Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What to Wear: A Big Day out in NYC in Winter

Andrea wrote in with a great request for the weekend in New York:
I’m taking the train in to NYC next Saturday to see Sting in his closing night on Broadway.  I’ll be taking the train in and walking a lot all day before taking the last train out.  It’s cold.  Winter.  NYC.  I don’t want to have a big bag to lug around all day, so a change of shoes is probably not an option.  I would love your input on a chic day to night outfit for winter in NYC that I could transition into an evening on Broadway that involves shoes that I can walk a lot in all day.
Sometimes, dressing up has more to do with color than with the actual pieces of clothing you choose. You can up the fanciness of a pretty basic outfit by picking lighter shades and color blocking. If blush pink and gray doesn't work for you, try different shades of ivory or light blue.

Blouse - A pretty blush pink top hides under the sweater, adding warmth during the day and revealing a fancier style for the show.
Sweater - This chunky knit sweater in ivory looks warm and cozy for your day layer.
Pants - Skinny cords in "violet smoke" are warm, comfortable and fancier than jeans.
Boots - A pair of high quality boots with a lower stacked heel will serve you all day. Wear your best socks with them.
Coat - A cocoon-style coat in light gray.
Scarf - A Marc Jacobs pink scarf adds warmth and a bit of brightness.
Sunglasses - Transparent frame sunglasses from Forever 21.
Purse - A Coach tote big enough for whatever you might buy during the day, with a cross-body strap to make carrying easy. Plus, a warm hat and gloves.

Stop by a Sephora on your way to the theater. Freshen up your make-up, put up your hair in loose updo, add a swipe of bright lipstick and a spray of perfume. Leave your sweater, coat and scarf at the theater coat check, roll up your cords to show a bit of ankle - you'll feel brand new!
Necklace - A super sparkly necklace packed away in your purse all day
Belt - A skinny silver belt has been hiding under there all day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What to Pack: Work Retreat in Mexico

I'm taking a trip to Punta Mita in February with my company. It's an amazing reward for the past year of hard work and success...and also a challenge for packing!

Punta Mita is between Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita (where Rob and I went a couple years ago) and this time of year, the weather should be in the 80's and very humid. The event includes time at the pool and beach, along with shared meals, some work planning, a catamaran ride and dune buggy driving. With my pale skin, I like to be a little more covered up at the beach. The humidity in Mexico makes anything resembling pants impossible, but I still want to look polished.

Dress - This embroidered Anthropologie cotton dress looks light enough for a dinner during the event, with a dash of fanciness and a nod to Mexican embroidery and paper flag design.

Necklace - A bit of turquoise to brighten things up.

Sweater - A beachy wide-knit sweater in white to wear layered on top of bikinis.

Shorts - I rarely ever wear shorts, but when on vacation I have a pair of long-ish chino shorts that look trim with the cuffs rolled up.

Bikini - I stocked up on three new bikinis from Boden on super clearance. Swimsuits from England and France are my favorite, the cuts are a bit more modest on bottom and the tops more suited to smaller chests than what I usually find in the US. Plus, a rash guard to protect from sun while paddleboarding or on the catamaran.

Hat - Packable sun hat is a must-have.

Shirt - A silky printed tee will look cute with the shorts and a pair of sandals.

Maxi Dress - Always my favorite thing to wear at the beach! This Asos maxi dress has a a bit more structure with a round neck, keyhole in the back and pleated skirt.

Bracelet - I have a vintage southwestern feather bracelet in sterling silver from my honeymoon. This inexpensive version from Forever 21 means you don't need to worry about it getting lost at the beach.

Sunglasses - Cheap aviators from Forever 21.

Sandals - Comfortable platform wedge sandals in navy.

Plus: Workout pants, flip flops, sneakers, pajamas, featherweight cotton collared shirt, a couple tank tops and a lightweight rain jacket, just in case.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What to Wear: Coastal California Warddrobe for the Woman of Certain Age

Martha Stewart was just becoming popular when I was a pre-teen. Back then I would fantasize about being an older woman, wearing loose linen tunics, making floral arrangements...I was maybe not the world's most normal child.

