Archive for the ‘Work Wear’ Category

Birds of a feather…

In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on September 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

It’s fitting, in a way, that I’ve had feathers on the brain lately, since it’s nearly fall, when all birds fly south for the winter.

I’ve noticed feather detailing and prints all over the place this season, and love the vintage — occasionally kitschy– aesthetic both evoke.  Check out, for example, this feather-print silk cardigan by Winter Kate (Nicole Richie’s hippie-chic line — $216, Shopbop):

I love the idea of slipping it on over some skinny jeans (Hudson, $165, ChickDownTown) paired with spiffy black flats (adore the gold tassel detailing on these Jeffrey Campbells — $125, FootNotesOnline) and an oversized black tote ($198, Ann Taylor):

Add a pair of don’t-talk-t0-me shades (sorry, but there are times when a gal just needs to get.things.done — and I kind of dig these Balenciagas — $350, Balenciaga…Kourtney Kardashian rocks them; hence, I need them) and some enorma-studs (I know I’ve featured this pair a bunch of times, but they’re perfect: affordable, versatile, and oversized — $25, TopShop), and you’re ready for some aggressive errand-running:

I’m also pretty much dying over this breezy Kyumi feather-print blouse ($177, Thistle & Clover) — it’s got the camel color down, so I can just imagine contrasting its airiness with some of the richer camel wools and suedes I’ve been seeing this season:

Love its slightly retro boxiness.  I’d pair it with skinny jeans and these suede, feather-accented flats ($110, Banana Republic):

For added warmth in the chillier fall weather, slip a yummy cardigan on over it all ($80, TopShop) and top it all off with a bold necklace (House of Harlow, on sale for $133, Revolve Clothing) and some aviators ($139, Ray-Ban):

The unexpected color combination of this Amanda Uprichard blouse arrested my attention ($167, Piper Lime), though I have to admit I’m a bit put off by the line’s blatant appropriation of the Tucker brand bit (i.e. blousey tops in unconventional, slightly weird prints):

Still, I like the idea of wearing it with skinny jeans and some greige riding boots this fall ($129, SouthMoonUnder):

To avoid looking too matchy-matchy or too clashy-clashy, work in shades of gray/greige, as in the smokey brown-gray above and the lighter “putty” color of this gorgeous messenger ($79, BagHaus):

Round out with a fist full of bangles of differing widths/styles — I’m bananas over this “Give It a Whirl” idiom bracelet by Kate Spade ($48, Kate Spade), and I’d pair it with a stack of these wispy little Argento Vivos ($98 for 3, Nordstrom) — as well as these organic-looking Bing Bang by Anna Sheffield studs in polished gold ($88, Oak NYC):

Alternately, I like the idea of sprucing up an everyday LBD (for work or play — I like this long-sleeved, simple, fitted dress by 3 Dots, $74, Shopbop) with this ribbon-tie feather necklace ($14.50, Forever 21):

Spice it up with some patterned/textured pumps — I’d either go with a suede in an unexpected color (gray?) or these to.die.for snakeskin Louboutins ($995, FootCandyShoes):

And, for arm candy, this slouchy off-white carry-all ($92, Vieta) — I like the way the different textures (feather, cotton, snakeskin, and leather) play off of one another in this look:

Alternately, spruce up any old everyday work-wardrobe with some feather accents — I wear a button down and pencil skirt frequently, swapping in and out different statement necklaces and earrings and various fun-loving shoes.  I’m tempted to add this necklace to the repertoire ($116, Farfetch):

How cool against a solid white sweater or — better yet — striped navy and white tee ($60, Chance Co) tucked into a black pencil skirt (Adam, $78, TheOutnet) with black pointy-toed flats (Pour La Victoire, $109, Endless)?

Alternately, think Blair Waldorf (PS: the countdown is on: Gossip Girl resumes this upcoming Monday…), and add a fun little feather headband to the mix ($83, Luisa Via Roma):

Pair with otherwise straight forward separates, like this roomy “borrowed from the boys” pullover ($158, Steven Alan) atop a pair of black leggings with some patent ballerina flats (Lanvin, $535, Barney’s)

I’d add a tough-looking bag (loveee the Balenciaga “Giant Part Time” — $1,895, Balenciaga) and some Ray Ban Wayfarers ($139, Ray-Ban):

And maybe a little feather-print scarf by We Are Owls ($218, Shopbop) as the finishing touch?

Feathers are just as pertinent for more formal-wear, and can add a sense of vintage finery to a look.  How to.die.for are these affordable feather clutches ($42 each, Asos)– I love both shades a little too much…can’t I get them both?

Or how about — taking things a step further — the J. Crew Martinete jacket (apparently it’s sold out, but they insist you contact them to see if they can “work their magic” to get you one — $1,200, J. Crew):

Or go super formal with this glitzy feather patterned mini by the ever talented Matthew Williamson (on sale for $1,038, Matthew Williamson)?

And if you just want a little taste of the trend, consider snapping up one of these lovely pieces: a Tucker tunic ($308, Les Nouvelles — perfect with worn in boots like these Madewells — $298, Madewell — and skinny jeans!)

Or maybe a fun feather-accented necklace, like this version from Juicy Couture (on sale for $98, Nordstrom) or this version from Noir ($165, Shopbop)?

The perfect adornment for a little magpie 🙂



In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Shoes, Work Wear on September 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

You know when someone suddenly appears everywhere in the fashion world?  His or her name just starts magically appearing all over the place — it’s just out there, in the fashion ether?  I think it’s safe to say that Alexa Chung, the British model and TV mogul, is just such a person.  I had been working on an Alexa-centered post for the past few days and then — WHAM! — today, in my inbox, Madewell alerted me that her new line for the company had been released.  No better time than the present to feature her in that case.  What I like about Alexa is that she has her finger on the pulse in terms of what girls want to wear now (she’s all over military-inspired looks, leopard prints, and even clogs — trendy, trendy, trendy), but it looks effortless, and always has her own spin.

