Matt and I went on a very brief (36 hour) vacation to Florida last weekend to visit his family. It was glorious. There was sun, surf, sand... and warmth.
Given the short duration of the trip and my singular desire to sit in the sun and read a book, my suitcase contained very few things: a bathing suit, a pair of J.Crew chinos (neon peach), a few J.Crew vintage V-neck T's, my new checkerboard Vans, and my favorite chambray shirt: the J.Crew Keeper Chambray Shirt, $78 (now on sale for $68!). In fact, I wore my Keeper Chambray shirt with distressed jeans and my checkerboard Vans on the flight down and then rewore it unbuttoned over the V-necks and chinos while in sunny Florida (don't judge the vacation rewear). And it was perfection.
The chambray shirt is a seasonless staple. It conjures up images of sunny summer days (perhaps because it is so relaxed and somehow reminds me of childhood and my first GapKids chambray shirt), but it also fits right in with a fall, winter or spring wardrobe. It can be dressed up, dressed down and worn with pretty much anything. Simply put, it's the perfect shirt, and if you don't already own one, you need to get your hands on one immediately.
There are many wonderful chambray shirts out there, but I'm partial to the J.Crew Keeper. The weight and color are perfect, it fits great, is well priced -- and J.Crew is having one of its epic sales right now (25% off everything or 30% off everything if you use your J.Crew Card) so it's even more well priced than usual.
Where to Buy
J.Crew Keeper Chambray Shirt, normally $78, on sale for $68, plus an additional 25%-30% off with code HEYSPRING (no card) or CARDLOVE (with card) until 3/28.
How to Style
I know this is a grand statement, but you can wear your chambray shirt with pretty much anything. It's the shirt version of a pair of jeans (and, if you're wondering, I am a Canadian tuxedo fan). Below is a little snapshot of how I wore my shirt last weekend and some ideas for how to ease into spring: with the weather still cool, you can of course wear it with jeans, boots and layers. The great thing about our unfortunate weather (because why not look on the bright side?) is that you can feel perfectly comfortable wearing fall, winter or spring clothes and colors right now. I could wear the Keeper with a jewel-toned tweed skirt and boots, black jeans and flats or with distressed boyfriend jeans and Vans, and all three looks would seem completely appropriate.
Happy Thursday! Well. It's still cold outside. Thankfully, J.Crew is running a sale on outerwear (amongst other things) that should help warm things up a bit. Below are my top four picks, in order of increasing frivolity, cost and fabulousness. Armed with these babies, the cold could be downright FUN!
Beware, reading on might cause you to spend money you shouldn't... but don't worry, I won't tell!
1. The super classic.
Majesty Peacoat in navy or decadent red, $295 less 40% with code TAKENOTE.
If you do not own a peacoat, you must get this majestic version! Actually, even if you own a peacoat, you should probably get this one. I am partial to the navy, mostly because it's just a super classic and I've always wanted one. It goes with everything and will last forever. I love the gold buttons too. A nice little military touch (and an added bit of glam) without really going too far. I bought it last year on super sale in celadon, but feel the need to have a sophisticated color staple to add to my collection. You can't go wrong with navy. And if you already have navy, then you simply must have red. I am such a sucker for tomato-y red. Always have been; always will be.
2. The slightly twisty classic.
Military Parka in navy ($350 minus 40% with code TAKENOTE) or fatigue ($325 minus 40% with code TAKENOTE).
I'm not normally one to pick a parka, but this one has me a little smitten. Everyone needs a parka, and parkas unfortunately tend to have a sort of sad, I've-given-up-on-my-looks sort of look. This one doesn't. It is such a great cold weather staple, especially with that furry hood! I like the slight sheen of the fabric - it's a more sophisticated take on the parka concept. This is the kind of coat that you end up wearing all of the time because it's just so cozy (but the cut, while boxy, is still rather sleek). I can't decide if I like the navy or the fatigue better, but I think I'm leaning towards navy.
3. The excellently statement-y classic.
Captain coat in jeweled houndstooth, $495 minus 40% with code TAKENOTE.
My obsession with this coat grows with each passing minute. I love the mix of houndstooth and jeweled collar. Such a great juxtaposition of color, texture and pattern. I also love the elongaged lines of the peacoat. The better to keep the booty warm! Get this coat and enjoy the experience of wearing something both super fabulous and practical. It's a statement without being too bold.
4. The absolute fall-on-your-knee totally-to-die-for STATEMENT of the century.
Collection Ratti tile coat, $1200 less 40% with code TAKENOTE.
