Tweed Season

As someone who lacks formal fashion training, what little I know about the subject I learned from shopping (this accounts for most of it), fashion journals, Wikipedia entries, and the occasional search through online library catalogs.

To me, terminology is perhaps the most impenetrable, since some product descriptions are probably written by fashion laymen (or intentionally imprecise for marketing purposes) so inconsistencies are abundant when you look close enough. And I didn’t used to know many people well versed in fashion to pose questions to (this blog has changed that; now I have many people with whom I can quibble over obscure fashion-related things).

Bouclé and tweed in particular caused me a great deal of confusion early on, as they are often used indiscriminately and interchangeably depending on whom you asked. Bouclé itself describes both a yarn and the fabric made with bouclé yarn. And tweed is a type of fabric and also describes a specific twilled weave. It doesn’t help that some dictionary definitions of tweed require that wool be an ingredient. If that were the case, the “tweed” dress that I am wearing in this post is not actually tweed at all (its material composition is 93% cotton and 7% polyester). But you can’t deny that “tweed dress with layered skirt” has a certain cachet, especially when compared to “dress in twill fabric.”

So while “bouclé-tweed jacket” looks logical to me, I would trip over “belted tweed bouclé coat” (it’s important to note that the latter syntax is used overwhelmingly in the press). And I am embarrassed to admit that I still don’t understand why this makes sense in the world of inherent adjective order.

J. Crew Maple Tweed Dress (past season; size 00P) | Zara Tweed Dress with Layered Skirt (from Summer 2016; size XS) | Ann Taylor Pearlized Crystal Statement Necklace | Michael Kors Runway Watch | Kate Spade Idiom Heart of Gold Bangle (also here and here) | Louis Vuitton Mon Monogram Neverfull Tote | Zara Court Shoes (similar here and here)

(Spending hours at work struggling with paint samples and swatches will drive a person mad. But I was able to find some beautiful tweed pieces online to share below.)

Some fall tweed picks: Tory Burch Norfolk Tweed A-Line Dress (also here), Rebecca Minkoff Bouclé Tweed Jacket, MIU MIU Organza-trimmed Tweed Dress, Sandra Weil Ilan Rose Tweed Peplum Bustier, Étoile Isabel Marant Flenn Stretch Cotton-blend Tweed Jacket, Miu Miu Wool-blend Tweed Skirt, and Ann Taylor Tweed Flounce Dress.

The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe: Bleisure

Bleisure is one of those dreadful portmanteaus that I would never use in conversation, but for the purpose of this post, we are going to pretend it is not a word that invites eye rolls.

I feel fortunate that the business trips I take generally include ample downtime, allowing me to meet up with friends and to also explore the area. And as I normally book my own flights, whenever possible I try to stretch the trip to include a weekend to fully exploit the occasion (since travel time is a sunk cost).

Over many trips, I have learned to optimize my carry-on–because I dislike checking bags–to hold enough outfits for a week-long work trip and also accessories to adapt those outfits for casual wear.

When the primary purpose of my trip is work, I generally pack the following: a black or navy suit jacket, a drapey button down, a neutral shell, a pair of neutral pumps or flats, and a skirt, pant, or dress that coordinates with the jacket (essentially just a shrunken version of my “work capsule wardrobe“). Sure, these pieces are boring, but it’s normally best to err on the side of dressing more formally than not when traveling for work (I will never forget having to drop $100 at H&M one trip to buy an unremarkable polyester skirt suit that I never wore again after that trip).

Occasionally, though, I will pack more unorthodox pieces (like a jumpsuit in suiting material) for variety when I know precisely whom I will be seeing and in what environment I will be working. Thus, some “bleisure” favorites are born.

After you have selected a color palette, depending on the season or your mood, you can add a print or two to liven your outfits. Here, I selected a leopard print to go with a base palette of beige-red-and-black.

The outfits featured here are most suitable for moderate temperatures (and also well air-conditioned office spaces). They don’t translate well photographed against a white wall and in warm indoor lighting, but are all outfits I’ve worn and have felt appropriately-dressed in.

The centerpiece here is the black jumpsuit in a crepe material, which has a number of trendy details–notably bows on shoulder and wide pantlegs–that can be minimized easily or highlighted effortlessly. Wear any blousy sweater over the jumpsuit* and “shorten” the top with a belt–kind of like what I did to the dress below.

*While wearing a sweater over a jumpsuit isn’t a practical choice when one is in a rush to relieve oneself, it isn’t that much worse than trying to use the bathroom when wearing a jumpsuit.

Or wear a light layer underneath. It’s a foolproof piece.

The jumpsuit that I’ve featured here is from a past season, but here are a dozen or so options that span the spectrum from casual to dressy.

