The Fashion Magpie Reader Q and As

Magpie Inbox: Wedding Guest Attire, My Favorite Everyday Polish, + Laundry Woes.

More Q+As! I’ve been doing a lot of these lately — feel free to email me your questions at anytime.

Q: I’m a bridesmaid in a black tie wedding this October. The bride is allowing us to each choose whatever dress we like with the only parameters of long and black. She herself is very stylish and has made it clear that non-bridesmaidy dresses are welcome and encouraged (her words were “if you think it’s too high fashion- it’s not!”). I tend to gravitate towards classic looks and am hoping to find something that I could actually (actually!) wear again. Any suggestions on options that may fit the bill?

A: This was SUCH a fun bit of shopping for me to indulge — what a chic bride friend you have!  The first brands that came to mind were Alice McCall, Acler, and Zimmermann.  All three tend to have high-fashion silhouettes but are more reasonably priced than prestige designers.  I especially love this lacy number from Alice McCall (on sale!) and think this or this from Acler would be worth buying to try on (the cuts are daring and CHIC — but it would really need to fit well so best to try on for size).

Other chic finds: this stunning gown from Likely (va va voom!!!  Imagine with a tidy chignon hairstyle and a red lip!), this flattering lace style (probably the most easy to wear again and again), this tiered Self-Portrait, and this Needle & Thread (the most ladylike/demure of the bunch).  Finally, this minimalist style could be a POWERHOUSE with a stylish low bun and dramatic heels.  Sort of Lara Flynn Boyle in her hayday?

Q: I had a question for whenever you do your next reader Q & A post if you don’t mind.  My daughter will be 3.5-4 months (depending when she makes her appearance) at my sisters wedding this summer.  She is not a real flower girl given her age (aka not going down the aisle) — but she will be in the pictures as the de facto flower girl (plus my 3-year old son is the actual ring bearer).  Do you have any suggestions on where to look for a dress for her (or just suggestions for actual dresses – love your taste!)?  I’m having trouble finding dresses in small enough sizes that aren’t christening gowns but are pretty formal.  Would like it to be mostly white, as my sister is wearing a true white gown and wouldn’t mind if it had some floral detail as my sisters veil has lace flowers appliqued to it, but that is certainly not a must.

A: Hi! How sweet is that?! Yes — I would look at both Luli & Me and Feltman Brothers. Both carry formal/traditional childrens’ wear in as small as size newborn! I like this because it features the floral/ruffle/lace that might tie in nicely with your sister’s dress (would probably remove the bonnet/hat that it comes with and replace with a big white bow headband, but that’s personal taste), this, and this. Alexandros Baby also has some of the most precious pieces I’ve ever seen in itty bitty sizes. I am swooning over this and this. And these little shoes come in the tiniest size!!!

Q: I currently use a two-year-old Goyard tote that is black on black, so more suited for fall and winter. I’ve used it year round, but it is starting to show some wear and tear and I’ve already had it repaired once. I definitely want it to last, so it needs a break!…This past September I bought a charcoal grey Celine top handle bag in Paris, and I love it, but it just isn’t going to work for most weekdays when I’m going into work and carrying snacks, full wallet, a few makeup items, etc.  I’d love a grey Goyard st. louis tote..but not sure I’m looking to spend much more than $400-$800 this season, since I did just get the Celine. Would love your thoughts!  just trying to avoid the classic tote style, in saddle tan, that seems safe : )

A: Hi! A couple of thoughts…

+I own and love my leather tote from Annabel Ingall.  I get lots of compliments on it.  I own one in a pastel pink, but she sells them in all different colors.  

+I have multiple friends who own and adore their Mansur Gavriel totes.  I like they they come lined in fun colors. I like the sophisticated and simple styling of this white, tall tote in particular.

+Clare Vivier always has fun options — I’m into this leopard tote.

+I also own and get a lot of wear out of my monogrammed Parker Thatch tote.  May be a bit too casual for work — not sure? — but I adore it.

+At the top of my personal lust list?  A TB Lee Radziwill bag.  So fun in this splashy yellow color!

+Get the Goyard look for less with one of these Barrington bags. People rave about them! You can customize with all different prints, leather options, monogram options, stripes, etc.

+Finally — I’ve had a couple of friends buy Wandler bags, a lesser known label with sleek styling.  They might be a touch more than you want to spend but also very stylish!

Q: How has this pregnancy differed from your last?  Planning to try for baby two soon but feeling anxious.

A: So exciting for you! In some ways, I have felt similarly in both pregnancies, and I captured some of the wistful-anxious-excited emotions I’ve been feeling earlier this year. The biggest difference is that I am hugely distracted this go around thanks to mini; time has flown. I am shocked that I am now seven months along! (When did that happen?) I remember crying to Mr. Magpie on many occasions during mini’s pregnancy at how slowly time was moving — “I just want her to be here!” and “I can’t make it through another few months of this!” I was so nervous in the face of the unknown. This go around, I don’t have the time or mental energy to linger over every twinge and movement the way I did when I was pregnant with mini, and I’m constantly shocked at the milestones I’m hitting. With mini, I was also a lot more uncomfortable, I think due to her positioning. I had what has been referred to as “lightening crotch,” where the baby’s head or foot or something is constantly hitting a nerve and causing this sharp, shooting pain throughout your lower abdomen. It was really uncomfortable for weeks and weeks. This go around, I’ve had little to contend with; sometimes I have honestly forgotten I am pregnant if you can believe that, though micro is a lot more active than I remember mini being. I feel as though he’s moving around every minute of the day, and so I find myself absently aware of him for long portions of the day.