I've saved the best (and most expensive) for last. I have no words for my obsession with this coat. Absolute obsession. Like, I actually dream about it sometimes. This statement coat is no understated statement. This statement STATES itself in all its psychedelic glory, and I just want to WEAR it! I love the color combos, the patterns, the cut... everything. The mix of the simple coat structure with that fabulous pattern is just to die for. I need to own this as soon as humanly possible, and I just wish I could win the lottery first. I haven't tried it on, so I can't vouch for fit, but I've been eying it for MONTHS and am hoping that one of these days it comes down to the $300 range. There must be one left in my size once that happens, right?? Right?? Even at 40% off, this coat is not something I can currently splurge on (as much as I wish I could!), but I have faith! The price will drop if it's meant to be!
I am certain it does not fight cold, but if you feel fabulous wearing it, maybe the cold doesn't matter? Perhaps I could just wear it around my apartment as my own version of a house coat and sip wine by the fire. Just talking about this has almost convinced me to splurge on the coat and just skimp on electricity for the next few months....
What coats are you craving right now?
Happy shopping - and keep warm!
Happy New Year's Eve!
New Year's Eve is a time for statements, and statement jewelry is a much safer way to say something to the world than overdoing it with the champagne (though there Is no rule against mixing statement jewels and champs!).
I love finding great steals, especially of the statement necklace variety. And statement necklaces that have a global, worldly feel to them. I also love finding statement necklaces that aren't too heavy. (I get headaches from too much weight on my neck, and because headaches trump fashion statements, that often gets in the way of my desire to wear big necklaces.)
So imagine my delight when I happened upon this gem of a globally inspired statement steal when I was browsing the J.Crew website the other day for some last minute Christmas gift items: the studs and stones embroidered necklace, $29.99 ($49.99 plus 40% off with code SHOPHAPPY) DOWN FROM $198! That's 85% off! $29 for a fabulous J.Crew necklace that otherwise would be $200? YES, PLEASE.
At the time that I found the necklace, J.Crew thankfully hadn't implemented its very annoying "final sale" situation to its sale item stock, so I was able to purchase the product risk-free (they've since turned on the dreaded "final sale" concept to clear out inventory). I ordered two: one for my mom and one for me (along with some "lumberjack shirts" for Matt). When the necklace arrived a few days later, I ripped open the package and was totally delighted (and my mom assures me she liked hers as well)! It's perfect! The orange is NEON, which is not clear in the picture, and the green is a little bit more muted -- almost a sage green -- than the photo leads one to believe. But I totally welcome the neon orange juxtaposed with the "pinot noir" color, and the green can read neon in certain light. It looks cool. Two other great parts? 1) the whole thing is backed in smooth fabric, so it doesn't scratch; and 2) it is not heavy, which was a delightful surprise (it does look like it could be heavy and many J.Crew necklaces tend to be on the heavy and uncomfortable side).
Tonight, as 2013 comes to a close, I hope you put on whatever baubles you have, clink a glass of bubbly with a loved one or a stranger, and ring in the new year in whatever way feels right (I'll be at home still in "recovery mode," but I'll definitely be wearing this necklace while I drink a little champs with the hubs!). And if you're daring, click on over to J.Crew and grab one of these fab necklaces! Beware - it's unfortunately "final sale" now, so it's more of a gamble than it should be - but for $29, I think it's worth the risk!
Happy Celebrating! And Statement Making!
It's Day Three of Kate's Favorite Things (and likely the final day... but who knows, there might be more)! I had high hopes of doing many days of this (it is seriously fun to log all of my favorite things), but I'm getting foot surgery tomorrow and will need to take a little hiatus from the blogosphere. I had hoped to cover clothing gifts at some point (amongst many, many other things!), but I just haven't gotten my act together. Forgive me, please? I promise when I'm back to blog all about my favorite fashion picks! In the meantime, I'll give you a tip: Whether you're shopping for a guy or a gal, just go to J.Crew and call it a day. Cashmere sweaters and accessories. Plaid shirts. 30% off. Done. Everyone loves themselves some cashmere sweaters, cozy accessories and wintery plaid shirts come December, and I'm sure that whatever you choose will look ravishing on the recipient and envelop them in your friendly, loving gesture.
But if you don't necessarily want to give clothes... read on! Today's topic is HOME, and I am super excited about everything on this list. Prices range from $10 to $160, and you can't go wrong with any of these items. Enjoy!