How to get her peculiarly British brand of cool?  A uniform of layered knits, black tights, chunky footwear, oversized carryalls (“It” bag designer Mulberry has a bag named after her — the Alexa), and the requisite pop of leopard print.  I’d begin with this See by Chloe blush silk dress ($390, Net-A-Porter):

Pull on some opaque black tights ($12.50, Lori’s Shoes) and add a slouchy carryall (Marc Jacobs, $558, Shopbop):

Black, lace-up, lug-soled boots seem to be her footwear of choice (she’d probably favor something like this Tory Burch military boot) — but I think a straightforward black suede bootie is far more wearable ($180, Nine West):

She almost always throws on an unexpected topper — in this case, a grandfather cardigan ($99, J. Crew) or ruched-sleeved black blazer ($125, TopShop) would be ideal:

While on the subject of outerwear, if you’re a true Chung chica, you absolutely need a sporty utility jacket (to be worn with everything).  Chung loves her Barbour coat, but you can get the look for less with Gap’s long anorak in olive ($89, Gap):

Layer it atop a cozy gray cardi (See by Chloe, $395, Net-A-Porter), striped tee ($60, Chance Boutique), and pair of black shorts (Elizabeth and James, $225, Diani Boutique):

Pair with requisite black tights (patterned if you dare!) and some cap-toed flats — she’d probably gravitate towards these Chanels ($575), but you can get the look for less with these TopShop variations ($55, TopShop):

Other options?  A boxy leopard-print silk blouse (T-Bags, $170, Net-A-Porter — P.S. get the look for less with Ann Taylor’s $78 version) worn with cut-off denim shorts (she’s a self-proclaimed denim addict — Joe’s, $98, ChickDownTown):

Add black tights and — because I am not yet on the clogs bandwagon (I know they’re “hip,” but…they’re chunky) — these clog-esque pumps ($129, Dolce Vita):

(I kind of like the look of the sculpted heel — borrowed from YSL, no doubt.)  The Mulberry “Alexa” bag would, of course, be a natural add-on ($1,250, Mulberry), as would this snuggly oversized cardi (Lutz & Patmos, $115, TheOutnet):

Or perhaps this silky blouse in the loveliest of rosy pinks, from her own diffusion line for Madewell ($110, Madewell), paired with a fitted black skirt ($65, TopShop) and some tweedy flats (Marc Jacobs, $340, Bluefly):

Very Alexa when paired with an unexpected cropped denim jacket ($89, Mango), some patterned tights, and this cross-body, be-tasseled bag (don’t you die over it?!  — and it’s affordable, ringing in at $118, Ann Taylor)

No need to be afraid of patterned tights — just check out how chic she looks:

And how comfy-chic would this little sweater dress by Alexander Wang look this fall ($128, Bird)?

Chung would probably wear it over a floral print dress, like this Maje crepe version ($230, Net-A-Porter) and these Chanel-esque captoe pumps ($109, ASOS):

(She is the queen of mixology.)  I could see her just as easily rocking this See by Chloe printed dress ($525, Net-A-Porter) beneath this bulky twill anorak (Phillip Lim, $995, Net-A-Porter):

Now, a few last minute additions to the Chung list.  If you’ve got to go with a clog, I’d go with this Michael Kors version.  It’s properly proportioned and I like the polished gold against the rich black suede ($250, ShoptheShoeBox):

Hm.  She kinda rocks it.  I’m still wary.

If you’ve still not found the perfect leopard accent, this Lanvin mini bag might make you take the plunge ($1,555, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, this far-less-expensive Ann Taylor leopard clutch is tempting ($138, Ann Taylor), and this Be & D satchel ($995, Bloomie’s) has Alexa written all over it:

Love it!


In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Sundresses, Work Wear on September 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I never thought I would be advocating a minimalist approach to fashion — I’m more of the “pile it on” school of thought when it comes to jewelry, and I love to experiment with patterns and colors.  So what gives?  Two words: Stella McCartney.  I died when I saw her pared down yet effortlessly, mind-blowingly chic Fall 2010 collection.  I mean.  Have gray pants and kitten heels ever looked so slick?

A Stella Study in Gray

I am seriously digging the proportions: tailored pants, slightly boxy tops, and leg-lengthening pointy-toed heels.  And all in unfussy monochromatics.  What eye-catching restraint!  Stella: you are genius.

More Stella

And More Stella

What’s less is most certainly more in this case.  I cannot wait to test-drive.  Take a slightly boxy top in unassuming gray — this little Helmut Lang is perfect ($175, TheOutnet) — and pair with tailored black pants (these Thakoons are for you label lusters out there! — $525, La Garconne):

Add a pair of uber-unfussy pointy toed shoes — these Gabrielle Rocha come in a range of on-point-for-the-season colors (including camel!) and are pleasantly affordable ($59, Zappos):

Once a magpie, always a magpie: I’d need to add some adornment, but would keep it low-key — just a silver cuff (I’ve long wanted this Paloma Picasso for Tiffany “bone cuff” — $800, Tiffany — how chic!?) and some super understated polished silver studs ($32, Nordstrom):

Personally, when I’m shopping for the look, however, I’d save on the black pants and invest in the shoes.  I’d pair a boxy top (Gryphon, on sale for $207, Les Nouvelles) with some inexpensive pants-of-the-season: I’m eager to get my rear end to lower-end retailers this afternoon to try on some of their offerings in terms of cropped, slim-cut black pants — the J. Crew Minnie is a classic (pictured below, on sale for $39, J. Crew), but I’m also interested in taking Gap’s Premium Collection of black pants out for a spin (new this season — I’m in love with the slim crop variation — $59, Gap):

I’d pair them with The Stella McCartney heels ($645, Neiman’s) and a winning greige bag, like this to.die.for Givenchy ($1,566, MyTheresa):

For dressier occasions, pair the above bag with a simple asymmetrical dress in stark white (Michael Kors, $635, TheOutnet) and some killa pumps (literally — you risk your life in these uber-high Louboutins, but damn, you look good — $755, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, for work-wear, I daydream about this Miu Miu number ($1,120, Net-A-Porter) with some right-on-point gray suede pumps (affordable to boot! — $120, Banana Republic):

And how sleek would you look layering this o.m.g. Stella coat ($1,107, TheOutnet) atop an all-business gray sheath (adore this Richard Nicoll number — $788, MyTheresa — but you can find less expensive variations at Ann Taylor and J. Crew) and some fierce platforms (my boss owns these Pour La Victoire “Irinas” in glossy black and kills in them; they’re a lot less scary in person, especially in dove gray — $250, Wink NYC):

Because MK and Ashley Olson have been all.over the minimalist trend for years (they’re almost always ahead of the curve — perhaps a bit too far ahead of the curve, as I often find their styles alienatingly avant-garde — what’s with the cross-knuckle rings?!  They scare me.), I’ve got to nod in their direction with this column dress in stark white (Dar Ti, $300, Shopbop):

Pair with substantial sandals in unexpected gray — these Pour La Victoires ($165, Bluefly) have had my eye for awhile, but I wasn’t quite sure how I’d style them until now:

Ashley and MK approve.  As does my fashion designer sister, who has worked to convince me of this aesthetic for, like, decades.  I’ve always wriggled away but I now see the genius of her foresight — the exercise of wise restraint when dealing with gorgeous, solid separates truly lets the beauty of the design shine through.  And it feels zen-like, uncluttered, fresh.

