Spring Wardrobe Additions

I’ve been trying to slow my roll with wardrobe building over the past several months, for a variety of reasons.

  • My new-ish job (now nearly 1.5 years into it, but still, it was a major style shift) doesn’t require the same business attire (all suits, all the time) that my old one did
  • We moved last summer into a tiny rental house with a highly inadequate amount of closet space (Spoiler: this is a problem that will self-correct soon!)
  • Packing and moving forces you to see how much stuff you really have, and when the amount is embarrassing, it puts a pause on “Buy Now” mode
  •  I adore the idea of a capsule wardrobe, even though I am far, far from it

And finally, a really good reason:

  • I recently lost some weight and I’m waiting until the dust settles to see what fits, what doesn’t and what I need to buy all over again

As I posted earlier this week, I received a Stitch Fix with lots of casual mix and match options for summer. This is terrific. I am hoping to keep my new summer wardrobe mostly limited to that Fix, save a few new pairs of summer shoes and swim suits (I am planning to do a tremendous amount of swimming this summer).

For spring, I also kept what was new in check.

One investment that made the cut was this suit from J. Crew:

This is the Parke blazer, Cameron pants and Perfect Fit tee, all in navy. I knew that I had a few important lectures and meetings this spring, and I wanted something that felt modern. I’ve worn this exact outfit three times already and each one has felt like it perfectly hit the mark.

I also placed an order with Banana Republic during one of their 40% off sales for a metallic tweed jacket, a soft gray leather moto jacket, a v-neck tan sweater and this necklace:

Even though this was a recent order, it looks like the tweed and leather jackets are sold out. Here’s a similar version of the jacket available at Nordstrom:

I wore this earlier in the week to give a lecture, pairing it with the navy suit pants, the tan v-neck and the pearl necklace. It all came together.

I’ve also waffled a lot over whether to invest in this bag:

The gray is appealing and unlike anything else I own. I also like how this is less structured that some other designer bags. I can’t seem to pull the trigger.

This Sole Society blush suede clutch was an easier call:

At approximately 3.5% the cost of the gray bag, this pink one feels like a bargain.




J. Crew Chateau Parka

I think it’s safe to call the J. Crew Chateau parka a classic.

Year after year, this timeless winter coat looks right.


Image via J Crew

About two years ago I bought a new lightweight Patagonia down jacket, but as far as dressier outerwear goes, I realized I’ve had the same boring black cloth coat from Banana Republic for nearly a decade.

That, my friends, is a true fashion commitment.

Like the J. Crew coat, my BR coat’s classic cut still feels stylish. The fit is good. It’s not worn out in the slightest, so in the end, I can’t think of a reason to get something new.

Except that this season’s fun windowpane check version from J. Crew caught my eye:


Image via J Crew

The red is so awesome!

There is much argument to be made for having a bright winter coat, since it’s a major statement maker when you’re otherwise bundled from head to toe and it gets dark at 4 PM.

If you stick to safer colors like black or navy, you’ve got to much more creative in the hats, scarves and mittens arena. Which I am.

This year I also love how J. Crew styled the chateau parka with a jean jacket as another layer. This image is from their catalog:


Wearing a jean jacket as a sweater-like layer is a look I’ve seen quite a bit this fall. It’s inspiring me to dig out my own classic J. Crew jean jacket and give it a shot.

One consistent thing I’ve noticed: if you decide you are in the market for a J. Crew winter coat, wait until they go on sale in the late winter/early spring. They are usually deeply discounted, even for classics like this that will again be full price in a few months for the next winter season. If you miss the window of opportunity, try again next year. This style will (more than likely) be back.

For an even better deal, check the in-store sale racks in traditionally warm weather places. Stylish warm coats on sale go quickly around here in February, so you might be left with slim pickings. In contrast, I found a gray Chateau parka in my size for less than $100 at a Scottsdale, AZ, J. Crew store last spring. I am kicking myself now that I didn’t snap it up.

But there’s always next year.








How To Look J. Crew-y

I heard this ages ago and have had a hard time verifying it, but rumor has it that J. Crew employees are always encouraged to wear five pieces, which is apparently a magic layering formula to look put-together and J. Crew-y. 


My Style Icon, Jenna Lyons

Look at Jenna Lyons on the left: tee + cardigan + blazer + belt + skirt = five pieces.

(I think this formula describes what you wear on the main part of the body and doesn’t include shoes).

While not quite hitting the five mark, I also liked this sleeveless sweater over long-sleeved shirt with jacket look from In Style:



And finally, a few tips on How to Look J. Crew: 

  • Wear just one piece of bright clothing (or an accessory) against a backdrop of neutrals. J. Crew often showcases neon pieces this way. I particularly like light gray as a canvas.
  • Consider these building blocks as your J. Crew wardrobe staples: 
    • Light sweaters or cardigans, button-down shirts, V-neck tees, simple leather flip-flops, bright ballet flats, printed heels, a schoolboy blazer and a classic wool winter coat in a bright color.
  • Mix smart pieces with casual items. 
  • Cuff your sleeves the J. Crew way.
  • Don’t be afraid to combine prints, especially stripes + anything else.