Mighty Closet: Liz Stanley

This is my extraordinarily efficient friend Liz Stanley of Say Yes to Hoboken. In addition to being a total party animal, Liz is one of those people who can complete a cross stitch sampler, repaint the living room, and start a successful small business before she meets you for brunch.

She also has my favorite smile ever.


Liz and I share a penchant for cruise director chic. Her khakis are American Eagle, and the gold striped tank is J.Crew from eBay. As you can see here, her house is just as well curated as her closet.

Liz’s pink ribbon necklace is also J.Crew and her blue blazer is from a thrift store. She says, “Shrunken blazers look hot with almost any outfit, but check the little boys section of your local thrift store for a cheap/vintage alternative to that $150 one you’ve been eying from J.Crew. I always find some great ones to add to my closet there.”

Her pink/gold heels were consignment, and they’re such a flattering neutral. The shine gives them a little more depth than a straightforward nude, and the pink is warmer too. Plus I love how a T-strap shoe always reduces blisters. I wonder if these were originally tango shoes.

Liz has baby-fine hair, so messy updos are a quick option for her. Everyday Princess Leia.

I told Liz I would crop the firewood out of the shot, but then the photo looked less awesome without it. Sorry, Liz. Now everyone will know you use your fireplace. Probably for something illicit.

Liz says, “Once you slip into a pair of high-waisted stretchy jeans like these, you’ll curse whoever came up with the idea of a low rise. There’s a reason our moms wore them in the ’70s, they’re incredibly comfortable. Plus, thanks to J. Lo’s butt, we can all embrace the full size of our behinds in high-waisted jeans.”

The scarf is from Target. If you always wonder how people make cool headbands from scarves, Liz recently posted a tutorial on her favorite turban ties. Go read it.

Her long-chain necklace is the Color Study Locket by Verabel on Etsy.

Bag by Fabric and Handle, excellent for toting your macrame project. Her sandals are Bernardo.

Here’s Liz with a pillow she probably whipped up in the ten minutes before she had a dozen guests over for dinner. Liz, I will pay you to be my wife. Tights by American Apparel, brown boots are Diesel from a consignment store, and the gray dress is H&M.

Liz and I were talking about what makes someone’s style stand out, and her theory is layering. She says, “With a kind of boring dress like this gray one I like to add unexpected pieces like an oxford shirt underneath and bright tights. I’m a big fan of oxfords as an under layer. Just be sure to roll up the sleeves and unbutton the top to prevent looking too stiff and formal.” Shirt is H&M, belt is from a thrift store

This sweet J Crew headband would get lost in my hair, but I love it paired with a chignon or a casual ponytail. Well played, Stanley.

Liz got this ombre silk skirt from a consignment store. She says, ““Elastic waist skirts aren’t always the most flattering on their own. Add a belt to cinch your waist and hide the extra bulk around the hip they’re giving you with a shrunken blazer.”

I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of Liz’s neutral-colored layering pieces feature an understated print like this tiny polka dot blouse from Urban Outfitters. It adds interest, but the overall effect is still classic. The blazer and brown belt are thrifted.

These boots are made for typin’ (by Zara).

Gah! I so covet this dress. She found it at a thrift store in Utah, and orignially it was sleeveless, backless, and nearly floor length, “I’m not a great sewer but I worked my fingers to the bone to refashion this outdated dress into something more my style.” You can see the whole process right here.

Here she’s styled the dress for day and evening.

Liz throws on a cardigan from Express, a the thin belt is H&M for a creative business look.

Also, there’s a removable back panel so Liz can still wear the dress to church.

For evening, she dresses up her shoes. Liz made these sequin shoe clips herself, but you can buy them readymade from Ban.do.

Here’s what the heels look like naked. (My Google search traffic on this post just skyrocketed.)

Add a vintage clutch, and you’re all set for some serious partying. That donkey tail isn’t gonna pin itself.

Packing Light, New Orleans

As you know, I’m all about the carry-on luggage. A carry-on and a backpack can get me through almost anything, mostly because carry-ons will hold way more than most people think, especially if you’re going somewhere warm. Here’s what I packed for New Orleans.