While on the subject of LWDs (I know it’s after Labor Day, but this look means business and can most definitely get away with winter white!), I’ve just got to feature this Calvin Klein sheath ($1,295, Net-A-Porter) — not only is it the perfect capstone piece for any minimalista, but it’s by Calvin Klein, father of the minimalist, monochromatic movement!

Go Gwnyeth Paltrow on us and throw on a sleek gray nubby blazer.  This McCartney piece is positively iconic ($2,095, Net-A-Porter) but this fraction-of-the-price BB Dakota variation has most definitely made my fall must-have list ($95, Shopbop):

Either would look killer with gray suede pumps  — see above for options, or go with these classic Delmans ($295, ShoptheShoebox):

Another surprising way of nailing the minimalist look this season — and believe me, I never thought I’d be advocating for this: leather skirts (just the phrase reminds me of chintzy pleather and studs at a biker bar — ick).  They’ve cropped up in the collections of the most unexpected of designers, from Rag and Bone to gasp-worthy,  prim-and-proper Celine:

A smattering of Fall 2010 leather looks on the runway

Celine —

Delightful minimalistic restraint on the Celine runway

More leather from Celine

Um, how is it possible that leather looks so…Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (another dazzling minimalista, and it’s no surprise, since she worked for Mimimalisto King, Calvin Klein)?

The Kennedys

This is definitely a situation for proceeding with caution.  A straight forward white button-down or this bow-neck blouse ($185, Rebecca & Drew) with a trim pencil skirt (Theory, $379, Zappos) and some serious heels (Louboutin, $595, Net-A-Porter) is all you need:

Because the look is so refined and scaled-back, you can get away with a slightly louder print on the handbag without losing your minimalista touch.  I say this because I’m eagerly chomping at the bit in anticipation of featuring this swoonworthy Celine tote (ever since Pheobe Philo took over at Celine, I’ve seen good, GOOD things — including this jaw-droppingly gorgeous ad):

Celine ad

Mega-swoon.  Because I’m pretty sure you have to Be Somebody slash have a bajillion dollars to snag that puppy, some more affordable alternatives include this unexpected find from Johnston and Murphy ($298, Johnston & Murphy) and this affordable TopShop lovely ($80, TopShop):

Pretty much obsess over the latter in particular.  It’s now joined the ranks of my fall wish list.  Sigh.  If the leather skirt is too much for you — well, first take a looksie at the ever-put-together Gwyneth P. and reconsider — and then consider subbing out for suede ($160, Karen Millen):

And, finally, some minimalista staples — ways of getting the look but with items that you can repurpose in myriad ways.  You’ll need a sharp-looking black blazer — this Elizabeth and James version is a classic (probably because MK and Ashley are the design geniuses behind this line — $395, Shopbop):

(Madewell has a solid, less expensive alternative for $168.)  Gray tops of any variety are a  must — I loveee this versatile silky ACNE top ($330, Net-A-Porter), but think this J. Crew boyfriend sweatshirt will come in handy on a weekly/daily basis this fall ($69, J. Crew):

As for footwear: pared-down, straight-forward leather boots are the way to go.  I adore the color of these nude booties (Schutz, $220, Shopbop), but these black Loeffler Randalls are beyond classic ($695, FootNotesOnline):

At a loss for styling?  MK’s got it down pat here.  Love the proportions.

Funny how it works: scale back and yet amp up on shine…

Town Mouse, Country Mouse

In Accessories, Shoes, Work Wear on September 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Mr. Magpie and I were up in rural Ohio for a beautiful, rustic-style wedding on a farm this past weekend, and while we could not stop commenting on the crisp, cool air and the beautiful, nearly-fall foliage, the experience reconfirmed what I’ve long known: that this little Magpie is most definitely a city gal.  Driving through remote parts of the midwest was lovely, but I missed the hustle-bustle of city life.  My morning jog through “town” felt a bit unnerving: not a soul in sight on the Sunday morning streets; nary a car to distract me from my slow-moving progress (it was cold and I just could not get into a rhythm).

After I mentioned my discomfort with the deserted ghost town vibe I was getting, Mr. Magpie reminded me of his longtime dream of owning and operating a small farm outside Charlottesville, and that I should probably begin to negotiate with the idea of becoming a “country mouse” for at least part of the year.  (Mr. Magpie is endlessly fascinating to me in this way: he is an unexpected and mysterious mix of the dapper prepster and the outdoorsy adventure-man.  On the one hand, he’s the best-dressed guy I’ve ever met and he cares about things like how to fold a pocket square and pair printed ties with striped shirts; on the other: he is one of those guys who will have blood gushing out of his elbow and not notice or care until you point it out to him, at which point he’ll casually glance down and shrug it off — “I dunno how I got that.”  How did this man come to be?)  The comment sparked a little fashion challenge that preoccupied the majority of our bajillion hour road trip home, however: what would a “country mouse” version of this little Magpie look like?  What would she have packed for this Labor Day weekend trip?

Step 1: Replace label-studded luggage with utilitarian-chic overnight bag.  Though I love my little Louis duffel, it just doesn’t work outside the city.  I’d replace it with a Klein canvas tool bag ($90, Klein Collections):

Step 2: Retool city slicker travel outfit (blue shirt dress, leopard print scarf, statement necklace and ring, and gold sandals) with down-to-earth separates, like a plaid shirt ($150, Neiman’s), a puffer vest ($118, J.Crew), and some lived-in jeans (7 for All Mankind, $198, ChickDownTown):

I think you could get away with Minnetonka Mocs if you’re so inclined (I’m a woman in love — I cannot stop obsessing over them), but Frye boots are a solid choice as well (I like the “Paige” tall boots in dark brown, but they have tons of styles — $348, Heery’s):

One of Southern Proper’s “Frat Hats” might be an appropriate addition (also comes in camo print, if you are so inclined — $25, SouthernProper):

Step 3: Cleanse wardrobe of prints, sticking to neutrals like khaki, hunter green, rust red, and faded gray.  Stock up on worn-in knits — simple tees ($19.50, Madewell) that can work effortlessly with a utility jacket ($265, PiperLime) and easy-on knit sweater ($129, Eddie Bauer):

