for the love of isabel

building on my last post, isabel marant is another staple in my wardrobe.  i can’t remember how i first heard of her brand, but over the last five years or so, i have built a great collection of her pieces.  there are two things i love about her style: 1) each season’s collection is interchangeable with previous seasons, so it somehow all goes together without looking dated and 2) despite your style, you can pick a few pieces from every collection to work into your wardrobe as it exists.

i know her clothes are very expensive, but everything i own was bought on sale (still, admittedly not cheap).  however, i truly think that for my life, these were worth the money.  these are among the most special pieces i own, and i wear them both for work and for pleasure.  they make me feel great, and more importantly, feel happy.  and isn’t that what fashion is all about?

blouses and dresses

tops and dressestwo of these blouses deserve a close up.  this woven silk is stunning.

shirt detail 1

as is this olympe top.

shirt detail 2


sweatersleather jacket, dicker boots, and pink checked scarf.

scarf shoes and jacket


five fashion essentials

so many blogs have posted on their “fashion essentials,” and since i am rather unoriginal, i thought i would do the same.  note that these are not essentials that i think every woman should own; rather, these are the pieces in my wardrobe that work overtime.  also, apologies for the washed out black in the photos.  am working on figuring out the light situation in my bedroom to take better pictures.

1) gray shirts.  i wear them to sleep, to the gym, to the grocery store, to brunch, and sometimes even to work (usually on fridays and sometimes on rainy days just because.  no judgment.).  mine are from target.

gray t-shirts

2) superga slip ons.  i am a big walker (because when you get off the subway, even if the train was running perfectly on time, you hate everyone and everything) and go through several pairs of these a year.  they have thick soles so are more comfortable for long distances, as compared to ballet flats or even tom’s, and look respectable enough to not be embarrassed when your boss comments on them in the elevator on your way into work.


3) lacy black underwear.  i am not sure if you know, but i like (love) underwear.  my current favorites for comfortable black briefs that don’t show any lines are these.


4) cream blouses.  i didn’t even know this was an essential until i surveyed my closet, and realized most of my tops are shades of cream and white.  i wear them through every season.  the blouses pictured range from equipment and dvf to forever 21.

cream tops

5) fitted blazers.  i used to accept the j.crew schoolboy blazer as an allowable piece for my work wardrobe until i tried on a fitted billy reid blazer and started reevaluating all my life choices.  the j.crew blazer, though it works for some, is just not the right shape for my body.  i need skinny arms and a longer length, with a slight nipped in waist, to not feel like i am in some sad 80′s sitcom.  these blazers are such an important part of my closet that i did close-ups of each (i own nine blazers total).




billy reid

billy reid

going out.  one from theory and another from forever 21.

going out

emporio armani (part of a suit, which is a necessity for my job).  sorry about the washed out picture – was having trouble with the lighting.

emporio armani

posts like these are particularly interesting for me to create, because they make you think carefully about how you spend your money.  ideally, the majority of your fashion budget should go to these essentials, since these are the items you wear the most.

i would say this is true for me with the exception of t-shirts.  t-shirts wear down so quickly so i can’t justify spending more than $10 on them.  in contrast, those billy reid and smythe blazers have been worth every penny.  they are a few years old but still look and feel great, and they really elevate an outfit.


packing for a month-long work trip

i’m currently in london for the second time this year, and both trips have been at least 3 weeks long.  my wardrobe has changed a bit since the last time i was here, and i was definitely much smarter about how i packed this time around.  it also helps that my temporary apartment has a washer/dryer, so i did not need to pack as many basics.

i laid out my pieces on my bed beforehand, and i did not pack anything that could not be worn at least two ways.  for example, every dress can be worn with a blazer or a cardigan, or two different cardigans.  every skirt matches at least 2 tops.  i think you get the idea.

i packed: 1) 3 skirts; 2) 4 blouses; 3) 4 sweaters (1 sleeveless, 2 short sleeved, and 2 3/4 sleeved); 4) 1 pair of pants; 5) 3 dresses; 6) 1 blazer; 7) 2 cardigans; and 8) 2 camisoles.

