Magpie Mail: Summer Sandals Under $70, Throwing Baby Showers, + Toddler Nightgowns.

Ever since sharing these Q+As, I’ve been getting even more queries via email and DM. Keep ’em coming! You can email me at

Q: I was wondering if you had any advice regarding a fun spring/summer sandal (preferably slip on) for me. My twin sister and I are headed to Palm Beach for spring break, and I can’t find anything I love online. Looking for something on-style (similar to the Steve Madden Greece sandal/Joie sandals, maybe Loeffler Randall-esque ?) but under $70 (as I know they’ll get a ton of use and probably trashed from sand, etc. Do you have any ideas?

A: Such a fun trip! A couple of thoughts…

+These darling printed sandals (seen above; picture from here) are on sale for $75 in select colors.  Another great print here. SUCH a good brand, so well-made!

+I’m IN LOVE with these $60 bow-topped sandals, which look a lot like the (far more expensive) Alexandre Birman sandals out right now.  I love them in the pale pink but all of the colors are great.

+Not sure if these are too specific in pattern for an everyday sandal, but I love these snakeskin-print slides; they look much more expensive than they are!  So sophisticated!

+You know I’m in love with all things pearl, and these are super chic in the black or blush depending on your wardrobe! If you’re willing to splurge a bit, these are a dead-ringer for a pair by Chanel from last season.

+Not sure how you feel about a flip flop (too informal?) but these remind me a LOT of a pair of Valentino flip flops I bought a few years back and got a lot of wear out of for more informal looks.  

+Finally, I buy a new pair of Jack Rogers once a year, and select colors/sizes are on sale here for under $70.  I love the Jackie O – Palm Beach vibe and wear them with sundresses, jeans, etc.  I’ll probably always wear them!

Q: Quick question — I want to purchase the Lele Sadoughi pearl headband but I can’t figure out which color you have (I like the way that color looks). Is it the ivory or the blush?

A:  It’s so funny you asked this question because I ordered the ivory color from Nordstrom but I am 90% certain they sent the blush!  I would suggest ordering the blush because I’m pretty sure it was a mistake (but a happy one!) and I find I wear a lot of pastel pink. They keep selling out! P.S. If you’re not into the pearl embellishment (the horror!), I also love this printed one and this velvet one. I also love this pearl hair hair tie.

Q: I am going on a girl’s trip and am looking for some trendy tops to wear during the day. Everyone is so stylish! Any picks under $80?

A: Yes! I like this with its exaggerated shoulder, this tucked in to high-waist/mom jeans, this fun polka-dotted find, this puff-sleeved sweatshirt, and this tee (a less expensive version of the ALC Kati tee).

Q: I am throwing my sister-in-law a baby shower in a couple of months and am looking for some décor inspiration that is chic and more grown-up than your typical baby shower. Knowing that you recently threw a baby shower for your friend, do you have any tips (whether about décor specifically, or just in a general sense relating to baby showers?)

A: I had so much fun planning my bestie’s shower. My bestie is anti-frou-frou and borderline allergic to games and the like. (I wasn’t even sure she would be willing to open gifts while guests looked on!) I decided to focus on a floral theme that felt elegant and feminine with only the tiniest touches of baby stuff thrown in. It sounds like your sister-in-law might appreciate something similar. I started by finding an invitation I liked (this one) and then tried to order complementary items in similar floral colorways and patterns. I was so excited to find Caspari napkins that looked tailor-made for the invite and then threw in a few of these garlands (floral!) and these picks to gussy up trays of fruit and cupcakes. It doesn’t need to be floral, though — you could also go with a “stripe/boxwood” theme starting with these invites, then find some striped cocktail napkins and do a boxwood centerpiece or cluster of centerpieces (maybe a handful of topiaries like this and this) — and, for the piece de resistance, the baby’s last name initial (or if you know it, full set of initials) using these? Epic! I guess it’s just all about starting with a theme that’s not necessarily super “infantile” and running with it. I had initially really wanted to do this bunny invitation and would have played up the gingham print on the back with napkins and a tablecloth in gingham and maybe a couple of simple white bunnies (or these) mixed in with hydrangeas on the table. (Also, these by the champagne bucket!) As a gift for my friend, I would have bought a keepsake Herend bunny and a Peter Rabbit book.