Step 4: Denim.  Lots of it.  The Current/Elliott “Perfect Shirt” is pretty much the It item in terms of the “work shirt” trend that took over this season (I’ve seen it on sale for $122 at Bergdorf Goodman, but you can buy it pretty much everywhere and in a number of washes):

Step 5: Load up on heavy fabrics.  We were in for a big surprise when the temperatures dipped into the low 50s — I was c-o-o-old!  I wanted lots of heavy wools, furs, and corduroys for comfort.  Lucky for those country mice out there, shearling is BIG this season, as was demonstrated on the runway —

Shearling looks at, from left to right: Celine, Burberry Porsum, and Derek Lam

Shearling at Rag & Bone

…and though I can’t quite get on board with the shearling-collar coat trend, I’m kind of obsessing over this affordable rich leather tote with shearling lining/trim ($60, ASOS):

I know it won’t “warm” you exactly, but it just looks so yummy and vintage-cool.  Something that will keep you toasty?  These shearling gloves…die.over.them ($196, ShopSavannah):

Hm, perhaps country living ain’t so bad after all…

Art Class

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on September 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I recently renewed my membership at The Phillips Collection art museum, and am positively dying to get over there to check out their more recent exhibitions.  Once upon a time, I worked as an intern in their development office and would frequently have the opportunity to stroll through the museum’s manageable proportions (they pride themselves on featuring art in an intimate setting — the museum used to be Mr. Duncan Phillips’ personal home).  The level of access that I once had seems like pure luxury nowadays.  At any rate, as I pored over their website (they post audio tours!), I found myself day-dreaming about abstract-print dresses and brush-stroke-patterned blouses.  As per usual, I cannot keep my thoughts fenced in: they inevitably roam back to the subject of fashion.  On what can only be labeled as a fashion high, I recalled the Elizabeth & James painted silk blouse that caught my eye a few weeks back ($295, Net-A-Porter):

I’d wear it either tucked into a high-waisted black skirt for work with some killer heels or atop a pair of skinny jeans with some flats ($130, Jildor) and an oversized tote (on sale for $311, Kate Spade):

On the wrist: two of these Kate Spade “Hand in Hand” bangles ($48 apiece, Kate Spade):

And then some classic gold twist enorma-studs ($25, Banana Republic):

I’m also obsessed with the idea of pairing a cute little blouse (either one of the washed silk ones I talked about yesterday — Equipment’s revival of its utility blouse has been epic thus far this season, for example — even Garance Dore mentioned it on her blog — $178, Revolve Clothing) with this “expressionist” print skirt ($37, Ruche):

All you’ll need are some epic heels (Casadei, on sale for $330, Farfetch) in a rich blue color and you’re set:

This splash-printed dress (also $37, also from Ruche) would be equally precious, especially when you’re looking to debut your new-for-fall flat boots ($159, Bloomingdale’s) and a rich-looking leather tote ($295, Brahmin):

While on the subject of dresses, this Juicy Couture printed number ($250, Net-A-Porter) caught my eye — it reminds me of one of Picasso’s fab canvases:

Cynthia Vincent’s Langley boot would be the perfect accompaniment ($395, Shop the Shoebox):

As would that Kate Spade “Camille” handbag I’ve been coveting this season ($495, Kate Spade):

For dressier affairs, I was head.over.heels for Lela Rose’s artful Fall 2010 collection (feminine yet futuristic — and a throwback to early 90s minimalism, which seems to be the next thing on the horizon after the recapture-the-excess-of-the-80s stylings we saw over the last few seasons) —

Lela Rose’s Fall 2010 Collection

I already want these Anna Wintour-esque sheath dresses from the collection (the first — $1,060, Net-A-Porter; the second — $1,895, Net-A-Porter):

Somebody was drawing inspiration from Jackson Pollock’s intense canvases…

Love.   I wish someone would make a dress out of the lower canvas — that fiery orange has my name written all over it, and against the staid camel/greige background?!  I mean.  On point for this season.

Other separates options?  How to die is this Parker blouse ($180, Nordstrom)?  I’m slowly converting to being a purple fan — I used to think it always looked tacky, but I like the richness nowadays:

I like the way it’s styled here, with skinny jeans — and I’d probably add on some black suede booties or maybe these sick House of Harlow OTK (over the knee) finds ($286, Boutique To You)?

We’ll continue with the Nicole Richie-ness by adding this House of Harlow necklace, which I snagged last season when it was improperly priced at Cusp (they marked it as $53, but everywhere else I’ve seen it, it’s been $75 or higher! — $75, ShopSheBoutique):

The geometric / slightly art-deco style of the necklace adds an interesting artful touch to the overall aesthetic.  I like.  The above boot-and-necklace couple would also look killer paired with some black tights and this Catherine Malandrino abstract print number ($450, Net-A-Porter):

I can also envision pairing them with some black tights and these killer suede booties by Boutique 9 (love the low cut of the front — $160, PiperLime):

(I took the plunge and ordered these Tory Burch variations on the suede bootie for this fall season — am eagerly waiting to debut them once the temp plummets.)

Just to be fair, I’ll include a warm weather option, as…it is still hitting 93 degrees here in the District, and despite my intense desire to invest in suede, capes, and dark wash skinny jeans, I’ve got to be realistic.  I am seriously loving this Rory Beca brushstroke print tank (on sale for $86, Rory Beca) — there I go again with the purple!

Adorable with white shorts or white jeans (Current/Elliott, $190, ChickDownTown — but check it out!  They’re offering 40% off anything!) and a fistful of bangles ($68 for set, PiperLime) paired with a chunky gold watch (FreeLook, $300, Shopbop):

Then all I want is a pair of simple, flat gold studs, like these go-with-everything Jennifer Meyers ($150, Shopbop):

For shoes, I’m pretty much dying over mocs at the moment, but for the warmer weather, these metallic Burberry t-straps are right on the money (on sale for $243, Zappos):

And, for the bag — you gotta go a little into left field to avoid looking too matchy-matchy.  I like this roomy Rebecca Minkoff tote in endlessly wearable gray — and this particular shade has hints of lilac in it that make it a natural mate for the purple in the Rory Beca tank ($495, Rebecca Minkoff):

A perfect art gallery-going get-up.  You could also swap in this much-less-expensive splatter-top blouse (only $19, Forever21) to get the look for less:

For a truly graphic look, pair with the white jeans above and those slouchy black suede booties I mentioned.  Now get out there and see some art — even if it’s fashion-centric!  I’m in love with design sketches like the one below, and my sister (the student at Parson’s in NY) is an incredibly talented sketch artist, so I’ll have to post some of her works in the next few weeks!

