Winter uniform: Big Sweater + Little Skinnies

Well we’ve been enjoying an amazing NYC autumn with warm weather and leaves that actually changed color in the city for once, but sadly it looks like those days are about to end, and real winter will be arriving soon. I really enjoyed planning my outfits this fall, and as I start to pull out all my winter clothes I’ve been thinking about my “winter uniform” to make dressing and shopping easy (and hopefully a little fun!) as we hunker down for some cold dark months.

1. Jacket: I’ve had a warm hooded parka on my winter shopping list for several years now to rotate in with my regular black puffy coat, that sadly does not have a hood so is unwearable many windy/rainy winter days. Many of the cute army parkas are great to look at, but wouldn’t last one winter day in NYC. After seeing this Soia & Kyo parka, I started keeping an eye out for a more affordable version with faux fur. I love this Uniqlo A-line coat, but can’t decide between green or taupe.

2. Hat: I’ve become a big fan of Uniqlo’s Heatech line. This hat is perfect because it is soft and thin, but toasty warm.

3. Statement necklace: I’ve become a big fan of statement necklaces recently, and think nothing is better to liven up a neutral palette in the dead of winter then a fun bauble. I keep finding all kinds of amazing necklaces at H&M, and I love the orange/coral color pop on this one, but also like the contrast of the delicate shape worn with a chunky sweater.

4. Jeans: I’ve been living in my 7 for all Mankind “The Skinny” jeans since I picked up a used pair at a local consignment store. They are super stretchy, so very comfortable but still thick enough to be jeans and not leggings.

5. Socks: Heattech again! I have the short ankle pair, and need to stock up on the knee socks.

6. Booties: Mine are similar from a few season ago, but love that these booties just keep on showing up everywhere. This post at Les Anti-Modernes was my inspiration last fall for my original purchase.

What is your winter uniform?

Lost & Found: Frye Harness Boots

Boots: Frye, Vest: Gap, Shirt: JCrew, Jeans: J Brand, Sunglassed: Marc by Marc Jacobs

I read a post from Goop a ways back that mentioned “shopping your closet” and I’ve been trying to get in the habit of doing this first before I shop for real and spend more money. When I started thinking about fall boots this year, I “shopped” my closet and found my pair of Frye Harness 12R boots thrown in the back and covered in about an inch of dust. I had planned to bring them to a consignment store last year but never got around to it, and then had forgotten that I even owned them. Around the same time I read A.B. Chao’s post about the “Elegant Cowgirl” in her Fall Uniform post and I started thinking of giving these boots another shot.

I bought these about three years ago from Zappos after cobbling together a couple gift cards and some holiday cash. I always really liked them, and they were exactly what I expected but for some reason I was never really able to find a place for them in my wardrobe. Although I have small feet for my height the boots just seemed HUGE and clompy. I also felt they were too casual for work so that cut out five days of possible wear right there. I got a little bit of use out of them with some long boot cut jeans, but since you couldn’t really see them under the jeans they seemed a little pointless.

This fall, after dusting off the boots I stared wearing them  with my skinny jeans for a casual late fall weekend outfit. My favorite thing about these boots is how rough and tough they are, and the rustic harness details. I’ve found that the more fitted the jeans are the more the outfit works for me. I also like throwing on a preppy top (like this JCrew striped t) to add an interesting contrast. I’m thinking of also trying them with some black leggings and a chambray shirt, or maybe a lacy flowy blouse to really place up the contrast.

What’s in My Bag? The Go Bag Edition

Here in NYC the wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy are starting to pick up, so I thought I would do a “What’s in my bag?” for my Go Bag that we keep on hand for emergencies. I used this list from the City of NYC to put it together. The important thing about your Go Bag is to make sure you have everything in one place, and you can grab the bag and go if you ever need to!

1. Multiple flashlights
2. Batteries
3. Snacks!
3. Candles/Lighter
4. Water
5. Radio. I marked the local news stations on the dial with a sharpie.
6. First Aid Kit. We grabbed a generic one from CVS.
The bag is an old tote with some extra pockets that are great for stashing extra batteries and matches. I actually wrote about this tote back in 2004, and here it is again as my Go Bag.

What do you keep on hand for emergencies?

The Mid City Foley & Corinna bag

As soon as I could start to feel fall in the air this year I reached for my Foley + Corinna Mid City tote that I purchase second hand on Ebay about two years ago.  The worn in coppery metallic color is perfect for an autumn day as the leaves change.

You know how I love my pockets, and this bag doesn’t disappoint. Two outside side pockets and two inside side pockets hold all my small items, leaving a ton of room in the main section. I don’t wear the bag cross body too much, but it is great to have the option if I’m shopping or temporarily doing something that I need both hands. With the long bag and high sides I feel like this bag is very secure while walking around the city and riding the subway.

This bag needs to be worn with a thin coat, since the top handles are so shallow, so I need to get in most of my use now before the puffy coat comes out for winter.

What bag do you reach for in the fall?

