Tradition of hatmaking in Tuscany (& Friday Links)

COMMENTS: 7

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A while back, a reader introduced me to the company of Grevi, who has been making hats outside of Florence, alongside the Arno, since the the late 19th century. I love these archival photographs from their original factory in Signa, Italy. Before the Great Depression, their company made only two hats, a boater known as the Leghorn and a panama-style hat—both for men. But as it turns out, their most well-known hat is probably the one they made for a certain pretty woman: Julia Roberts wore one in the scene at the Polo Club. They have stores in Florence and Paris, but you can find them sold elsewhere.

Do you have a favorite shape? Here’s a post about five of the most classic hat shapes for summer.

Some other links of note… 

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Summer Mood Board & Holiday Sales

COMMENTS: 7

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I went online to check out the Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly sale (initially drawn by mini-waterproof-Toms and Father’s day gifts) and of course ended up looking at the women’s section instead. I had all of these tabs open when Aron walked in and, taking a glance, remarked “don’t you already have that?”

Yep. With a few exceptions, I basically wish-listed my closet… And should probably call this a summer mood-board instead.

I think I’ll end the confession there. (Do you do that, too? Buy different versions of the same favorites every year? I’m telling you: uniform.)

Pictured, roughly by row, left to right—all from the sale: 

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Journey to Jaipur

COMMENTS: 8

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One of my favorite travel memories (ever) was walking through a bazaar in Rajasthan. Going to India had been such a dream and Aron and I spent just over ten days there in the spring of 2010. Our trip was actually cut a bit short by circumstances surrounding that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano’s eruption (the dust cloud disrupted even our flight from New York), and for that reason (and at least a dozen others) I’ve been really hoping we might return soon.

I’ll admit I’m a bit more daunted to go with a baby in tow. I never got sick while traveling, but Aron did and “traveler’s tummy” can be much more risky for babies. But I know they’d love it. I imagine how enthralled Hudson will be by all the textures and the colors, all of the buses and horns, the trains and the mopeds…. and the cows! One gave birth right in front of us when we went out for cardamon lassis in Jodhpur!

Tea Collection (one of my favorite children’s brands) makes travel-inspired collections every season and found theirs in India this time—and they loved the destination so much that the co-founder and CCO, Emily, returned to Jaipur with her husband and two young children (ages 6 and 4) when the catalog was being shot. They say their hope is to inspire customers to “push boundaries and make the foreign familiar”—which I love. I know I found the images really inspiring.
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The Work We Do: Heidi Caillier

COMMENTS: 15

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The Work We Do” is an interview series that asks creatives with daydream-worthy jobs how they got where they are—and what it’s like to live a day in their shoes. This week, I’m speaking with San Francisco-based interior designer Heidi Caillier.

Heidi left a flattering comment about our apartment years ago, when we were living in New York, and of course I was curious to see who she was. I found myself poring through her blog, The Rustic Modernist (a great name). When I started this series, I came across that name again and reached out immediately to see if Heidi would speak about the path she took to becoming an interior designer. 
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Surfer Chic from a Local Institution

COMMENTS: 7

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A while back, I read an interview with Johanna St. Clair who—with her husband, John McCambridge—started a surf shop called Mollusk in the foggy Outer Sunset in San Francisco in 2005. It was one of those small-business-makes-good stories that sticks with you. The brand, which started by selling t-shirts and hand-shaped surfboards, just seemed like it had come from such an organic place—a love of waves and art. (They curate art exhibitions and music shows at three of their all of their locations.) They’ve since opened shops in Venice and Silverlake (I stopped in during our LA visit), and have come to be known as a bit of a San Francisco institution, but they remain a small company with a focused aesthetic.

I’ve been following the brand a bit since reading that interview. They’ve grown their clothing line from t-shirts to all kinds of ’60s-inspired beachwear, and they’ve just released their spring line in this gorgeous catalogue, photographed by by Will Adler. These are some of my favorite images—all sunbathed and glowing—and a few things I’m thinking about trying out for the summer.

