Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Getting In Touch With the Feminine Side

of my readership….

Once again I will venture into untested waters and voice an opinion about women’s wear (a term that I prefer to “fashion,” because honestly, who can keep up with the pace at which it changes?) I’m not even sure that you can buy these pieces today. If you have sources that I haven’t, please pipe up in the comments section. And please take all my recommendations with a grain of salt, I’m not expert in women’s wear, I just know what I like across the board…

A few thoughts:

On any given day, I can look out of my window or walk down the street and see the same sorts of things being worn by women going to and fro from work or school. As the weather gets warmer and more unpleasant, layers are shed. What we are left with isn’t always as successful as it could be — more like an afterthought thrown on on the way to the gym. I’m sure that this is because of the drastic differences between the temperatures in air-conditioned rooms and the searing heat of the sidewalk. Layers, then, would seem your best bet.

J. Crew has the solution: Summer weight cashmere sweaters that are light enough to stuff into those enormous purses that everyone seems to be hauling around these days. Good for morning coffee to evening cocktails.

Palazzo pants and Capris (Jackie O photo). Palazzo pants were first popularized in the 1930’s and were known as “beach pyjamas.” Wide legged, drawstring waisted and flowy, the palazzo is the gauzy garment for hot days and especially nights. Dress them up with a camisole and open shirt tied at the waist and your chunky gold necklace. These are from J Peterman.

And capris…. think an effortlessly chic Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

(photo: Capri Tourism)

I like the ones that flare a little at the bottom rather than the skin tight 1950’s black satin numbers. As with all clothing, excepting athletic wear, natural fibers are preferred.

Sandals and Espadrilles: the most elegant alternatives to flip flops. Why wear anything less than beautiful (ever?) There are thousands of variations on summer’s chicest footwear. I think that a little colour or bright white for day and sparkle for night is just the ticket. All the better to show off that tan ankle. But then, that’s probably my Mediterranean blood talking….

(Lily Pulitzer Thong Sandal via Zappos.com)

(Charles David “Jade” through Zappos.com)

Ridiculously expensive as they’ve gotten, I stock up whenever we are abroad, does anything seem just so summery as the cotton and jute espadrille?

(“Clea” through Espadrilles Etc.)

Striped Sailor’s Jerseys… St. James‘ are the best. Highly recommended, maybe it’s that boatneck that shows off the clavicle to great effect….

White shirts, in general. look great against sun-kissed (or bottle tanned) skin, I’m sure you’ve found the perfect one. For casual evenings, though, consider a black tunic against white trousers.

(Willets Long Sleeve Tunic by Ralph Lauren)

Sundresses and print skirts.

(Butterfly Print Dress by Talbots)

(Flowing Flowers Skirt by Ann Taylor)

Good sunglasses are a must, they protect your eyes and do so much more. I’m partial to tortoiseshell and the classic Ray Ban aviators.

(Persol 2756 in Havana via Hisunglasses)

While I wear a smaller frame size, I think all women look best in the oversized Ray Bans…

(Ray Ban Shooters via Zappos.com)

And what summer list would be complete without lots and lots of white linen?

(Katherine Linen Dress by Ralph Lauren)

(J Crew Italian Linen Blazer)

8 thoughts on “Getting In Touch With the Feminine Side

  1. Might I also recommend the shirtdress? I love them for summer. They look a bit more structured than a sundress, but just as comfortable.

    My fallback day to evening look in the heat of summer is wear a black cashmere tank with a linen jacket and black capris (not too short!) to the office on casual Friday. Before heading out for drinks, I simply exchange the jacket for a black and white tunic, put on some lipstick, and I’m ready to go.

  2. Are men allowed to comment on women’s wear? I guess so. I love those skirts! In fact yesterday I bought my new editor the Ann Taylor skirt in the picture.

  3. I think you’ve made some excellent choices here! I might add white jeans too, which would look great with the sailor top and Jack Rogers sandals- for casual occasions. (I remember going on that little gondola ride in Capri, but unfortunately I did NOT look as chic as Jackie O!)

  4. I was listening to something on NPR about Generation Y and how they all want to wear PJs and flipflops to work. I started looking around when I was driving downtown, and all of the 20 somethings were wearing flipflops to work. If you don’t want to wear “real” shoes, at least wear a nice sandal. Flips are just gross.

  5. Lucy, absolutely. I had an image of an RL one, but ran out of time to post it… a fine choice. And your day to evening look fits the bill exactly, thanks!

    LBT, you are the charmer. And I think the AT look is great when they don’t lose their way… sad that they are going out of business.

    Peak, good choice. I’ve ordered some myself for the beach. My photo from Capri has me piloting the boat much to the chagrin of the US Coast Guard inspector aboard — no life vests and me a robust 7 year old.

  6. Hi fairfax, I don’t get it either. I guess that none of them has ever had a nice pair of well-made shoes that are actually comfortable to wear. The same holds true for clothing. My first purchase as a new potential employee was a pair of Allen Edmonds captoes. That was 25 years ago, and they’re still with me and going strong. After all that use and polishing, they are as comfortable as slippers and look fantastic. At least a pair of Weejuns…

  7. Summer,
    a bit of shine or straw,
    Wacky prints
    Pick 3 colors and build a wardrobe
    White, lots of white!
    A good hat to protect one’s skin
    I love Summer!

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