I was unafraid to mix elegant standalone things in, even if they had little to do with the theme, like these letterpress “notes to mom,” which I had everyone fill out while gifts were being opened, and this stuffed bulldog, to which I attached a cluster of white and yellow balloons, as my bestie owns a bulldog. (Bonus points: I could send her home with the dog for her baby!) If you were doing an animal theme, you could do the same thing with this dramatic stuffed giraffe or zebra. (Giraffe theme could be super cute!) OR OMG THESE.

Finally, two random thoughts: a) a couple of great party supply resources: Talking Tables has some really sweet designs, as does Sugar & Cloth. All of them could make for an elegant tablescape. b) have music playing! I did an Ella Fitzgerald essentials playlist from Apple Music via a Bose speaker and it was the perfect backdrop for a sophisticated tea.

Q: My cousin is getting married in late December. While it’s relatively far off, I like to start thinking about my cool-weather wedding wardrobe early, as I don’t have nearly as many options as I do for warmer weather weddings. I believe the attire is semi-formal — do you have any brilliant suggestions?

A: Love a fellow planner! First, let me say that my dream winter wedding dress would probably be this. DEAD. More in the realm of reality:

+Personally, I think you can pull off pastel in winter — just pair with metallics/silvers and a faux fur stole. I love this or this paired with huge sparkling studs.

+I am DYING over the simple sexiness of this velvet number. TO DIE. Wear with big glitzy earrings and a bold red lip. DEAD.

+This in the navy or rust is fetching, and this in the green feels appropriately seasonal. (I love the color emerald!)

+I feel like I am a walking ad for Saloni, but I can’t get over the lengthening effects of the cuts of their dresses. So grown-up and sophisticated. I love this and this.

+Needle & Thread always does such cool pieces in wintry styles, like this.

+Acler is a label worth watching. Love their haute couture shapes, but more reasonable prices. Like this.

+Zimmermann’s satin drape-y dresses are the best. I own several in different colors/drapings and always feel like a Grecian goddess. Love this.

Q: I saw your daughter was wearing pink sandals on your trip to Florida — where are they from???

A: These Salt Water sandals! I loved the heart cut-outs (and so did she). They can be worn in water, too!

Q: What would you wear to a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl?

A: Hi! Fun! I actually probably would not wear green — I don’t know why, but a lot of the green stuff I’ve seen is cloying for the holiday. If you’re more trendy/sporty/urban, I would probably go for coated leggings (the gals in book club were talking about this pair in particular!) and a chunky knit, finished with either on-trend booties or GG sneaks. If you lean more feminine, I’d wear a floral blouse, exaggerated shoulder top, or statement sweater in a pretty pastel with dark-wash denim.

If wearing green is non-negotiable, I do like this sweater with lighter wash denim or this floral blouse tucked into high-waist/mom jeans.

Q: Where can I buy cute toddler nightgowns? My daughter is obsessed with nightgowns but I can’t find any good sources.

A: So cute! My first thought was Petite Plume; they have the cutest prints! I love this one. (I also just discovered that they have a mommy-and-me set.) I also love this affordable style from Gap. I ordered the cutest one from Sal E Pimenta a few weeks ago, but it arrived and it is super-long so she hasn’t yet been able to wear it (I would size down).

Separately, this gingham pair of jammies looks a lot like Petite Plume but is on sale for 40% off (love you Gap).

Q: Help! I’m going to be a first time mom and have no idea what to buy in the way of maternity clothes. [Ed. note: I had about three or four similar inquiries / variations on a them so I’m rolling them all into one answer here.]