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When I moved to Northern California for college, people would learn I was from Los Angeles and ask me if I surfed. Sadly, the answer was—and still is—no. (Though I will take a lesson one day!) But while I never learned to ride a wave, I think so many mornings of driving past waves dotted with boards, of watching surfers pulling on or off wetsuits beside their cars, and those summer days on Huntington Beach beside the pier, gave me a real appreciation for images like these.

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The lines on that high-wasted bikini are so awesome! (And—I would think—if it’s made for surfing, it’s made to stay put!)

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Some of my favorite items here: Sasha Dress & Hamilton Crew / that Holly Bikini, of course / Sailor Stripe Shirt / Gaviota Dress / Ali Hat / and the Dipped tote

P.S. Favorite sandals.

This post is in partnership with Mollusk but all opinions are my own. All photos by by Will Adler for Mollusk. 

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A signature look: on adopting a uniform

COMMENTS: 22

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Chances are high that you’ve read Matilda Kahl’s piece on adopting a work uniform, and I’m curious to know what you think. In case you haven’t, a female art director writes about her decision to restrict herself to “15 silk white shirts and a few black trousers,” with a few embellishments or weather adaptations here and there. She nicely articulates some of the binds of fretting over what to wear, of over-spending to continually update one’s look, and some of the liberties that might come with the same thing every day (à la the guys in a suit). It’s at once a simple topic and a fraught one—layered with issues of gender and class.

It’s interesting that so many of us with tremendous choice and freedom about how we appear wish to narrow it, isn’t it? I immediately thought of the “capsule wardrobe” movement. (Again, one of those things I feel like everyone has heard of, but then I realize that my corner of the web is really just a small one.) The idea is to limit oneself to a few classic or favorite pieces for a season to mix and match. A few blogs have documented the building of their capsule wardrobe extensively—setting a rule of 37 pieces or less in one’s closet per season. Once you’ve chosen those items (shoes, bags, included), you don’t buy or add anything else. The potential savings are huge—to one’s time and to one’s wallet.

Putting aside a sort of guilt that comes with feeling like you have too much, I would have mixed feelings about actually putting a uniform into practice. Or rather about seeing everyone else put it into practice. I love fashion and style and admire those who put effort into decorating themselves in ways that attempt to reveal their personality and tastes. It’s something I actually miss about New York—you pass so many people who work very hard on their look; every day someone would turn your head with the way they’d mixed patterns or styled their denim and it’s inspiring!

But I see the appeal for myself and am reminded daily: Aron goes to work in scrubs—basically work-appropriate pajamas—nearly every day. We save so much money on dress shirts and dry cleaning. Laundry on his behalf here is all black socks and underwear. And when it’s time to pick up around the bedroom, I envy that almost none of the clothes strewn about are his. He never puts on a his scrub shirt and then quickly takes it off, tossing it aside, because it hits his arm at an unflattering point or looks too baggy to go with his pants. (Though they are all slightly ill-fitting on his 6’8″ frame and that would bother me far more than it does him.) And if it gets dirty mid-day, he just exchanges for a fresh one.

Kahl brings up a Mashable article about how successful men wear the same thing every day—ostensibly to avoid “decision fatigue.” (Which is a real thing!) The fewer decisions one has to make about things like their wardrobe, the more brain-power they can devote to actively deciding other things.

Vogue‘s Anna Wintour actually more or less does this too, and has been noted for having a “signature look” and hairstyle for years.

Of course, so has Hillary Clinton.

What do you think? Do you wear a uniform to work? Did you wear one to school? Do you have a default “uniform” in the more liberal, creative sense? (Striped mariners, chambray shirts, and white collarless button-downs, anyone?)

I’m inspired to work on some more fashion posts after reading this. Thinking something about distilling one’s closet into some classics and seeking out the best examples of those classics. What items would you put on that list?

P.S. A chore list for spring-cleaning and simplifying life with “the Marie Kondo method.” Also, I felt compelled to look up some reads on school uniforms, which interesting do not improve school performance, despite clear perceptions to the contrary.

[Caroline de Maigret photographed for Madewell]

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Swimsuit shopping at home

COMMENTS: 13

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Swimsuit shopping at home… is the only swimsuit shopping I do.

Today’s the last day of the big ShopBop sale (update: it’s over).

