Q: I’d love to see a round-up of “outfit formulas” for a new customer-facing job in tech. Dress code is less formal and traditional than my previous consulting work, but need to look put together. My only formula so far is jeans, low heels, top and blazer. I’d love more ideas!
A: I’d also reach for jeans and a blazer, but another formula would be statement pants paired with a simple white tee or blouse (more options here) and polished flats. Here are a few fun pants that will read “pulled-together” with a tucked-in tee — the key to me is that the waist is high and the pants have an element of sophistication to them.
BODEN – IN THE ENGLISH IVY ESPECIALLY
THIS PATTERN REMINDS ME OF PRADA
Q: Maternity clothes. Help! Under $100 but need something to help me adjust to this changing body.
A: Congratulations! There are a bunch of great maternity-friendly finds here! Personally, I would take advantage of the loose fitting dresses that are trending and buy things you can wear while not pregnant! Here are a few great options…
THE FAMOUS NIGHTGOWN DRESS ($30)
Q: Outdoor love seat.
A: I love this one — I have the dining chairs that match this on our patio and am so impressed with the quality (very heavy weight, sturdy and the cushions come in great colors/stripes!). This is more of a chaise but j’adore! I also like PB’s new Hampton line of outdoor furniture, which includes a chic love seat, which looks so easy to keep clean (just wipe down — less likely to show wear than cushions). And then this one makes me feel like I’m in a Parisian restaurant!
Q: A REALLY fun outfit to wear for my bachelorette party.
Q: A Kindle and carrier for it.
A: I adore my Kindle Paperwhite, though I should note it depends on how you intend to use the Kindle. My Kindle is only for reading — no other apps, bells, or whistles — and I love it for that reason. It’s a “single use device.” I think I would be distracted by pop-ups and emails coming through. However, my MIL has a Kindle Fire (more of a full service tablet) and LOVES it. If you’re going the Paperwhite route, the cover is more protective (while being toted in a bag) and decorative — I would go for something simple like this. If you’re going with the Fire, I would get one of the styles that folds, origami-like, so you can prop it up while watching something, like this or this. Enjoy! My Kindle changed my life!
Q: June wedding, upstate NY, outdoors.
A: Fun! I had to do a quadruple take when I saw this under-$100 Mango dress, which looks so much like something by Zimmermann. Would be chic with this season’s trending platforms and a clutch like this or this. A few other pretty options:
THIS JOYFUL CELIA B (20% OFF WITH CODE YOUROCK)
THIS DRAMATIC AND WILLOWY BERNADETTE
Q: Party dress for an outside event in NYC.
A: Oo la la! I like something with a bit of drama…this Agua Bendita, this Maria Del Orden, this Sue Sartor, this Hunter Bell, these striped trousers, this eyelet trim maxi ($40!) with a wristful of gold bangles.
Q: Breast-feeding friendly summer tops.
A: I’d reach for button-downs like this, this, this, or this layered over nursing tanks paired with white jeans or shorts. Also would hunt for smocked tops like this and this! You might also take a look at Buru, which has an entire section of “easy access” pieces for nursing mamas and Ellie and Becca, a line dedicated to breastfeeding-friendly and chic pieces.
Q: Gift ideas for future sister-in-law — she just got engaged to my brother!
A: So sweet! Do you mean a gift to celebrate the engagement? I would get her a gift certificate to a nail salon so she can show off her new bling to full effect, or an elegant Smythson wedding planning notebook.
Q: A simple jacket for light layering over tanks (SF, always slightly chilly but also warm).
A: Alice Walk’s trench coat, this knit brushed style from BR, this wrap jacket, or this stunner from Tory Burch (not exactly simple but sooo chic). For something more casual/utility-chic, consider this relaxed style from J. Crew or the trending “chore jacket” style. Alternately, you might just use a chunky knit cardigan as a stand-in — that’s probably what I would do.
Q: A bra to wear with high-neck/race-back tanks.
A: I really like Natori’s underpinnings, so would start there. (I specifically adore and almost exclusively wear their Feathers bra, but that one doesn’t have a racerback.). Beneath floaty dresses, I live in these seamless racerbacks, but if you need something with more structure, you might try this style from Commando.
Q: Inspiration for dressing back at a business casual office a couple days a week.
A: I would look for interesting takes on striped shirtdresses, like this Hunter Bell, this Zara, this La Ligne, this RL, and this Max Mara — all pieces that project a perspective but still feel traditional and poised.
Q: A stylish but comfortable way to commute with a laptop back and forth to the city. Tried a backpack, but I just can’t.
A: Ha! I so hear this. There have been times I’ve tried a trend or style that is just NOT me and I can’t get over it. Have you tried an MZ Wallace? They are super lightweight on their own, feature zip top (so handy while commuting), and the material is forgiving/wipable. One caveat: people do complain about the shoulder straps, which can slide off your shoulder unless you twist the straps under one another. I think the quilted style is very chic. So many women in NYC wear these as commute bags! More polished option: Cuyana’s zip top tote. Easily fits a laptop and looks pulled together — again features that crucial zipper top.
I don’t know anything about this brand, but I did also come across this style from Troubadour, which comes with a built-in, padded laptop section and seems to have lots of promising features. It does not have a zip top so may not be as appealing but check it out!
Q: Neutral newborn outfit for leaving the hospital in August/September. (Not finding out gender!)
A: Congratulations! Kissy Kissy has a footie that comes in all white that is a total classic and just the softest material on earth. You could also put him or her in a white onesie inside of this beyond adorable bunny coverall. I bought this for my son and then gifted another to my sister when her son was born. Also love this royal style from Jacadi — their size 01M fits more like NB; super tiny. It would work on a girl or boy I think! More layette ideas here!
Q: Thank you gift for sponsors to a country club – nicer for lead, simpler for co-sponsors.
A: You might have already done this, but you might want to check the club’s rules on this front; I think it might be frowned upon in certain places, as it could imply some kind of payment for sponsorship. If it’s appropriate, though, I would give co-sponsors a nice candle with a hand-written note. I recently gave this “retreat” scent from LAFCO as a houseguest gift; I love this Tocca scent for summer; Diptyque Baies is a forever favorite; and I have given a few Hotel Lobby candles as gifts, which smell incredible. Alternately, take a look at In the Roundhouse — the punchiest, most FUN plates I’ve ever seen. I love these bowls and this oyster plate in particular. If any/all of the sponsors are golfers, this personalized golf towel would be a thoughtful gesture (“can’t wait to see you on the links!”) or a Harding Lane golf hat.
Q: Baby shower dress this July. I’ll be seven months pregnant.
A: Congratulations! I would consider this Casey Marks, this Mango, this pink Great dress, this Frances Hart dress, this Meadows, this Marysia, this Hunter Bell, and this Mi Golondrina. This Rhode is also super fun but might be difficult with bump – hard to tell, possibly worth a try! MAJOR statement.
Q: Gift for a friend’s ordination as a Catholic priest.
A: This is so sweet of you. My first thought was a rosary with beautiful olive wood beads or stationery with his new ordained name (i.e., “Father Mike”), but then I also thought to myself: “priests are humans, too, and maybe something celebrating him and his personal interests would be nice.” Maybe a Yeti coffee mug if he enjoys coffee, a moleskine notebook and good pen if he journals, a cookbook if he enjoys cooking.
Q: Cover-ups (shawls, etc) for weddings/events — I am always cold.
Q: Cute athletic wear for my almost two year old starting soccer. Does such clothing exist?