The Fashion Magpie Denim


I remember shopping one afternoon, when I was just a few years out of college and was pursuing my M.A. at Georgetown University, at The Social Safeway in DC (fellow Washingtonians, you know which one I’m talking about — and this was BEFORE the renovation, if you can remember that far back).  As I unloaded my basket onto the conveyer belt, I engaged in a little game of Snoop-and-Judge with the lady directly in front of me in line.  You know–when you eyeball all of the items she’s purchased and make assumptions about her life based on them.  She was a well-heeled woman in a well-fitting suit and smart pointed-toe heels.  She had a designer bag in mint condition.  She was juggling a set of keys to a BMW in one hand and a Blackberry in the other (this was around 2009, FYI.)  And, I surmised, she was probably only a few years my senior–possibly even close to my own age.

But she was definitely a woman.  A lady.  A grown-up.  And, as I compared the contents of her shopping basket to mine, I realized I was still a child.

Her basket: Full-fat Greek yogurt.  Blueberries.  Neatly wrapped parcels from the butcher.  (Steak?  Chicken breasts, skin-on?)  Spears of asparagus.  A block of fancy cheese–you know, the kind from the cheesemonger area, not the kind you get pre-packaged from the deli area.  Some Carrs crackers.  Perrier.  A small jug of milk.  Cage-free eggs.   Baby kale.  A melon.  Rosemary.  A $20 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

My basket: Special K Red Berries.  Baked Cheetohs.  Coke Zero.  Pre-sliced Swiss cheese.  Triscuits.  Haribo gummy bears.*  A few apples.  Baby carrots.  A tub of hummus.  A bottle of Cook’s sparkling wine.  Low-fat popcorn.  Packaged tortellini.

*OK, I still stand by gummy bears as a worthwhile shopping basket find.

I was so struck by the fact that her basket was that of an adult — someone who was planning to make proper meals throughout the week, who would probably kick off her Manolos (again, this was 2008) in her pristine Georgetown home, pour herself a glass of wine in a Riedel white wine glass, and turn on Duke Ellington to unwind.  She might curl up under a cashmere throw by the window with a good book and a goblet of malbec later, watching the storm roll in.

I wondered if I would ever make it there.  It felt so unfathomable to me that some future version of myself would be adult enough to, say, buy a salmon steak and cook it for myself, or slice up a melon for breakfast.  A melon, people!  A melon!

Fast forward to two weeks ago.  I’d just had a meeting at The Soho House in Chicago.  (OK, it was only 1/8th work-related.  The other 7/8ths involved gabbing with another new mom about being a new mom and it was LOVELY.  Hi, L!  Thanks for the laughter, commiseration, and latte.)  I realized I had just enough time to pop into Whole Foods before getting home to feed mini.  As I unloaded my cart, it struck me:

I had become that woman.

I looked around to see if there were any snoop-and-judgers behind me to bear witness to this moment of self-discovery.  Was there anyone else out there spying on my conveyer belt and thinking to herself: “Wow, now THAT is the shopping basket of an adult?”

Sadly, no.

So let my basket be my witness: A beautiful piece of halibut.  A bundle of small red bliss potatoes.  Dill.  A bone-in ribeye steak.  A pint of cherry tomatoes.  A little tub of ricotta.  A nest of fresh black pepper pasta from the in-house pasteria (?).  A couple of pears.  Some calabrian chiles in oil.  A box of sparkling water.  A bottle of rose.  Siggi’s yogurt, full fat.  A pair of artichokes.  Plugra butter.

So guys: I did it.  I’m an adult now.  A few other proof points that I’ve recently realized have officially marked my entry and permanent settlement in adult-hood:

+We have a membership at Costco, and we buy boring things like paper towels and garbage bags there, and don’t even pause to consider buying the ginormous bag of Skinny Pop that would have once been at the top of my list.

+We have “a roof guy.”

+We buy and store wine, saving it for its peak year.

+We enjoy reading, watching, and commenting on the news.

+We have Redfin alerts reminding me of the current value of my home and houses listed for sale in neighborhoods of interest to me.