I’ve got a lot of rompers and sandals to sort through.

But I may just end up getting all the swimsuits to try on. Here’s the thing: if you’re looking for a summer bathing suit, it’s an especially great sale to take advantage of because there’s free (fast) shipping and free returns. And you don’t usually find swim on sale right before summer!

There are something like 2200 swimsuits, but these are some of my 10 favorite one-pieces on sale.

Suboo Panelled Swimsuit / Kenzo One Piece / Mara Hoffman Reversible (print & turquoise) / Shoshanna Soft Black Ruched Halter /  Copper Canyon Nature Divides / Eberjey Drifter Charlotte / Nanette Lepore Paloma / Shoshanna Neon Ruby Ruched Halter / Eberjey So Solid Gabrielle / Norma Kamali Bill Mio

P.S. This one is really flattering, too—especially for new moms.

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Happy Six Years, Hither & Thither!

COMMENTS: 43

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Funny thing. I wished Hither & Thither a happy sixth birthday last year, but I got ahead of myself somehow—a few years back, in fact! Someone finally corrected me. This year marks six years. The first post was a picture-less entry written by Aron, on January 19, 2009.

What I didn’t get wrong is that every year on here is worth celebrating. And it never ceases to surprise me—even as its demands ebb and flow—how much of a role Hither & Thither plays in my life now. I’m so grateful for all of the readers whom it engages—those who have come along since the start (when Aron and I were writing it together in New York) and those who just recently started reading. For me, it’s so rewarding to have such a supportive space in which to grow as a writer and a photographer, and to build a career of my own vision. But of course it’s often the conversations, the friendships made, the back & forth, that’s best of all.

Thank you, as ever, for reading. With a trademark lack of brevity, I’ve compiled a look back at this year’s highlights. I so enjoyed looking back through some of my favorite posts again; I hope you will enjoy this, too:

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Who are you wearing? (& Friday links)

COMMENTS: 14

1330010786_michelle-williams-1500  "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" - World Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals

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My favorite moment from this year’s Golden Globes came behind the scenes (so to speak), when our friend Meredith did a Q&A with Hudson on the red carpet (it was, indeed, at our friend’s house on a red carpet). To Hudson: “Who are you wearing?” “I don’t know,” he replied as he lifted his shirt and looked toward his belly button. “Who made your pants?” And with that, he turns around, drops his trousers, and reveals his bum in his underoos: “A Dragon!”

Otherwise, I’m a fan of anyone who wears that gorgeous canary yellow color. Though the all-time winner continues to be, for me, Michelle Williams in that stunning yellow Vera Wang gown at the 2006 Oscars.

Any plans for the long weekend? We’re headed to Tahoe with friends and hoping for some snow. And perhaps I’ll make a half-birthday cake for Hudson, who turns 3-1/2. (Time to take that photo!)

If you’re around, here are some items of note… 

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Remodelista at Heath SF

COMMENTS: 9

Of all of the beautiful markets that pop up around the holidays, the Remodelista one may be my favorite. I don’t think there was a single vendor whose wares I didn’t admire or covet. The prices tend to be higher, the assembly a bit more aspirational—but the selection also tends toward heirloom, so it’s inspirational as well.

Are you familiar with the site Remodelista? I subscribe and have to confess that there are too many posts each day for me to keep apace. But I can never bring myself to unsubscribe because it’s so full of gems. The founder, Julie Carlson, launched the site as a digital guide to home design and so on any given day you’re as likely to find a round-up of well-designed faucets as you are a minimalist home tour. If you don’t own a home or aren’t remodeling a kitchen, it can be easy to scroll past. But they’ve got a talent for finding beauty in the practical, and I love seeing who they bring to their market.

This year, we even got a babysitter and made a date out of going into the city to visit!

Some highlights…

Up top: Silvia Song‘s gorgeous carved wood (smooth as butter), greenery at the terrain booth, and ceramics by Sarah Kersten.

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Desert Isle Beauty Pick: Naturally Straight

COMMENTS: 4

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Two years ago, I wrote a Desert Isle Beauty Pick post about Becca tinted moisturizer (which seems to be going off the shelves now… I’m hoarding a couple of bottles), and while—let me reiterate—I wouldn’t really be silly enough to put on makeup or do my hair if I were deserted on an island, I’ve found something else worthy of that degree of accolade: Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight.

At the salon, the stylist told me that using this consecutively gives results akin to a Keratin treatment. I couldn’t say, but I do know that I can practically finger-dry my hair straight after using it—and I have naturally wavy hair. It also cuts drying time for me. It’s the best thing I’ve found for hair in years (since dry shampoo, that is.) Highly recommended.

I wish I were a more loyal beauty shopper so that I could have the fun of dishing about lipsticks and brow pencils more often, but I’m actually pretty inconsistent when it comes to wearing makeup. I have a few favorites that someone showed me how to use at a makeup counter just before I got married, and I’ve been using the same things ever since. Mostly, I focus on being happy with my hair.

If someone you know spends a lot of time agonizing over round brushes and hair dryer wattages, add it as a stocking stuffer to your gifts for her.

What are your desert-isle picks? 

P.S. More hair talk: Bangs or no-bangs? and How to go short.

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Hither & Thither Gift Guide: For Everyone Else

COMMENTS: 3

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  1. These Japanese Ceramic Plates are a mix of porcelain and clay and look like practical works of art. Consider starting their collection with a teapot.
  2. Everyone needs their very own set of Alphabet cookie cutters, right?
  3. I’ve seen these salt & pepper mills in person and they’re impossible not to touch—so pretty. Rumor has it they work well, too, with an adjustable grind: substance and beauty.
  4. Give them a gift card for a custom portrait of their family, their pet, or their new home.
  5. Wouldn’t you smile if you opened a box to find this? A rainbow of 1″ bulbs.
  6. Why should the kids be the only ones to enjoy the bathtub?
  7. It seems like every day there’s a new, ridiculous holiday! I think this would be especially spot-on for your friend who reads (or writes) blogs: the 2015 Calendar of Silly Holidays.
  8. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BJ Novak (I’d like to read it! Wait. Am I supposed to be shopping for someone else?)
  9. Wish them a bright and sparkly new year.
  10. Savon de Marseille even looks clean.
  11. Pair a serious cheese with a little levity: 3 Blind Mice Cheese Knives. 
  12. The next best thing to an Aveda head massage. Just the smell of this tea is relaxing. (Confession: sometimes I go into the shop at the mall just for the tea sample.)
  13. Board games are always a good idea. Settlers of Catan, Taboo, Pictionary, Balderdash, and Trivial Pursuit are dependable for friends who are… game.
  14. Soup mugs. Throw in an offer to make grilled cheese sandwiches and creamy tomato soup.
  15. Gags like hand buzzers and whoopee cushions make for unexpected, silly gifts—perfect for a favorite office mate.

Here’s last year’s selection. As well as this year’s Guide for Her, for Him, and for the (traveling) Kiddo. (Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on that last one!)

P.S. I also have a curated selection in my shop on Great.ly, if you’d like to take a look.

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Hither & Thither Gift Guide: For Him

COMMENTS: 8

gift guide for him

  1. He can use these Italian sour cherries to make the best Manhattan cocktail, or to pair with a sharp cheddar on the prefect cheese plate. (My guy would do both.) They’re so delicious.
  2. And, if the time is right, get him a set of Tritan Crystal Glasses for that cocktail. These are practically unbreakable—amazing for crystal.
  3. A wooden-soccer table. (Is a toy or puzzle ever a bad idea? See post script.)
  4. 36 Hours travel book. End the “What do you want to do this weekend?” debate once and for all.  Afterall, it’s still a gift even if you stand to benefit. 
  5. Everyone needs a really good waffle iron. (Again, it’s still a gift even…) Make these with it.
  6. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. He’ll pore over this beautiful book, full of archival detail. (Not a nature guy? Perhaps try this instead.)
  7. A beautiful, subtly masculine leather and canvas tote for his laptop etcetera. (This or this would also do.)
  8. Aron and our friend raved about Kraken Black Rum on our trip to Cayman last year. (Optional: throw in a Ginger Beer syrup that he can keep on hand for a dark-and-stormy.)
  9. Does he have a Grid-It Organizer for all of his charge cords yet? They’re invaluable. We love ours, even for the drawer at home.
  10. Form and function: a sleek Bento box that’s both microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
  11. Unleash his inner Bear Grylls. He needsLifeStraw Personal Water Filter for all that time he spends roughing it in wilderness.
  12. This insert turns any old sack into a first-rate camera bag.

