Stars in Stripes {& Dots}

Aren’t you ready for a glamorous adventure? I’m always influenced by what I see happening around me, and when I spotted (no pun intended) these two ladies wearing flowing skirts in classic patterns, I imagined a surreptitious getaway inspired by the ’40s.

T&A on wall

 

T&A running for train distance

 

Volume in everything is happening right now, from skirts to pants to sleeves. You would think all that fabric would make one feel warmer, but it’s actually cooling as the fabric skims the body instead of clinging, allowing for air circulation.

 

T&Aon bench curtsey

 

If you love the idea of volume, but get overwhelmed by pattern, try pieces in solid colors or in classic patterns like Alice’s polka dot skirt. Tatiana’s skirt relies on a classic pattern of stripes, but (quite literally) turns the design on its side with stripes in a contrasting direction for a modern twist.

 

T&A on bench

 

For a bit of fun, add a modern print to a more classic one for a happy pattern mix (like Alice’s dark floral scarf here).

 

T&A pillar

 

If you love volume, by all means, carry it from head to toe. I like to keep some pieces in an ensemble more streamlined so that the voluminous piece can shine.

 

T&A walking on tracks2

 

Add a piece with volume to your wardrobe this summer and see where it takes you!

 

Unpacked:

Skirts, 5th and Hall. (By the way, if you’re in Central Florida, you should know that the previous series-of-pop-ups-that-was-5th and Hall has turned into a full-fledged shop with menswear and womenswear. Their grand opening was last Friday-I’ll share my scores from that party soon-so now you don’t have to wait to snag one-or several-of their versatile pieces!)

 

Photographed: The lovely Alice Koehler & the gorgeous Tatiana Phillips

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Ode to Pockets

If you’re a man, pockets are such an innocuous commodity that it may surprise you to learn just how strongly women feel about them.

I’ve heard designers malign them as the great ruiner of the lines of women’s garments, and when I dropped into the tailor’s before a recent trip overseas and asked her to create an internal pocket in a coat I had just purchased (a luxury that comes standard on men’s coats but seems conspicuously missing from women’s coats), she looked at me a bit askance. Indeed, sewn-in pockets seem to have long been the sole proprietorship of men, with women resorting to exterior bags tied to their petticoats, which eventually morphed into the modern day handbag, according to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

So when my friend Jessica recently took to Facebook with an appreciative post about pockets, I was barely surprised at the flurry of comments that ensued. Complaints about  faux pockets (“fockets,” as one friend dubbed them) and musings on their mysterious purpose mingled with invectives against the desperate among us who have resorted to storing life’s ephemera in our bosoms, along with teary exclamations of the joy experienced upon discovering that a garment had the type of hidden pockets men take for granted in their clothing. It was finally determined that women are so pocket-starved that we’ll buy any garment with pockets regardless of how well it fits (a sentiment echoed in multiple friends’ messages over the next several days), and I can’t say I disagree.

Years ago, I read about an exceptionally elegant woman who had a series of pockets sewn into all her coat linings so that she could forego carrying a bag (brilliant!). That started me on a quest, snatching up garments with what I had been terming “bonus” pockets (a naming practice which shall cease immediately; equal pay for equal work and equal pocketing practices, I say). When the pockets I wanted didn’t come standard in a garment (almost always), I whisked them away to the tailor’s to be retrofitted (often much to their chagrin–see above lament about ruining of garment lines).

With the tenuous hope that useful pockets continue to resurface in women’s clothing, here are a few current examples of my love affair with pockets.

Elie Tahari blazer pocket

Barely discernible in tweed, I love having pockets on a blazer when I meet new people. My business cards go in the left pocket, so that I can discreetly slip theirs into my right pocket.

blue trench with hand lotion

Outer pockets on a trench allow me to go for a walk in cooler weather while still keeping my phone and lotion handy.

trench with passport

Often overlooked in women’s outerwear, an inner pocket is perfect for preventing wallets and other valuables from being easily stolen. I was so excited when I found them in this and the blue trench above–I usually have to take my jackets and coats to the tailor to have them added.

catepillar in pants pocket

All pants have pockets, right? Nope. I need more pants pockets for important things like dancing caterpillars.

camel leather pockets

To me, it’s not a real moto jacket unless it has pockets. The more, the better. and bonus if they’re zippered.

 

black moto pockets

Exhibit B: Even the more polished version I wear to the office has zippered pockets (REAL pockets, not “fockets”). Of all the clothing items I wish had pockets, moto jackets are the ones I’m most particular about.

 

black skirt pockets

Seriously–I get texts from the dressing room all the time about skirts and dresses  exclaiming, “It has pockets!” Designers, please take note.

chambray pockets

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I love pockets for no other reason besides looks. I rarely keep anything in shirt pockets, but I still want them to be functional, just in case (I know, I’m so demanding!). I love the look, and am always searching for great camp shirts and tees with pockets.

 

Unpacked (in order of appearance):

Tweed blazer, Elie Tahari, similar style here.

Trench Coat, Samuel Dong via Ooh! Ooh! Shoes!

Trench Coat, Gallery, purchased at a shop in the Nashville airport.

Wide-leg cropped pants, Banana Republic, similar style in white here.

Camel moto jacket, Michael Kors.

Black moto jacket, Ann Taylor.

Bubble skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Chambray camp shirt, Girl Krazy via TJ Maxx.

 

Bubble Butt

Weather in Florida can be fickle, so it’s a rare day when I experience the pleasure/obligatory vexation of wearing tights. I actually had a 10-minute conversation with my neighbor the other day about my sincere abhorrence of tights. I really don’t like to wear anything too restrictive (I also hate turtlenecks).

black skirt full shot back

On the days they are unavoidable, I wear a pair by Spanx. I know, I know-it’s counterintuitive: I hate restrictive clothing, yet go for the most restrictive version of said clothing. But I really like the finish of the Spanx version, and the waistband doesn’t roll like some other brands I’ve tried.

black skirt top

To wear black and still make a statement, look for interesting cuts or textures. I bought this black skirt in Belgium, and have just fallen in love with it and its bubble-shaped imprints (the sales clerks were probably thinking, “Crazy American!” as I tested its twirliness factor). Bonus: it has a gorgeous pink silk lining, which I adore (there’s a special place in my heart for the designer who considers details that aren’t immediately apparent to everyone).

black skirt shirt wrap

Years ago, I saw a shirt wrapped like this and immediately took to wearing all my button-downs this way. I’m glad to see the trend is back in rotation, just make sure you employ the services of a strategically-placed safety pin before venturing out into public!

 

Unpacked:

Mattress-ticking shirt: Generic, thrifted for $1 (yes, you read that correctly).

Black Skirt:

Belt: Saks Fifth Avenue, thrifted.

Tights: Spanks Assets, via Target.

Shoes: Lauren Ralph Lauren.

Necklace worn as bracelet: Sorrelli.

Shades: Betsey Johnson.