Ballin on a Budget

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Sorry for my ghetto-fab heading, but the line hails from a Nappy Roots song of the same name (a college-era favorite) that popped up on my iPod during my brisk morning run this a.m. (it was almost chilly out!)  The lyrics couldn’t have been more timely, as, due to recent “budget  cuts” in my shopping allowance (now that I’m a Magpie Mrs. there are other, more appropriate methods of allocating resources, i.e. investing, saving, and buying “adult” things, like the remaining sets of china not purchased on our registry and shelving for our closets…yippee), I need to scale back and either a) only buy strategically (challenging given my impulse buyer tendencies) or b) take a look at lesser-priced merchandise and prowl lower-end retailers more frequently.  I’ll opt for the latter, and have already had no problem locating a slew of “cheap thrills” to update my wardrobe without breaking the bank.  All items in this post are under $100!

To begin with: I’m in love with these versatile, worn-in tees (on super sale now for $7.99-$12.99, Madewell):

We all know my obsession with the poppy red color — and I’ve already imagined a bajillion scenarios for wearing it.  Situation #1: To the gym over a neon sports bra (I lovelovelove Target’s C9 by Champion line — you can’t see the full rainbow of bright colors they come in online, but I have bought them in a range of colors in the store and die over them — $16.99, Target) and a pair of black Nike leggings ($50, Nike):

Side note: I know it’s odd to think about coordinating a sports bra with a t-shirt, but anything that puts a little pep in your workout step is a good thing — and I kind of like to clash colors a bit, i.e. BRIGHT red with BRIGHT pink, or BRIGHT green with BRIGHT orange.  Fun.

Situation #2:  On the weekend, with a ruffled, cropped trench ($98, Limited) and a pair of matchstick jeans ($98, J. Crew):

I’d add a pair of snakeskin ballets to the mix ($51, Endless) and funky enormastuds (kinda love the mismatchiness of this pair — $65, Max and Chloe):

Situation #3: For work, tucked into a high-waisted pencil skirt ($78, White House Black Market):

Layered beneath a tangle-o-chains necklace ($69, Banana Republic) and some all-business black patent pointy-toed flats ($57, 6PM):

Add on a roomy black tote and you’re set ($90, PiperLime):

And while we’re on the subject of work-appropriate wear, why not take the military look into the office space with this army green shirtdress, only $32 at ChickDownTown?

I’d probably pair it with a leopard print scarf (for some reason I feel that those two trends — militarista and animal print — dovetail perfectly — $35, ShopHarmonyLane):

For dressier nights out, I’m with this asymmetrical brush-stroke-print dress from UK’s Warehouse ($89, Warehouse):

I’d pair it with these sparkling distressed crystal studs ($30, Rachel Roy) and some uber-high greige pumps ($58, Aldo — P.S.: Olivia Palermo’s been spotted in Aldo’s shoes):

And now, a few “just because” pick-me-ups that top my fall shopping list (and are affordable to boot!).  First up: this unbelievable bow-front tote in right-on-point greigey-taupe ($86, Melie Bianco):

Second: this dainty little “reminder” bow necklace, which I want to wear with everything and anything.  Love it’s delicateness ($55, ByBoe), including easy cotton knit dresses like this affordable Erin Brinie number ($55, Erin Brinie):

And — OK — this goes admittedly (though not by much) over budget, but how precious are these Vivienne Westwood bow-toe flats ($130, Urban Minx)?!

Because they are almost like jellies — perfect rainy-day wear, I’ll conclude with another gray day find: the most perfect slicker ever, retro-styled like the Morton salt girl and all ($72, ModCloth):

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain…

Back to School

In Accessories, Shoes, Work Wear on August 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

As I drove back from the gym after a (way too) early workout this morning (thanks to Elle’s fall fashion issue, I managed to stay on the elliptical for 40 minutes — quite a victory for the early hour), I made the mistake of trying to “take a shortcut” by going down some side roads in NW D.C. and instead got stuck behind a school bus unloading children for five minutes, found myself forced to drive at a reduced speed of 15 MPH around multiple school zones, and anxiously dodged children running into the street.  School is definitely back in session.  Despite the petty nuisances endured this morning, I was overwhelmed by an upsurge of nostalgia: I used to love those crisp first few weeks of school, where everything seemed fresh and new.  And, for the most part, everything was: new crayons, new pencils, a new lunchbox, new school clothes, new books, new faces in the classroom.  As I got ready for work, I found myself daydreaming about preppy fall school looks, adapted to my new “adult” life.  You know — nothing costumey (though I like plaid, I don’t think I’ll ever wear a kilt again since I wore a uniform for 12 years of my life) — just some classics for fall.  To begin with: I reallyreally want this navy schoolboy blazer ($188, J. Crew):

I imagine wearing it with an unexpected billowy tie-front blouse ($55, PiperLime), skinny jeans, and — my favorite fall footwear — mocs (these House of Harlows are unbelievable, and also come in an unexpected burnt orange color — on sale for $124, Bloomingdale’s):

Complete the look with a slouchy brown leather bag.  I’ve already highlighted J. Crew’s Brompton multiple times, and I still stand by that choice, but Alexander Wang is BIG this season (I’ve seen lots of “It” girls wearing his pieces — you can tell they are Wang’s because of the studs on the bottom — $850, Barney’s):

Though you know I’m usually all about heavy jewelry, this look needs to maintain a I-just-threw-this-on look, so I’d probably only add a few “I-live-in-these” pieces — maybe a gold signet ring (this CCSkye bauble isn’t quite a signet ring, but it’s a cool take on a classic — $125, CCSkye), a leather wrap watch (I snagged this little gem last year and get compliments on it constantly– and it only looks expensive! — $90, La Mer Collections), and either a couple of lockets or this jingling Tory Burch coin necklace ($395, Tory Burch):

Side note on the mocs: I pretty much adore how they never go with anything.  I mean, what does one wear with suede, soft-sided shoes?!  They are totally impractical and always make an outfit slightly left of center.  Love.  I snapped up a metallic pair from J. Crew at the outset of the summer but they killed my feet — they were maybe a touch too small, and the leather was too stiff to ever really loosen.  I keep wearing them in the hopes of “breaking them in” (what are they, horses?), but they are a nuisance.  I’m already on to the next: I’m now thinking I may just snag a pair of classic Minnetonkas.  They’re inexpensive and delightfully kitschy ($34.95, Amazon):