Or play it safe: A gift card to Nordstrom. Their half-yearly Men’s sale (one of the best all year) starts the day after Christmas.

P.S. Last year’s guide. And the year’s before that. (That toy helicopter remains my favorite go-to gift suggestion for guys.)

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Hither & Thither Gift Guide: For Her

COMMENTS: 11

GIFT guide for her

  1. Updated classics: these lined duck boots are less clunky than most weather-proof shoes. (I also like these. And these—most are made annually.)
  2. A entire collection of (brilliant) funny-lady memoirs. Or just one. (Consider: Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Poehler’s Yes Please, Fey’s Bossypants, Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck, or Diane Keaton’s Then Again.)
  3. Sing it with me: Five golden rings.
  4. Because her hands are full. And you want to let her know that you know it.
  5. A friend who is a florist gave me this. It makes everything prettier.
  6. Succulents are trending for a reason. #awesome.
  7. Royal Flush cards. Because she follows Duchess Kate Midleton closer than the paparazzi.
  8. The prettiest water bottle she never knew she needed.
  9. Indulge her love for hats.
  10. Bracelets for layering. Or cuffing on each wrist.
  11. Because your iPhone is not a timepiece: A classic watch (that looks more expensive than it is).
  12. Can’t lose with a little Friday Night Lights.

More gift guides for her. Last year’s is still a favorite—I could pretty much post it again verbatim today. (Coming up: Gifts for him, the kiddo, and everyone else.)

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Renegade comes to San Francisco

COMMENTS: 6

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The Renegade Craft Fair–an ever-growing, curated event for DIY-ers and small businesses—came to SF a couple of weekends ago and we had to check it out. We always enjoyed seeing what sorts of inspired products popped up when we would visit in New York (here’s my a post about the last one I went to, in Williamsburg). 

Some of my favorite finds this year…

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Sycamore Street Press (Letterpress and Design, like beautiful custom stamps—that’s me and Skyler with Eva) / Hero Handmade (Illustration & Screen Printing—great posters for SF fans) / Small Adventure (Illustration & Paper Goods—aesthetic is very Wes Anderson) / Cactus Club (Paper Goods–love the prints!) / Young America Creative (collective design studio—gorgeous Seasonal Eats posters) / Joshu + Vela (totes, backpacks, & wallets) / Martine USA (gorgeous leather accessories—I bought myself a keychain) / Emmiebean (cute custom portraits)

If you recognize any vendors in the photos whose links I missed, let me know! (Update: Alpaca throws at top by Asher Market)

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Two of my other favorite sources for independent maker gifts: BRIKA and GREAT.LY. Great shopping options for the holidays!

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One of the best parts of the Craft Fair can be the venue. The setting—Fort Mason, with stunning views of the Bay—was particularly beautiful, and maybe the best find of all.

P.S. Skyler and I took the cutest photos at the photo booth, but I can’t find them! Drats! I still love these first ones so much.

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Have a great weekend! (& Friday links)

COMMENTS: 2

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Thank you so much to those of you who came out on Tuesday night to celebrate the arrival of Madewell in Sacramento! It was such a fun night, and I really enjoyed getting to say hello to some readers.

I shared a few photos on Instagram (#MadewellCA), if you’d like to see.

Now looking forward to putting on those jeans I bought and enjoying a quiet, autumn weekend before the holiday rush! How about you?

Here are some other items of note lately…

These are hilarious. (And are a little like the art history version of these favorites from a couple of weeks back.)

There’s a new list of coveted cookbooks calling out for a round-up, but this lovely interview Jenny did with Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune just put that one at the top.

What would a text message from Jane Eyre look like?

Great idea: kids’ shoe rental. (They grow out of them so fast.)

