Back Again: Denim Dresses

If you grew up in the 90s, you remember all the denim. Jean skirts, denim overalls, jumpers and vests. It was on TV, it was in your closet, and it was on your third grade teacher. And we loved every minute of it.

And now it’s back! From throwback styles to voluminous minimalist silhouettes, denim accessorizes beautifully. Here are some modest styles that layer like a dream. Keep scrolling for ideas for accessories, too !

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striped top, nail cuff, textured scarf

oversized watch, ditsy print scarf, saddle bag

suede boots, leather sneakers, rose gold sneakers

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Chanukah Gift Guide 3: For the Ladies

They’re your girlfriends and they are just plain fun to shop for.

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  • Improv tunic sweater. A chic sweater jacket can be hard to find, but throw this on over a stretchy pencil skirt and flats, and you’ve never looked better running around town. The graceful seaming carves out a beautiful silhouette. It’s the perfect cozy gift.
  • Navy blue crystal studs. Navy is unexpected and so high-end mixed with shades of gray and blush. These studs are a variation on the basics we all own, but in a shade your friend is probably not buying herself.
  • Marc Jacobs shimmer finish polish. Shimmery polish from a luxe brand is a can’t-miss present. This shade is neutral enough to be work-appropriate but will transition beautifully to holiday events or hot cocoa at your neighborhood hangout.
  • Adele pageboy cap. I used to own a cap just like this and can’t tell you how often I miss it. It looks good with everything and adds a sassy touch on uninspired days.
  • Isaac Mizrahi leather clutch. What a great TJMaxx find! Beautiful navy leather is set off by a winter-friendly pop of floral. It’s an easy way to add a new neutral to the routine.
  • All Over Glow shimmer. This well-reviewed highlighter will bring a glow back to wintery skin and will be such a thrill to unwrap.
  • 13″ cashmere gloves. Nothing is as spoiling as cashmere gloves on a cold day. This extra long pair keeps wrists toasty warm and looks unspeakably elegant.
  • Ban.do love potion key chain. This key chain is the sweetest little treat. Clip it to your bag as a charm or use it to corral your keys.
  • Multicolored furry stole. This is currently half off at Ann Taylor and I’m sitting on my hands to keep from ordering it for myself. Layer it over a winter white sweater or dress up last year’s coat. It’s hard to find an excuse to buy oneself a furry stole, but getting it in the mail from a friend? That’s a friend who really gets you.

 

Birthday Season and an Afternoon at the Ballet

In my family, this is *Birthday Season*. All of our birthdays pile on in a happy traffic jam in September, October, and November, so these months always feel particularly festive. In honor of our birthdays, my mom gifted my husband and me with tickets to the Boston Ballet. We’re seeing an afternoon performance of Le Corsaire, and I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s some inspiration for a graceful afternoon outing of your own.

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This photo of ballerina Courtney Levine (check out her Instagram!) inspired this look, especially partnered with this gorgeous flower arrangement by Frances Palmer, who is an incredible potter. Soft shades of lavender and cream look beautiful against touches of black. I added a touch of silver for a little bit of glam, but was careful not to overdo the glitz for this lovely afternoon date.

Happy weekend, friends!

Currently: October

Things are spinning at a breakneck speed these days. Between the busy Jewish holiday season and this interminable election, adding lovely details to daily life can seem so unimportant and frivolous. It seems to contradict the concept of hunkering down and doing what needs to be done. When your sleeves are rolled up, does anyone care what you’re wearing? And honestly, with all the sexist language and “big questions” buzzing around right now, caring about these details can feel gendered, shallow and nonintellectual.

But the Torah commands us to serve God with joy. There is so much that must be done. So much time spent cooking, entertaining, building and praying. And all of these things can be done with blinders on, or they can be done with openness and joy. They can all be done with beauty just as well as any other way. And maybe the thing built with beauty enters the heart a little more easily. Maybe a small bouquet of flowers on the Sukkah’s table sparks our memory of the grace of this mitzvah. Maybe a lovingly chosen outfit honors the holiday and sets an example for our children that this life is something we show up for. That this is something that is important to us, that we honor and anticipate with excitement. Maybe an extra polish of the silver Shabbat candles sends the message that these rituals are precious to us, that we give them the very best of what we have.

So this holiday, I propose we don’t lose the joy in the work, or the excitement in the disillusionment that current events seem to often bring. Of all times, this is when it is most important to re-declare our priorities and our deeply-held values. To staunchly maintain the beauty of our traditions, to communicate to our children and families that this is what matters most, and that we show up here with our very best.

