Issue 05: The September Issue
The Practical Magic of "Remote-to-Restaurant" dressing.
Hi there! I am so happy to see you this week. If you’re one of the slew of new folks who found The Love List via The Stripe, welcome! (Here’s a rundown on what The Love List is. You can find back issues here.)
Good news! Per issue 04, I’m definitely starting to feel more at home, and will be writing more about said home soon. I’m also working on a purse dump/everyday carry issue, which I’ve tapped some of my favorite stylish folks for. Some recipes are coming as well! I’m staffed up here at the studio with two new team members and excited for what we’re going to be cranking out.
But for now, here we are, in the dog days. Woof. I’m one of those people that begin longing for fall the minute August hits. Sweaters! Boots! Decorative gourds! September issues! To bide my time, I’ve been thinking about my cool weather wardrobe. I’ve also been thinking about the trend consumption cycle and how it relates to the attention economy, of which I am both contributor and consumer. Instagram and TikTok proliferate micro-trends at a radically rapid rate. It feels like everyone is issuing edicts that sell something: Conscious designer collab at H&M! Ten things from Amazon you didn’t know you needed! Is Fenty launching perfume? Dermstore sale! Side parts are out! Your skinny jeans are now cheugy! Cottagecore! Coconut Girl! E-Boy! Boy brow! Brow flick!
Who can keep up?
(An excellent, albeit gloomy long read about that here.)
I saw a TikTok by a woman who used to work at Vogue who noted that it was considered very chic in her workplace to have only five good outfits a season, and to rotate them. Ah, simplicity.
(Vogue has a fantastic series dedicated to the idea called Five Days, Five Looks, One Girl, here’s the OG series from the mid-aughts, and here’s the current-day run that’s upped it to 7 days.)
With 5-7 strong looks ready to go, you theoretically streamline getting dressed. You still look chic. And because you are buying less, you can (presumably) afford to invest in quality pieces. Cost-per-wear will be low! Sustainability will be high(er)! Ideally, your sartorial decisions *have been made* for the next stretch, thus you can tune out the marketing noise and divert your valuable attention elsewhere.
A note that buying fewer, better things is chic, aspirational even. But it’s not a moral imperative. A tight edit of good pieces — a.k.a. a capsule wardrobe — is a celebrated cornerstone of the minimalist ethos, but having stuff isn’t a character flaw. Capsule wardrobes, edits, minimalism, whatever approach to material things you subscribe to… they’re only called that when they’re a decision to buy less, not a forced set of circumstances based on what you can afford. Knowing this is partly why I think so much about the consumption cycle, about what I buy, where I buy it, and where the things I give away go — and what a privilege it is to even have the time.
Reservation for one guilty white lady, I’ll sit at the bar, thanks.
In The Love List, you’ll often see me recommend items that are expensive right along with things that aren’t. I do this because it’s the way I actually shop. The oft-touted “high/low mix” isn’t exactly “The Biles” of fashion somersaults, but thinking of it in terms of five great outfits really sticks the landing.
And so, should we run into each other this November, you’ll see me in a swanky sweater paired with $20 jeans from my local H&M.
If this is an idea you want to embrace, you can and should adjust it to your life. In the COVID era, I’ve fully integrated my work life into my home, so I’m often dressing “remote-to-restaurant”.
“Remote-to-restaurant” is a nomenclature coined by the Tibi team (they host great weekly style classes on Instagram live, if you know someone who works there, please tell them to never stop!) which I think really clicks into the way so many of us are living right now — working from home, but perhaps headed out for a drink after — the awkward sartorial middle ground of a world healing, but not entirely recovered from a global pandemic.
So as I begin to shop and plan for fall, I’m thinking in terms of five great “remote-to-restaurant” outfits. It keeps my consumption at bay, my “What do I wear?” stress level low, and affords me the ability to invest in great stuff that mixes in well with my existing wardrobe. It also provides a mental tether when my impulse is to buy a sparkly evening bag that I will absolutely never use.
