Five Fall Staples You’ll Own for Decades

As I turn 28 last week, I can actually look back at some pieces that I bought when I was 18 and still wear today. Some are shirts, sweaters, a pair of shoes, etc., but I’m sort of proud in a way that I made a good choice back then in both style and quality and can still enjoy these items over the years.

Here are five fall staples you can own for decades because they won’t go out of style and with a little care should last.

1. Quilted Riding Jackets are the first item that comes to mind. I have owned one since 2009 and I still wear it today – in fact I wore it last week. I’ve added a few more colors to my collection, but they are something I have already been wearing for 9 years and am confident I’ll wear for years to come.

 

2. Riding Boots are another item I’ve owned for almost a decade, as I remember receiving them years ago from my mom for my birthday. They are real leather, and with a little bit of TLC each year, they have held up wonderful. Leather riding boots will never ever go out of style. They’ve been around for centuries and aren’t going anywhere. Overall, they’re a sound investment.

3. Your favorite jeans are a personal decision, but I’ve always found it cool to find someone who has an old pair of jeans that still fit. I have one pair of Ralph Lauren ones that are my go-to, but I think Levi’s would wear well over time. I would go for a slim fit medium wash with no holes for a style that will age well over time.

4. A Neutral Watch is a must in the accessories department. Whether it’s a leather or a metal strap, I always think neutral tones are a necessity for at least one watch in your closet. It’s something you’ll wear year after year and your children will want to wear someday. Again, go as classic as possible, nothing too large or small.

5. Cream Fisherman Sweaters are another timeless piece in any wardrobe. I like them slightly oversized and highly recommend the one from L.L. Bean. I have had it for a few years, and I’m always impressed with the quality. This is an item I’d love to pass down someday!

 

Do you own any of these staples? What would you consider a fall staple you’ll own for decades?

Taking Your Closet From Summer to Fall

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know I like to talk about how to transition your wardrobe from season to season. That in-between time when it’s not quite the next season but you’re sick of the current one is by far the hardest time to know how to dress. While summer doesn’t technically end until mid September, you’ll see half the population in flip flops and tanks, and the other half in scarves and boots. Let’s talk about how to transition flawlessly into the next season.

Consider the weather and the time of year. This is my number one rule for dressing in between seasons. If it’s still really hot out but past Labor day, I’m forgoing my Lilly Pulitzer dress in favor of a navy shift. If it’s unusually cold, I’ll wear a sweater with pants, but I keep my pants white and my sweater more neutral. It’s a skill learned over time that becomes easier to master when you’re trying to dress both for the weather and the time of year.

Adding in items slowly is key to making this process smooth vs. shorts and a tank one day and pants and a sweater the next. I store my off season clothes, so this time of year I’ll go through them and pull out a few things I can see myself incorporating into my summer wardrobe, and then I’ll put things away I know I’m not going to wear again.

Speaking of adding in items, I used to change over my wardrobe from summer to fall in one day. It was a big task that was time consuming since it meant making a million mini decisions, taking things off hangers, and taking the time to properly store the off season clothes. Now I break it up into smaller tasks and I have an order I tend to follow. I start first with shirts and sweaters since they’re easiest to tie into my summer wardrobe (think olive green sweater with white pants). Next I do handbags and accessories since they’re smaller details that also transiton nicely. After that I usually add in pants one day, skirts another, dresses after that, and then I finish with outwear and footwear since coats and boots are the last thing I’m wearing when the weather turns cool.

Shifting your color palette is an easy change to seamlessly take your outfit from summer to fall. I’m tending not to wear bright colors and leaning more towards deeper, neutral tones. I find this approach makes it simple to build an outfit around when you take out things that scream summer colors. I still wear bright colors but they look different – I have a thick yellow cable knit sweater that appropriate for fall, whereas my bright pink cardigan isn’t going to be worn until next spring.

Easy layers make a smart outfit choice. Much like the rest of the country, Michigan can have very unpredictable weather throughout the day. Layers are important to making sure you’re dressed comfortable and appropriately. I especially like layers that are easy to remove throughout the day, such as a light zip up jacket, long sleeve cardigan, quilted vest, or silk scarf.

