewed for a a newer style or desire once classes actually commence. This year, I made the plan to take them later, and I thought I would just do my shopping at around the same time. After all, my mom has moved to an area with lots of outlet malls and other shopping destinations, so I planned to visit her once she got settled and take advantage of the plentiful options. And in all the busy-ness of going back to school and having Allie's birthday and cleaning out my garage and just generally BEING ME, I haven't even really looked online to pick up a few things like I normally would.

But now I can feel the nights getting cooler and the mornings starting to feel crisper. I adore Fall, I really do--that nip in the air takes me back to college and walking on brick sidewalks with leaves swirling around my ankles. Sipping strong coffee and reading Paradise Lost. Good stuff. Moreover, I love Fall clothes--the sweaters, the tweed, THE BOOTS. But I feel lost a bit this year, not having purchased anything new for my coffers. Sure, I have the stuff from last year. But there is something sublime about that first new sweater of the season, the way your arms feel when it is no longer oppressive to have that nubby fabric on your arms but instead, welcome. So I find myself dreaming a bit, taking lunch hour jaunts to my favorite websites and planning, planning, planning. I made my lists over the weekend (both for me and for my lovely darlings), and I am starting to feel on top of things.

*I guess I should note here that making fashion lists of "Must Haves" each season is another indication of my particular brand of cray-cray, but it is also wholly helpful if you are trying to build a wardrobe and don't want to end up with a whole bunch of say, long sleeve t-shirts, and nothing else. It is just like going to the grocery store--you wouldn't go there without a plan, I dare to say, so why attack a whole season worth of clothes purchasing without a well-defined list to keep you in order? So yes, crazy, but helpful, and budget friendly.

Here is my Top 5 List of things to look for, with a heads up that there will be more. Oh yes. More.

1. Orange Full Skirt. The plan heading out of the gate, at least, was orange. Now I'm starting to think a nice golden yellow would be nice, even something the color of olive oil. This is a bit of a tricky purchase, so it is a bit odd that it is at the top of my list, as I am short and full skirts, unless they are the perfect length, have a tendency to send me on the one way express to StumpyTown. This is a contender right now (only available in the yellow color that I spoke of), but maybe not as full as I want. And I'm really partial to the orange. I feel I'm going to have to try a few of these on, even if I end up ordering online, just to get my bearings. Right now, I'm seeing it with this shirt that I bought earlier this week or with its unpatterned cousin which hangs in my closet and these lovely shoes, which I own in my dreams. Or with cognac boots which you will be seeing further down. I also see it with a neutral v-neck, perhaps in merino. I had this gorgeous ivory J. Crew merino v-neck in California, but I lost weight and it doesn't fit anymore (the hidden, soft, white underbelly of going to a smaller size), but I would love to find a dupe. And we all know me and my preponderence of black sweaters and other tops--this would be a great way of utlizing those.

2. Blazers--tweed and bright. The last few seasons, I've really wanted some nice jackets, but I haven't gotten them. Well, I take that back--last year, I got a great tweed moto jacket, and a ponte moto jacket at Gap on Black Friday that I love and can't wait to pull out again. But as far as blazers go, I've struck out mightily each year. The fit is always a bit off or the look is too stuffy for me. Maybe I just don't know what to pair them with. Or maybe I have Hulk arms.... This year, though, I'm coming back to the plate. I love the brightness of this velvet Schoolboy from J.Crew, but I'm not totally sure about the velvet yet--for some reason, it screams holiday dress to me. If I could figure out a way to style it with items I already have, I know I'd be drooling. Last year, I missed out on a beautiful houndstooth jacket at Gap that I have been dreaming about since (I had it in my hand! In my size! But I talked myself out of it, and I have regretted it ever since), but I feel like the longer length on this riding jacket might work and finally make me forget it. I'm feeling that with jeans and boots on the weekend.