The denim skirt is thrifted and the striped top is Urban Outfitters. Anna Beth Chao only weighs like three pounds, so you can fold her right down into the exterior pocket of the carry-on. I take her everywhere. Chao and champagne.

The silk scarf is vintage Vera, and the aviators are from Anthropologie. When I wear them, I like to ask people for their license and registration at regular intervals.

There was a cocktail party that first night, so I wore my vintage fringe happy dress, which requires zero ironing. I take it everywhere.

These are my fallback shoes, which operate on the theory that if you’re a woman over six feet tall in heels, no one notices what you’re wearing anyway. I need a new pair, because I’ve had these for nearly a decade. It’s impossible to find stable, comfortable, unreasonably tall shoes, but it’s time. Help a sister out, Internet.

The next day was my presentation. I like to be totally comfortable on stage, so I went with this simple navy shift from H&M and swapped the belt out for a striped scarf. The orange travel flats are Tieks, and I also wore two square glass orange rings, because I like to be matchy matchy like that. You’ll see those below.

A group of us went to dinner later that night, and I wore a romper I got at Forever 21 for 16 cents. Cheap prices for disposable clothing is why I continue to shop there, even though they purposefully play music to annoy people my age. You’ll have to more than blast Avril Levigne to drive me away from prices like this Forever 21! Actually, I love that “What the Hell” song, so I’m golden. I am bopping in the aisles, Forever21.

I wore the romper with very basic open toe black flats from H&M. I don’t have any full-length shots of this outfit that you haven’t already seen, so I’m cheating by using a shot from New York. There are, however, several shots of me looking naked at dinner:

“Oh, don’t mind me. I put a dinner napkin on the chair before I sat down.”

This is my impression of cruise director Julie McCoy. Can you feel me setting a course for adventure?

The skirt is from Buenos Aires, and the tennies are knockoff Bensimons, which I got on the cheap at the now-defunct Martin and Osa. I need to replace those badly, but can’t bring myself to spend $50 on a pair of slightly more awesome canvas Keds.

Scarf is another vintage Vera tied as an ascot. The button-up shirt is from The Limited, which makes great shirts for business travel because they aren’t 100 percent cotton, which means they have stretch to them and don’t wrinkle nearly so easily. My glasses are Dolce and Gabanna.

That night I wore an American Apparel dress for my reading, with the same heels we talked about earlier.

As you know, I like to take jammies that I can wear as clothes in a pinch. This time, I packed this grey romper, also from Forever21, also 16 cents. The cashmere sweater is from the Alameda Flea Market.

I stayed a couple extra days with Anna Beth, so I revisited the navy shift for lunch at Commanders Palace. Here you can see the aforementioned orange rings, which I got from street vendors in Buenos Aires:

I also wore my stripe top again, this time with a little black mini from Urban Outfitters:

And a scarf from H&M:

Again, I failed to get a photo of what I wore on the plane due to exhaustion. I know this makes you rabid, so I’ll say I wore a short cotton mini-dress over tight jeans with the gray striped sweater, a blazer, and the white sneakers.

And that’s it, team.

One day soon I’ll do a post about what I wear on planes to maximize comfort and go from cold (San Francisco) to warm (everywhere else). Speaking of which, do you have a standard travel outfit? If so, spill. I could use a variation on the dress/leggings/sweater theme.

Also, keep an eye on this space, because I asked Roxanna from Everyday Treats to tell me what she packed for New Orleans. She always looks amazing, and she sent photos. Hooray, Roxanna!

Mighty Closet: Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind

I first met Erin last year at ALT, remember? Then Erin came to the Summit this year sporting a fresh pixie cut, and charmed everyone with her over-the-top sweetness. The girl is such a positive force that all of us agreed that we wanted to keep her in our pockets for on-call ego boosts — Pocket Loechner.

In addition to being a dear, she is a powerhouse. Her site, Design for Mankind, was featured in the London Times as one of the top 50 design blogs in the world, and right now she and her husband are renovating their cabin and documenting the process for HGTV.com. She does not sleep.

I love Erin’s sense of humor when it comes to fashion, so I told her we needed to do a Mighty Closet next time she was in town. She offered to take some photos herself and pass them along instead. Genius. So here she is, Pocket Loechner, coming to you live from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Take it away, my sweet.

(Photos by Casie Towsley.)