Other musts for the back-to-school look?  Woolen sweaters.  I’m in love with this nubby little thing from Eddie Bauer, of all places ($69, Eddie Bauer):

I just want to curl up in it.  I’d wear it unbuttoned in the front over a long v-neck tee, some skinnies, and either some mocs or some live-in-’em brown leather boots.  A few years ago, I picked up the Steve Madden Intyce boot — a knockoff of Loeffler Randall’s sick mini-wedge Mathilde — and have been back for multiple new pairs since.  They are comfy and in the perfect cognac shade.  But this year I think I might switch things up a tad — I’m thinking of going with these slightly-more-equestrian-inspired everyday boots from Madewell ($298, Madewell):

I like the little side tabs at the top.  I’d like to tuck wear them with a long oxford stripe tunic ($88, Madewell) and leggings for an easy Saturday:

Perfect with my dream bag — the Chloe Marcie ($1,790, Net-A-Porter):

Of course, for those of my readers who are still in school (woo!  I’m jealous.), any of the above looks would be stellar for comfy note-taking gear.  When I was in grad school, I would most likely be seen in some variation of the above offerings — lots of layers to make up for the vast variations in classroom temperatures I withstood.  Some classrooms were boiling, others had no heat at all.  A typical getup would include a cotton top or blouse, like this little Steven Alan number (on sale for $89, Steven Alan), layered beneath a nubby cardigan (on sale for $175, Tory Burch)

Then I’d slip on some skinny jeans (I was really into cuffing straight-leg jeans for awhile, too) and either boots or some tidy flats (Pour La Victoire, on sale for $117, Bluefly):

I’m pretty much the queen of outerwear — I’m embarrassed to admit how many jackets, blazers, coats, and other forms of outerwear are currently cluttering my closets with Mr. Magpie — so I always do it up with a cute little coordinating topper.  This season I just gotta have this Lauren Moffat bomber ($390, Lauren Moffat):

I die over it.  The big gold stud buttons!  The cropped sleeves!  The plaid wool fabric!  NEED.  This Tory Burch Dafina ($495, Tory Burch) would be a nice, roomy addition, and I’d probably throw on a clinky charm bracelet for good measure ($145, Max and Chloe):

Now, if fall could just hurry up and get on over here…

All that glitters…

In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 25, 2010 at 6:10 pm

The “daytime sequins” trend has been out there in the fashion ether for months now, but I’ve always considered it a study in contrasts best worn by the likes of Olivia Palermo, who could make a trash bag look chic.

Sequin bloomers?  Why not.

Tory Burch was all over the sequins-in-the-a.m. trend, and then J. Crew followed (paillette-adorned) suit shortly thereafter.  I saw it on designers as disparate as Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Tam (and, of course, Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain — no surprise there, though).  I observed from afar, wondering whether the “I’m in Vegas” vibe sequins seem to give off could be muted enough for 11 a.m. street strolls in Georgetown.  I’ve decided that with some careful balancing, it can look beyond fetching — chic, really, with a bit of devil-may-care attitude thrown in there.  And here’s how.  Begin by selecting well-tailored separates: a conventional cut with the addition of eye-catching sequins, like this DVF blazer ($495, Net-A-Porter):

The blazer was last season, so why not up the ante a bit, and make your workaday wardrobe a bit more unexpected?  I can see myself pairing them with a little silk blouse in stark white ($203, The Outnet) and trim, fitted black pants ($59.50, Gap — BTW, Gap has just come out with a premium black pant collection with a variety of styles, and I pretty much want to invest in a pair of each of them; the “Really Skinny” is featured below):

Add on a pair of glossy black pumps (something with a bit of a sole to them, like these Joan & Davids — $204, Zappos), a slouchy carry-all (Marc Jacobs, $398, PiperLime), and some serious enorma-shades (I covet this Tom Ford “Simone” style — they mean business.  They also cost around $495.  Find a retailer near you at Tom Ford Online):

As for jewelry: I like the idea of pairing this look with I-live-in-it jewelry — simple pieces that look like you wear them everyday.  I’m thinking flat gold disc studs ($55, Gorjana) and a pair of simple gold bangles — I’d die to own the Cartier Love bracelet ($3,175, Cartier), but in the mean time, this CCSkye variation might tide me over ($125, CC Skye) when paired with a few thin stand-on-their-own bangles (Argento Vivo, $98, Nordstrom):

Hair should be pulled back in a low, loose chignon.  This look is very Olivia Palermo.

Another option: once the cooler weather hits, I’m mildly obsessed with the idea of pairing a trim, tissue-thin black turtleneck ($39.50, J. Crew) with this paper-bag waist skirt from J. Crew — it’s already sold out in the U.S., but interestingly, Net-A-Porter has just begun to carry a limited collection of J. Crew pieces on their site, so it’s still available there ($268, J. Crew):

Add black tights and some black flats ($295, Tory Burch):

I like it with an adorned headband ($8.80, Forever 21) and the  J. Crew “Rhapsody” ($285, J. Crew) — I’ve featured it before, and I’ll feature it again.

The look reminds me of Blair Waldorf, which reminds me of how excited I am for Gossip Girl to return (September 13th can’t come soon enough).  Yes, I’m 26 and I live for GG.  Its plot line is so improbable, its dialogue so stilted, its fashion so unbelievable–and yet the entire package is so delicious.  Love.  But back to the matter at hand: how to become a gliterati without going overboard.  As mentioned previously, I think I’d avoid a “showgirl gone wrong” vibe by sticking to classic shapes that just happen to feature sequins.  I have to admit that I’ve been eying this kids size cardigan from J. Crew’s Girls section ($188, J. Crew) for awhile — I’d wear it to work with a fitted pencil skirt ($69, J. Crew) and some blush pumps (I snapped up these inexpensive and endlessly wearable Enzo Angiolinis before the wedding and have already worn them 3,239 different ways — on sale for $53, Zappos):

For weekend wear, I’m liking the idea of swapping out one of my many nautical striped tees for this be-sequinned version (Alice and Olivia, $269, ChickDownTown — notice that they are offering an extra 30% off all merchandise!):

I’d wear it with either my go-to skinnies (I am pretty much a J Brand or Paige jeans girl, but these Hudsons are supposed to work wonders — $165, ChickDownTown — snap ’em up while everything is 30% off there!):

