There’s something incredibly satisfying about wearing a piece of clothing, a lot. And that sensation is wholly different from the feeling one has when you’re thinking “shit, this dress again?” These polarized emotions are emblematic of one closest built on the concept of tools that reflect your personal style vs. a closet of outfits and stuff. Visuals speak louder than words, so let’s start with this one: "the white cotton shirtdress". One can’t be blamed for viewing this through the lens of “an easy summer dress.” Etiquette books throughout the century have drilled in the concept that white after or before certain months simply “isn’t done.” But, as you can imagine, I find that wholly uninteresting. And impractical. There’s nothing chicer than a white dress in winter, and there’s REALLY nothing chicer than getting tremendous wear out of pieces you love.
The tools in my closet are grounded in purpose. The long wool coat that’s a bit blanket-like, turtlenecks thin enough for layering but gutsy enough for warmth. Jackets with roomy armholes permitting sweaters underneath, all without making me resemble those creepy dolls we made growing up in art class using pantyhose, rubber bands and pillow stuffing. The good socks, boots and slides in a range of neutrals that really work for piling on. The light cardigan that functions as a hoodie or a slim layer. And then, of course, the dress that works in NY in December and in Mallorca as a coverup.
Here’s one of those creepy dolls in case you wanted a visual. Now try and unsee this…
There are also some fabrics just simply made for versatility. The nylon for this pull on skirt is one of them. It hits all the marks: PDW, CMC, and 12moer. And it’s no accident because these are the things Traci and I labor over when designing the collection. Myriad factors are in my head when choosing fabrics: the realities of working in a big city, residing in a suburb, being a mom, an exec and a creative, and traveling to really interesting and far flung places. Not to mention being fully repelled by the concept of throw away fashion.
The case study here: the pull on skirt. The nylon is a dense enough weave to repel wind - what that means is a jacket doesn’t have to cover my bum if I’m outside on a really chilly day. This is when I pull out my closet tools: the oversized cashmere knit, the good long sock, the tall boot, the blazer that gives refinement and elevation, and the sleeveless hoodie that adds the good chill. And of course, in the spring months, the skirt becomes the tool that elevates my favorite tee and slide. And lastly, but not least by a stretch, I want to address the combination of style and fabric that results in the covetable balance of chill, modernity and refinement. Here’s what I mean - even the best of you can have your Creative Pragmatism questioned on a hot summer day trying to navigate between pieces that are chill but ultimately way too bohemian, or classic but have you feeling like your steps away from a monogrammed sweater and popped collar. This skirt works that fine CP balance. The fabrication keeps it thoroughly modern, the shape and colors are undeniably refined, and the elastic waist and fullness exudes ease. The result? You will always feel like you. Even in the tropics in a strapless bodysuit and lace-up sandals.
When building out a closet of tools, the pant that has an easy spring vibe but is in a color and pattern that has no time stamp is the winner. So obvio, the blue ribbon goes to the menswear suiting pant.
The subtle check, the lightness in tone and ambiguous fabric weight has one wondering if it’s for fall or spring. And that is a good thing. That means whatever you layer it with, you’ll take on the vibe of the season. In my sketches you can see I have a bias to navy and can get carried away with all my neutrals, but I’m not angry at mixing in a bright color. I probably should have done that here, but you can use your imagination - since I draw these on the train I can’t really start from scratch. You get the gist, right? The simple black tank, hike up the pant and belt it, throw on sandal and spring is here. Do you travel for work? If you do, paired with the matching jacket can have you sitting in a conference all important vibing. Later during down time, the tank is perfect for whatever it is that doesn’t involve your colleagues - or at least the ones you don’t love to hang with. If I’m on a plane, I’m grabbing a sweatshirt and a slide. And it’s good. Of course, the classic ease of a white shirt rolled up and a cardigan tossed casually through the belt loops is beyond chic. And alas, the utter ease of a tennis sneaker and light polo collared sweater. For anyone who DM’s me asking for ideas for (Disney World, stroll in cobble stoned city, vague afternoon party invitation) this is your thing. Ok?
So I leave you with this, a quick rundown on things to look for when selecting tools and layering. You will find this helpful. I promise.
So go forth, layer, shop smart, clothes aren’t disposable, you’ve got this.