Outfit One: Running Errands

This is an example of what I’d wear out and about, either to the grocery store, post office, or a coffee run. I used to reserve these types of activities for yoga pants and a hoodie, but I recently pixied myself and you’re not allowed to wear pixies and sweatpants. Unless, of course, you don’t mind being called ‘Sir’ in the cereal aisle. Hypothetically.

Pinstriped Oxford Shirt (Men’s): Banana Republic, Circa 2001
Navy Grandpa Cardigan: Heritage1981 I love the leather elbow patches!
Boyfriend Jeans: Levi, Circa 2004 The trick with wearing boyfriend jeans is to really buy men’s jeans. I’m totally not kidding here.
Boots: Antique, they were my grandmother’s!
Handbag: Vintage, thrifted
Frog Cocktail Ring: Vintage, thrifted

Outfit Two: Birthday Party

Maggie asked for a cocktail party look, but we don’t have cocktail parties in these parts. So this is an outfit I’d wear if I were throwing myself a party.

Dress: Forever 21
Tights: WeLoveColors.com
Heels: ModCloth
Silver Sputnik Cocktail Ring: Antique, thrifted
Hairpiece: Tieks shoes come with this little ribbon around the box. I got a pair at the Mighty Summit, and thought the ribbon would make a cute headband.

Outfit Three: Working At A Local Cafe

Striped Sweater: F21
Confetti Skirt: Modcloth
Purple Tights: WeLoveColors.com
Navy Patent Wedges: Vera Wang, 2008
Gold Necklace: LemonadeHandmade This was a gift from the Mighty Summit.
Cocktail Ring: Vintage, Alameda Flea Market

Outfit Four: Lunch With Grandma

I don’t have any friends in Fort Wayne yet, so my most frequent lunch companion is my husband’s 90-something-year-old grandmother, who is fantastic and a total treat to hang with. Seriously. Anyway, this is what I’d wear to lunch with her, because she loves quirky boots and mixed patterns, and I enjoy surprising her with my latest combos. (Don’t tell anyone, but she just might be in direct relation with Iris Apfel. Never can tell!)

Striped Navy Boatneck: Land’s End Canvas
Striped Cardigan: F21
Herringbone Skirt: Tucker for Target Collection
Tights: Urban Outfitters, 2005ish
Boots: Anthropologie, Fall 2007
Brooch: Brooklyn Rehab, Gift
Cocktail Ring: Vintage, thrifted

Outfit Five: Out On The Town

This is an outfit I’d wear for an evening dinner with my sweet, sweet husband. You’re allowed to wear fake fur wherever you want in Indiana, so I take full advantage.

Dress: Tucker for Target (sold out online, but check your local store)
Faux Fur Vest: Vintage, thrifted
Belt: ModCloth
Shoes: ModCloth
Tights: ModCloth.com
Cocktail Ring: Vintage, thrifted
Cicada Earrings: Erica Weiner Jewelry

1. I always wear a cocktail ring on my right index finger. It’s a staple of mine, and you’ll rarely see me without one.
2. I invest in jewelry, shoes, and little else. If an item has a pattern of any kind, I never pay full price, as patterns (with the exception of Breton stripes) are much easier to date than solids.
3. Colored tights are another staple, and I store these next to my cocktail rings. Snags ensue, but I consider colored tights and cocktail rings to be the President and Vice President of my wardrobe, so they can’t very well sit amongst the minions, can they?


Oh, Erin. How many times am I going to have to ask you to send me your grandmother’s boots before you bend to my will? Thanks for all your hard work putting this together. If I can’t have you in my pocket, having you in Mighty Closet is the next best thing.

Mighty Closet: Our Wedding

Our photojournalist wedding photographer showed up at the hotel at 7 a.m. I was wearing a silk robe that I got at Thrift Town in Sacramento for $10. It’s still one of my favorite things.

I changed into one of those horrifying velour tracksuits that was very popular at the time, and one of our groomsmen remarked that I looked like a movie star trying to go incognito. Mostly I just wanted a zip-front something to wear all day so I could change out of it without ruining my hair and makeup. Also I might have wanted to practice a cheerleading routine or something. You never know.

(That kissable bundle is little Evan Frasier; I was his nanny briefly. He is 43 now.)