So! To my fellow mystic witches, boot groupies, Sanderson sister stans, and fall fangirls, I raise my premature Pumpkin Spice latte to you. Let’s go shopping. (But you know, like, thoughtfully.)
There are categories I spend in, and categories I save in: I’m fine with off-brand ketchup, but don’t you dare come home with any mayo but Duke’s. The same goes for fall clothes. While leggings might be my ketchup, good sweaters are my Duke’s. I just can’t deal with a scratchy knit. My standby brands are La Ligne, Khaite, Joseph, Vince, and Toteme — I particularly love this perfect grey number.
Shopping for boots, I take the mayo approach mostly, but 10/10 would still bring home some cute off-brand ketchup. Arguably the best part of fall, aside from re-watches of Practical Magic, are boots. I’m just as down with a Zara pair as I am a pair by Isabel Marant. I do not discriminate, I love my children equally. It rains often here in Atlanta, and I’ve found these seasonless black rubber Chloe boots to be both practical and magical. (Also cute in beige and hunter green!) The uber-90’s lug sole gives me Daria-in-a-good-way vibes.
On the topic of Practical Magic, we forgive Gary for being the worst investigator ever, because he has one brown eye and one blue. After all, who wouldn’t fall for a witchy 1998 Sandra Bullock? Watching it makes me want to smudge my house and burn Palo Santo. Midnight margaritas, anyone? (The movie is definitely going to be the theme of my annual Halloween dinner party this year.)
Speaking of shoes! My old friend F.E. Castleberry is making them now, and I pre-ordered a pair of lug sole loafers that I’m excited to receive. His attention to detail is so precise that he texted me and made me measure my own foot to double-check my shoe size, and he was right — I was a half-size off. I think we’re going to see a lot of brown tones this season, and scoring his loafers in rich chocolate leather feels fresher than basic black right now. Still love u tho, black! P.S. I also like these by Ganni, for a less expensive option. (Size up in the Gannis! Mine are a little *too* snug.)
Looks like we’re in for another season of Bottega bags and all their many woven, pillowy imitators. I’m fine with it. I think a big slouchy clutch, wherever you find one, is exactly the kind of “remote-to-restaurant”, of-the-time piece that’s sizeable enough for your everyday carry, but still gives off martinis-at-a-fancy-restaurant vibes.
Overscale things are actually a fall trend through-line (is this because we all gained weight during COVID?) Like this Frankie Shop blazer, which I bought as kind of a gamble, but ended up loving. The garment is structured in such a way that its hind end lopes around your body just so with shape and movement. Big fan. Five stars. Hint: it’s always “sold out”, but if you follow Frankie Shop on Instagram or sign up for their emails, you won’t miss it when it drops again. And it will. It always does.
What are you guys watching right now? I’m very into The White Lotus (HBO), which brilliantly highlights the perversion of privilege, and the helplessly feel-good Ted Lasso (Apple TV+). I watched the Love Is Blind (Netflix) reunion, too — alas, it did nothing but give me the old, familiar cringe of pandemic season 1 and a serious distaste for Damien and his dumb (2013) Porsche. (Damien, you ain’t shit.) Currently, I’m working through Outer Banks (Netflix) season 2, which is just as chaotic as season 1, but at least has more of a plot(?) On mute, it looks like a motion 2004 Abercrombie & Fitch ad — eh, actually Hollister. But don’t mute it pogues! The soundtrack is good! Though I have no clue why it boasts a remarkable absence of Gen-Z (the characters are “seventeen”) tunes and a hefty amount of stuff from around 2011. Not that I’m complaining, it was an all-time great era for indie rock that gave us Young the Giant, the Naked and Famous, the Fleet Foxes, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. (I made a playlist to mark that magical time here.)
As a parting note, even I am annoyed that the cool Gogo sweater I featured the other week is like, a thousand dollars. (wut.) This one by my friends at Res Ipsa is half the price, and arguably cooler. But even that’s pretty pricey, and, as my friend Taylor reminded me, the Cowichan sweater is nothing new — there are many, many vintage ones to be had on eBay and Etsy for pennies on the dollar.
‘Til next week! Let’s stay in touch: