I am forever texting my sister Joanie style questions. She understands fashion heritage and trends in a way I will never fathom. I was so excited when she agreed to do a regular column on here! All links are affiliate. You are welcome to suggest a focus for her next column, secretly I’m hoping: jeans. And now, Joanie:
I’m excited to be collaborating with my sister on this new style column. I can sum up our style relationship as me knowing almost everything that is in her wardrobe and being truly shocked when I see her in something I didn’t pick out or approve for her to buy. Sister honesty is nice when it comes to things like clothing. She can send me a text asking what I think of a sweater and I can simply respond with “no” without fearing that I’ve hurt her feelings!
The agenda of this column is less trend, more: personal style, share things I’ve found and loved, styling tips, and general clothing fun. I worked in fashion for several years and have dressed hundreds of women of every shape and size which has given me a deep appreciation for the female body and clothing it. I’m also sympathetic for the mass confusion that clothing brands have caused for women trying to dress for themselves. Fashion or style can be categorized into vanity but in reality, it’s something that impacts us everyday. I don’t think it should occupy too much of your brain-space, but I do know there is comfort, efficiency, and power in having some items in your closet that you really love and that make you feel good. And then building on those items over years so that you have a wardrobe that, for the most part, you love.
There are lots of tips to make shopping (in-person and online) easier and I’ll share some along the way. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a question! The first thing I want to touch on as a baseline for all posts going forward is size/sizing, since it impacts every part of shopping. We’ll call this tip, “letting go of your grip on size”. Fashion has become a numbers game with people constantly telling themselves, “I’m a 6”, or “I’m a 12” and living and dying by that number. Every brand (and within that brand every item) is going to run differently. Even if you ordered the same pair of pants year after year they would all fit slightly different. I can’t tell you how many great pieces I would have missed out if I only tried the item in “my size”. And beyond that, how many amazing sale rack pieces I’ve found because the sizing was clearly wrong and most people left the piece behind when their believed size didn’t fit. I have things that fit in my closet from a size 0-8 and that’s a realistic range, given that I’m generally a size 4. Plan on freely going up or down two sizes whenever you’re trying something on. We have such a strong relationship to our size equalling some part of our self-worth that a self-identified Size 6 fitting best in a 10 can throw some people off. Focus more on the fit than the number. I’ll make notes around items if I believe they run large or small. Some brands like H&M always runs small and others, like Everlane, run on the bigger size. And don’t be afraid to order multiple of the same item. We are fully in the online-shopping age and surrendering our access to the dressing room means creating options within your online order.
A note on items that I pick, I get feedback from both sides of people saying please don’t promote fast fashion and others who say please make things affordable. And I see both sides, the reality is not everyone can afford to spend $150 on a dress and as much as I promote ethical manufacturing and practices I also want to be inclusive so you’ll see a mix of all brands here. I also believe that vintage/second hand shopping is one of the best ways to shop for a number of reasons but that’s hard to include in a blog post. I would say that 50% of my wardrobe is second hand and I’ll include tips, when I can, for the best ways to shop secondhand.
And now for today’s topic, KNITS! to me, knits are year-round, but Fall is upon us which means they’re even more in focus. H&M and Mango happen to be one of my favorite places to buy them and I’ve included several in this round-up. My recommendation is if you see something you love, act quickly, things sell out fast. Knitwear is also easy to find secondhand, when people clean out their closets to make space they give away bulky items like sweaters and coats. The Men’s section of the thrift store generally yields better results.
a. I love the vibrant red of this cardigan. Nothing more cheery than a bright sweater on a gray winter day.
b. This cable knit sweater is going to give you the feel of an Irish fisherman sweater, it’s supposed to be boxy! I’d order a size up and embrace the chunkiness of the knit by wearing it over a slim t-shirt or dress.
c. I find myself reaching for my oversized v-neck sweater more than any other. This is going to be slouchy so maybe try ordering down in size, but the extra room makes it the perfect thing to pair with a slim pencil skirt or a pair of skinny jeans.
d. & other stories
d. There is a special place in my heart for ribbed knits. They’re classic and the ribbed element is a nice detail. I like that they’re showing this sweater with a cuffed sleeve giving it an extra level of relaxed. On par with ribbed is waffle knit, like this sweater (not pictured), which reminds me of old school thermals that people used to wear.
e. I love this turtleneck sweater from Uniqlo. It would look great with denim or with a knee length silky skirt and low boots. All four colors are beautiful but I can’t resist a winter white (natural).
f. I really like the preppy feeling the collar give to this J.Crew cashmere sweater. The price point is excellent for cashmere. I’d order one size up so that I could layer a striped t-shirt under it or wear it alone with a little slouch at the neckline.
g.If you’re looking for an investment piece, the answer is Babaà. I only have one of their sweaters, this one (not pictured), and I love it, and I’m planning how to get my hands on another one. I love the option for 100% cotton. Wool is beautiful, but I love how easy it is to wash cotton and the way it feels on my skin. For investment pieces, I think buying in a neutral shade is safe but I respect a statement sweater as well, like green, yellow, or red. Her colors are perfect.
h. This cardigan from mango is beautiful and a great price point at $60. This sweater is a classic, from the length to the buttons.
i. I could write an entire blogpost on dusters (long sweaters/sweater coats) but in the mean time I’m here to tell you that it’s the missing item in your closet. It’s as comfortable as wearing a bathrobe while being as chic as a trench coat. They are amazingly versatile from traveling to morning school runs. My one point of advice is not to buy any that are too thin. They end up being clingy and not cozy and relaxed. I also love this one (not pictured).