My dream wedding dress was Audrey Hepburn’s bridal dress from Funny Face:

I’ve mentioned before that I have clothing nightmares. We were on a tight budget when we were married, and I was accordingly horrified by the idea of spending $1,500 on a dress.

I was set on a short dress, which I thought would be easy to find, but absolutely no one wore them at the time. When I say no one, I mean I went to every bridal salon and department store in San Francisco, and found exactly one short, white dress, for $1700 dollars. It was not cute.

Three months before the wedding I still didn’t have a dress, and I was beginning to hyperventilate and have tooth-griding nightmares. For those of you who’ve never been married, lots of women order their dresses a year out, and many bridal salons look at you like you’re nuts if you expect less than a six-month turnaround.

Bryan finally had enough of my whimpering and rocking in the corner. He said, “We are going to the Gunne Sax outlet and buying something.” We ended up buying two dresses, one that would become the bodice for $80, and a size 14 tulle monstrosity for the skirt, which was about $100. I asked my dear friend Lisa (Hi, Lisa!) from Stitch Bitch if she could lop off the skirt and smush the two dresses together. She did it for less than $100, because she loves me. This is how we ended up spending less for my dress than we did for the bourbon at the wedding. Fact!

Lisa didn’t want the dress to be too heavy, so instead of using 300 layers of tulle, she put some horsehair ruffs under the sides of the skirt to make them stand out. This meant that the skirt was nice and poofy, but I could still use the restroom withoutout aid. Bonus.

I got a satin headband at Britex, and my mom-in-law sewed a circle of tulle to a metal hair comb the night before the wedding. I’d hoped for a cage veil, but this was in the hours before Etsy, and they were impossible to find. I thought about skipping the veil entirely, but when my girlfriends pinned my veil in my hair, it was the moment I realized I was really getting married.

I grew up with a gardenia bush in the backyard, so I had a gardenia in my hair and one for each of the bridesmaids. They wore them in their hair or pinned to their shirts as they chose.

Thanks to tequila and vigorous dancing, my hair flower fell out, and no one mentioned it because they didn’t know I had 14 more in the back. Word to the wise brides, extra hair flowers ladies.

I also wore red shoes, which was strange at the time. One of our guests mentioned that he particularly loved my shoes because his mother always said red shoes were for little girls and whores. I like to think I fall squarely in the latter camp:

Later, I pulled on a red sweater with a rhinestone brooch, because it gets cold on the docks in San Francisco. The sweater was a merino Bennton cardigan, and I still wear it.

Bryan’s suit was a striped Donna Karan cashmere blend on sale at Nordstrom Rack. His tie was Calvin Klien. My maiden name is Berry, so the boutonnieres were Eucalyptus leaves with unripe blackberries, all collected on the wedding site. We asked our groomsmen to wear black suits, and we got them matching ties.

My bridesmaids were from size 0 to size 14 and were 4’11” to 5’10” — we even had a pregnant attendant — so I had to find something that would be flattering for everyone. I chose white cotton wrap tops and red wool skirts from Foley’s, which I asked the bridesmaids to wear full length or have hemmed to the knee as they chose. My bridesmaids actually did wear the pieces again, and the whole outfit was $70. Separates!

Pro tip: When you’re getting married, it’s helpful to have girlfriends who are all knockouts. I love you, girls.

Old? A penny in my shoe. New? My dress. Borrowed? My lipstick. Blue? My engagement ring, which is a giant ’60s era cocktail Aquamarine. Oddly, I do not have a close up photo, but it is lovely.

For the rehearsal dinner I wore a red, heavily embroidered shift, of which I also cannot find a single photo. By the end of our wedding I was so through with red that I could barely look at a tube of lipstick without shuddering, but seven years later I’m coming back around.

Flashback Monday: Women’s Fashion, Part III, Hats

In an effort to gather all my writing in one place, I’ve begun to post articles that originally appeared elsewhere, or work that has been gathering dust on my hard drive. This piece was originally published by the The Morning News in 2002. Thanks to Rosecrans Baldwin, for the edits.

How to Wear Women's Hats - Mighty Girl

Flappers never had bad-hair days. They lopped off their tresses, tugged on a cloche, and headed out for an evening of Charleston and bootleg gin. What’s more, flappers wore comfy dresses shaped like potato sacks. They could wear whatever they liked; who the hell notices when you have that darling bell of a hat on? And so, you see, hats make life easier and loads more fun.

Unfortunately, hats have gotten a bad rap since they fell out of quotidian fashion in the late 1960s. Have you ever flirted from beneath the brim of a fedora, shaded your unblemished complexion from the summer sun with a straw hat, or sipped cappuccino thoughtfully in your beret? Of course not. All but a very few of us have abandoned hats to the crazy ladies.

Did I say crazy? Pardon me, I meant ‘eccentric.’ By eccentric I mean, ‘enamored of hot-glue guns and their ability to affix small, fake birds to felt.’ These are not the kinds of hats in which we’re interested. That is, unless you’re dressing as a Hitchcock movie for Halloween.

* * *

Milliners will tell you that anyone can wear hats. They are lying.

Some women do not look well in hats, just as some should avoid turtlenecks or string bikinis. That said, many women believe they look terrible in hats, but in reality simply don’t know how to wear them. There are five ways you can dramatically increase your odds:

1. Find a color that complements your skin. Hats are closer to your face than anything else you wear. Hence, if the color isn’t flattering, it will be especially noticeable. I know it’s the sweetest hat you’ve ever seen, and it would look so great with your boots, and it matches your eyes, and so on. Try the hat in a natural light. If it makes you look sallow, put it back.

2. Wear your hair differently. Many women just plunk a hat on top of their everyday hairstyle. If you already have a wide face, this can exaggerate it to an unflattering effect, especially if you have long or full hair. If you really like a particular hat, but just don’t think it works on you, try pulling your hair back in a tight chignon or a low ponytail at the nape of your neck, or pinning the front sections back. At the very least, tuck hair behind your ears. It may improve matters dramatically.

3. Choose a hat that works with your face shape. If you have an oval or triangular face, you’re one lucky bird. You can wear almost any hat, and you can wear it as far forward or back as you please. You can also pick any kind of brim without looking like you’re wearing a life preserver on your head. The hat’s crown (the part that fits down over your head) shouldn’t be narrower than your cheekbones.

If you have a round or square face, wear your brims on an angle when possible. You’ll want the crown of the hat to be at least as wide as your face. Hats with a wide, high crown will work especially well.

If you have an oblong face, stay away from tall hats. Wide brims will counterbalance the vertical stretch. You might also try pulling the brim down to your eyebrows to shorten your face and to hide excess forehead.

4. Make sure the hat is angled to its best advantage. If a hat doesn’t look good when you first try it on, you may not be wearing it far enough forward or back. Many hats, especially stiffer hats made of felt or straw, will also wear better when you tilt them slightly. Try angling your hat to the right or left, and look at it from every direction in the mirror. It may look good from the front, but terrible from the side. Keep fussing until you find a position that works. If you can’t, assume that the hat is ugly and keep shopping.

5. Be sure you’re wearing the correct size. The average female head size is twenty-two and one half inches. If the hat comes down over your ears, or falls off easily, you’ll want a smaller size. If you fuss with your hat, or if it makes your forehead itch, go up a size or two.

Hat Quality
If you’re headed to Ascot this year, you’ll want something nice. A quality hat is relatively easy to distinguish.

Straw-hat making is a time-consuming endeavor, as they are almost entirely hand woven. Most of them are produced in China and the Philippines. Straw is braided, and then sewn into shape. The most prized straw hats are produced with a fine straw, in a small, tight weave. A hat of good-quality straw can take a weaver up to twenty-five hours to complete.

If you’re buying a felt hat, look for wool felt, peachbloom, or fur felt, which is made from rabbit fur. More expensive felt hats are often lined. Hat trim should be sewn on to the hat’s form, and not glued in place.

Many of the hats you see on the street are ‘factory hats.’ Mass-produced, and made of lower quality materials, these hats are practical and mostly casual. Designer hats are a step up. They often have limited production runs and are made of high-quality materials.

The haute couture of the hat world is called ‘model millinery.’ These extravagant hats are hand-sewn and pieced together using only the finest materials. They’re often made for a single customer who is attending a particular event, after which the design is retired.

