Tuesday 23rd January 2018
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Week of requests: Things I would buy if price was no object

Saint Laurent le smoking jacket

“I’d love to see what you’d splurge on if you could go a price point or two over GOACA guidelines,” writes a reader named Julie, and if ever there was a post that could write itself, this would be it. I have an informal price limit here of $900, and try to keep most of the items I show much more affordable than that. I try to stick by even stricter guidelines in my personal life (not always successfully). But were I to take leave of my senses and go for whatever struck my fancy, I’d acquire a St. Laurent  Le Smoking jacket so fast it would make your head spin. I’ve wanted one for years.

Bottega Veneta bag

For days when I want to look especially polished, I’d buy a Bottega Veneta bag with a chain strap.

Zero + Maria Cornejo coat

And I’d definitely go for this Zero + Maria Cornejo shearling, which I have tried on and it is just the chicest, and so cozy.

Dries Van Noten dress

Back when I was a fancy editor in chief, I used to wear a lot of Dries Van Noten dresses, and if I still had a clothing allowance to play around with (yes, you read right: a clothing allowance, and it’s one of the few things I miss about my old life), I’d buy this little confection.

The Elder Statesman blanket

And why not a cashmere blanket from The Elder Statesman? So desperately luxe.

Ten Thousand Things necklace

I’d definitely indulge in something from Ten Thousand Things, my favorite jewelry line. This Tahitian pearl necklace is just glorious.

Ted Muehling earrings

I might also spring for a big, dramatic pair of Ted Meuhling hoops.

Fornasetti waste basket

If I had all the money in the world, I’d buy Fornasetti everything, and definitely this waste basket.

Week of requests: Tops to wear under blazers

The Great top—tops

I’m continuing with the week of requests because last week was a short one, and there are still some fun queries to answer (and if you haven’t answered this question yet, please do so in the comments). A reader named Marisa wrote in to say that she’d like to see a post on “Work-appropriate tops to wear under blazers—preferably things that add a little color and personality without getting too Madonna “Express Yourself” (although I love that look—just not for work.)” I like the boldness and ease of this red choice.

Rebecca Minkoff top—tops

This is a tiny bit more Little House on the Prairie than I typically go, but I think all those pretty colors would look great peeking out from under a jacket.

 Other Stories top—tops

A very feminine—yet still nicely streamlined—option.

Xirena top—tops

This smocked top has a lower neckline than other tops like it, which is a bit more flattering.

 Other Stories top—tops

Such a very pretty blue.

Equipment top—tops

A black and white floral would be a nice, graphic touch.

LAgence top—tops

This has an eensy star print, which I love.

Rebecca Taylor top—tops

Another pretty floral, and one that would be especially good with a navy blazer, I’m thinking.

Cooper and Ella top—tops

This reminds me of a Maria Cornejo top I wear endlessly (and that I paid a lot more for).

Etoile Isabel Marant top—tops

The notion of a brown floral sounds kind of unappealing, and yet this could not be a whole lot cuter.

Joie top—tops

This, at first glance, might seem too casual and hippie girl for work, but it’s made of silk, which polishes things up a bit.

Tibi top—tops

True, this is on the pricey side, but I love the idea of the stripes peeking out at the cuff.

Wayf top—tops

A lace top that isn’t too fussy is a good thing.

Alice and Olivia top—tops

Yet again another floral, this one bright and poppy as can be.

Rebecca Minkoff top—tops

Don’t dismiss this cami as too bare—it’ll be under a jacket and nobody will be the wiser (if you still can’t quite imagine that, here’s a similar tee).

Michelle Mason top—tops

Just a vivid, gorgeous green—an underrated color, if you ask me.

Etoile Isabel Marant top—tops

I like the way collarless shirts look with blazers, and this is just so good.

Stateside top—tops

And finally: you can’t beat a good blue stripe.

Week of requests: What was the best thing you spent money on in 2017?

I spend a lot of time in this room

A reader named Dakota suggested that I ask this question of the GOACA community, and I’m very curious to hear your answers. Was it a big-ticket article of clothing that suddenly makes your whole wardrobe come together? A vacation? A visit to the dermatologist for fillers? Your divorce? As for me, the best cash I spent last year, hands down, was on unlimited classes at my yoga studio.

Week of requests: Fair-trade fashion

Lots of requests for this one, as well as for a rundown of brands made in America (for that I refer you here and here), but let’s start with my favorite fair trade fashion company, Everlane. To me, Everlane serves the function that Gap did back in the day: they provide sophisticated, well-priced versions of classic pieces that you can work into your wardrobe and make your own. Their $65 poplin button-downs are just as attractive and well-made as shirts I’ve paid a whole lot more for.

Zady also traffics in classics, but they’re a bit more fashiony. I am crazy for this excellent sweater coat.

I am surprised constantly by Eileen Fisher—the brand’s reputation is sleepy, but I find items I want pretty regularly, like this quilted jacket.

The clothes at Reformation are on the young side, but if you poke around the site you’ll find a number of super-cute items. I’m a big fan of this furry toggle jacket.

Krochet Kids sells some clothes, but I like this site for the winter hats on offer. This is fairly adorable.

Nisolo sells bags and shoes at reasonable prices. I think this weekender is very preppy chic.

I have liked Alternative Apparel ‘s T-shirts for a while now—they’re super-soft and high-quality.

Able Local & Global is a good resource for tees and bags. This tote is very nearly perfect.

Mayamiko is another site that skews young, but they’ve got some unstoppable African prints that are worth checking out if you’re into that type of thing.

I’m really liking the button-down shirts on the Tradlands site.

DL 1961 is a great denim brand, and they have other cute items too, like this slim-fit jumpsuit.

Christy Dawn is a good resource for flowy, feminine dresses.

