*Image above of Deeda Blair’s bedroom in her Washington, D.C. home. Wowza.
I’ve broken this month’s inquiries into three parts — if you don’t see your question answered here, rest assured I will respond within the next two posts! These are so fun for me!
Q: Couch. Debating white couch with a kid.
A: Honestly, as much as I hate to say this, unless it’s in a formal living room rarely used by your children, I would steer away from white seating for the time being. For the last few years, I have consistently resisted practicality in favor of aesthetics and am constantly paying the (literal) price, whether that means needing to buy new furniture or feeling as though I’ve flushed $100 down the drain on a precious smocked piece ruined after one wear. The only exception I can think of is if you like the slipcovered look — then you can launder or even replace the slipcover when (not if) a stain appears. Even then, you might be a glutton for punishment in stark white. I think you could go for a neutral that’s not full-on white (oatmeal, fog) just to be safe.
If you’re asking for more general couch recommendations, I think Pottery Barn is the sweet spot for heavily-used couches during the young children years. Classic, comfortable, not so precious you will weep when they are stained, good quality, etc. We had one of them in the basement of our Chicago home and it was just a great, solid purchase. You can zhush it up with designer pillows! My favorite style of theirs is the Buchanan — love the clean lines and rolled arms.
Q: A classic white or cream dress to wear my daughter’s Christening in July.
A: Congratulations! I shared a bunch of my favorite LWDs for the season here, but a few perfect options:
If you are open to a print/a little color, this Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini leaves me weak in the knees…
This is probably too heavy for July, but I know several Magpie mamas have bought this elegant tweed Sandro dress for the Baptisms of their children — trop chic.
Q: Classic, traditional Baptism invitations!
A: Congratulations!!! I like something simple and traditional like this — I would probably go for a lighter color than the navy shown (and they have tons of options), but navy is also attractive. For something with a little more design to it, this foliage one and this botanical one are both lovely. Some of the super-simple styles (i.e., black cross with black lettering) look more like funeral cards to me, so I steered clear of those, but this one might work thanks to the colored cross in the middle. If you are very set on something even more staid/traditional, I would go to a local stationer that carries Crane’s and have an ecru card thermographed or printed with the information.
Q: Summer internship outfits (for humid DC weather!)
A: Oh, this is a tricky one! (Congrats on the internship BTW!) The key is layering because it is unbearably hot and humid in D.C. in the summer, but the office buildings are always freezing. I still remember coming out of the office and actually enjoying the blast of still, hot air! I would say D.C. tends to be fairly conservative in the office place, especially since many of the big employers there are government or law. I would buy a few skirts and button-downs from places like J.Crew, Banana, and COS — safe but not fuddy-duddy, reasonably-priced (and you can often get a discount on top at J. Crew and BR), and in classic colors that are easy to mix and match. I like, as an example, this pull-on linen skirt (in any of the colors!) with this striped button-down in the navy and white. Finish with a pair of pointed-toe flats — I would probably stick with their “rose nappa” color, which is a great neutral that will go with anything. (If that’s too pricey, these are fantastic, too. I like the sharpness of the pointed toe, which makes it look more high-fashion/expensive than it is.) A few other skirts/button-downs I like:
If you’re a dress gal, shirt dresses will never steer you wrong. I just wrote an entire roundup of great shirt dresses, many of which would be lovely for work.
Q: Birthday clothes for my two year old son.
A: Happy birthday, little man! I shared some sweet birthday outfits for little ones a few months ago, but please add these birthday jammies to your cart! So, so cute! If you don’t need the birthday outfit to scream BIRTHDAY PARTY, just pick a special outfit you love, like a pair of festively-colored jon jons, to celebrate.
Q: Casual work dresses without collars (very specific, I know).
A: I am intrigued by the specificity! A few worth considering:
Q: A monogrammed card holder.