Storage and Repair
Store more expensive hats in hat boxes to keep them from getting dusty or discoloring in the light. Line the box with tissue paper and place crumpled paper in the hat’s crown to help it hold its shape. You may want to overstuff the crown a bit so the brim of the hat lifts up from the bottom of the box. This way the paper supports the hat’s weight, and the brim doesn’t become distorted. Add enough paper to your box so that the hat will not move if the box is jostled.

Don’t wear hats in the rain, unless they are rain hats. Nothing damages a hat more quickly than water, except perhaps fire. Don’t wear hats in the event of a fire.

If you have a felt or straw hat that’s been dented, you may be able to repair it with steam. Put a full kettle on to boil and wait until it begins to steam consistently. Turn the heat down a bit, but be sure the steam still has a little force to it.

Place the dent over your steaming kettle and move your hat around until the steam penetrates evenly. (This should take about twenty to thirty seconds.) Remove the hat from the steam and use your fingers to push the dent out, and then blow on the affected area to cool it. Use caution when you’re working with steam in a small area: too much can exacerbate damage.

You can also make an old hat stiffer by steaming it thoroughly and letting it cool. This reactivates the stiffening agents milliners used to make the hat.

If all of this sounds too complex, or too burn inducing, most milliners will reblock your hat for a fee.

Hat Types
Hats are either brimmed or brimless and they take two forms—a hat or a cap. Milliners fancy up the basics with trims and detailing. A few types of hats and their preferred uses:

Alpine: Down-filled fabric hat with storm flaps for ears, neck, and forehead. Perfect for hunting wabbits or hiding winter hickeys.

Beret: Felt cap with wide circular crown. For coffee, commutes, scouting, miming, and youthful affairs with political leaders.

Chignon Cap: A piece of fabric that covers a bun. Ideal for naughty-French-maid Tuesdays.

Cloche: A ‘20s felt hat that resembles a bell. Useful for blocking unwelcome eye contact when you’re trying to read on the bus.

Cowboy Hat: Originally developed for cattle herders, it has evolved into a signal that you are attending a bachelorette party.

Derby (or Bowler): Domed crown with narrow brim that curls upward. Excellent for Charlie-Chaplin costumes.

Fedora: A men’s hat that has since been adapted for women’s wear. Brimmed, and made of felt with a lengthwise crease in the crown. Effective for modern-jazz-dance routines when worn with a men’s-style shirt unbuttoned indecently.

Newsboy Cap: Full fabric cap with visor. Great when paired with knickers for ironic rounds of golf at your local putt-putt course.

Stocking Cap: Knitted, with a long tail that often ends in a pompom. Good for midnight runs through town with a candle, or snowboarding in 1995.

Watch Cap: Knitted sailor cap that rolls down or up depending upon your warmth needs. Best stolen from a boyfriend just before you tell him you know about that girl.

Hats Off
Though a gentleman must remove his hat indoors, ladies can wear theirs wherever they like. However, don’t wear one in your own home when you’re hosting a party. Otherwise, it looks as though you’re about to head out someplace better.

Hats draw attention, so it takes confidence to wear one well. If you can manage it, other women will assume that you are more fashionable than they. Those women will be correct.

Mighty Summit: Packing Light

This is everything I packed for the Mighty Summit in the Russian River wine country. As you might have surmised, it takes some time to decide what to wear in front of 30 bloggers’ digital SLRs. This is the third post in the L.L.Bean Signature series, so you’ll find a few of those products below.

Is this me wearing another shirt as a dress? Maybe. Maybe it is, Internet. I have seen photo evidence that this might be shorter than I expected, but whatever. I was amongst the team.

I wore this with jeans and sneakers while we were unpacking boxes from the car. Then I changed into the tights and boots for the welcome party, which involved cocktails, and sliders, and smart ladies by the pool. This shirt/dress is Urban Outfitters, the tights are Target and they’re grey, though you can’t really tell from the photo.

The equestrian boots you are from L.L.Bean. Let’s go ride horses, you guys! No? Do you want a tiny little hamburger? Yeah, these boots are perfect for sliders.

The next morning we had a pajama breakfast, and I wore my vintage red velvet Christmas Robe with a T-shirt and boxers underneath.

