cecilie bahnsen dress

What You’re Shopping For, March 2021 Edition, Vol I.

Image above via Cecilie Bahnsen. I was startled and encouraged by how many of you are on the hunt for special occasion dresses! Woohoo! Things are looking up!

Breaking up your latest batch of inquiries over a series of posts!

Q: Beach wedding guest in Cabo over Memorial Day weekend. It will be our first time traveling in two years (had a baby and then COVID), but I have no clue what to wear under $400.

A: The number of inquiries along these lines has totally lifted my spirits today. Onward! I have the perfect dress for you: this ray of sunshine (on sale!) Absolutely stunning and in the perfect color for MX in my opinion. This one is also ready to party if the vibe is more casual. If neither of those speak to you, there are a couple of other good picks in this roundup.

Q: Aesthetically-pleasing items for the kitchen countertop.

A: This is a fun one! I’m thinking of a pretty utensil holder and salt cellar and a gorgeous fruit bowl or dramatic platter to house fresh produce. I also love our cake dome (this one is also very chic), which I permanently keep on our kitchen counter to house treats/bread/etc. (You can even put storebought Oreos in there, piled high on a pretty plate! Whatever you have on hand!). Our cake dome inverts into a punch bowl, which we’ve used at parties in years past, but which also doubles as a dramatic showcase if you have a ton of lemons/limes/fruit on hand.

I also like the idea of an elegant pitcher (this one is architectural), whether home to a spray of flowers or fresh water with lemon slices in it, as a mainstay on a kitchen counter. Similarly, I love a lacquer tray like this with some juice glasses and a carafe out and at the ready for drinking! (More chic drinking glasses here.)

For sink area, an automated soap dispenser looks slick and you can keep sponges hidden in-sink with this, which we use.

Q: Rug for underneath a glass waterfall console table like the CB2 one.

A: Since the table is clear, I think you can get away with a big statement there, unless you have a ton that’s competing with it in the room. I love the bright styles from Dash & Albert, including this rugby stripe, this indigo style, and this island stripe, which I almost bought for our foyer. We’ve also had really good luck with amazing finds at Jayson Home and they have an outrageous collection of vintage rugs. This one is fun. For something more playful, take a look at Anthro, which is full of whimsical finds like this!

I have also always loved the look of this dot rug, especially as a runner.

Q: Chic and simply crossbody bag – leather. Under $100! I don’t want to worry about it.

A: OK, this is slightly over at $128, but je l’adore. So cool with that racer stripe and the canvas strap! It looks like Clare Vivier.

Truly under $100: you can’t go wrong with anything by Cuyana. The quality is amazing for the price, and you can have your initials monogrammed on it.

P.S. More great bags for everyday adventures here.

Q: What shade of Westman Atelier foundation do you use? I have been torn on which to try. I’ve done so many shade matchers, and they all have different results (one of the first three colors). Do you use their foundation brush or another one? I’ve heard theirs is key, but it’s pricy. 

A: I use their 0 shade.  I am pretty pale, especially during winter. I might try the next darkest shade for summer.  One thing I like about ordering from Sephora is that they have a generous return policy.  You could order two or three shades and then return whichever does not work for you, even if you’ve used it a little bit.  I apply the foundation stick with an Artis No. 6 brush.  I am obsessed with this brush, specifically in the No. 6 shape.  Technically I think they recommend an 8 for applying foundation but I like the little head of the six — gives so much control when blending.  It is magical, and it works GREAT with the W.A.  Bonus on the 6 shape: it’s SO versatile as a brush.  I can also use for undereye concealer and even blush!

My biggest tip with W.A. products is to make sure your skin is well-hydrated first. I love this reasonably priced, deeply hydrating gel cream in the winter and I just saw they released it in a limited edition mega size. Ordering now.

Q: Have you bought anything from Vita Grace? It has bad reviews but I’m tempted.

A: I have only purchased this pearl trim cardigan, which I wore a ton this winter. I loved the style! I would say the quality matches the price — it’s probably around J. Crew quality. The sweater was not particularly soft but nice and thick. I can’t speak to anything else, though. I understand the hesitation!

P.S. Some of my favorite cardigans this season.

Q: A soft cardigan — maybe cashmere? — that can be put over a summer dress for spring.

A: I own J. Crew’s Jackie cotton cardigans in a rainbow of colors, but the white and black are timeless, non-distracting, comfortable, and I like the slim profile (no added bulk). Everlane has a classic cashmere cardigan in a similar profile on sale in a wear-with-everything bone color at the moment — I have a few of their crewneck cashmere cardigans that I wear a lot in the winter. For a bit more of a trendy statement, consider this bold collared beauty, or a chunky cardigans like this, this, or this. I’ve been wearing a lot of ones like the latter and I think they would add a little edge to the dresses as we ease into warmer weather.