Encircled has decent basics that tend to be on the drapey side: this tee looks so comfortable and flattering.

Week of requests: 20 wardrobe classics, revisited

Nili Lotan shirt

“I loved 20 wardrobe classics,” writes a reader named Shelley. “Perhaps an update?” And why not? As I’ve said before, I don’t believe that there is even one universal item that every woman must have in her closet—we’re all different, with different bodies and ideas about what looks good on them—so what I’ve included here are my classics, the items I return to again and again. It’s almost the same lineup as last year, which surprised me, but of course the choices are all new. First up: there are few pieces I rely on as much as I do a great white button-down. This one is from Nili Lotan and is my absolute favorite, but this one from Madewell is much cheaper, and nicely oversized.

R13 jeans

Without my R13 grey jeans, life as I know it would be impossible. They are spendy, true, but they fit me just right and it’s tough to put a price tag on that. Plus, they have a nice amount of stretch without looking like they’ve got too much stretch, which is key.

Theory blazer

You can’t go wrong with a navy blazer—they are somehow just a little more French girl than black.

Mia clogs

I live in clogs—they’re so comfortable, and make me taller, and since I am convinced I have impossibly stumpy legs, this is very important.

Zero + Maria Cornejo coat

A black winter coat in an interesting fabrication is a good thing. This alpaca blend is from Maria Cornejo and exceeds the GOACA price limit, but it is currently on sale, and I own it and can tell you that it is as stylish and versatile as you please.  Here is a faux fur coat that costs a lot less and is pretty great too.

Madewell tee

A striped tee is forever, and I love them in black and white.

Blundstone boots

The only item I am flat-out repeating from last year are these Blundstone chelsea boots—you could walk forever in them, and they’re reasonably priced. Here is a slightly more refined pair with a bit of a heel, if that’s what you’re after.

Maya Brenner necklace

I am always wearing a few necklaces, and my current favorite is this shark’s tooth that I gave myself for my birthday last year. Here it is in silver, substantially cheaper, but just as chic.

J Crew popover

I like popovers a lot—they’re often more flattering than button-downs, but have a similar put-together look. I think the lace detail on this one is really pretty.

Equipment dress

As I mentioned last year, I dislike the notion of the Little Black Dress, and prefer the idea of the Serious Black Dress. In honor of the cold, I’ve chosen one made of cashmere to show here.

Wommelsdorff hat

Last year I determined that a cashmere beanie was one of life’s essentials, but we are locked in such a deep freeze at the moment in New York that this time around I chose something more substantial.

Jerome Dreyfuss bag

I always come back to a good, grown-up black handbag. This one is from Jerome Dreyfuss, and I want it bad.

Nili Lotan Jenna pants

I wear my army pants constantly, and like the notion of changing things up and getting this pair in blue.

Everlane cashmere v-neck sweater

A cashmere v-neck looks great (and a little sexy) on its own, and preppy-chic layered with a thin button-down.

J. Crew cardigan

A big huggy cardi is good for those days when you’re feeling like camouflaging your entire upper body.

Filson tote

An attractive, sturdy tote is a must-have for travel. I think this one from Filson is meant for men, but I like it a lot.

Manon ring

I’m always looking for new rings to add to my stack.

Everlane puffer

I’m so glad puffers are having a moment, because they’re so practical and warm that I’d wear them even if they weren’t fashionable. This one comes in a few colors, but since I’m all about a red puffer these days, that’s what I’m showing here.

Levi's skirt

A denim skirt is a summertime essential for me.

Ugg hoodie

And finally: I think you know by now how I feel about a good zipper hoodie.

Week of requests: How to dress when it’s freezing out

“I’d love to see a post on what to wear when it’s cold as hell,” writes a reader named Andrea. “You have written about this in the past but I’m always stumped in the winter on how to look fashionable but keep warm.” This request couldn’t be a whole lot more timely, as it is deathly frigid in New York right now. I’m not sure how fashionable I look in the following getup, but it does keep me cozy. Having two dogs to exercise means going out in the awful weather three times a day, and I loathe being cold, so I always start out with a base layer of long underwear, which I get from Uniqlo. It’s super-lightweight, really effective, and quite cheap, and on sale now so it’s even cheaper. I just ordered a couple of extra pairs so I always have some that are clean.

Vince wool pants

Typically, I wear jeans over the long underwear, but lately I’ve been thinking about getting myself some cozy wool pants. These joggers look just about perfect: nice and slouchy, with a drawstring waist, and they’re a cashmere blend, so possibly won’t be too scratchy. Perfect for throwing on to take the pooches for a spin (here’s a cheaper option).


On top, I’ll start with a cotton camisole.

Then I’ll layer a long-sleeved tee over that. This one is from Uniqlo, and is made from the same Heattech fabric as the long underwear, and it’s great.

If it’s really frightful out, my next layer will be a cashmere hoodie.

Then I’ll go for a big old chunky sweater like this one, which I purchased a while back from Vince. It’s on sale now.

As for gloves, I wear the cashmere ones I wrote about here, but were the temperatures to suddenly turn Arctic, I’d go for these, by a company called Hestra, because a friend of mine whose hands and feet get unusually cold swears by them.

In the footwear department: I’m loving my No. 6 shearling boots (which I wrote about here) but also am quite partial to my crazy-ish Penelope Chilvers boots, which are also shearling-lined, and so easy to walk in.

My quest for the perfect red puffer recently ended in the purchase of this one from Aritzia. Sadly, the red sold out, but it’s available in lots of good colors, and also this excellent camo print. It, too, is on sale.

My Chan Luu scarf is warm, warm, warm, and not too bulky.

And finally: A few years back, I acquired a faux fur hat by an Austrian company called Muhlbauer, and wish I could find one just like it for you, but this trapper hat comes pretty close.