Many a time have I considered cropping this robe and wearing it as trench coat, but this is only my third year owning The Christmas Robe. I cannot resist its Donna Reed qualities, even though I can’t fully raise my arms while I’m wearing it. Passing out presents is so dainty when you can’t bend at the elbow. Or shoulder. Fashion!

This is what I wore for wine tasting in the ‘70s. The preppy ruffle sweater is L.L.Bean, the cha-cha skirt is vintage (you may remember it from Puerto Rico), and the bronze cowboy boots are from Buenos Aires, which means I particularly enjoy it when people ask me where I got them. (Ask me about my boots!)

Actually, boots story. Margaret and her family came to Argentina with us, and her main goal for the trip was to find a pair of cowboy boots. These were the only pair she loved, but they were slightly too small. She said I should try them on, and they fit me perfectly. She selflessly passed them to me, and I promised I would wear them into the ground. We high-fived over the boots at the Summit, where Margaret also presented me with an amazing vintage dress she picked up for me in Dublin. In conclusion, Margaret is a wardrobe sister.

This outfit is my favorite thing ever, you guys. I took our fiesta palette inspiration from this Kate Spade ad, so the colors were red, lemon yellow, robin’s egg blue, and plum/fuchsia. I wasn’t sure what I’d wear to the party, until I realized that I actually owned a piece in every one of these colors. Here’s a better view of the tights:

Liz is rocking that striped dress. I covet her wardrobe, so look for her in a Mighty Closet soon.

My dress is H&M, tights and shoes are Target Online, and the cardigan is vintage. The sweater is such an old favorite that there’s a huge hole in the elbow of one arm, so I wore the sleeves pushed up.

FYI, this entire outfit, including shoes, cost $40. POW! Sock!

This is what I’d look like if you showed up at my apartment unannounced at around 8 a.m., and I happened to be sabering open a bottle of champagne.

As you know, I try to pack jammies that I can wear as outfits. I was so tired the third day, I didn’t entirely change out of my PJs until evening. The heather grey v-neck tee is Old Navy, the leggings are H&M. (To hike through the redwoods I pulled on boyfriend jeans from Limited.) The versatile wrap sweater is from Ambience in SF. It’s my version of a sweatshirt. Speaking of which:

This is me trying to convince Andrea to get an American Apparel sheer circle scarf. I use it as a wrap, a scarf, a hood, a top, a dress, a sarong, an airplane blanket. Someday I plan to do a trip with only this scarf, a toothbrush, and a couple pairs of underwear and an Esquire Magazine.

This is what I wore to our farewell dinner at Barndiva. Turban, FTW! Natalie got this hat for me as a present, because she is rad, and because she keeps trying to steal my yellow turban, which she cannot have. The tuxedo jacket is L.L.Bean; which I’ll have tailored to fit more closely when baggy goes out of fashion, and then will wear for the rest of time. The weirdly comfy high heels are from Nordstrom Rack.

My dress is vintage, purchased to hide post-baby chub at a time when people were still asking me when I was due, ie: twelve months after I’d given birth. Those people can suck it.

Many thanks to L.L.Bean for sponsoring this post. All of their products featured here are part of the current L.L.Bean Signature Collection, so they’re available now on the site, along with many other cute things that you might want, eh?


Mighty Closet: Libby Nicholaou, Part II

I can’t wait to give you details about the Summit, but my laptop got rained on this weekend, so while I deal with some technical difficulties, please enjoy this Mighty Closet, which was all queued up and ready to go when the skies opened up on my hard drive.

You guys remember Libby, she’s been around these parts a lot. When we last checked in with her, she was running a local art gallery, then she worked with me for a while before she decided to return to school to study art history. While she waits on her school applications to be accepted, she’s working with SF MoMA and hostessing at one of the best restaurants in town.

Libby’s last Mighty Closet was about a year ago, so I thought we’d do an update. This is also the second post in the L.L.Bean series, so we’ve supplemented Libby’s usual vintage and thrift mix with clothes from the new L.L.Bean Signature Collection, which is inspired by vintage classics from their archives.

This is the kind of thing Libby wears on her day off, for brunches and impromptu reading sessions on the back stairs. She’s very intellectual on her days off.

The llama sweater is a vintage score from No No on Valencia, and the tank is from the Gap.