+We have a legit medicine cabinet.  And it’s stocked with every medicine and ointment you could imagine.  And it’s organized as hell, thanks to two of these.

+We constantly talk about the weather.

+We eat melon for breakfast.

What story does your shopping basket tell about you, I wonder?  Consider it next time you check out.

In the meantime, let me also share some fashion picks that feel…grown up.  The kind of thing an adult might wear.

For a Working Lunch…

Bounkit mother of pearl earrings ($289) // Alexis balloon-sleeved dress  ($435) //  M. Gemi flats ($228) // Fendi Peekaboo Bag ($3,995 — sigh.  Still at the very top of my lust list) // Smythson notebook ($80) //

Bounkit Mother of Pearl Earrings

The Fashion Magpie Alexis Striped Dress

The Fashion Magpie M Gemi Stellato Flats

The Fashion Magpie Fendi Peekaboo Bag


Smythson Notebook


Wall Street Journal

For a Big Night Out…

Alexis Lincoln Bow jumpsuit ($585) // KJL gold ball earrings ($55) //  Gianvito Rossi satin sandals (OMG OMG OMG, but also THE HEEL HEIGHT SCURRRS ME — $815) // Kayu woven clutch ($205).

The Fashion Magpie Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Ball Earrings

The Fashion Magpie White Bow Alexis Jumpsuit

The Fashion Magpie Gianvito Rossi Satin Sandals

The Fashion Magpie Kayu Woven Clutch

For a Travel Day…

Striped blouse ($60) // J. Brand Maria high-waisted jeans ($190) // Tods’ loafers ($445 — get the look for less with these) // Cuyana monogrammed tote ($265) // Kindle ($119 — it sounds like I need one…check out the comments!)

The Fashion Magpie Striped Blouse

The Fashion Magpie JBrand Maria Jeans

The Fashion Magpie Tods Blush 2 The Fashion Magpie Tods Blush

The Fashion Magpie Cuyana Tote


The Fashion Magpie Kindle


Some More Grown Up Fashion Finds…



  1. One other adult thing I do, somewhat related to “the look” to which you allude– I really invest in what I have, and take care of it. And only the “best” (not necessarily ) stays.

    A silly but recent example: the Ollie Gray nursing bra. Gorgeous to look at, absolutely useless for me. A nursing bra where you unclasp to feed but then need to flip yourself all the which ways to redo, and smushed your top? No thanks.

    In the olden days, I would have just tossed it. But– I emailed the company to ensure there was no way to improve, and when there wasn’t, I actually returned it. A tightly edited closet is one way, financially and La Bella Figura-y (you as an Italian girl understand), that I have matured.

    1. Totally — I’ve become so much more willing to return things or call companies to complain as well. You should get what you pay for! It’s interesting what you said about Ollie Gray — I was very excited to try the bra and will need to do a full review soon — but you and several other moms (myself included) tried it out and ran into a few glitches. I have to credit the company, as they’ve been exceptionally open to feedback and are, in true start-up fashion, constantly looking for ways to improve. One example is that both myself and another mom disliked the fact that when you unclasp one side, the whole side flaps down unconnected from the rest of the bra, whereas most nursing bras (as you well know, my love) have some sort of strap to keep things in place. This felt annoying and sloppy and even over-exposing. I mentioned this to the company and they took it on the chin, explaining that about 50% of women in their focus groups wanted the “free and clear” version they ended up releasing, and 50% wanted something with the strap to hold it in place, so they took a gamble. It was nice to see them so thoughtful about the design even if it wasn’t working for me. AT ANY RATE. I digress. But I get your point and totally agree — this is a big sign of maturation!

  2. While I understand what you’re getting at, I think this is less called “being an adult” and more called “having money”. There are people for whom these things will never be true and they are still full-fledged adults.

    1. Totally fair point, Jessica. Rereading this, I can see that some of the details are more about financial status than anything else and that was clumsy of me. I meant to make the observation that at some point over the last decade, it became less about eating cheese and crackers on the sofa and more about eating a planned meal at the table, regardless of price point. To me, this shift had something to do with a transition into being an adult. So–rough writing on my end. Thanks for keeping it real!!

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