A: In general, I have tried to purchase as little as possible in the way of actual maternity clothes, both out of practicality (i.e., I will only wear these items a few months!) and vanity (i.e., most pregnancy clothing is hideous, with the exception of higher-end brands like Hatch but — then, do I really want to spend $278 on a pair of overalls I’ll wear for like three months of my life? No.) I should be up front and say that with both pregnancies, I have been on the smaller side — I didn’t really start showing in either pregnancy until around five or six months so I have been able to make non-maternity clothes work for a long time. That said, in my opinion, the absolute MUST-HAVE maternity investment pieces are:

+A good pair of maternity jeans. I love J. Brand’s Mama J in a skinny, dark wash. I also own a pair in white and a lighter wash, but if I were to only buy one, I’d get the darkest wash — I probably wear these at least 2-3x a week.

+A good pair of maternity leggings. David Lerner’s HOLD UP. I mean I probably wear them 3-4x a week and wash them every few days and they still look brand new, almost at the end of pregnancy two. I also really like Gap’s Full Panel style, but will note two things: a) taller moms have said that these are not long enough to cover their bellies, and b) they are just not as well made as DLs. I find them softer and comfier than the DLs, but they stretch out and I feel are already becoming threadbare after a few months of wear.

+Maternity tees in all colors. I love Gap’s Pure Body tees and have them in about ten colors/stripes because — at least for me, at 5’0 — they run long and cover the butt and so can be worn with leggings and a chic cardigan/duster (also like this — Gucci vibes!) without too much immodesty. I have also liked Ingrid & Isabel’s tees this go around (so soft, and surprisingly flattering? They’re cut well), though they aren’t as long.

+These maternity pajamas. I know they are expensive but I literally wear them EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and it’s pretty much the only time of day I’m truly comfortable. I’ve tried other brands of maternity jams but these are just the softest, loosest, butteriest, airiest pair ever and I love the way the robe can be cinched around the waist to create a silhouette and that the entire set can be used while nursing, too (note the nursing cami). It is simply the best money I’ve spent on myself while pregnant. They’re on sale in red here and available without the robe for under $100 here, but I own and love the black ones that come with robe. Seriously the best.

+Maternity underwear. I know it sounds crazy, but, my first go around, I could not wait for laundry day so that I would have my two pairs of maternity hotpants. They’re just that much more comfortable. This go around, I invested in a couple of additional pairs to get me through almost a full week and — what can I say? It’s the smallest luxury, but it makes me happy.

And…that’s about it when it comes to actual maternity gear. I’m not even kidding. I have tried to make do beyond these basics with oversized sweaters, cardigans, button-downs, and ponchos that can be worn post-pregnancy (I usually size up one size and just accept that it will look kind over oversized afterward). I’ve even purchased formal/semi-formal dresses in a-line or tunic shapes that can be worn post-pregnancy — I ordered this for my upcoming shower and am about to pull the trigger on this for Easter, which is like a wunderproduct for women of child-bearing years because it can be worn pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and then while nursing (those buttons!). As the temps thaw, I’ll probably rock my collection of SZ Blockprints caftans, Mi Golondrinas, and easy, loose-fitting t-dresses like this and this, none of which are maternity-specific.

I have snagged a couple of maternity tops and dresses here and there when needed for a special or specific occasion and I tend to like Seraphine (like this) and Isabella Oliver (like this) for those circumstances. Every now and then, I will order a new and inexpensive top or dress from a maternity shop because I’m feeling frumpy — stuff like this, to be worn with my GG sneaks in milder spring weather, this for an upcoming birthday party (will wear with my pearl headband, mentioned above!), and this for a family dinner.