packing 1 packing 2

this is everything i packed in terms of clothes, for work and pleasure.  my closet has a lot of building blocks, so i can create a lot of different outfits with a limited number of pieces.  its kind of amazing to realize that while i miss my other clothes, i don’t really need any more than this to make almost every outfit i want to wear.

not pictured but with me are: 1) my raincoat, with a removable fleece liner.  because this is london.  2) work out clothes (several gray t-shirts and 2 pairs of running capris).  the gray t-shirts i work out in triple as casual weekend shirts and sleepwear.  3) underwear and socks.  4)  shoes (2 pairs of flats, 1 pair of short rain boots, 1 pair of running shoes, and 3 pairs of heels (black suede, tortoise shell, and snakeskin).  5) 2 scarfs (one pink check, and one blue leopard).  6) 5 pairs of earrings.  7) two bags (1 crossbody and one shoulder bag).

everything fit in 1 large checked bag.  not bad, eh?


just in: vpl and j.crew

winter is around the corner, and i am getting ready by stocking up on cozy basics.  these adorable heart print socks from j.crew (no longer available) and cotton undies should do the trick.  and despite the temperature, i always need a good pair of sunglasses (mine are from whistles, also no longer available).

vpl and jcrew


feeling navy and camel

as i write this, i am sitting at the airport on my way to london for work.  i have another post coming up on packing for long work trips, but until then, here is a snapshot of my outfit today before i left.  my plane outfit is far less cute.

i am so happy that my closet is in a place where just about everything goes together, so i don’t have to think much when outfit planning.  one of the keys to this for me is sticking for a classic but elegant color palette.  navy and camel seeks very appropriate for this lovely fall weather, and is a more interesting combination than head to toe black, the standard nyc winter uniform.

IMG_3467{billy reid camel blazer, vince navy tank, j.crew navy pants, and lonely cyd longline set}


small details

i’m still in the process of updating my apartment, and i’ve realized that even the smallest detail makes a huge difference.  for instance,  i documented my bathroom makeover here, but one thing that drove me crazy was the toilet handle that came with the toilet.  since it was far too modern for the style, i ended up buying a new handle.  the new handle makes me happy every time i…you know…flush.


handle before

handle after


nashville shopping

on a recent trip home to nashville for the weekend, i hit up two of my favorite local businesses: parnassus books and beloved intimates.  luckily for me (but not for my wallet) they are about two minutes away from each other.

nashville shopping since i think you might be tired of looking at pictures of my underwear, here is what i came home with from parnassus.  as a special treat, the copy of the painter is signed!parnassus

 okay, i don’t care if you are tired of looking at pictures of lingerie.  i couldn’t resist.  set is by lou paris.

lou paris


chelsea flower market

i woke up extra early this morning and met my dear friend jill at the chelsea flower market (thanks jill for the iphone pictures!).  every morning, monday through saturday, west 28th street between 6th and 7th avenues becomes an urban flower and plant oasis.

as tempting as it is to sleep in and do nothing on saturdays (or basically everyday), i rejected my inner lazy bum.  and now, i have gone to the flower market, sat in a cute cafe and had coffee, arranged my flowers, and posted on my blog, and it isn’t even noon yet.  i have been so productive that i have no qualms about sitting on my butt the rest of this rainy day.

oh btw we went a little photo happy.

IMG_3599 IMG_3604 IMG_3606 IMG_3607 IMG_3608 these flowers were as big as our faces.  i loved them.IMG_3609 IMG_3611

the spoils of my trip (i wish i remembered the flower varieties but these kinds of things don’t stay in my brain):

IMG_3856 IMG_3857 IMG_3858



i had a wonderful sunday dinner with two of my closest friends at narcissa in the east village last sunday night.  this is actually my 5th time at the restaurant in the last year (i love it that much), but i keep forgetting to bring my camera.  thanks to my lovely friend sari for these pictures!

also, for all you vegetarians out there (i am one too), i highly recommend narcissa.  the menu is so creative, and i never feel like i am missing out.  oh, and the carrots wellington is outstanding.

narcissa 1 narcissa 2 narcissa 3 narcissa 4 narcissa 5 narcissa 6 narcissa 7 narcissa 8 narcissa 9


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