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Fall Outfit ideas

So far we have been having an amazing fall here in NYC and I am actually enjoying planning my outfits everyday. My fall uniform goes something like this:

1. Skinny jeans
2. Colorful/pattered/textured billowy top
3. Fun shoes! (Oxfords, Minnetonka Moccasins, or my favorite tan suede booties!)
4. Lightweight structured jacket (right now I am loving my Gap army green jacket)
5. Interesting scarf (switching between two JCrew scarves: leopard and hot pink)

Pictures from my Instagram feed: thebagblog

Structured Vintage Coach Bag

I picked up this vintage Coach bag on Ebay a couple years ago, even before the new Coach Classic bags were out. I love how simple and timeless this bag is, and how it works equally well with jeans and a professional outfit. I’ve used the bag with a dress for the evening (held onto the top handle) and thrown on cross body along with jeans and a flannel. The latter is probably my favorite look, I love a structured boxy bag with a casual outfit. A bag like this can make a sloppy outfit look put together for my morning coffee run.

I’m on a hunt for my next vintage Coach, which I am hoping will be a large duffle bag in a broken in tan leather (similar new bag here).

Bags for Men

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So what to do when the man in your life decides to make a mid career change from attorney to high school history teacher? My reaction (of course) was to start researching the perfect bag for the new career, since the leather Kenneth Cole bag (similar) I got him for his old career seemed a little too formal and heavy. I was on the hunt for something more casual. A durable light weight canvas messenger bag, preferably with a hunting/preppy twist.

My favorite was the LL Bean Sea-Washed Canvas Messenger Bag in olive. I liked the idea of “sea-washed” right off the bat, even though honestly I have no idea what that means. The zippered pocket on the front would be perfect for a subway pass, a side pocket for phone, and and organized interior for notebooks and school supplies.

His favorite (and the one we will be ordering) is the JCrew Abingdon Laptop Bag in slate grey. Size is good and handles at the top so it can be carried both ways. I like the black leather contrasted with the grey waxed canvas. The canvas makes this bag casual, but the briefcase-like shape keeps it crisp and structured.

Here are some other ideas I can up with on Pinterest when brainstorming bags for men. What are your favorite men’s bags? Any other brands I should be checking out?

Menswear Watch

True story: I haven’t worn a watch since the late 90’s. Back then it was a Kenneth Cole Reaction watch that was a part of a silver colored bracelet. It was my favorite watch and when the clasp broke I called around to get it fixed but sadly found out it was beyond repair. After that I just stopped wearing watches, and started carrying a cell phone.

About a year ago I started thinking about watches again. It can be really distracting to have to check my iPhone for the time, and on my old phone it also means a drain on the battery. I also started seeing lots of women wearing large chunky menswear inspired watches, which i preferred far more to dainty, flimsy look of the typical Ladies watch.

Eventually I happened across an old Swiss Army watch belonging to the boyfriend. It had been sitting in an shoebox for years so he was fine when I brought it over to a neighborhood jeweler to adjust the band for my wrist. They quoted me $12, but when I went to pick it up they said it would actually be $10.

So score a perfect chunky menswear watch for $10!

Statement necklaces


I have a theory on jewelry: It should either be really cheap and over the top, or expensive fine jewelry. Nothing middle of the road and trying to have it both ways. Of course I mostly have cheap stuff so here are two of my favorites:

Wooden necklace: I got this at Beacon’s Closet in Park Slope. I saw it in the glass case and assumed it was a one of a kind vintage 70’s necklace, and then the cashier reached into a drawer that held about a hundred of them, mass-produced and  shrink wrapped in plastic. But I love it nonetheless, and have never run into another person wearing it. My current favorite pairing is with my L.L. Bean sailor shirt to de-prep and make the stripes more interesting.

H&M “Jewels”: I bought this recently at the H&M at 59th & Lex and I assume it is in every store. For a day time look I wore with a Gap chambray shirt, inspired by a display I saw at JCrew of their denim shirt and the flower lattice necklace. For the night I switched out the necklace to wear with a black tank and pink silk pencil skirt (bridesmaid skirt from my sister’s wedding!) I love this necklace since it is both simple yet complex, perfect for day to night, and makes a nice clinking sound when I walk.

Pictures from my Instagram feed: thebagblog

Madewell Quality Mending Co. Bowling Bag



I’ve been long overdue in writing a post about this fabulous bag I got about a year ago from Madewell from Quality Mending Co. I had seen this bag at the Madewell store on Fifth Avenue a few times but at $68 I couldn’t justify the splurge.

After a few more weeks I peeked in the store again and the bowling ball bag had been marked down (around $20-30 though I forget the exact price) and there was one left in stock, which I grabbed right away and headed over to the check out line.

This bag is perfect for a casual evening out. I usually grab it when we get drinks in the neighborhood. It it the perfect size to hold a phone, keys and some make up, and thanks to the round round shape it can hold more bulky items like a large scarf. The army green is my favorite colors and the canvas is thick and durable, and the gold colored hardware is a nice touch like the rivets on the handle.