Kate's Favorite Things - Home Edition!
Crate & Barrel Camille 23 oz. Red Wine Glass, $10.36 each (on sale from $12.95), from Crate & Barrel
Are you a Scandal watcher? I thought so. I'll bet you've noticed that Olivia Pope likes to relax at the end of the day with a ginormous glass of wine. I'll bet you like the glasses she drinks out of. Who wouldn't? They're awesome.
THIS THE GLASS SHE DRINKS OUT OF. Unfortunately, I'm not the only person who figured this out, and the rest of the world has placed an order and drained C&B's supply, so they're backordered until March. But I have hope that they'll ship sooner. If you've got a real Scandal fan (and a fan of elegantly ginormous wine glasses), I'll bet they're willing to wait a few months to get their hot little hands on these bad boys so that they too can relax at the end of a hard day of crisis control and totally inappropriate affairs whilst wearing the white hat.
Crate & Barrel also has a smaller 13 oz. white wine glass that's a little less cool and isn't quite what Olivia owns, but it has the bonus of being available for consumption now and also isn't so comically large.
Compagnie de Provence Olive Lavender Perfume Diffuser, $25.00, from Compagnie de Provence
I recently tested every lavender scented diffuser that the Gracious Home store had to offer. I bought two, this one (which I'm raving about now) and this one (beautiful and smells amazing up very close, but it overall packs very little punch - also beware that if it drips on a wood surface, it will eat away the finish). The Compagnie de Provence Olive Lavande diffuser is far and away the most incredible scent I've ever smelled. You know by now that I love lavender... but I never would have thought that mixing it with olive would produce such an intensely delightful experience. It smells like fresh air and Provence. It's refreshing, relaxing and just generally amazing. I put ours in the bedroom and plan to place a few more throughout the apartment. Give this to any Francophile or lover of things that smell amazing. And trust me: buy one for yourself.
One note: The company claims that this will last 8-10 weeks. I don't know how that is possible. Mine lasted almost exactly a month (I distinctly remember buying it on Veterans' Day), and the oil has been aggressively wicked away to the last drop. I don't know if I had particularly thirsty reeds or if all of the diffusers are like this, but it's worth mentioning. And perhaps that's why it makes a room smell so darn phenomenal (the other diffuser that I bought has barely budged, but you also barely notice the scent). I am not a fan of how quickly this diffuser must be replaced, but it certainly hasn't stopped me from placing another order (and I just learned that they sell a refill, though it's out of stock). Once you smell this scent, you won't be able to live without it.
Venturi Wine Aerator, $29.95 (on sale from $39.95), from Williams Sonoma
This little thing is just awesome, and everyone should have one in their home. It's a little wine aerator and it works magic by frothily aerating your wine as you pour it into your glass. It makes a very bizarre and distinct sucking/gurgling sound that you'll come to associate with the delightful experience. Give it to everyone on your list who likes wine; buy one for yourself too.
Mariposa Individual Pearled Wavy Bowl, $48.00, from Mariposa
My obsession with Mariposa began in 2010 when my friend Stephanie gave us this bowl as a shower gift. The undulating lines paired with the pearl trim are just gorgeous, and the silver is beautiful. It's a great piece to have in the living room. I like to leave it empty, but it would also beautifully display nuts or candies for a party.
Jo Malone™ 'English Pear & Freesia' Scented Home Candle, $65 from Norstrom.com
Jo Malone is just synonymous with luxury. I've been giving the Lime, Basil & Mandarin candle as a gift for years whenever I want to give something extra special, but I actually did not get to have the privilege of owning one of my very own until last year, when my friend Emily gave me the English Pear & Freesia version. OMG is it incredible. I actually squealed with glee when I got the package -- the package comes just bursting with beautiful scent (I think they spray the box down so it's extra scentsational) and triggers instant euphoria, and as you tear into it, the scent just gets more magnificent, decadent and all-consuming. Emily also gave me the Lime, Basil & Mandarin body crème, $75, which I am pretty certain is heaven in a jar.
Waylande Gregory Green Leopard Print Coasters, $90, from Zhush.com
I'm moderately obsessed with Waylande Gregory pottery and home goods. I learned of him for the first time when Matt and I were in California over the summer, and now I am hooked. Waylande Gregory (1905-1971) was an artist and art deco sculptor from Kansas (yes!) credited with revolutionizing art deco ceramics sculpture. Now his name lives on with Waylande Gregory Studios after the great-grandnephew discovered "a treasure trove" of Waylande's work. Everything from the collection is fantastic -- I seriously cannot pick a favorite, as you'll see below -- but these coasters are a nice price point, super useful (we all need coasters and never think to buy them for ourselves) and that emeraldy green color is just incredible. As is the fabulous leopard. I'm obsessed.