3. Bright/printed pencils. I have realized lately that it does me no favors to purchase work pants for myself. I'm just not as comfortable in them. Sure, it is nice to have a pair of well-fitting black slacks in my closet for a day when nothing else works, but more and more, I find myself gravitating toward skirts and dresses. I used to think that skirts fit me weirdly, but either my body has changed or the skirts have because I am wearing my standard black J. Crew pencil to death. And although basic black is versatile and great, I'm really feeling the bright colors I'm seeing lately. Of course, I am partial to J. Crew's loveliness here, but it is not on sheer inertia of brand loyalty. Their pencils do have the best fit, and I feel, the best bang for the buck as far as classic style and quality fabric. The printed varieties at J. Crew Factory are also lovely, but I do warn that the quality is not as good--I've had a particular skirt to my grandmother for repairs at least 3 times here (seam falling, back slit issues, a strange hole in the waistline). I also dig the ponte varieties I have seen, including the real steals at New York and Company--the plum one I recently purchased is no longer available online, but the deals are great, and I found the fabric to be thick and to hang nicely.

4. Cognac Boots. If you follow me on Pinterest you know that I have been a bit obsessive about finding the perfect pair(s) of boots. I have a pair of black riding boots that I like a lot (and whose appearance belies the cheap price I paid for them) and a pair of well-loved Frye Harnesses in a tan color. I want to add to my collection this season--if there is one thing that I can wear that maks me feel like a million bucks, it is a pair of boots. I have wrestled with whether I am going to buy one pair of holy-crap-amazing-I'll-be-buried-in-these-suckers boots (i.e., another pair of Frye's) or if I want to get a couple of pairs of pleasant, nice, gets-the-job-done pairs now and hope that I happen into a bit of cash around the holidays and pony up for Fryes then. I am opting toward the first option for now, mostly because I have started to come up with outfit ideas that utilize more than the one pair. Plus, it takes the pressure off of me a bit to get the PERFECT pair and allows me to experiment a bit with looks so that I know what to look for when the time comes to lay down the big dough. My first pair, I'm thinking right now, will be a cognac pair. I especially am loving the look with black--especially a black jersey dress and tights (see below!) or black riding pants and a black tunic-y sweater-y thing and a turquoise necklace (just go with me on this--I saw a similar ensemble on Bruce Springsteen's wife on a benefit concert I was watching and it was magical). Right now, I contemplating these which I know have been done TO DEATH, but which are at the price point that I'm looking at right now. Moreover, I like the wedge heel on them and think I could dress up/dress down pretty easily. I still am looking for suggestions, though, so if you have one, you know where to find me.

5. Black jersey dress. I have lived the summer in dresses, mostly ones made of jersey. I am wearing one right now come to think of it (with a cardigan and sensible office footwear, of course). Facing a world without this quick option in my closet? NO THANK YOU. A few requirements--it has to have sleeves so that I can wear it without a cardigan or jacket (I will probably pair with another layer most of the time, but I want to have the option not to), it can't be too long, it can't look weird with tights, and, most importantly, I have to be able to wear it to work and on the weekends, no problems. Too much to ask? I hope not. I haven't found "the one" yet (and really feel like this might be an in-person grab when I do), but here's something similar. Simple, to the point, and versatile.

So what is on your must buy list this season?


  1. I too want a bright blazer (and linked to that very same J. Crew velvet one but worry it will be too stiff). I hear you on bright pencils, while I have wanted the J. Crew hot pink one from last year for eons, I am loving my Halogen lined seamed pencil skirt in yellow and tempted to buy in one of the 50,000 other colors (

    I want a pair of heavyweight black pants that are slim, but not jeggings. A clean look I can pair with a bright blazer and maybe a striped or embellished tee and booties.

    I also want a colorblocked shift dress. Something come winter I can pair with a black turtleneck and opaque tights.

  2. I've been digging that Halogen skirt on you, and have bookmarked the page. I keep talking myself in and out of several colors, and I just need to bite the bullet already! I get paranoid that a particular color will be too hard to match or not versatile with what I have. Drives me nuts.

    I hear you on the black pants--I want those too. I really would like a cropped pair, but the window of time I can wear cropped pants and no socks is really short here, and I'm not sure how much I want to spend to get something to fit that short window of time.

    And you just gave me something else to desire with that shift...