Remember my craving? We finally tried Vik’s Chaat Corner in Berkeley and it totally satisfied it. So good, if you’re local!

Parents: what do you think if a stranger calls you “Mom” or “Dad”? Is this sign of a “Mommy Problem“?

A world calendar for next year. What festivals would you most like to attend? And what’s missing?

Kate interviewed me for her Project 30 series.

Also, I still get questions about my puffball hat. JCrew just put one on their new Women’s Gift Guide—which is gorgeous, of course. (Use SHOPNOW for 25% off everything right now.)

Yep, it’s gift guide season… hard to believe. Here are some more sales for those of you trying to get ahead: Madewell (Code FALLBACK for 25% off sale), Gap (Code HAPPY for 30% off), & Macy’s (Code GIFT for 25% off).

[Photo courtesy of Betsy Schuh. Thank you!]

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Skirts with pockets

COMMENTS: 5

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Clothing without pockets is a bit of a pet-peeve.

I’ve always favored fuller skirts with pockets, and I actually think it’s a bit criminal to leave them out—especially as it doesn’t disturb the silhouette. I’ve been gently teased over my enthusiasm for the appendages in dressing rooms: “And it has pockets!” Because it usually means I’m justifying an otherwise unnecessary purchase. But there was an interesting article in The Atlantic a little while back that fully supports my position on this matter.

Tanya Basu’s “The Gender Politics of Pockets” uses the latest (larger) iPhone size as the jump-off point to argue that a lack of pockets may actually be holding women back—forcing them to grab a purse if heading to lunch or a meeting with colleagues. Whether or not this is a factor in determining equality in the workplace is of course up for debate, but certainly women’s clothing should account for both form and function.

So, in light of that—and the possibility that you might be considering your closet for the upcoming holidays—here are some favorite items that mix (feminine) form and function: skirts with pockets.

Above: Zara Midi Skirt / Zara (detail) / JCrew Pleated Skirt / Madewell Satin Pleated Midi / Zara Midi Skirt (I have this one in pink; it’s the same one I wore in this post)

Skirts with Pockets

Above, left to right:  
 Chelsea 29 Full Circle Midi / JOA Pleated Long Skirt / Boden Flock Spot Ponte Skirt / Banana Republic Jacquard Midi Skirt / Horses Atelier Tie Skirt / Boden British Tweed Mini / JOA Pleated Long Skirt / Chelsea 28 Full Pleat Skirt / Hanna Andersson High Waist Skirt

P.S. This tunic has pockets! Also, fall boots to pair with a midi-length skirt.

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Let’s Party! Welcome, Madewell.

COMMENTS: 19

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Madewell is coming to Sacramento! And they’re having a launch party this Tuesday night that I’m co-hosting!

It’s no secret that I’m a big Madewell fan. In fact, when they called to talk about launching their new shop, I glanced down and realized that I was—at that moment—already wearing no less than three items from the store.

So while I’ve clearly had no trouble shopping the online site, I was super excited to learn that they were opening in Sacramento’s Arden Fair Mall. I’ve missed browsing the denim bar, trying on a dress or some shoes, stacking rings from the accessories table… just that tactile experience. Now they will be about 20 minutes away!

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They were kind enough to let check out more of their fall line in anticipation of the event. I love the detailing on what are, ostensibly, basics. “Skinny skinny” knee-rip jeans with just the right whiskering on the rise, a swingy tunic with pin-tucks (and pockets!), and a blazer with long arms and a bit of stretch that’s easy to dress down.

I asked Raymond Kim to take a few photos over coffee at The Mill—a new-to-me favorite coffee spot to work or meet at in midtown. (See? So many exciting new things happening in Sacramento.)

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Madewell’s Sacramento grand opening event is Tuesday night from 7pm-9pm at Arden Fair Mall and, if you’re local, you should definitely swing by and check out the fall line while the DJ spins. (I’ve got my eye on these oxfords and this hat as well.)

I’d love to meet you—and toast the opening together! Help me welcome them to town.

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Photos by Raymond Kim.
Most clothing courtesy of Madewell. Also pictured: Billie Boot, Pivot Pendant, Bracelet cuff & Transport Tote.
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