Simon Pearce Woodbury Bowl - S, $95.00, from Simon Pearce
Everything about this piece is beautiful and elegant and would fit into any home. Our Aunt Susan gave this to us as an engagement gift, and I've just loved it ever since. Simon Pearce is a sure bet for holiday gift giving.
Waylande Gregory Small Tiger Gray Bullet Bowl, $135, from Orange and Pear
These little bullet bowls are adorable and a nice little size (4.5" across) to add a pop to your side table. They're also great for holding little things like earrings or rings next to your bed. There are a lot of different options, but I like this tiger. Its lines are very elegant and feminine, but the coloring is masculine, so the overall look of the bowl is not overtly girly. This brown leopard version is also really great.
Note, the bowl is a little bit elevated (1.5") and tapered on the bottom. It's hard to see in the photo, but it's an elegant touch and helps the bowl look a bit more dainty.
Waylande Gregory Gold and Orange Small Square Elephant Tray, $160, from Zhush.com
I'm just obsessed with every aspect of this dish, for reasons you can probably guess based on my previous posts: elephants, orange, gold, whimsy, and a touch of practicality. I love when whimsy and practicality meet! This dish is just the shizz. We happened upon it when we were in San Francisco and bought it as a wedding gift -- and liked it so much that we bought an extra one for ourselves... it's a tad embarrassing to admit, but having this dish in my living room is totally worth the shame.
I'm sure I will be back in a few days, but if not, I hope you have the happiest of holidays!! Let me know what you give as gifts!
Happy Tuesday! And Happy Last Day of 25%/30% Off At J.Crew Day! I love a good J.Crew sale. Through midnight Eastern Time tonight, J.Crew is offering 25% off all regular purchases (code: GETGIFTING) and 30% off all Cardmember purchases (code: CARDGIFTS). Yay! The discounts mentioned below assume you are not a Cardmember, but if you are, just think of that extra 5% savings you'll get.
J.Crew's suiting can be hit or miss, but I've found a major hit recently in the J.Crew Seamed Crepe Dress, on sale for $139.99 + 25% off, down from $198. With the extra 25% off, the grand total of this gem comes to $105 plus tax and shipping. I own it in navy and wear it religiously, and I am very temped to get the modern red as well (you know my mom's rule of multiples!). The fabric has a matte silk quality that's drapey but weighty. It's not too thick and not too thin, with a bit of stretch. It's cut perfectly for pear-shaped gals (slim on top and generous on the bottom). And it is office-appropriately long enough, which is strangely hard to find at times. And the seaming (as the title suggests) is just dreamy in its body contouring magic making abilities. I also love the high neck and slim short sleeves. The dress itself is modest and body conscious all at once.
I wore this dress through the fall in the pre-freezing days without tights, but it can easily be made a winter-wear staple if accessorized appropriately. Throw a pair of super-opaque dark navy tights or opaque dark navy control-top tights into your shopping cart for a clean and slimming "column." For heel wearers, complete the look with Everely Suede Pumps in black ($245 + 25% off) for a clean and minimalist look or consider adding a pop of jewel-toned color with the hedgerow (a lovely wintery green) version (on sale for $198 + 25% off). My friend Emily wore the black version this past weekend, and not only did I think they were $600+ Jimmy Choos, but also she said they were absurdly comfortable ("I walked, like, 30 blocks in them!"). Emily has an enviable ability to wear heels for impressive amounts of time, but even she couldn't 'make it 30 blocks in a pair of shoes that weren't dreamily comfortable, so I am certainly intrigued by the Everelys (and look forward to a day when I can wear heels again!). If you're a flats wearer, I like these Viv Metallic Flats in heather atlantic ($188 + 25% off) for a little pop that still reads blue. The pointy toe will elongate your silhouette and work nicely with the seamed lines fo the dress. (I also love the Cece Suede Ballet Flats for commuting and weekends.) And if comme moi you're destined for sturdy menswear inspired shoes, I like these Collection Biella glitter tassel loafers in glittler fog ($258 + 25% off) for a borrowed-from-the-boys look that's decidedly sassy, or the Darby Tassel Loafer ($188 + 25% off) in black for a tamer, but still killer, look.