The plum cords are Stretch Cord Bootcut Pants from L.L.Bean, and her shoes are Sperry Topsiders.

These Harry Potter specs technically don’t have lenses, which is why there’s no ugly reflection in the photos. This fashion choice engenders strong reactions from strangers, who are either amused or disturbed by Libby co-opting the plight of the near sighted. You’re a monster, Libby. You have no idea how my people have suffered.

This is what Libby would wear to a casual dinner. Her skirt is American Apparel, and the shirt is vintage from Painted Bird. Her tights are by Hue, and the “pattern” is her tattoo showing through.

Her beloved vintage kicks are from Buffalo Exchange. I hear they are quite the hit at the parties in the U.S.A.

Her threatening, two-finger ring is from Therapy. And yes, for those of you keeping score, Libby’s entire wardrobe was purchased within about two blocks of her home.

The leather and metal earring was handmade by Libby’s friend, Fatima Flemming.

This is a dress I bought at a vintage shop a while ago, it was tea length and unflattering, but Libby had a vision. She took it and sliced the skirt off. Turns out it’s some sort of space polymer that didn’t even need hemming, and now she wears it out to drinks with friends while I shake my fist at the sky cursing the day I let it go.

These red tights are from Hue too, and the suede shoes are Heeled Penny Loafers from L.L. Bean.

Here’s what Libby wears to a museum event, or to move like a ninja in the dead of night. The pants are L.L.Bean and her shirt is another vintage find from Painted Bird. She bought the belt years ago at a thrift store.

This is a necklace worn as bracelet from that overflowing, rhinestone-heavy accessories shop on Haight Street. Neither one of us can remember the name, probably because it blinds you as you pass.

The awesome riding-inspired boots are from L.L.Bean. They are equestariffic.

Libby’s acrylic earrings are from H and M.

This is my favorite, Libby’s hip to waist ratio will make a grown man weep. The gold poofy skirt is HandM, and this is what Libby wears to work a MoMA event.

The lace scarf is a gift from Libby’s grandma, and isn’t that pretty much the perfect person to give a girl a lace scarf? Thanks, Grandma.

Shoes by Target.

The saucily unbuttoned top is L.L.Bean, and it’s very naughty secretary. Where did those glasses go anyway?

The top is rayon, which makes the collar floppy, so we pinned it up with a sparkly vintage brooch, which also keeps the scarf in place. We are geniuses.

Thanks to the team at L.L.Bean for sponsoring this post, all the L.L.Bean Signature Collection items featured in this post can be found on their site.


Mighty Closet: Jaime Chen, Outfit 2

Apologies for the post delay, yesterday was one of those days. Thanks for checking back.

Don’t mind Jaime, she’s just stepping out for a stroll through the open-air markets of Cuba.

It’s so easy for hats to look forced. Who throws on a fedora this effortlessly? Urban Outfitter models and Jaime, that’s who. Jaime does low-key sexy better than anyone I know.

Her hat is a Stetson, but was purchased in Copenhagen. Jaimes likes to shop when she travels — she worked as a consultant for years and is a travel enthusiast, so she has lots of trips under her (weathered leather) belt (purchased in Zambia).

Her J necklace was a gift from her sister Nancy, who wears the same necklace but with an N on it. Aww. Wearing matching necklaces is pretty much the best reason to have a sister.

Her black tank top is Banana Republic, purchased in a NYC Soho store circa 2001. Can anyone else believe it hasn’t acquired a giant stain in the last nine years? Clearly Jaime doesn’t eat spaghetti. The green cardigan is JCrew.

Her split skirt has a subtle stripe, it’s by waukerhaus and was also purchased in Copenhagen at a store called Sabine Poupinel.

The bag is Hermes.

Thought I’d just let that settle in for a moment. Jaime says she gets her more expensive clothes on sale, but the Hermes bag was an exception. She fell in love the first time she saw it, and worked up her courage (and presumably savings) for two years before laying down the cash. Now she sleeps with it and bottle feeds it.

By contrast, she bought her sandals from Ann Taylor twelve years ago and has had them repaired three times.

And that’s a wrap. Tune in tomorrow for a little more Subtle Sexuality. Jaime, take us out:

Yep. That’s still working for you, girl.