 

What are some tips you have for transitioning from one season to the next?

September Five

Here are five items and looks I’m loving for September.

  1. Larger, leather details are having a moment right now but also fit great into a classic style wardrobe. I love the look of the thicker leather belt in the photo above as it elevates the dress to be high style and understated. I own a camel toned leather belt similar to the one above and enjoy adding it to my outfits. I also love to carry a leather satchel as well as it goes with almost everything I own.
  2. Wool fedoras are everywhere this season, but my interest has been peaked by my friend Carolyn who moved to Australia and has been sporting the original Akubra hats. She looks amazing in them and has inspired me to try the style as well. Look for a post in the future about them!
  3. Chambray is the workhorse of any wardrobe as it creates a nice base to let other items shine. The color and texture of the fabric is what sets it apart in your closet. I’ve been choosing chambray button down shirts over my normal blue ones o compliment the autumnal colors I’m pairing it with.
  4. Gingham/large check lives in my closet year round but I am seeing it quite a bit in many brand’s fall collections. The L.L. Bean one above looks great with a thick cardigan over it, and I’d also wear a vest over it for a easy fall outfit.
  5. Tortoiseshell accessories are a neutral that’s meant for the cooler weather. This time of year I break out all my tortoise accessories, like my favorite fossil watch. While some materials can often look cheap, tortoise is hard to mess up. It looks authentically high end wherever you style it.

What styles are you eyeing this fall?

West by Southwest

Western meets preppy? It’s hard to imagine the two styles colliding, but Ralph Lauren did the impossible in 1981 when he came out with his Santa Fe collection. Although western and preppy seem distant at times, they’re closer in style than one may think. Both are based on the all American style unique to the roots of our nations culture.

I have always admired the blend of western and preppy styles, and own a few items that lend towards that such as my large belt buckles, brightly woven sweaters, medium wash denim, and aged leather boots. I especially became inspired a few years ago when I visited my best friend Ravae’s family ranch in Wyoming, and then again two years ago when Joe and I visited Arizona. The western/southwestern style has a rich history of hard work and ingenuity that comes alive in the patterns and textures. My favorite item in my outfit above are my earrings –  a vintage Native American style pair that belong to my mom.

Ralph Lauren is featuring their southwest style again this year in their Polo Ralph Lauren Collection. I highlighted a few pieces below and also recommend the article they wrote in their magazine about Ralph Lauren’s 1981 groundbreaking Santa Fe collection.

Do you own any western inspired pieces? How do you blend them in a classic wardrobe?

 

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Something

I’ll be the first one to admit there has been more than one occasion where I’ve made a mistake shopping. Maybe I bought something I didn’t really need or wasn’t great quality, and I get rid of it the next season with the disappointment that I didn’t make a wise decision. The tips in this post come partly from things I’ve read and the experience of finding out the hard way, but I’m still need to remind myself of this advice when I’m shopping. It’s very easy to use shopping as a fun hobby/activity and cashing in on those good endorphins you get when you make a purchase (whether online or in real life), but in the long run it can be hard to maintain. It’s called retail therapy for a reason – shopping can make you feel good, however, it can create a closet of chaos and confusion. The more random things you buy, the more you’ll say “I have nothing to wear”.

source: time magazine

I’m trying to get in the habit of asking myself these three questions before buying any clothing item:

  1. Can I picture it 3 different ways? My goal is to create a cohesive wardrobe where I can get multiple uses out of each item. This means before I buy something I try to image three different outfits I can wear it with. This helps me avoid buying something too crazy that I won’t find myself wearing because it’s hard to wear. If I can visualize it being apart of my wardrobe then it has value to it. There are some exceptions to this rule – I have a pair of red cowboy boots I only wear once or twice a year but they’re a fun item I look forward to wearing when the occasion arises.
  2. Do I love it? Or do I love the price? Ouch, this one hits home for me. Too often I’ve found myself buying something because I kind of liked the item, but loved the price even more. There is something so fun about getting a deal that we often don’t use our best judgement in whether this item checks other boxes. My first thought goes to a blazer that wasn’t quite my size but bought it because it was a good price. It sat in my closet rarely worn because it didn’t fit correctly until I donated it.  Ask yourself if you really love something before you buy it, or do you need to save up for the best version of the item? (Example: Do I get the cream sweater at Old Navy for half off, or do I save up for the L.L. Bean version that I’ll wear for years?)
  3. Does it fulfill a purpose in my closet or do I have something similar? If you’re anything like me, you probably have way too many of a certain item in your closet – for me it’s striped shirts and blue oxford cloth button downs. Ask yourself if the item you’re eyeing actually will fill a “hole” in your closet, meaning it will serve a purpose to help you wear your other items more practically. Maybe you have a lot of boots, but you don’t have the right pants to wear with them. Investing in a pair of pants that tuck into boots nicely will serve a purpose more than just buying another pair of boots. I fall into the trap of buying similar items to ones I already own, so I’m trying to be more strategic with my future purchases to get the most out of my wardrobe.

 

Practical advice for shopping:

When I’m in a store, I will pick up items as I walk around that I would consider purchasing. After either trying them on, or simply making my way around the store, I take a second look and them and decide if I really love them. This has always given me that joy of shopping “love at first sight” and then I can do a practical run through after I’ve seen everything in the store. More often than not, I leave empty handed or with one item.

It’s also wise to be discerning about who you shop with. Do you have something whose judgement you trust? Or do they love and support everything you pick up no matter what? I find my mom is my best shopping partner because I can trust her to tell me the truth about whether or not I should purchase something.

If I’m online, I will keep items in my cart and leave the website. If I’m still thinking about them the next day, then something tells me I should take a second look. More often than not, I forget all about it!

Do you have any practical advice for shopping? What are some ways your stop yourself from over spending or buying things you don’t need?

Brands Reminiscent of Rugby Ralph Lauren

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know my love for the short lived brand Rugby Ralph Lauren. Most of my favorite items I own come from this line and ever since the brand was discontinued in 2013, I cherish them even more. My husband and I still frequently search eBay and Poshmark for old Rugby items. This brand was crazy preppy, much of it over the top even for me, but there are some key pieces that were so unique in the preppy style marketplace. I was able to visit the Chicago location a few times and one of the NYC locations once, and the stores are even better than you can imagine. If you’re curious, google “Rugby Ralph Lauren store” and look through the images. I wish I could live inside!

There are a few brands that remind me of Rugby Ralph Lauren and I love and appreciate that they are keeping the ivy-league style alive. Check them out below:

Weyhill & Wharf

Weyhill & Wharf makes incredible oxford cloth button downs that uses silk tie material as a trim along the shirt. Rugby used to make similar shirts that had tie material under the collar, which I’ve owned several of, so I was really excited to see Weyhill doing their own version of my favorite shirts. I have one of these from Weyhill & Wharf and I wear it all the time. I love the little detail that sets it apart from the rest of the shirts in my closet.

Arnold Steiner

Take one look at Arnold’s instagram page and you’ll see a lot of Ivy League influence. I recently received a bunch of great items from this brand and I think the style and quality is spot on. The hats in particular remind me of Rugby, especially the yellow hat with the navy skull. I can’t wait to sport it this upcoming fall. Check his page out, I think the prices are great and his product is worth checking out.

J. Press

J. Press is a brand that’s been around since 1902 that focuses on men’s suiting, but if you look at more of their casual items you’ll see some great seersucker and madras pieces. Keeping it preppy, J. Press reminds me of Rugby’s classic side. Check out their needlepoint hats.

Brooks Brothers – Red Fleece

The Red Fleece brand of Brooks Brothers always has a few standout items each season that remind me of Rugby Ralph Lauren. The varsity/collegiate look is strong with this brand, and it has the rich history of Brooks Brothers behind it.

Polo Ralph Lauren

Last but not least, Ralph Lauren teases us Rugby fans every once in awhile with Rugby-esque  lines in their fall collection. It always gives me hope they’ll go back in the direction of Rugby Ralph Lauren, but I don’t count on it. This year they are pushing “The Polo University” collection that is really just a small revival of what Rugby was. I hope they continue to put out collections like this and maybe make it more of a permanent standing in their brand.