And here are fifteen outfits created using the fifteen pieces from above:

I won’t rehash the guidelines for travel-friendly clothing that I mentioned in this post, but do encourage those of you looking to pack for a leisure trip to refer to that post for ideas.

And if you are taking a longer bleisure trip, please check out the “30 Outfits in a Bag” series that I wrote some years ago. It’s a three-season travel wardrobe that I still consult from time to time.

Related Posts:

Black Bow

A short outfit post today to highlight some closet favorites that are now on sale, from the Kate Spade New York Earmuffs with Satin Bow (additional colorway on sale here) to the J. Crew  Leather Academy Loafers (reviewed here; now 40% off with code THANKU. These shoes are on further sale in white).

And while the J. Crew Lady Coat with Braided Trim that I am wearing here is from a previous season, there’s a nearly identical version available for sale this season (also 40% off with code THANKU). And I found a pretty good dupe of my Zara Tweed Dress at SheIn: I like my version more, but this budget version looks promising and has quite a few positive reviews.

Lastly, the timeless Salvatore Ferragamo Ginny Bag in “Nero” is 30% off at Zappos.

J. Crew Lady Coat with Braided Trim (size 00P from past season; current season version here) || Kate Spade Earmuff with Satin Bow (additional sale colors here) || Zara Tweed Dress with Layered Skirt (size XS from Summer 2016) || Michael Kors Runway Watch || Salvatore Ferragamo Saffiano Leather Shoulder Bag (reviewed here) || Urban Outfitters Fleece Lined Tight || J. Crew  Leather Academy Loafers (size 6.5)

A Cyber Monday sale roundup is in the works, so stay tuned for that.

Year in Review: Favorite Purchases of 2016

As has become tradition, here are my favorite purchases from the last year.

I closet-cleaned with purpose several times this year, and consequently shopped more freely (read: less-than-discriminately), a departure from recent years. Still, it wasn’t difficult to pick favorites—sometimes the heart just knows what it likes.

1. Burberry Brit Bowpark Raincoat (reviewed here)


2. BLANKNYC Morning Suede Moto Jacket (reviewed here)


3. Club Monaco Colby Scalloped Dress


4. Zara Lace Top


5. Stuart Weitzman 5050 Over-the-Knee Boot (reviewed here)


6. J. Crew Resumé Dress (reviewed here)


7. Cole Haan Tali Bow Ballet Flats (also here and here)


8. ASOS Mini Slip Dress with Eyelash Lace Detail


9. Saint Laurent Sac De Jour Small Carryall Bag in Fog


10. Acne Studios Canada Scarf (also sold here; reviewed here)

A few favorites that almost made the cut: Longchamp Le Pliage Expandable Travel Duffel (reviewed here), Ann Taylor Mila Pumps , Zara Tweed Dress with Layered Skirt, and J. Crew Long-sleeve Tweed Dress with Fringe.

More: My favorite purchases from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Floral Leopard & Mahogany Bow

I unearthed a box of clothes last week from storage that was mislabeled, and among the items uncovered was this floral leopard topper that I used to wear all the time and thought I lost during my move last summer. I am suddenly reminded of how versatile a printed topper is for wardrobes heavy on neutral and solid colors. 

For those looking for something similar, I spot a pre-owned Kate Spade coat on The Real Real in size 0. And Forever 21 has a cheetah printed faux fur coat, which might be a better cold weather option. 

The Kate Spade Olive Drive Brigette Bow Satchel (really well reviewed) featured in this post is 25% off today with code PURPOSE. Shipping is free on all orders.

Zara Tweed Dress with Layered Skirt (Past season; Fall 2015) || Kate Spade Olive Drive Brigette Bow Tote Bag in Mahogany (also here) || Ann Taylor Floral Leopard Jacquard Topper (Past season) || Stuart Weitzman 5050 Over the Knee OTK Leather Boot in Black Suede (Reviewed here)

And a reminder that Ann Taylor‘s 40% off event started today. Use code FRIENDS40 for 40% off your entire purchase. My picks: Mila Velvet Pumps (ordered!), Ribbed Cowl Neck Sweater Dress, Fluted Sleeve Dress, Sweater Pencil Skirt, Bow Back Shift Dress, and Bess Block Heel Pumps.

Another event to shop is Madewell‘s extra 20% off sale. Use code EXTRAEXTRA at checkout. The extra off discount is unremarkable, but some styles are marked down enough that the discount is just icing on the cake. My order: Delancey Blanket Coat (size down) and Lace-up Sweater-dress. Other picks: Transport Satchel, Whisper Cotton Turtleneck in Wellton Stripe, Cableknit Cardigan Sweater, Bell-sleeve Turtleneck Sweater-dress, Floral Lace Dress, Knit Bell-sleeve Dress, Silk Ruffle-hem Dress in Windowpane, and Silk Sunlight Cami Dress.

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