What You’re Shopping For, May 2021: Vol III.

My final installment of answers to your shopping questions for the month of May! (See volumes I and II.). Rev your engines for June question season!

Q: Hawaiian honeymoon trousseau picks!

A: Yay! Congratulations! I shared some warm weather honeymoon picks here (scroll down to question six) and also some fun beach vacation picks here that will be good places to start. The main things? Cute swimsuits (I love this white investment you will have forever and ever); fun date night dresses like this flirty LWD for under $160, this sweet but saucy Jonathan Simkhai, and this festive Farm Rio; a big beach tote; and easy, floaty dresses that can double as cover-ups over swimwear, like this $40 Target steal in white, this Doen dupe, and a semi-sheer nap dress.

Q: One-year-old birthday dress. Pink with a sash please!

A: Happy birthday, little one! Proper Peony always does the sweetest embroidered birthday styles, like this cupcake one, or this one with presents on the front, but if you want something more traditional, you’ll probably be drawn to the timeless pieces from Anavini or Sarah Louise. If you’re game for something with a bit more of a print/pattern, I have always treasured pieces from Luli and Me (just gorgeous details) and the more bold and playful styles from Sal E Pimenta (come on!!!!) I also have to add that mini wore this sweet Bellabliss dress to school the day of her birthday and looked darling in it, and TBBC just rolled out a cute new birthday print to consider for more casual festivities.

P.S. More birthday outfits for littles here!

Q: Rattan/woven handbags.

A: You’ve come to the right place. I’ve amassed quite the collection. I have a number of bags from Pam Munson, but I basically carry her Isla Bahia tote daily in the summer. (Note: you can occasionally find past-season bags of hers at Off Fifth!) Amanda Lindroth has a cute tote style that’s a bit smaller with a slimmer profile — you can add fun liners to them, too.

Big splurge, but I’ve always lusted after Mark Cross’ box clutch bags — this one comes in a fun wicker — but there are loads of places to find far less expensive wicker clutches, including J. Crew, where I found one for under $50! That bag can go with everything in your closet! I always like something with a little extra oomph to it, so this coral-embellished variation is just my speed.

If you’re looking for something between a tote and a clutch, I like this ladylike style, this bucket style, and this top-handled crossbody.

FINALLY: I am swooning over these seagress kelly-style bags I discovered via Caitlin! Absolute perfeection.

Q: On the hunt for a black midi-length shirt dress — flexible on sleeve length. Prefer a cinched waist or style that works with belt. I can’t seem to find one!

A: I love this crisp style from COS. Their pieces always look much more fashion-forward and high-end than the cost suggests — it looks like it could be the sister of this Theory dress, which is like 4x as expensive! If you are open to linen, J. Crew has a great one out right now!

P.S. I’m also a huge fan of shirt dresses at the moment.

Q: Denim shorts. Ideally a 4″ inseam that aren’t distressed. I want a pair that will last.

A: This was a hard one — I really struggled to find longer length, non-distressed styles that didn’t look frumpy or super-dated. I’m wondering if maybe going for a solid color short would be the better route? I like these from Loft, these from Frame, these from Veronica Beard, and these from Madewell. I also shared a bunch of fun patterned styles here!

If you’re set on denim, I would go with something like this, this, or this — all three have updated shapes/styles!

Q: Sunglasses — splurge and save options?

A: Splurge: Celine or Loewe. Save: Le Specs, J. Crew, Lu Goldie, Amazon.

More fun shades here!

Q: Classy and comfy clothes for the office!

A: Shirtdresses! These look incredibly polished but are just so comfortable. (My top pick for a versatile investment shirt dress: Daphne Wilde! IMO, the perfectly-designed dress. Can be worn with or without belt, works with bump, works while nursing, works with flats, sandals, or heels, works for daytime or evening! Just perfect.) If you work in a less formal/more creative office space, add a cardigan like this to the dresses in your closet. And if you have some black pants or pencil skirts, consider upgrading your blouse to something like this Thierry Colson, this statement collar Target steal, or this dramatic Horror Vacui. Another foolproof option: a crewneck sweater with a statement skirt (also adore this) and demure pumps or flats.

Q: Summer “chasing kids appropriate” clothes for when it’s hot the next few months.

A: Almost all of these dresses are in heavy rotation for just that reason: they are easy to wear while running after children. I would probably take the Frances Valentine caftan off the list just because the sleeves and length make it a tad difficult when you really need to sprint or wash dishes. Beyond that, I have these shorts and these joggers to pair with simple tees and statement sneakers (327s are so cool, and Veja does great colors, but I’m lusting after these Loewes). I’m also totally in love with a jumpsuit like this or this with simple leather sandals, and this season has so many fantastic statement shorts that would be easy to pair with a white tank.

Last but not least, given that we will soon be enjoying a home with a backyard, I’m envisioning a lot of days spent running through the sprinkler or playing in the kiddie pool. Why not wear your suit from the getgo with a pair of no-fuss (but very chic) pull-on shorts? (These are also super fun.)

Q: Wedding in Newport, RI.

