Sweater Weather (but for the tall gal)

I have found sweaters to be the most challenging to find in tall sizing. Even brands that have liberally offered tall sizing in the past (looking at you J.Crew), I have found to never consider tall sizing when it comes to sweaters. Earlier this week, I bitched about not being able to find tall cashmere. Lo and behold, I found tall cashmere crewnecks, turtlenecks, and cardigans and each style in a ton of colors. You are welcome.

Additionally I found a few sweaters available in tall, though not in one hundred percent cashmere, each with fabric content did not make me immediately want to hurl.

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Long Story Short

One of my most traumatic experiences growing up was getting sent home from school for my shorts being deemed “too short.” These were the same American Eagle chino shorts that many a teenage girl had in her back to school wardrobe, but nobody else wearing the shorts was sent home from school. Nobody else shot up to nearly six feet tall between eighth grade and freshman year.

I still remember the teacher who sent me to the office (Mrs. Boatner, second block biology). Though I never cared to learn her name, I also remember the face of the teacher who used the classroom the block prior and advised Boatner (a new-to-our-school teacher) that my shorts were inappropriate and told her I had to be sent to the office. Now that I am older, I find it to be more inappropriate for middle aged teachers to be policing young women’s wardrobes.

Earlier this week, Lilly Pulitzer upped the ante in providing shift dresses and shorts for all of the heights. Oh my thirteen year old self would have loved to make a splash on the first day of school with a shift or shorts cut for a tall frame, alas options like these were few and far between. Upon hitting publish on the iPhone drafted in an app-in a car-on a road trip blog post featuring the items, my blog analytics went wild.

If you are one of the newer visitors, welcome and thank you for stopping by again. If you are a regular, can I get a round of high fives in honor of the queen of resort labels providing shifts long enough for our frames? We have been waiting on this for awhile!

Even though I included the five inch / seven inch / nine inch inseam shorts in the post, I was particularly excited for the longer dresses; ergo I was surprised to see that the link to the shorts received so many clicks. With that in mind, I rounded up shorts with five inch inseams and longer.

I have previously discussed how I no longer feel comfortable shopping shorts with a three inch inseam. While I stand by them being appropriate for my thirteen year old self on her way to third block English, it is just another style of which I feel that I have aged out. I rounded up shorts offering more coverage, meaning five inch inseams and longer, in stripes, solids, prints, denim, and Bermuda length. No danger of being sent to the principal’s office now!

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In the Trenches

Growing up, the trench coat was an item that I frequently saw on television and movies as part of characters’ on-screen closets.: Ally McBean, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes, and the entire cast of characters on the West Wing. It was always an article of clothing that I imagined I would graduate to wearing once graduating from undergrad and banishing sweatpants and pajamas from my out-and-about wardrobe, and I did!

Banana Republic released a trench coat circa 2012 and it was available in tall. I am so happy that I invested – if you can even call it that, I am sure it was no more than two hundred dollars – in the coat because it is a closet all star staple. My only complaint is that I do not have enough opportunities to wear it; it is a very seasonal piece of clothing.

Finding a trench coat in tall has been especially challenging lately. My go-to brands, Banana Republic and J.Crew, have failed to offer it in tall sizing within the past few seasons. How rude. I went on a deep dive of trench coats made in tall sizing and while I was at it, included trench dresses.

I am a fan of the cropped trench coat. Proportions are everything and this particular cut works especially well with a wide leg pant .

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These are the ones that you and I picture when you hear the words, “trench coat.” This is the staple and your closet needs one.

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Because the neutral khaki color will not always coordinate, I am a fan of the darker trench coat. I already own and love the navy one, but I think a black one would be a nice addition to the wardrobe.

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I think trench dresses are a nice way to bring the look into summer when the temperatures are simply too aggressive to wear a coat. Cut to me buying the white and the navy versions. Shopping moratorium, what?

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Frock You!