 

Guest Post: Rowing Blazers by Noah Pelletier

Rowing Blazers x Luke Edward Hall Launch Party

Robin and I have long shared a mutual love of classic clothing, stately interiors, antiques, and unapologetic glamour shots. We met in the college group at our church in 2008, and were fast friends. We’ve been friends for 10 years now, of which almost 7 of those I have been living in New York. But that hasn’t changed a thing.

I was excited when she asked me to do a guest post on her blog covering a recent event I went to for the launch of a menswear collaboration between two of my favorite artists.

I’d been counting down to the end of July ever since I heard that one of my favorite designers Luke Edward Hall would be collaborating with the classical menswear brand Rowing Blazers.

LEH x RB Rugby Jerseys

Rowing Blazers was created by Jack Carlson, and inspired by his vintage blazer collection, sportsman and their wardrobes, and his time at Oxford. His unique perspective on men’s style was the perfect foundation for Luke to add his own artist’s touch – infusing Grecian symbolism, and punchy colors with the more traditional stripes and collars of rugby shirts, oxfords, hats and sweatshirts. The collection is described as below on the Rowing Blazers website:

“This limited edition capsule is based on a series of five illustrations by London-based artist Luke Edward Hall inspired by the ancient world: a Greek vase; the mask of Tutankhamun; a discus-thrower; a set of ionic columns in ruin; and a statue bust.”

This collab brought together two creatives I so admire, their unique sensibilities combined to create something fresh, compelling, and not to mention wearable! –Like all good design, it pays homage to the past through subtle and not-so-subtle references.

Guests enjoying the launch party

After seeing the collection teased on both Luke and Jack’s accounts for weeks prior, I was excited to receive an invitation to the launch party on July 25th at the recently opened Rowing Blazers Clubhouse. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I got to the bottom of the invitation and read “Artist will be in attendance.”

I immediately RSVP’d for two and set a few goals for the evening: (All of which I accomplished – as the accompanying photos will attest.)

  1. Meet Luke, his boyfriend Duncan, and Jack Carlson
  2. Take photos with them
  3. Give a concise, but genuinely passionate confession of how much I love their work
  4. Buy some pieces from the new collection
  5. Enjoy myself

I took my trusty sidekick/best friend Royce with me and we headed to the Rowing Blazers Clubhouse.

The Rowing Blazers Clubhouse

Walking into the RB Clubhouse is like entering an exclusive men’s club where everyone can be a member and the staff is glad to see you. The walls are covered in vintage menswear illustrations, pennants, ads, text, and framed photos. They’ve recreated the atmosphere of a jovial rec room, and the ping-pong table and Foosball only add to the fun.

We had a delightful evening chatting with the other guests while looking over all the amazing pieces for sale. The Rosé didn’t hurt either! After much deliberation I bought the yellow striped Rugby shirt with the pink statue bust on it, as well as one of the corduroy hats. Once the temperature drops you know what I’ll be wearing first.

Accessories For All

In addition to the LEH x Rowing Blazers collection, the RB Clubhouse offers menswear classics, accessories, and some vintage objects. Not to mention a selection of the Rowing Blazers they’re known for. My favorite of which was the Croquet Stripe Blazer with multicolor vertical stripes!

Trying on the croquet striped blazer

I highly recommend a trip to the clubhouse, or you can of course shop online if you don’t live close.

Noah Pelletier, Luke Edward Hall, Duncan Campbell

Notable attendees:

Luke Edward Hall @lukeedwardhall

Duncan Campbell @jduncancampbell

Jack Carlson @jackcarlson

F.E. Castleberry @fecastleberry

Rowing Blazers @rowingblazers @rowingblazersmoodboard

 

ROWING BLAZERS CLUBHOUSE: 161 Grand Street, New York City

SHOP ONLINE: https://rowingblazers.com/collections/luke-edward-hall

Noah lives in Brooklyn, New York and works in Manhattan as a luxury décor director

@noahpelletier

Noah.pelletier@gmail.com

Playing Foosball with F.E. Castleberry

The Rowing Blazer’s moodboard

 

Noah Pelletier and Rowing Blazer founder, Jack Carlson

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