A: I’ve mentioned this dress a few times, but this Damaris Bailey does it all. It’s festive yet elegant, could be worn with big earrings and a red lip to dress up or flat sandals to dress down depending on formality of event. This is a total showstopper, and this is a black tie dream. I’ve been updating my wedding guest shop page quite a bit, too!

Q: Sandals for mom life that aren’t Tevas!

A: Freedom Moses are on-trend, inexpensive, and suitable for traipsing through water/mud. They come in tons of colors! If those are too clunky for your taste, consider this more refined variation from Stuart Weitzman, which boasts similar (wipeable!) benefits. When in doubt, swap out your sandals for trusty Supergas. They go with everything, including dresses, and are reasonably priced and washable.

Q: Kid-friendly coffee tables — maybe a round one?

A: I like this round tufted one from Pottery Barn, and then OKL has some fun patterned ones, like this, that would be safe in the 100% likely event that a child bonks his head into it. You could just layer a tray on top.

Q: Something pretty but casual to wear for a beach family picture session with a 10-month-old.

A: So fun. I actually just went through this exercise because we are getting ready for family portraits in Central Park! I landed on this sweet sundress, but I also love this pretty gingham, this breezy Juliet Dunn, this blue and white Shoshanna, this absolutely stunning scalloped Seraphina, this floaty Faithfull, and this gorgeous striped Mille (which I bought myself!)

Q: A toddler quilt.

A: I love the ones from Roller Rabbit — Hill has this one, and these hearts are sweet for a girl! — and the ones from Pehr, too. Mini has a now-retired swan print from Pehr that we use. The quality is amazing! More adorable toddler and baby bedding options here.

Q: Fourth of July outfits!

A: I got you! (I know a lot of you bought the now-sold-out shirtdress version of this chic tunic (I’m pretty sure the Magpie community single-handedly sold out that dress…) for the occasion!) Note that my top pick for the holiday from Loretta Caponi is now 30% off (!!!) and this gorgeous scalloped seersucker dress would be fun to gussy up with red sunglasses or sandals. (Loads of fun red options and accessories herethis gingham red skirt would be a fun pick!)

Q: Shorts — especially denim! Everything is so tight and too trendy for this mama.

A: I did a roundup of fun shorts here, but I would add to this list — based on what you’re telling me — these nicely-tailored, high-waist shorts from Madewell. Would look refined with a button-down and chic with a simple tank and big shades. I also shared some denim options above that have a slightly longer length than most of the styles you find out there.


  1. So many good picks here, as usual! I wanted to throw two recommendations into the ring: for rattan handbags, check out Bembien. They work with artisans in Bali to make the chicest rattan bags, and it’s a woman-owned company! Also, like Claire, I want to upvote AGOLDE for denim shorts, and specifically, the Rumi cut. They’re a hair longer than what the requester wanted (6″ inseam instead of 4″) but I just cuff them when I want to go a bit shorter, and you could easily trim off the extra length … they’re cutoffs, after all!


    1. Thank you for weighing in! Interesting note about trimming the extra length — duh! Had not thought of that!


  2. I love the & Other Stories swimsuit that you linked in the summer clothes question! I was hoping to see reviews on the sizing/fit on their website, but didn’t see any. Have you ordered swimwear from their site? I’ve found that swimwear doesn’t always run true to size depending on the maker. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Jaime! Unfortunately, I have not ordered their swimwear so cannot comment :(. Maybe another Magpie has? I have ordered a number of their pieces in the past and found that they ran a little big though — specifically thinking of two dresses that were a tad big when I took my true size.


  3. I have a pair of freedom Moses and they are very comfortable and def more supportive than your avg slide but! The buckles are fake and this really bothers me (aesthetically, not physically). They look kind of like … doll shoes? For that reason alone, I prefer the rubber birks. And to the reader asking about Jean shorts — I cannot recommend AGolde more, though mine are distressed. That said, they’re so good! One of the post-partum things I’m most looking fwd to is wearing them again.

    1. Oh interesting! Hadn’t noticed that detail about the FM slides. That might bother me too! And thanks for the tip on the shorts! I feel like a lot of us love that denim brand.


  4. Jen! I’m a huge fan of your blog and always look forward to reading it daily. We also have kids similar ages so your musings and recommendations on parenting are always particularly appreciated! I’ve never written before but am stymied for the first time on a fashion question. I’m a bridesmaid this October at my best friend’s wedding and have been tasked with finding my own dress in either gold or rust color (black tie). Any suggestions?? Xoxo, Lauren

    1. Hi Lauren! Thank you so much!!! So happy to have you reading along. Great to meet you.

      Now this was a tricky one! I wonder if velvet is OK? If so, I absolutely LOVE this Jenny Yoo in the English Rose (rust/mauve) color:


      So, so chic. I think Jenny Yoo has a number of dresses in that color in case you don’t like that style.


  5. Thanks for the coffee table suggestions! I love the PB one, don’t know why upholstered didn’t occur to me…. of course, they’re so backordered, but it may be worth the wait. Also going through all your suggestions for dresses since we’re doing photos for the baby’s first birthday…

    1. Yay!! I know, beginning to fret about not having furniture in our new house for a good six months…


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