Dear readers, a few dated elements of my old theme broke last week. So I am reconstructing and reimagining this blog space. It’s not perfect yet. But seasonal footwear goes on, and we have a few favorites from my sister Joanie this week. Thank you Joanie!
Okay, let’s do fall/winter footwear! Yes, I live in Los Angeles but I take several cold/snow trips every year to Michigan, New York and Colorado so I’m well versed in the subject. I have to keep my shoe lineup tight as I’m generally packing things in a suitcase and don’t have a ton of room. When I’m traveling, I like to bring one boot with a stacked heel that I can wear with pants or a dress with tights, one all weather boot that’s waterproof and a boot that’s weather appropriate but maybe a bit more stylish for when it’s cold but not sleeting or snowing.
Something that took me way too many years to learn is that when you’re investing in a boot or a shoe, take it to a cobbler and get the sole and heel re-enforced before wearing them. It will add a lot of life to your boots and also prevent you from having to do damage control down the line when you wear a hole in the sole. Many fall/winter shoes are expensive and should last you for years. Properly caring for them from the minute you buy them will help. This doesn’t apply to rubber soles, but ones like the Madewell or Everlane pairs below.
a. Madewell Chelsea
b. Sam Edelman
a. I went to Ireland in November and only brought a carry-on suitcase, these were the boots I brought with me and as you can see from the two photos below I wore them everyday with dresses and with jeans. They are chic and comfortable, I walked a lot in them. They recently came out with this version which I also love. The tough sole makes them extra versatile.
b. I also own these rain boots. They are a great price point and I like that they are more narrow than most options out there. I recommend ordering up a size. I only wear these with thick socks and don’t think they’d be comfortable without them. I also really like this option from Everlane.
c. This one is a pricer option but I’m a big fan of the shoes that Freda Salvador makes. They are a San Francisco based company that make their shoes in Spain. I have a pair and the quality is excellent. These boots are fully waterproof. I love the little bit of lift of the sole and the fitted upper. I linked them at Bloomingdales because they are currently 25% off and these boots never go on sale!
d. These boots are not weather proof but they are a very flattering and a fun option for the fall. They have tons of great colors and I recommend picking any of them but the bone color which looks like you’re wearing socks. The black is your safest bet and will give you a great long line when wearing them with dark pants.
e. I own this boot and love them. I have recommended them to so many people. They look good with jeans or dresses. I’ve worn them in all types of weather and they pair wonderfully with socks peaking out of the top or with no-show socks. This is one of the times I wish I could have gotten the sole and heel reenforced before wearing them but they are still holding up well 3+ years later.
f. I’ve become that person that travels with a pair of slippers. I wear them all fall and winter, even in California and there is something about having your own pair when you travel that’s comforting. These Uggs are my favorites. If you want cozy feet and don’t have room to pack slippers, these are my favorite socks. They have grips on the bottom which is a nice touch for walking on wood floors.
g. Sorel knows a thing or two about winter shoes. I love this pair, they make a version of it every year and it sells out quickly. This is a serious boot that can see you through low temps and snowy days.
h. No cold weather shoe post would be complete without this classic pair from L.L bean! This boot has been around for ages, they are timeless. You can wear these for years and they’ll always be in style. Make sure to pay attention to their sizing tips that they offer. They also come in a high version but I personally like the low one best.
i. And this surprisingly lightweight and very comfortable pair from Cole Haan which I also own and love (I guess I have a lot of boots for someone who lives in LA). I personally love the winter white color but the black would be a safer option. I wore them all over Telluride last winter and didn’t get cold toes!
Hansel from Basel
One very important last note: socks play a big role in fall/winter footwear! I think the chunky knit sock is underutilized. I love this pair from J.Crew and own it in every color. I pair them with ankle boots and jeans or pants that are fitted all the way down. I like the sock showing.
This week’s style advice column written by my sister Joanie. Most links are affiliate. Thank you Joanie!
Rachael has made a request for a denim post, which is coming, but before then we’re going to cover something that I would argue is even more basic than denim and that’s the t-shirt. They can be the workhorse of your closet and something that goes with everything from a pencil skirt to your favorite pair of sweats.
Remember the sizing discussion we had last time? That applies to this area as well. There is a time and place for the fitted tee and also for a gently oversized one. There is something very chic about a fitted skirt or pair of jeans with a loosely tucked in t-shirt that falls slightly open at the neck. It makes your whole outfit more comfortable which in turn makes you feel better in it which is really the most important part. The #1 key to anything looking good is that you feel good in it. We’ve all (or maybe it’s just me?!) worn those outfits that required constant pulling and tugging and making sure the hem isn’t flying up or the button isn’t gapping and even if it’s this seasons Gucci dress there is nothing stylish about an outfit that requires constant pulling, tucking or tugging. You have to want to be wearing what you’re wearing, that’s really the biggest part of style.
So if you find a t-shirt you love, buy two and start wearing them with everything. I think, as a foundation, you should have a white, black, grey and striped t-shirt in your closet. Those four will cover most of your needs. And then once you have those you can start adding in other options, like a graphic t-shirt or variations of a white tee. A short sleeve t-shirt is a year round item
One note on t-shirts that might be slightly see through, I recommend wearing them a white bra. I think it’s chicer than a nude bra but that’s just personal preference.
Also, I’m going to suggest a couple of t-shirts that will probably seem way over priced. Reason being, I have a couple of $50 tees that have lasted me years and that I truly wear several times a week which makes cost per wear pennies.
Here are my picks!
a. This is hands down my favorite t-shirt. I own it in white, black, grey, pink and striped and I wear them every single week. They are thin and hang just right, not too tight around the neck and sleeve. They fit true to size and I highly recommend.
b. This ribbed t-shirt is going to fit tight and it’s meant to be tight. It’s something to wear when you want a clean line, tucked into a skirt, under overalls, etc. I would order up a size and try it black. I like a really fitted tee, especially worn with wide leg pants, it’s a nice balance.
c. Everlane has a couple I’d recommend. I love this cozy waffle option for fall and winter. And this scoop neck one with the fitted sleeve is very chic.
d. A long sleeved options because it’s fall! This is a great option from Madewell. It comes in three classic colors, and has the right weight to layer under things without causing balk. I also love it in the striped. They also make a short sleeve version that’s great as well.
e. A great v-neck t-shirt is surprisingly hard to find. I’m suggesting a true classic, the J.crew tissue tee. I’ve owned many of these over the years and they are a safe bet. Wait until they have a sale and stock up!
f. This one is a Rachael discovery that I ignored for years and finally purchased one and I love it. This one can handle some serious wear, I’ve washed it 30x and slept in it, ran in it, etc and it still looks great. These shirts have a great cut and hang just the way they should.
g. An option for someone who wants something heavier, without a hint of being see through. It has a bit of a shrunken fit so I’d order your regular size and one up.
h. I don’t often buy from the Outnet but every once in awhile I’ll find something great. Current/Elliott is excellent quality and I love this leopard top. It’s an additional 40% off right now which makes it about $35. Animal print can feel like a bold choice but I think you’ll be surprised by how wearable this is. I’d order your normal size.
i. It feels almost unspeakable to suggest an $80 t-shirt but I’m doing it anyway. I’m putting this one on my birthday wishlist. I love the black contrast at the neck, the length is perfect tucked in or out and there is the most subtle ribbed detailing. It’s incredibly chic and you’ll feel like you’re wearing Chanel.
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).