All that said, almost like clockwork, last week (i.e., on the eve of my third trimester), I started to find myself beleaguered with a host of minor though annoying aches and pains throughout the day — back aches, sudden twinges, painful kicks to the ribs, Braxton Hicks. I discovered I couldn’t keep pace with Mr. Magpie while we were walking to date night and had to ask him to slow down as I thumped behind him. All the telltale signs of the third trimester. And now I’m wondering if I’ll be moving into that “please just let him get here” frame of mind!

More on this pregnancy here, and on my hospital bag here (read the reader comments for more tips!!!)

Q: I’m looking for a dress to wear to a semi-formal wedding in Santa Barbara in May. The 2pm ceremony is at a Catholic church (the same one Hayley Bloom got married in!) and the reception is at the family’s home. What would you suggest? I feel like a Brock dress would be perfect, but I don’t want to spend quite that much. Something under $500. 

A: GIRL!  You are speaking my language!  I love the Brock Collection vibe.  A couple of finds that are more reasonably priced that might fit the bill:

+A touch over your budget, but I am legitimately dying over this Alice McCall beauty.  Swoon!!  Everything I love right now.  A dramatic sleeve, a midi length, an uber-feminine floral.

+In love with the haute couture shapes from new-ish label Acler.  I’m smitten with this dress in particular.  (On sale for under $200!)

+Anything from LoveShackFancy…I own and love this dress in a different print.

+Not floral, but this is a major moment.  Love the romantic, drape-y, floaty style.  The robin’s egg blue gives me Grace Kelly vibes.

+Less formal, in case you get the vibe this is more casual!  Love this sweet dress.

+If you like something with more structure.

Q: How do you care for mini’s clothing? I feel like all I do is laundry while dressing my children like British royalty. Help!

A: The truth is that I spend a lot of time laundering and ironing mini’s clothes and haven’t found any incredible shortcuts. Maybe my approach will change with baby two…HA! For now, I machine wash EVERYTHING, even cashmere and wool, which I launder on a gentle cycle with The Laundress’ Wool and Cashmere Shampoo. Then I lay the items flat on towels to dry so that they keep their shape. For her “party dresses,” I will wash and then tumble dry low and remove before they are over-dry, then use my iron to press them. In a pinch, I’ll use my steamer or Crease Release, but I’ve found nothing works as well as a hot iron and sometimes even some spray starch when I’m going for a big moment. (Classic Niagara spray is far and away the best I’ve used. I’ve tried other “fancier” brands but nothing works like Niagara for that ultra-crisp edge.) While on the topic of ironing, I have to say that my Rowenta iron is one of the best investments I’ve made in the past few years. I used to feel like ironing was a waste of time because things never turned out the way I thought they would. I even spent time googling “how to iron,” thinking the results were attributable to user error. Then I upgraded to this Rowenta iron and the results were incredible — dare I say, professional grade? Finally — and this isn’t rocket science — but I try to do all ironing one afternoon of the week if at all possible, while the nanny is here, and I’ll put on a TV show while doing so, so it’s kind of a little treat for me.

Q: Where is mini’s monogrammed puddle jumper cover from in your Instagram photo???

A: Here! It fits perfectly over a Stearns puddle jumper.

Q: What is that white-pink nail polish color you’ve been wearing in your most recent Instagram stories?

A: It’s the gel version of OPI’s Lisbon Wants Moor! I love it. Going to get it again before micro is born for sure — it’s the perfect everyday neutral!

Q: Remind me where your Goyard phone case is from?

A: Here! If you’re looking for more trendy cases, check out Minnie & Emma. I am drawn to their tie dye…duh.

P.S. More recent Q+As here and here.

P.P.S. I am SWOONING over the end-of-season sale at Maje. Love this, this, and this. (Give me all the embellishment!)

P.P.P.S. Speaking of embellishment, these pearl hair clips are back in stock!


  1. Ironing is quite possibly my least favorite chore, ugh. I’ve been having the same experience with an old iron that doesn’t seem to be doing anything. BUT! I JUST got a Rowenta iron based on your recommendation — I haven’t tried it but I do hope it’s life changing! And maybe, just maybe, I might actually iron my bedding? Ha, that will be the day! Maybe I’ll just start with pillowcases. 😉

    On the subject of totes, have you heard of Moreau Paris? They opened a store here in San Francisco and I’m very intrigued. I believe it goes for more than $800 though, but the designs are interesting, and it’s not as ubiquitous as LV or even Goyard. There are personalization options too!

    1. WEEEELLL life-changing might be a bit assertive. HA! Don’t want you to be imagining bluebirds chirping as you iron or anything — hehe. But the results will impress you. And yes — start small! Though I wrote about not taking shortcuts, there’s moderation in all things, and when I’m really low on time or energy, I just iron the top half of the top sheet (enough that it will look crisp when folded down over the coverlet) and the pillowcases.

      Had NOT heard of Moreau, but thanks for the tip! REALLY like a bunch of their styles! xx

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