Q: Woven mules that could transition into fall.

A: I love the ones from Artemis Designs, which I think you could pick in a print that would work into fall, like this or this. So interesting! Not woven, but I think my favorite versatile everyday mule that could work summer to fall is this pair from Nicholas Kirkwood. It would work with everything from jeans to shirtdresses!

Q: Nursing clothes!

A: Shirtdresses (love this floral, this gingham, this stripe, this trench style, this toile), button-front dresses like this, or button-downs from RL, Everlane, ASOS paired with your favorite jeans (or leggings, in the case of ASOS). My favorite nursing bra was Bravado!

I also just discovered this small business that specifically focuses on nursing-friendly clothing for moms that has some cute finds. This dress is classic and versatile!

Q: Maui beach elopement dress. Full wedding was pushed to 2022.

A: Oo, congratulations! I love this style from Kleid, this LSF, this Ulla Johnson, and this Zimmermann.

Q: Daughter-in-law birthday gift.

A: So sweet. There are some great personalized gifts here that might speak to you (I just treated myself to this), but a few items I personally love and have given loved ones or received as a gift myself: Weezie short robe, Lake Pajamas, Pam Munson bag, and a fancy face mask. One of my favorite somewhat random gifts I received from my mother-in-law was a set of appetizer plates from Crate and Barrel. I literally use them every single day. A set of pretty melamine plates would also be a fun gift.

Finally, a few versatile pieces I think any girl would love, all under $100:




Q: How to style a nap dress for chilly Northeast Easter?

A: I would wear underneath a chunky cardigan like this, this, this, or this. I would probably be risky and go no-tights and closed-toe pumps or flats, but that’s just me!

Q: Spring pants! Not jeans. Not athleisure. Not business. What to wear?!

A: I love the look of these with a striped Kule tee and captoe flats or cool kicks. I also got a lot of wear out of these wide-leg cropped khakis — they looked fantastic with a pointed toe flat and crewneck sweater. I also have the jumpsuit version of these wide leg linen pants and they are so cute!

Q: Round tablecloth for a kitchen table.

A: The prints at India Amory are so cute — how cheerful is this sweet green print? I also love this Pottery Barn style. If those are too busy for your tastes, you can’t go wrong with Matouk’s scalloped style, which comes in a range of gorgeous colors. Everything I’ve ever owned from Matouk has been exceptionally well made.

P.S. Affirmations and things I have learned from my mother.

P.P.S. Falling in love with my husband.


  1. Jen – can you put together an elevated athleisure for men post for summer? Got my husband the OV jogger set you recommended and he’s OBSESSED. Looking for birthday ideas to help up his style game for the warmer months.

    1. Great idea for a post! Will put it on the list! Thanks! In the near term, I have to urge you to look at Todd Snyder. They do a great weekend short that feels like elevated athleisure:



  2. Quick question – does the first cake dome featured keep baked goods fresh? Would it fit an 8-inch round cake? Thank you!

    1. Hi Emily — I would say the dome does keep baked goods MUCH fresher than if they were just left on the counter. Probably comparable results to wrapping something in saran? It does fit an 8″ cake!


    1. Hi Michelle! Aren’t they great?! I ordered the medium — from the pictures, it looked like the ideal size for toting my workday essentials around the house. Not too big, not too small. Mine has not yet arrived but will report back once it does!


  3. Help! I need a gift for my future father in law. He’s in his 70s, has very simple taste, doesn’t drink. He can only read on a Kindle now, so we didn’t want to get a book for the Kindle- we’d like like to actually send an item. He likes the mountains, baseball, and is very quiet and reserved. It’s a tall order but if anyone can do it you can!! :). Xo

    1. Hm…what about a baseball cap from his favorite team? Those always go over well with my father-in-law. We’ve probably given him three or four UVA hats over the course of my knowing him — he lives in them! That or maybe a light jacket/pullover — I love the windbreaker from Marmot (we gave that to my father in law and he wears it constantly):


      One other thought – would he be interested in an MLB baseball subscription package? You’ll have to look into the details but Landon has a subscription so he can watch every single ball game in the season.


    1. Hi! I prefer Kule. I tried St. James on in a store years ago and felt like it was just too boxy on me — also not a huge fan of the boatneck. I find Kule has more modern, flattering silhouettes, personally!


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