I am currently trying to decide between a few different pairs of coated maternity leggings for an upcoming birthday party. I have a long (non-maternity) blouse that I want to wear along with my favorite booties and I just know I’ll nail the look with coated leggings. Plus, I can pair them with chunky sweaters for the rest of winter and feel semi-pulled-together (they’ll look great with my GG sneaks or tall black boots). I’m torn between these (have heard good things about their maternity line) and these (the price! — and, decent reviews). I initially considered Hatch’s pair, but — let me tell you. I was so excited about that brand and ordered a bunch of items of theirs from the big Net-A-Porter sale, but was absolutely swimming in their clothes and to return it all. I mean, I am short and petite but it looked like I was wearing a circus tent and I don’t understand how you’re supposed to make the clothes work post-pregnancy. And so I’m daunted by the fact that their leggings are OSFA…

OK, final notes. What I save on in actual maternity clothing I spend on shoes and accessories that make me feel on-trend and stylish. I mean, you can make black leggings and a black chunky sweater look like a million bucks paired with the latest in footwear! I have gotten a lot of use out of my GG sneaks, Birman booties, Zara snakeskin boots, and various pairs of designer flats (I just realized I tend to overspend in the footwear category from Gucci, Aquazzura, and Alexandre Birman — like 2/3rds of my recent footwear purchases are these labels). Having great shoes changes the way you feel about yourself and fit no matter what 🙂 If you’re looking for a great pair of shoes for spring, a couple of items on my radar: these pretty Tabitha Simmons (would look gorgeous with midi dresses or jeans!), these loud Ganni boots, these sleek mules, these floral GGs, these fun mules, and these Chanel slides (<<thinking these might be my birth gift to myself). For accessories: pearl hair accessories, my Gucci hair clip (#soextra), LSF scrunchies, statement shades, a trendy handbag.

AND. A couple of you have asked whether I tried a subscription to Le Tote for their maternity collection. I did not, but I can see the appeal if you work in an environment wear a more varied wardrobe would be expected/helpful. I did use Rent the Runway for a portion of my last pregnancy and I liked that I could size up / try on a-line or tunic-style dresses without commitment, but found — at least at the time! things may have changed! — that they were often running out of sizes and sending me my third back-up pick, and also got tired of all the trips to the post office, to be honest.

P.S. We ate well and cheaply, musings on praying a novena, and I hope I’m this kind of parent.


  1. Great picks as always! For maternity sleepwear, I LOVE this nightgown. It is so soft and so comfortable especially now that I am in the 3rd trimester and feeling enormous 🙂
    I have the navy and white and the pink and white striped ones and wear them constantly (and the price can’t be beat!)

    1. OoooOOOOO. I love their sleeveless/spaghetti strap style but had somehow not seen these! Ordering! Thanks for the tip. (Also, love that it can be used for nursing after.)


  2. Love your maternity picks. I am the same and try to get away with as few pieces as possible. Am I the only person who hates shirred/ruched shirts? Maybe it’s because I’m petite but I can’t figure out what to do with all that material – and why does anyone want to look more pregnant? But I can’t find shirts without it anywhere! I also just picked up this dress and love it and could definitely see wearing it post pregnancy too.

    I would also recommend Old Navy rockstar jeans for an inexpensive alternative and Pea In A Pod has a great pair of their LED jeans in right now.

    1. I’m so with you on the ruching! It just accentuates everything. The first time I wore a proper maternity dress this pregnancy, Mr. Magpie looked at me with his eyes bulging out of his head and said, “When did THAT happen?” HA!

      Thanks for the tip on Old Navy + PIAP jeans!!

  3. Toddler nightgowns! I am currently really liking Boden’s Toddler gowns- some are on sale right now for more than 50% off! They are thick and soft and wash really well. I tend to shy away from the brighter prints, so have the ivory and pink toy version and eggshell blue Pegasus print xox

    1. OMG – so cute!! Love the pegasus print in particular! I also like, in general, the thickness/quality/plushness of the cotton Boden uses. xx

  4. Just picked up the Ancient Greek Sandals you linked to in Gingham. I can’t wait to wear them this summer in Europe!

  5. I love these posts — they always have good pearls of wisdom, even in the questions I didn’t ask! 🙂 (Who knew about HATCH being so oversized? So glad I didn’t buy something there for my v. petite, pregnant sister, as I had thought about doing!)


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