With a pair of bold ballets — I loveeeee this orangey-red color ($188, Tory Burch) — and, if we’re dreaming here, that killa Kate Spade tote I’ve been drooling over (“The Camille” in tangerine — $475, Kate Spade):

Then all you need is a big splashy ring ($245, CCSkye — Olivia Palermo owns this little bauble, so I clearly want it bad):

Top it all off with a military-inspired jacket ($148, J. Crew — I’ve been wearing mine on a daily basis due to threatening gray skies…and, let’s face it: I pretty much just want an excuse to wear it at all times anyway):

Alternately, consider layering this typically-for-after-hours top ($80, TopShop) with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots (I’ve been trying to work up the guts to test drive some over-the-knee or up-to-the-knee boots for awhile now — $825, Loeffler Randall):

All you need is a pair of wayfarers and a little coat — I’d originally envisioned a fitted black blazer, but why not switch things up and diversify your look a bit more with this sweatshirt jacket, which has been on my “must have” list for the last few weeks ($78, Madewell):

For a more formal event, you can get away with a sequin add-on without seeming out-of-place as well.  Think about how perfectly tailored and on-point you’d look with a greige/neutral shift dress (this Chloe version is to.die.for but I’ve seen less expensive versions at Banana or H&M this season — $1,795, Net-A-Porter) and this sparkling sequin bag (Marc Jacobs, $987, Farfetch):

A pair of enorma-pearls and a statement necklace would be the perfect additions ($65, Bloomingdale’s):

I also like the idea of tucking this glittering little shell ($91, TheOutnet) into a retro, full skirt ($60, ModCloth)

Perfect with these fun printed Lanvin pumps ($617, MyTheresa):

Now we’re entering evening zone, so you should be feeling a bit easier with the prospect of sequins.  How darling is this Haute Hippie sequin tunic ($495, Edit New York)?

I’d wear with some sparkling earrings ($100, Amrita Singh) and impossibly high heels to offset the slouchiness of the dress (everyone is saying suede and velvet and other opulent fabrics are big this winter — check these Valentinos out for proof! — $775, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, use sequins as a way to dress up and set off your favorite LBD (Shoshanna, $210, Bluefly) — perhaps this Marni necklace ($255, Marni) and this Katia Lombardo platform pump (on sale for $205, MyWardrobe) will rev your engine?

Or how about sprucing up an otherwise straight-forward black work dress (Vanessa Bruno Athe, $101, TheOutnet) with some sparkling flats ($192, Kate Spade) and a jewel-adorned headband ($45, J. Crew):

Or just go ahead and pull out all the stops — dress up like you mean it with a full-on sequinned evening gown (Rachel Gilbert, $1,385, Net-A-Porter):

I mean, does it even get more glam than that?  For those of us that live in the real world and will likely never have an occasion to wear something of that magnitude of glamor, scale back and add this minaudiere to your wardrobe.  I’d make occasions to wear it to ($128, J. Crew):

Shine on, girl!

Easy as Pie

In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Blah.  Monday doldrums.  This morning I made the mistake of “slipping into” an overly complicated outfit, and by that I mean shoes that are just a little too difficult to walk in and a skirt-and-shirt combo that is just a little too annoying to keep tucked in and tidy-looking — at least for a Monday morning.  (You know those days?  Where you feel like you are constantly readjusting your getup and you just want to get home and slip into your bathrobe and forget about it?)  Sorry to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I’m seriously wishing I went with one of my “Easy as Pie” looks for the day.  The only thing I can do to cheer myself is tune into Mariah Carey old school jams on Grooveshark at my computer and dream up all the things I’d rather be wearing now, including one of these little Steven Alan wonders (I want all of his dresses for fall — I imagine wearing them with tights and flat boots or tidy little flats — $298, Steven Alan):

I like them with some slip-on, slip-off Bloch flats, and the snakeskin texture on these makes me happy (on sale for $129, Lord and Taylor):

Snazz it up with this oversized shell necklace (pretty dramatic in person — the shells are BIG — on sale for $182, Bloomingdale’s), a big, masculine gold watch (who else but Michael Kors?, $225, Bloomie’s), and a stack of thin gold bangles (love this “I-just-found-these-in-a-vintage-shop-in-Europe” set — $275 for 3, Anna Beck Designs):

I’d round it all out with some overly dramatic enorma-shades (Balenciaga, $350, Net-A-Porter) and a light-weight scarf, tied loosely around the neck ($5.50, Forever21):

A slouchy brown leather bag completes the easy-chic aesthetic — I love the J. Crew Brompton ($298, J. Crew):

I’ve also been seriously eying this petal-sleeve dress from Madewell ($128, Madewell):

Add a statement-making, lower-hanging necklace to the mix — I’m obsessed with Susanna Dai’s pieces at the moment.  I like her Antwerp necklace ($382, Charm and Chain) and her Cordoba necklace ($385, Boticca):

Either would look killer against the simplicity of the dress’s shape.  Throw on some flats (with the former necklace, I’d opt for this “saltwater” colored, studded flats from J. Crew — $138 — or just solid black ones, preferably with a texture, for the latter), with or without tights, and a pair of Ray Bans:

I don’t want to promote too much matchy-matchiness, but this bag would look killa in partnership with the Antwerp necklace above (go J. Crew! — $285, J. Crew):

I’m also kinda oddly obsessed with this striped sweater dress (on sale for $126, Built By Wendy):

I imagine wearing it with some glossy, pointy-toed black flats (these Loubs wouldn’t be too shabby — $575, Net-A-Porter):

I’d add ginorma-shades (when I’m not in my Ray Bans, I live in these Chanel shades) and an Essie geranium mani ($8, Essie Shop):

Oh, and — do you not DIE over this orangey-red (the official Magpie color of choice) Kate Spade bag?!  It dominates my fall lust list ($475, Kate Spade):

To round it all out, though I’ve never been a huge leather clothing article fan, I die over the proportions and styling of this collarless Juicy bomber (on sale for $488, Shopbop) and think it’d make the perfect topper, come cooler weather:

OK, that has sufficiently cheered the spirits.  I’ll need to lay out some easy-to-slip-into go-tos for this late August week…

Back to my MC playlist!

Camel Cool

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm

So.  This post is a bit cruel as I plan on featuring my top picks for the fall season and the mercury is still hitting a stifling 90 degrees here in the District.  BUT I just can’t help myself — I’ve been so totally inspired over the past few weeks by the impending fall season, I just have to share my lust list, which is heavy on one color: camel.  It was on the runway, and I savored every look:

From left to right: Dries Van Noten, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Chloe, and Gucci

We all know my obsession with Chloe, and head designer Hannah MacGibbon was all about the color camel this past season. Most of her models donned coordinating camel separates on the runway, and I am majorly into the 70s cool vibe it conjures.