My office is set at a cool 55 degrees regardless of season, so I always like to keep a scarf and sweater around. For scarves, I like a pop of color, and this colorblock foulard scarf ($59.50 + 25% off) does just the trick (and it goes brilliantly with those shoes I mentioned before). For sweaters, you can't go wrong with cashmere: I love my Collection Cashmere Boyfriend Cardigan ($238 + 25% off) - black and navy are both safe bets to keep around the office.
For jewelry, this dress can easily be worn with nothing (or simple earrings like the ones I mentioned on Friday) for a clean, minimalist look, or with a statement collar necklace or longer necklace. I tend to shy away from big necklaces at work because I find them distracting and heavy, but for a statement, I do like to wear longer necklaces on occasion. This Radiant Statement Pendant ($59.99 + 25% off) is quite wonderful and would be a nice way to step up your look from day to night.
Help make the commute a little more tolerable in this Double Breasted Cocoon Coat in Wool-Cashmere ($350 + 25% Off) and this Cashmere Infinity Scarf ($258 + 25% off) in really any color (so cozy!) or, for a lower price point, the Chevron Checkered Snood in black/white ($59.50 + 25% off).
Et voilà! You've got yourself a killer workwear outfit (that can be worn multiple ways) all because of a $105 dress that fits like a dream and gets you through the workday in style. (Do you realize I started this post out just intending to talk about that dress?? This is how J.Crew always gets me...)
Enjoy! And Happy Suiting Up!
It's Friday, which means we are but a few short hours away from stripping off the work wear and throwing on our favorite weekend wear. (Yay!)
For the past two years, skinny black jeans have been my fall and winter weekend staple. While there are a lot of great black skinny jeans options out there, I am particularly into the J.Crew toothpick jean in pitch black wash, which fit great (they are très slimming - seriously, there's something magical in them) and (when a good 25% off sale is running) are a much better price point than the more "designer" brands. I am 5'7" (though "legally" I am 5'8" (according to my license)), and the length (28" inseam) is just right on me. If you're any taller, I'd upgrade to the "tall" (30" inseam). If you're much shorter, J.Crew unfortunately doesn't carry this jean in a petite, but they offer free alterations if you purchase with a J.Crew credit card (which also offers generous end of season gift card "rewards"). Warning: there is a moment of fear as you squeeze these puppies on ("OMG they're never going to get past my knees!"), but then suddenly, voilà!, you're in. And they fit. Like an incredibly slimming glove.
Wear these jeans during the day with a great pair of boots (like these Frye "Smith Engineer Booties, $297.95 - I'm partial to the black - or this Donald J. Pliner "Diem" Boot, which is on sale for $260.90 and I am flat out dying over) and a button front shirt (like the classic utilitarian J.Crew chambray "keeper" shirt, $78) or even a t-shirt (love the J.Crew vintage tee in white, heather chrome, deep pine or warm ash) with a cozy sweater (like this Vince sweater coat, $475 + 25% off = $380) or, on cooler days, a collarless car or pea coat (like this Vince military jacket, on sale for $525 (down from $750!) + 20% off = $420).
Wear them at night with a gorgeous silk blouse (like this Vince one, $265 + 20% off = $212, or this other Vince one I died over in Wednesday's post)and great flats or heels with a fabulously cut blazer (like this Theory one, $415 - 20% = $332) and, in colder weather, an incredible coat (like this insanely awesome DVF coat, on sale for $556.60 (down from $795!) + 20% off = $445.20) (all of the above are at Bloomies with code FRIENDS).
Note: The deep black wash (which I love) tends to fade over time, giving it a grungier, less evening-appropriate look (though still totally great for casual weekend days). I had to rebuy the same pair this fall that I'd purchased last fall, but I got them during a big sale that helped lessen the blow. JCrew runs sales often. They're running a big sale on their sale items right now (sale squared!), as they often do to clear out merchandise, and that usually means that after a week or so of no deals, they'll run a 25% off sale on their full priced merch. So if you're willing to wait a week to save ~$30, by all means do. Back in the day, these bad boys sold out quickly, so I would have paid full price without question, but J.Crew seems to have ample stock available now, and waiting a week might yield you some delightful savings (though, according to my "consumer insights" business school professor, delaying your purchase to get a discount may "undermine" the emotional benefit of the discount). My takeaway? Buy the jeans now, wear them immediately. You'll feel great, and you'll look great too :)
What's your weekend wear staple? And how do you style it?
Happy weekend! :)
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.