Mr. Magpie and I were up in rural Ohio for a beautiful, rustic-style wedding on a farm this past weekend, and while we could not stop commenting on the crisp, cool air and the beautiful, nearly-fall foliage, the experience reconfirmed what I’ve long known: that this little Magpie is most definitely a city gal. Driving through remote parts of the midwest was lovely, but I missed the hustle-bustle of city life. My morning jog through “town” felt a bit unnerving: not a soul in sight on the Sunday morning streets; nary a car to distract me from my slow-moving progress (it was cold and I just could not get into a rhythm).
After I mentioned my discomfort with the deserted ghost town vibe I was getting, Mr. Magpie reminded me of his longtime dream of owning and operating a small farm outside Charlottesville, and that I should probably begin to negotiate with the idea of becoming a “country mouse” for at least part of the year. (Mr. Magpie is endlessly fascinating to me in this way: he is an unexpected and mysterious mix of the dapper prepster and the outdoorsy adventure-man. On the one hand, he’s the best-dressed guy I’ve ever met and he cares about things like how to fold a pocket square and pair printed ties with striped shirts; on the other: he is one of those guys who will have blood gushing out of his elbow and not notice or care until you point it out to him, at which point he’ll casually glance down and shrug it off — “I dunno how I got that.” How did this man come to be?) The comment sparked a little fashion challenge that preoccupied the majority of our bajillion hour road trip home, however: what would a “country mouse” version of this little Magpie look like? What would she have packed for this Labor Day weekend trip?
Step 1: Replace label-studded luggage with utilitarian-chic overnight bag. Though I love my little Louis duffel, it just doesn’t work outside the city. I’d replace it with a Klein canvas tool bag ($90, Klein Collections):
Step 2: Retool city slicker travel outfit (blue shirt dress, leopard print scarf, statement necklace and ring, and gold sandals) with down-to-earth separates, like a plaid shirt ($150, Neiman’s), a puffer vest ($118, J.Crew), and some lived-in jeans (7 for All Mankind, $198, ChickDownTown):
I think you could get away with Minnetonka Mocs if you’re so inclined (I’m a woman in love — I cannot stop obsessing over them), but Frye boots are a solid choice as well (I like the “Paige” tall boots in dark brown, but they have tons of styles — $348, Heery’s):
One of Southern Proper’s “Frat Hats” might be an appropriate addition (also comes in camo print, if you are so inclined — $25, SouthernProper):
Step 3: Cleanse wardrobe of prints, sticking to neutrals like khaki, hunter green, rust red, and faded gray. Stock up on worn-in knits — simple tees ($19.50, Madewell) that can work effortlessly with a utility jacket ($265, PiperLime) and easy-on knit sweater ($129, Eddie Bauer):
Step 4: Denim. Lots of it. The Current/Elliott “Perfect Shirt” is pretty much the It item in terms of the “work shirt” trend that took over this season (I’ve seen it on sale for $122 at Bergdorf Goodman, but you can buy it pretty much everywhere and in a number of washes):
Step 5: Load up on heavy fabrics. We were in for a big surprise when the temperatures dipped into the low 50s — I was c-o-o-old! I wanted lots of heavy wools, furs, and corduroys for comfort. Lucky for those country mice out there, shearling is BIG this season, as was demonstrated on the runway —
…and though I can’t quite get on board with the shearling-collar coat trend, I’m kind of obsessing over this affordable rich leather tote with shearling lining/trim ($60, ASOS):
I know it won’t “warm” you exactly, but it just looks so yummy and vintage-cool. Something that will keep you toasty? These shearling gloves…die.over.them ($196, ShopSavannah):
Hm, perhaps country living ain’t so bad after all…