Finding workhorses for fall (K/R)

Since fall is my favorite season (for weather, clothing, and shopping), I always end up with a big wishlist. I want things that will truly be workhorses, whether they're statement items or not. The wish list - all black (or black denim) except as noted.

  • skirt (denim, wool, whatever; slightly below knee; could be A-line or pencil).
  • denim shirt
  • versatile cardigans
  • boyfriend jeans
  • lightweight pullover
  • sleeveless wool sweater
  • oversized chinos
  • silk top to wear with a suit (NOT black - ideally white with a print)

A Neiman Marcus Last Call opened in SF on Friday, and I got a few good deals. Zara has been killing it this season, as has Allsaints. Many of these were bought on sale, but it still adds up to more than I usually spend... I don't really need the whole wishlist. Which should I keep?

So, which of these are winners?

  • (1-2) Vince cotton pullover (winner!), Robert Rodriguez wool shorts (would I wear them?)
  • (3) Zara boyfriend jeans, sized up (winner!)
  • (4-6) Allsaints Drina cardigan in cotton
  • (7-9) Madewell Sculptor cardigan, heavy wool rib knit. Would be more of a coat than an indoors layer. I love the shape and structure but is it too weird? Too warm for my climate?
  • (10-12) Zara denim shirt. Unsure about this. A size down looks better but is too tight in the shoulders.
  • (13-14) Two losers? Robert Rodriguez graphic silk top - too bulky and weird. Zara wool wrap overskirt - I had high hopes but it just doesn't work. (I have a cotton tube skirt under it; would get something longer if I keep it.)
  • (15) The silk top with my suit. What I really want is a simple shell in that same silk.
  • (16) Bonus! Zara cape I'm in love with but didn't buy.

I also have a denim skirt on order that might work, and sleeveless wool sweater possibilities galore. This is the problem with fall - I keep finding so many perfect things that my HEWI detector is on overdrive and I make bad decisions.

Edited to add: I like how you're all calling out your statements & essentials!
Statements: shorts, sculptor cardigan, cape (swoon... but I would be too scared to wear it), silk top if it fit
Essentials: jeans, pullover, probably the allsaints cardigan, denim shirt


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Over the knee?

I have recently been imagining smooth, plain knee high boots to wear with skirts just below the knee or midi length. But this is turning out to be impossible to find. I have muscular calves and very short legs, so knee-high boots are too tall, making the top bulge hugely around my leg.

I stopped by Bloomingdale's to try on a pair that seemed promising. No luck, but on my way out, I noticed a whole display of over the knee boots. I realized that they actually fit my short legs better, unintuitively! The boot doesn't bulge out at the top of my calf because it keeps going higher.

I always thought over-the-knee boots were way too much look for me. I know my style can be edgy, but I'm timid about things that read as extreme to me. I was a teen during a phase when OTK boots were not "in" at all, so they seemed fetishy at the time and I think my brain is stuck on that image. Now, of course, we've had years and years of them being on trend, and they seem to be having a tiny resurgence this year.

Soooooo. I fell in love with these Ash boots. They aren't clean and simple like I thought I wanted - they have dramatic zippers, though they're not particularly shiny or glossy. They remind me of some Demeulemeester looks. Sorry that I didn't get any photos.

Would I manage to wear them? I work in a very casual environment where dressing up stands out. I'm afraid I would just never wear them.

(You may remember that I did get really wonderful mid-height boots last year, Tsubo Loe, shown below for comparison. Perfect over jeans and fit like they were made for me. Alas, they have the same diagonal zipper look as the Ash boots so I probably don't need another pair with the same look!)

There's one pair left at Shopbop and if I do want them, I should snap them up now while the discount is still going...


Travel capsule for Berlin

I'm heading to Germany for a week, leaving tomorrow. The first few days are a conference in Heidelberg (at which I am giving a talk) and the second half is tourism in Berlin. I think I can manage with a single carry-on. I collected everything I might bring into a pinterest board:

shoes: flats, ankle boots, tall boots (comfortable for walking, good for rain)
bottoms: 3-4 pairs of jeans, knit skirt, leather shorts
dresses: shirtdress, t-shirt dress?, drapey knit dress
tops: assorted
warmth: lightweight wool cardigan
jackets: denim, leather?

wandering the city: jeans with tall boots, basic top
low-key nightclubs: leather shorts, silk blouse or wool top, ankle boots
giving my talk: white button-down tunic, black straight jeans, flats
hanging out with scientists: assorted
restaurants: assorted

I love everything in my list right now, but I worry that I'm overlooking something. E.g., will I be too cold? (Probably not. I run hot.) Will my ripped boyfriend jeans be inappropriate? (Again, probably not - Berlin is full of young hipster types.) Will I fit into my jeans? (A good question but I am ignoring that problem.) Am I bringing too much? (Probably.) Will I be underdressed for clubs?

If anyone has favorite edgy boutiques, etc, in Berlin, let me know! I'm looking forward to visiting COS in person, and I also noticed that Zara prices are much lower there than here. But those are both chains I can get here...