As mentioned in my Shopping Moratorium four weeks ago, I starting poking around on eBay for vintage pieces in my favorite preppy brands: Lilly Pulitzer, J.Crew, Vineyard Vines (or at least as vintage as I could get as it is barely twenty years old), and Brooks Brothers. Ever since I found the best Brooks Brothers dress from the 1980s via my favorite Philadelphia vintage store, I have been addicted to finding my next vintage frock. Compound that with the fact that I started noticing many people that I follow on Instagram wearing the same Lilly Pulitzer style. I am not ready to give up on one of my favorite brands yet, I do not want to wear what seemingly everyone else is wearing either.

Cut to me going on an eBay shopping spree for vintage Lilly Pulitzer. Shopping the secondary market embodies the quadruple bottom line. The prices, at least for this brand, tend to be lower. Shopping secondhand has social and environmental benefits as it keeps garments out of landfills and does not create sweatshop demand. Call it inspiration from the last sustainability documentary I watched. Lastly, I happen to love the vintage aesthetic, whether it be the period of the 1960s or 1990s.

The dress is secondhand Lilly Pulitzer and judging from the tag, likely from the 1990s. I will take a pass on the flannels and the chokers; this is the 90s revival that I can get behind. I bought the Gemma Redux (an aughts jewelry brand that has since sadly shuttered) earrings and Lilly Pulitzer bangles from eBay, too.

The sunglasses, watch, flats, and coat is still available and is linked below. Both the stone and navy versions of the coat come in tall. As for the dress, I link similar Lilly Pulitzer patchwork dresses. Bid on, y’all!

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Shall I pastel thee to a summer’s day?

It is officially spring and I am here for the associated wardrobe. While many find turning over the seasonal wardrobe as a chore, I relish the day. It is like a semi annual Christmas and I love finding items that I bought at the end of the last summer season, at deep discount no doubt, that still have tags attached; I inevitably forget about these previously unworn pieces.

The seasonal associated excitement made it all the more difficult to pare down what I decided to bring with me to the west coast. I attempted to exercise utmost discipline and be especially discerning when it came to packing for our season in California. Nevertheless now that I am unpacked, it is now clear to me (and definitely my husband, who saw it happening while we were on the east coast) that I hauled more than I intended.

All this is to say that while I am not going to be adding to my wardrobe any time soon, I am always on the look out for tall…anything! I was surprised at how many hits this post (and before that, this post) attracted, so colored denim it is. Here is a second serving.

pink denim // ice purple denim

The pink denim are a cropped length and are available in short (26 inch), regular (28 inch), and tall (31 inch) inseams.

The ice purple jeans are full length and available in 34, 36, and 38 inch inseams. Listen up tall ladies! This pair is for you, because not only do they come in the pastel shade, but also white and traditional denim shades.

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Within the last two weeks, retailers have released seersucker styles. I do not know about you, but this is the only evidence I need that spring is about to turn and after a long winter spent wearing black opaque tights, we can sport the seasonal summer fabric.

I wrote about Capitol Hill’s seersucker Thursdays last year on the blog. It was brought back by Mississippi politician Trent Lott, but make no mistake, a penchant for the lightweight breathable fabric and an adolescence growing up in Mississippi is where my similarities end with the former senator.

I digress.

Seersucker is coming in hot this year. (See what I did there?) There are so many options in terms of styles and price points. I even included some marked down styles that are in stock from last summer, which is part of the reason that I am such a fan of seersucker. Since it is such a classic fabric, it never goes out of style.

shorts // skirt

clockwise from top left: cover up // sleeveless shirt dress // cover up // wrap dress // mixed color dress // boatneck belted dress

v-neck belted dress // // tie dress

clockwise from top left: cropped pant (available in standard, petite, and tall sizing) // tie skirt // curvy fit cropped pant (available in standard and petite sizing) // scallop skort // capri pants (also available in blue and in standard, petite, tall, extended sizes) // tie shorts (also available in pink) // high waisted wide legged cropped pant // critter shorts

wrap dress (also available in pink) // shift dress (also available in blue) // scallop neckline dress (also available in pink)

 patchwork shorts // / pajama pants

clockwise from top left: boat shoes // belt // embroidered pocket square // blue tie // green tie

Old Books and a Vintage Look

Old City Philadephia is home to my favorite vintage stores. Primarily known for being the gallery district in the city, it is also home to several goldmines when it comes to thrift shopping. Shopping the secondary market is something in which I have been engaging more often, as it is a sustainable practice, especially when it is from a local outpost rather than an online source. For the past few weekends, whenever I am in the area, I inevitably drag my husband into any store which has a secondhand rack. Count me in for any vintage frock from a classic label.

I bought this dress from Meadowsweet (47 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106) several weeks ago. It is a Brooks Brothers and from the looks of it, I would guess it was released circa 1982. Though the snaps and hook and eye closures were in less than perfect condition, those were easy enough to reinforce and more importantly, the pleats were in pristine condition. I was instantly smitten and at 72 dollars, can you blame me? Like my vintage concert tee shirt collection, this dress was instantly one of the most priceless items in my closet.

Just down the street from Meadowsweet is a two story bookstore, The Book Trader (7 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106). It is a secondhand bookstore and to say it is epic would be an understatement. I have left there with some amazing finds, my favorite being a coffee table book on contemporary art. Whenever we have guests in town, we always make sure to bring them to this two story bookworm gift from above. Two weekends ago, my husband and I happened to wander into a previously undiscovered room on the second floor that housed a collection of records that rival my father’s collection. And that my friends, is an extensive collection.

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Good Girl Gone Plaid

I am always baffled at how late Philadelphia restaurants open for brunch. Cut to nearly three years ago and our first Sunday in this city. My husband and I wandered our neighborhood during the 9 am hour, during which I opted to get a manicure as the nearby nail salon opened prior to any bruncheries.

Having lived in Washington DC proper for eight years, I was accustomed to restaurants opening extra early. Let’s blame it on the maximizing-your-time-Type-A District culture. Saturdays and Sundays during those years consisted of an early spin and/or yoga class – love a back-to-back – followed by eggs and mimosas.

All of this is to preface that I was shocked at how late the restaurant where we brunched  last Saturday opened. It was only second to how shocked I was in regards to how cold it was. So much so, that when we went shopping at CVS – mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, makeup wipes, candle, you know the necessities – we waited until about three minutes until the restaurant was to open, only to arrive before it opened. Luckily there was a store next door that was opened. Unfortunately it was a sex shop. Desperate times.

A pair of tights would have been a good call. To break down the rest of the outfit, the coat came in tall, albeit eight years ago (linking a similar one, below). It has held up well and the style is a classic. I look forward to wearing it for years to come. The lace top (last seen here and here) is marked down with an additional percentage off and is available in tall and several colors.

This skirt is everything. It is tartan but does not scream holiday. Even though it is not available in tall, it does not have to be because the hemline is a modest one. Since there is so much fabric to the skirt, much like a pleated one I wore late last year and last week, going down a few sizes looks more flattering than my usual size.

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Marooned

My husband and I took a tour of the Lord Baltimore Hotel with the Director of Sales last week. I love any insight I can get into historic architecture and being granted the opportunity to look at elements that are not necessarily open to the public.

Did you know that this hotel is owned by Mera and Don Rubell? This couple are well-known art collectors and their passion shines via the art in the hotel. (Fun fact: Don Rubell is also the brother of the late iconic nightclub owner Steve Rubell. Yes, the very same Steve Rubell of Studio 54 notariety who was later portrayed on the big screen by Mike Myers.) Even though they own this Baltimore property, they split the majority of their time between New York City and Miami. The latter of which is home to the Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation.

In the Lord Baltimore Hotel, a series of solid painted canvases in an array of colors were a standout. Initially I only noticed red and the yellow painted squares but as soon as they were on my radar, I started seeing them everywhere and in different colors and square dimensions.

This art inspired me to reflect upon my introductory graduate course in historic preservation. There is a debate within the field regarding objects within historic structures which are not necessarily original to the building. In an historic house museum, for example, should the stewards seek to replace original objects that were once part of the larger material culture experience? Or would it be confusing?

On that note, I appreciated that the paintings did not take away from the historic interiors. It was clear that the paintings were of the contemporary variety, so the context of the art within the architecture would not cause confusion. It was crystal clear that the paintings were not original to the Jazz Age hotel, and yet they were subtle enough not to disrupt the historic interior.

When Jamie and I found that we (the lining of his pants, my socks and shirt) matched the maroon square, we were clearly into it.

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Windowpane Crush

On a recent unseasonably warm Sunday morning, my husband and I took a walk around Independence Mall. With our days in Philadelphia numbered (I officially, albeit regrettably, put in my two month notice two weeks ago), it has become all the more a priority for us to savor every last minute we have in this city.

Often it is forgotten that Philadelphia was the OG capitol of the United States. Only three centuries ago was this area bustling with brilliant ideas. One of my favorite classes in undergrad, taken during my last semester, was The Early American Republic. (Shoutout Dr. Haley!) I feel lucky – and to be honest I know I take for granted – that I so easily can walk down the street and stand within the vicinity of where so many visionaries who shaped the modern government of the United States several centuries prior.

About the outfit…

The jacket and the skirt do not come in tall, but even though the latter is mini length, it does not feel especially short. I was wearing it high on my waist and it still felt appropriate and comfortable for warm winter daytime. The jacket has a massive pleat in the back that contributes to a swingy silhouette. The cropped length and the cut reminded me of 1960s Britain, especially when paired with a short skirt and ankle boots.

The sweater is cashmere, it was available in tall, and it is everything. While it is available now, it is not longer available in tall. (Sidebar, I got your covered. Peep the tall cashmere here.) Thank sweet baby Jesus, I bought it in three colors back when it was available in my size.

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On a serious note, as I am writing this, the Federal government has been shuttered for fifteen days. That is fifteen days too long. It makes me sick. It makes me sick that so many people whom I worked with and learned from while I interned at the National Parks Service circa 2009 are on furlough. It makes me sick that my best friend from elementary school is preparing budgets for our nation’s Navy and in doing so working without pay. All of this was highlighted by the copious signs around Independence Mall, notifying would-be patrons that facilities are closed. Tourists walking on disappointed, from cultural resource to cultural resource.

We are better than this.

America is better than this.

In 2020 we will make the decision to collectively be better than this.

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Stay Fair Isle Longer

Y’all last Saturday in Philadelphia was freezing. Philadelphia phreezing. Filiadelphia freezing? Let’s just say it was epically cold. I had an appointment in Center City early in the am and by early I mean, 9:30.

The week prior was especially tough. Monday I had a meeting with a potential client on site and thanks to a shower of wintry mix, I scooted out of work earlier than I wanted to. This collectively cut out four hours of time in which I could have been working on deliverables. I was at the office for a solid ten hours on Tuesday only to be outdone by thirteen hours on Wednesday. Cut to the eight o’ clock hour that night, two hours after my last mug of coffee, I ran out of steam and had to leave work. And apparently I did not set my alarm that night because I overslept on Thursday morning and did not make it in until nine am. As I keep the six-to-seven to three-to-four schedule, I was starting late. Since I started so late, I ended late, at seven. I capped off the week of insanity by an eight-thirty to five-thirty.

Shall we never do that again? Me thinks yes.