Part of me still can't wait to be that elegant silver fox! All those structure pieces from Max Mara, St. John, Brooks Brothers, Lands End, Pendleton and J. Jill. So I was excited when my mother's friend Maureen asked for help with some suggestions what to wear while living on the very casual central coast of California as a retiree.

Pants - Lands End chinos are casual enough for California walks on the beach and errands about town, but still look polished. Find a pair that has a trim, but not skinny cut. Instead of capris, I suggest picking the full length and rolling them up as desired.

Sweater - Eileen Fisher's knit tunics are best when purchased on deep sale, like this option!

Coat - I know (from experience) that people give you strange looks when you wear tailored wool coats in Southern California. This lightweight red jacket has the feel of a sweater. The bright red color is so flattering!

Blouse - I help my mom pick out pretty tops from Zara all the time. The cuts are a dash of modern,  and the flowy style looks nice on any age.

Necklace - A chunky gem necklace in easy to wear white and gray, with matching earrings.

Scarf - A pretty multi-colored scarf in a thick knit will keep you stylish and warm on tour way back from aqua aerobics at the pool.

Shoes - A pair of suede ankle booties with a low stacked heel would look so cute with the rolled up chinos, or a pair of fancy Italian sneakers.

Bag - A french market basket is adorably casual for errands around town and trips to the library.

Sunglasses - I once saw french woman in Croatia with a gray bob and a pair of clear framed glasses who looked so incredibly polished and elegant.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mixtape: January Rooftops

January is the month that you're supposed to be hard on yourself - make all these tough resolutions. Run a marathon! Stop eating gluten! For better or worse, my Januarys tend to be the opposite - a chance to be mellow and gentle. This playlist is in that mindset. It's soft and cozy like a cashmere sweater.

The first song - a cover of George Harrison's My Sweet Lord by Hurray for the Riff Raff is especially lovely. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

What to Wear: Gray Turtleneck Two Ways

January's greatest gift is the return to normal routines and free time. All this luxurious extra time not having to write Christmas cards or bake cookies!  No weekends packed with parties. January is quiet and the perfect month to experiment with your wardrobe.

I just bought a basic gray heather turtleneck on sale at Bloomingdale's last night. It is so soft, I could see wearing it every day with black leggings and boots - but my personal rule for buying the sweater was to wear it with a few interesting outfits. Here is one bold idea, and one realistic:

Turtleneck - Basic cashmere Aqua turtleneck on sale for $78, in black and white heather. Bloomingdale's cashmere line is the best I've found - way nicer than J. Crew. The sweaters are so soft, light and don't pill or wear down even after years.

Bold: With a pleather midi skirt - Anthropologie calls it "vegan leather" but we know what they're getting at. This ivory midi pleather skirt looks like it would be so unique and pretty.  Pair it with these unique black suede pumps, black belt, sunglasses, black stud earrings, a powder blue purse, a japanese mug and red lipstick

Reality: Leggings and boots - Saddle is my favorite shade of leather - it looks so polished with black and camel - these flat boots are from Sam Edelman.  Black leggings from Club Monaco, a camel blazer from J.Crew, an adorable tan and white bag and drop earrings.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

Didn't this year's holiday break feel tremendously long? Such a nice chance to relax and ring in the new year!

After a week of fun with family and lots of mountain biking at the beach, Rob and I packed up for a week of cross-country skiing in Tahoe with friends. Sit tight as we get back into the swing of normal life here in San Francisco. I've got to take the Christmas decorations down, set the dinner party calendar for the month and brainstorm some new outfits to share. What a fun year this will be!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A California-Style Christmas

Christmas in California starts out with the basics, the things everyone expects from the holidays. There are stockings filled with goodies...
....festive pajamas and presents under the tree...
...husbands and dogs being very patient...
...puzzles and tea to enjoy in between cooking.
But when it comes to the weather...the holidays here are anything but ordinary. Instead of a white Christmas, December is usually sunny and clear. After our long stretch of rain, this year's bright Christmas felt even more fantastic than usual.
Perfect for hiking with nephews...
...boating with the otters in Morro Bay...
...and lots of mountain biking!
Merry Christmas from California - may your season be bright and warm no matter how cold it is where you are!