A: What a fun gift for yourself. I shared some thoughts on chic monogrammed wallets in this post and some card case options here that might be worth considering, but my top pick would be one of these card cases with the shadow lettering. So unusual and special! (You can get the look for less with these.) What a treasure.
Q: Fun day dresses that can go into night.
A: I love this question — it makes me excited for a return to date nights and gatherings with friends. A few great day-to-night dresses (just swap out footwear/add a clutch):
RHODE ELLA DRESS — JUST AS CHIC WITH SIMPLE FLAT SANDALS AS IT IS WITH MULES
THIS FLOATY RIXO — NOTE IT IS STYLED WITH SNEAKERS BUT I CAN IMAGINE IT WITH A CUTE STRAPPY SANDAL IN THE EVENING
ROMANTIC LINEN REFORMATION — AGAIN, IT’S A MATTER OF FOOTWEAR AND POSSIBLY A SWIPE OF RED LIPSTICK
Zara is also always good to dig through for hidden gems along these lines — love this red floral (imagine tying your hair up in a top knot and pairing with big earrings for dinner out) — and I shared a couple of beach vacation dresses here that are designed to go from poolside to bar that might be a good fit!
Q: A French blue accent chair (kid-friendly) that would fit into a corner next to my fireplace.
A: I would look at Society Social! They do tons of fun shapes and styles with loads of fabric options, including this bamboo style and this Parson’s. If those are pricier than you care to go, The Inside does a slipper chair in a french blue stripe that might be up your alley, and this OKL one is lovely, too, though I should include the caveat that I find OKL pieces are hit or miss from a quality standpoint.
Q: Dress for a luncheon with a bump!
A: Congratulations! I shared some recent maternity dresses and nursing-friendly dresses that would be worth a quick looksie loo (many of the nursing-friendly pieces would also work with bump), but a couple of additions:
Q: An affordable and quality white campaign dresser for my son’s big boy room.
A: I would go with this Pottery Barn style or this Crate + Barrel. They aren’t cheap but I find them reasonably priced when you consider that these are pieces that will last, not warp or wobble, etc. I have a C+B dresser that I bought for myself just after I graduated from college (so, close to 20 years ago!) and it’s still in great condition despite being used in both of our children’s nurseries. I say those pieces are worth the investment over budget/discount brands. Personally, I would spend a bit more on furniture and save on rug and decor.
Q: Special, heirloom quality earrings for a wedding. Real pearl and/or diamond drop preferred.
A: Mazel tov! For a serious investment, it doesn’t get better than these Tiffany pearl and diamond drops. Stunning. I also love the look of a double pearl drop earring (sort of girl-with-the-pearl-earring-inspired — pearls are so pretty against skin!) and this pearl and diamond drop style. One benefit of going pearl-only is that you can usually get a bigger/more dramatic earring for a fraction of the cost of a diamond-centric one.
You might also spend some time paging through vintage ones from 1st Dibs — these are gorgeous!
Q: A graduation present for a nephew!
A: My first thought was something that he might use for a new job, commute, or apartment. Graduation is such an interesting milestone because so much changes just after — work! lifestyle! living space! A few ideas…
AIR PODS TO KEEP HIM COMPANY ON PUBLIC TRANSIT COMMUTE
SUBSCRIPTION TO WSJ (I WOULD GO DIGITAL)
Q: Bedside table under $400. White or navy blue.
A: I feel like I’m a spokesperson for PB today, but I would start there for a good quality piece that is in your budget range. Something like this is timeless, and you could even swap out the hardware if you want to personalize it a bit. I also like this with the bead board. If you’re more into navy, this Anthro style is unexpected and chic, or you could go super simple with these side tables from Serena & Lily, though I think I’d personally prefer a bedside table with a drawer for necessities.
Q: Botanical cocktail dress.
A: Love you for the specificity of the hunt. Agua Bendita is the name of the game here. How stunning is this or this? A few others: Banjanan, Daydress, Azulu, Rebecca Taylor, nap dress in the blue botanical, Reformation,