Let’s break down the outfit. After my hellish weekend, it had to be easy. Count me in for any fair isle sweater. Count me in for both colorways if it is available in tall, which this one is. Now that it is marked down to $22, get yourself on board. Every time I wear it, I am pleasantly surprised as how toasty it keeps me. Completely necessary when you opt for a bare legged look.

As for the skirt, it is available in tall and out of the four original colors of which it was initially offered, there are three colors left. Two of which I added to my closet. Right now the skirt is yours for $79 with an additional percentage reduction. Act now, y’all!

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Betch, Pleats!

In mid-December, my husband and I made a trip up to the Poconos to visit Ledges Hotel. Ten-out-of-ten recommend getting away from the city. I think the Poconos are underrated as far as Pennsylvania destinations go. After mentioning it to my manager at work, he told me that the Poconos has come a long way, as in decades past, the area the the reputation as a cheesy honeymoon / romantic getaway destination. As in, over-the-top oversized jacuzzi bathtubs and heart-shaped rotating beds.

My boss’ description did not align with our experience at all. Our accommodations (read more about them here) were nothing less than clean and modern luxury set within a natural environment that inevitably must be the envy of other comparable hotels. Frosted with snow, partially frozen and partially flowing, the falls are breathtaking. Waking up sans alarm, to a window featuring the ledges while snow flurries were falling, was a winter highlight.

Shall we discuss the outfit…

The suitcase is vintage. In a time when tartan has become so popular, I like having a tartan item that I know nobody else will. (Fact: I just returned this skirt because it turned up on so many other bloggers’ feeds. I loved it, but I get the sense that it is just going to be too ubiquitous of this season.) I bought the suitcase at a trunk show earlier this autumn, via a vintage vendor. I was walking out of the trunk show and target-freaking-acquired. My husband insisted that I go back and look at it because even he could recognize that it is my style. What he did not know if that there was another tartan suitcase at the vendor’s booth. Spoiler alert: this is one of two tartan suitcases that I purchased that day. I can feel my husband rolling his eyes at my “hoarding” tendencies as I type. Expect to see the other go with me to NYC next month.

The cardigan is merino wool. (No polyester!) It comes in tall (petite and standard sizes, too) and in six colors. Lucky for you, in each color, there is a nearly complete size run in the tall sizing. Naturally, I bought the heather green and the candy apple and the pale gray. I have discussed my love of a tall sweater once and again, and guys, these styles do not come along often. Some people call basics, such as the cardigan, boring. I have worn this style since high school and I think there is something to that. Now that they are released in tall, all the better!

My velvet top is sleeveless and slightly cropped. This shirt is available in tall (again, also in petite and standard sizes), so no inappropriate midriff here, especially when worn with a bottom that hits at the natural waist (we will circle back to that). The top has bra stays so undergarment exposure is not an issue. I actually bought the top on deep discount last year, when it was issued across height size and in no more than four colors. It was issued again this year, again in all the height sizes, but in a whopping seven colors. It speaks to the longevity of the item. Act now, this shirt is marked down to $39.99, final sale (relax, it runs true to size).

My favorite part of the outfit is the skirt. I tend to like to wear skirts lower than my natural waist unless it is designed in one of two ways:

  • If a skirt is not a mini and it comes in tall sizing, I do not mind wearing it at my natural waist.
  • If a skirt does not come in tall, but in the case that the length is modest enough to wear on my waist (meaning, not mini cut) and it is cut with copious fabric around the thighs. Y’all this means the skirt either needs to be a generous a-line, or circle cut, or pleated.

When I saw this skirt, I had a Paul Walker (R.I.P.) moment in She’s All That. “Gentlemen, we have a winner!” This skirt in my regular go-to sizes has just too much fabric. More fabric makes one look larger. Sometimes this would discourage me, but I went a size smaller and loved the result. It is also handy to have all that extra fabric around your stomach when you overindulge in lobster mac and cheese at lunch and still have a full half day schedule ahead of oneself.

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