Image above via Tabacaru.
Q: Retirement gift for my mom. I got my dad a S&B life belt but can’t think of a comparable gift for her.
A: What about a custom Hart Hagerty charm necklace? You can pick all the charms so that it’s customized to her past career or just more generally about her life thus far. Another idea would be to lean into hobbies or trips she might be gearing up for — gardening gear, travel gear, etc? I shared some great travel items here. I like the symbology of something pertaining to travel, i.e., “For your NEXT adventure…” Last but not least, if she does not yet have one, perhaps you could get her a Kindle and a gift card to fuel her retirement reading habit!
A: Inexpensive (like under $50, does it exist?) heel for summer weddings.
A: I got you.
Q: I am going to a fancy horse racing even this spring and was wondering if you had any ideas on what to wear.
A: Oh yes! Horse races were a big part of my UVA experience. I would go for a notch above a sundress. My top pick is this CeliaB, 20% off with code YOUROCK. I also love this gingham Hunter Bell, this pinstriped En Saison, this floral Tanya Taylor, and this Agua Bendita.
Q: Chic hiking attire for a summer trip to Iceland.
A: I understand it can be quite cold there even in summer — I would lean towards layers. (The Icelandic brand 66North has a guide on what to pack and wear here, FYI, and they sell a bunch of weather-appropriate pieces, including these leggings specifically designed for Icelandic hiking). I would start with a base layer from Tracksmith, Smartwool, We Norwegians, or Bogner. All of these are specifically designed for athletic wear outdoors — breathable but warm. I would pair any of these with merino leggings, like the ones from 66North, or Tracksmith’s Turnover style (which I would wear running outdoors in like 8 degrees and still feel fine in). If there is milder weather, you could get away with this chic pair from Falke. For a mid-layer or top-layer (depending on how cold), you might consider one of these NB Heat Loft tunics. I have a jacket and a pullover in NB’s Heat Loft technology and I don’t understand how it works but it REALLY keeps the heat in but still allows you to breathe and move? It’s incredible. Pack proper hiking socks from Smartwool (note they have different “cushion”/weights available, including this heavier duty one) or Darn Tough. I have always wanted the red-laced hiking boots from Danner, but regardless, make sure you have legit hiking boots! Finally, for outerwear, you might consider the options from Stio. One option for a slightly milder day — pair base layer and mid layer and toss this AMAZING Marmot windbreaker in your backpack. It is easy to compress / folds down to nothing, but does a good job of insulating and protecting from wind (and rain, obviously). I wore this and the matching pants a lot while hiking in CO. Really solid rain gear! And don’t forget a hat! I like this one.
Q: Destination wedding (formal).
A: This is beyond magic, this is romantic, this is punchy, and I adore this dramatic tiered black style. All of them feel to me a bit more “party-ready” (i.e., destination wedding appropriate) than “formal” might read in, say, Manhattan.
Q: Rehearsal dinner in June — I’m the bride.
A: Congratulations! I have been obsessing over this Rebecca Taylor dress. Spectacular and would be ideal for a rehearsal dinner in June. Also love this La Ligne, and if you are open to something with color on it, this Lug Von Siga is unbelievable.
Q: Guest bathroom soap dispenser.
A: I love the styles from Kassatex — we have this one in our guest bathroom, and I also like this one. (Though they are labeled as “lotion dispensers,” they work for soap.) If you have a coastal vibe, consider these steals from UO and Target.
Q: Matching or coordinating outfits for 1 y/o and3 y/o ring bearers — August in Maine.
A: If super traditional/formal, dobby suits from Little English or Rachel Riley. Alternately, a suit — Janie and Jack makes them in tiny sizes! I like the way a suit or dungarees look on a little boy paired with a mandarin collar top. If less formal, go with seersucker-centric outfits, like this look for the baby and a suit for the older boy.
Q: Charity event, attire is “spring cocktail.”
Q: Bridal “getting ready” robe, something very feminine and a little sexy.
A: Congratulations! This long Lunya is spectacular — I love the cuffs and delicate waist tie. Cosabella has a pretty lace-trim style that feels a propos, and a full lace one (you’d need a white slip beneath). A bit bolder, but Julia Amory has some fantastic printed/ruffled styles that could be fun, and if you like that vibe but not in a pattern, consider this ruffle-trim style from Lenora. A bit louder/saucier: this feather-trim style!
Q: Fun, inexpensive clutch to bring to weddings.
A: This $128 clutch reminds me of the Cult Gaia style everyone has been loving! Major statement! I also love my satin Roop bag — I have a black and white polka dot style but comes in tons of fun colors! Alternately, less bold, but this affordable rattan clutch would be a workhorse. More casual: this ark style!
Q: Affordable matching pajamas for cousins. Unisex and size 3m-6/7!
A: Old Navy! They have a great citrus print (baby, toddler, children) and I also like the navy stars (baby, toddler/children). I also like this c A bit pricier, but Hanna Andersson has some styles 40% off right now – I like the baltic stripes.
Q: Religious medal/token for woman struggling with infertility.
A: This is really such a beautiful question — you are a good friend. My friend Christina sells fertility dolls and keychains handmade by artisans in Ghana in her home decor boutique, St. Frank. In the Catholic faith, St. Gerard is the patron saint for expectant mothers/fertility, and you can find lots of medals with his likeness on Etsy, like this vintage tin pin or this rope bracelet.
Q: French Market bag / panier.
A: This Etsy one is a perennial best-seller. I also like the ones with the colored handles from the same boutique! For something a bit smaller with more flair, I like this wicker style and this one from Amanda Lindroth. Splurge: Loewe has several, including this popular style and this one. And this $59 Mango steal has a very Loewe vibe.
Q: Cute headband. Under $20. Growing out my dyed hair and need something to break it up.
A: I love a classic tortoise style — very polished, very Grace Kelly. A two-pack will run you $10 here! A few other options: on-trend rattan or straw, white eyelet, or ($4 over) the linen styles from Madewell, which I adore, like this one and this one.