Chloe on the runway — yes, please.

So, without further adieu, a few of my favorite looks for the season (note that camel may just be the perfect transition color for late summer-to-fall hybrid wardrobe choices…)  I’m in love with this leopard print shift, which is classy and yet on point for fall (See by Chloe, $390, Net-A-Porter):

I’d pair it for now with a statement necklace (Amrita Singh, $250, Couture Candy) and some black pumps (you know I love a Louboutin — these puppies will take you where you need to go, year-round — $595, Net-A-Porter):

When the temp drops, add some black tights and, for a bit of edge, consider upping the ante with these slouchy booties by Tory Burch (I have to show them off, as I just snapped them up at Tory Burch’s private sale for 60% off — down from $395 to $158!  — you can check out the private sale, too, for some wicked good deals here):

I’ve been sort of lukewarm on the bootie for awhile but I saw the steeply discounted price and instantly envisioned strutting around D.C. in them with my black tights and little shift dresses or skinny jeans and slouchy sweaters and needed them.  Done and done.  If you’re on my page, just imagine, for example, pairing the above booties with this yummy camel-colored cocoon sweater ($80, TopShop) and a pair of snug black jeans (Piper Lime has some distressed J Brands on sale for $74 at present):

I’d probably layer a leopard print top beneath it ($55, TopShop), but a solid black or white v-neck would be a suitable alternative:

terms of accent pieces, you could go one of two ways: upscale with an edge by adding a pair of classy pearl-adorned enorma-studs ($25, TopShop) and a ladylike bag (Valentino, $1,995, Nordstrom):

Or go downtown hipsta with this Lee Angel statement necklace ($128, Shopbop — the “feathers” are made of leather, which would make for an interesting contrast of textures) and the classic Balenciaga arena bag in supple black leather ($1,245, Barney’s — favored by celebs all over the place, including Magpie Maven Kourtney Kardashian, who must own it in every color and texture ever released)

And when we hit the cooler climes, snuggle up with this to.die.for military coat by Barney’s house label ($1,195, Barney’s):

Love the cinched waist — so flattering.  I had a coat in a similar style (with slightly more exaggerated, 3/4-length “bell” sleeves) in black wool that I wore virtually every day for two winter seasons and eventually had to throw away, much to my dismay.  (It was from Zara and it fell apart.  Tragic.)  Because I am readjusting to the workaday world after my delicious wedding and honeymoon break, I am cheering myself along by envisioning all kinds of exciting work wardrobe additions.  I’ve been absolutely drooling over this Michael Kors camel-hued upscale tie dye silk dress for a year, and may just have to make the plunge (on sale for $550, StyleBop):

How gorgeous with a pair of camel pumps ($114, Lori’s Shoes) and some enorma-pearls ($55, Max and Chloe)?

If that seems a little too staid for you, muss things up a touch with a tangle-of-chains-and-pearls necklace, which J. Crew has executed excellently for us for several seasons in a row (on sale for $99, J. Crew):

Another workerbee alternative?  This versatile silk draw-string waist dress by Parisian chic Vanessa Bruno Athe ($101, TheOutnet):

I’d throw a slouchy printed scarf around my neck (Alexander McQueen, $293, Farfetch) and slip into some leopard print flats (I’m obsessed with these bow-toe Lanvins — $525, Zoe):

I must say, though, that you can find some pretty chic leopard print flats from virtually anywhere.  My fashion-forward little sis (currently studying fashion design at Parson’s!) snagged a pair from H&M, and I almost snapped these Ann Taylor versions up on a whim before deciding to take a gander at what else was out there.  Alternately, for a slightly dressier work affair, how picture perfect are these Stella McCartney slingbacks ($645, Net-A-Porter)?

They were the darlings of fashion editors around the world — I saw them featured a million and one times in every fashion spread imaginable.  The cut of the shoe adds a little interest, and the color is spot-on.  Speaking of spots — if you forgo the Lanvin flats and instead slip into some nude pumps, consider toting around this little makeup case as a clutch ($39.50, 1154 Lill Studio):

I’m obsessed with the slightly faded coloring.  I would totally wear it as a clutch — once I heard that Kate Spade wears her pencil cases out as evening bags, I knew I had it on good authority that I could wear bags creatively.  I’m also digging the idea of a fitted black long-sleeved shirt or turtle-neck ($39.50, J. Crew) with this wool-blend pleated skirt (Stella McCartney, $795, Net-A-Porter):

Pair with black tights, a funky tribal-inspired necklace (shh, no one’s looking — it’s from I-wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-in-there Chico’s, $68), and either the Bari booties featured above or some black pumps:

I’d probably round things out with this slightly edgy McQueen cashmere blend scarf ($395, Net-A-Porter):

I can feel myself getting all geared up for fall, so I better clip this post short before I go on a shopping binge and bankrupt myself for the remainder of the season.  Two other must-haves that I just gotta throw in there?  First: this awesome and amazing toggle coat ($160, TopShop):

LOVE it.  So Paddington Bear, so preppy-hunter-British, so versatile.  I like the idea of throwing it on with skinny jeans and flat boots.  Second: this camel-and-black spotted scarf ($19, ModCloth):

I love the lightweight texture and soft-looking tassel.  I’m in fact wearing a similar scarf (although mine is leopard print) today and just find it the easiest way to “snazz up” an otherwise straightforward outfit (for me: black flats, an LBD, and my omni-present Ray bans…I overslept this morning and hence wore an “easy out” look).  And lastly: this is a bit arbitrary, but this season I’m super into unusual shapes and hard-to-define pieces.  I like interesting cuts on jackets — especially collarless versions with oversized sleeves and oh-my-gosh-I-gotta-have-it capes, like the Stella McCartney below ($1,085, My Theresa):

If you’re not quite sure about the style (or, more aptly, price tag) of the cape, test the waters with something you otherwise might overlook this season in terms of functionality and cut.  This little TopShop piece (is it a vest? a blouse? a sweater? — $65, TopShop) caught my eye and has me hooked:

Think of the myriad different ways you could sport it: over a long-sleeved tee with skinny jeans, under a blazer, tucked into a high-waist black skirt.  Do it.  Now forget everything in this post and wait until the cool fall air settles in…sigh.