If you are blessed with the ability to beautify your life and the lives of those around you, do not discount that contribution. It is the difference between a life of obligation and one of joy and learning and growth.

For now, I leave you with one inspiring video, and a few links just for the beauty of them.

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Listening to Michelle Obama tell it, so vulnerably and openly, exactly like it is.

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Preparing for the next round of Jewish holidays. We are hosting most of my family for the holiday of Sukkot this week, so that is a lot of meals to plan and prep! It is chilly in Boston, so I’m preparing lots of hearty soups and pumpkin desserts.

Planning my next quilt! Which fabric collection do you like?

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Wearing all my long sweaters  and, at home, my cozy winter slippers.

Longing for a professional pedicure. This yummy plum color would be perfect.

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Happy weekend, sisters, and happy holidays.

Straight out of: Call the Midwife

If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you know I love to put together a good “Straight out of…” post. (You can see them all here!) One of the best parts of reading a great book or getting lost in a movie or TV show is letting it transport you to another place and time, and I love gathering modern inspiration from some of my favorite literary and cinematic escapes.ctm collage with text.jpg

This week I am newly re-obsessed with the BBC/PBS series Call the Midwife, set in mid-century Poplar, London. Young midwives live side by side with a small order of midwife nuns, tending to the people of Poplar as new medicine, vaccines, and modern conveniences reach this bleak corner of the city. As times change, the women grow closer and share each others lives under the gentle narration of Vanessa Redgrave. Continue reading

Straight Out Of: Anne of Green Gables

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Outfit inspiration photo, locket, easy hair tutorial, white blouse fabric line,  Anne of Green Gables scarf, vintage botanical print, boots

When the cool Fall air starts slipping over my window sills in the morning, and the sun goes to bed a little earlier each night, all I want to do is cuddle under a warm quilt with a favorite book. Anne Shirley is an old friend, and I’m very much looking forward to spending an afternoon together, getting reacquainted.

I was excited to do a fun roundup for you, of soft colors and boots, vintage flowers and pearl drops, but really all of these things are just reminders to see the magic around you. To venture out and explore, and to stay in and luxuriate in your own imagination. Autumn is the season of full library queues, of lovely touches and cozy plans. It’s a time to remember old friends, to make space for dreams, and to re-center yourself as one more beautiful, wonderful thing is this beautiful, wonderful world.

So this month, feast your soul, imagine what can one day be, and re-center. I’ll be over here, doing the same.

Versatile Fall Wardrobe Boosters

It’s always exciting as a new season approaches, and nothing thrills me like the appearance of Fall fashion on magazine pages and in store windows. The rich fabrics, deep colors, and interesting layers get me every time. But if you’re a longtime reader you know that I’m not a believer in replacing my whole wardrobe every season. It’s just not environmentally responsible or affordable for most of us. I’m a huge fan of shopping my closet a few times a year to find new color combinations and fresh ideas, without getting pulled into the pursuit of perfection that grips so many of us as the seasons change.

Today I’m excited to share a few versatile pieces that will freshen up the basic outfits already in your closet. Wear any of these with a black dress, or a jean jacket, or last year’s wool coat once the weather cools down.

scarf ideas

Scarf, faux leather jacket, black dress (also available in Merlot), lace skirt, pea coat

Blanket scarves aren’t going anywhere yet; they’re just too cozy to give up. Look for a deep, sophisticated colorway with plenty of drape. Wear with an unexpected cream leather jacket, or over a slim dress, or juxtapose its cozy feel with a delicate lace skirt. The classic choice? A military-style pea coat. You just can’t go wrong.

bag ideas

Bag, denim dress, cardigan jacket, utility vest, faux wrap dress

Merlot, or burgundy, is an Autumn staple, and this bag is a beautiful (and splurgy!) example. A clean structured bag never overwhelms an outfit- even a feminine dress- and is a great way to update your denim favorites. One combination I love is burgundy with black and white, like this chunky sweater, or burgundy with olive. Perfect for Fall. Here are several affordable options for merlot bags under $30, and this perfect burgundy leather tote for under $200.

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Long sweater, bodycon midi dress, reversible neck dress, Choose Happy tee, jersey midi skirt

A black sweater for Fall? Groundbreaking. But try it in a longer length, edged with soft ribbing, and suddenly all your summer clothes are boot-appropriate. Wear it with a fitted midi dress and cute flats, or a graceful more formal dress with suede heels. Throw it on over a graphic tee and a striped pencil skirt, and it just doesn’t get any better. Here is a more affordable option with the same open shape and stylized ribbing.

What’s top on your list for perking up a wardrobe for Fall?