It’s a Plaid, Plaid, Plaid, Plaid World

Autumn is for plaid. Especially after a particularly hot and miserable summer in the city, I look forward to the days when I can wear the woolen tartans. Combined with a cashmere sweater, vest, and knee high boots, it is my go-to outfit for the season. Trends like crop tops and wide leg denim (shudder) come and go, but classics are such for a reason.

While only one of the skirts in this line up is available in tall sizing, I purposely looked for skirts of which the base (and only) sizing has a conservative hemline, save for the Cher Horowitz-esque yellow pleated number. Let’s save the mini lengths for Clueless cosplay and the 25 and under crowd, shall we?

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Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 294/71

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I finally bought the full printed skirt from the Goop x Lilly Pulitzer collaboration. I have been wanted to procure this one for awhile, but resigned myself that it would have to come from the secondary market once it disappeared from the Goop online store around this time last year and did not show up in the last two Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sales.

I found this skirt NWT in my size via Mercari. The first time I found it in my size and not a 00, I jumped to purchase it. I cannot wait to wear it next spring, Carolina Herrera-style, with a crisp white button down.

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Sweater Weather

I am really into cashmere right now. This has actually been a twelve year phase, initially started when Old Navy released fifty dollar cashmere sweaters circa holiday 2007. Albeit likely manufactured by sweatshop labor via a supply pipeline arranged by unscrupulous corporate overlords in a time when I was not yet woke to the human cost, I distinctly recall selecting a red cowl neck style and a green heather crewneck style. Shudder.

Around the same time, Gap stepped up and began making cashmere sweaters in tall sizes. I bought the most dreamy gray cashmere pullover hoodie with ivory interior trim at the hoodie, which subsequently lasted until a decade later when I finally noticed the elbows were worn beyond repair. It was then that I purchased several other tall crewneck sweaters in three color ways (last seen here).

It appears that Gap has ceased making cashmere sweaters, let along those in tall sizing. Also tragic? Long Tall Sally stopped making one hundred percent cashmere sweaters.

Until the tides turn, I will have to give standard sized cashmere a whirl. Crossing my fingers that one or more of the below work for my 6’2″ frame.

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Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 287/78

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Again, I have not been keeping up with the Shopping Moratorium series. Rather than the reason being that I have nothing to report back, I have gone through some weight gain lately (water weight?) and literally nothing fits.

I bought two Brooks Brothers dresses, each in several sizes (the discrepancy between the classic label and Red Fleece is real). While the sequin number fit, it was not flattering on my tall frame. Conversely, I was dying for the jacquard tartan frock to zip, alas it did not. C’est tragique.

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The Women Card-igan

Like every other red blooded basic white woman, I am amped af for autumn. The first leaf falling prompts a purchase of a pumpkin spice latte and a cable cashmere cardigan. Though the seasonal drink was released at the end of August, the idea of a hot PSL (iced PSLs are blasphemy!) in 95 degree weather is enough to make me feel nauseous, as is the idea of sweating in cashmere.

Autumn never lasts long enough. I love that in-between weather that does not necessitate a coat. Give me cardigan weather any day. Fingers crossed that this season arrives early and leaves late.

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Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 213/152

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I haven’t been keeping up with the Shopping Moratorium series. That is primarily because I have nothing to report back and though it feels so great to say that, it also feels like I have nothing to confess.

I broke my streak last Thursday. I bought one dress in three colors and in two sizes each. They are for an upcoming meeting, and potentially an upcoming job. My appearance is the last thing I want to worry when my professional skills are up for appraisal; for this reason I stopped wearing button ups tucked in to pants circa 2012. I want and need something that I can zip up and not worry about becoming untucked and appearing sloppy.

This dress will work.

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Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 231/134

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I am particularly proud of the restraint that I exercised during the Ralph Lauren additional 40 percent off clearance. Cut to me purchasing two one hundred percent cashmere sweaters for one hundred dollars a piece. Keep in mind that these are were both originally four hundred dollars each. I am amped for autumn and if these shades of red and goldenrod do not scream “pair me with a pumpkin spice latte,” then I don’t know what.

My husband and I – mostly I – have been in hot pursuit of finding new accent pillows for our living room. We just installed new art in the living room and along with earth tones, the major color in the piece is blue. With that we are taking advantage of the redesign, albeit as minimal as it is, to change the color story in our living room.

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Thirty Minutes or Dress

I have never been there, but it is hotter than hell in Washington DC this summer. This is my eleventh summer in the District and I recall some toasty moments throughout the years.

2008: Wearing a black BCBG jersey dress to a job interview and working up such a sweat between the Metro and the office that I had to duck into the next door Barnes and Noble restroom and soak off the pool of sweat on my back with paper towels.

2010: Looking for a new apartment in the city. I did not have it in me to sweat it out on the sidewalks so I settled for a studio on the West End. I continued to live in the pad for six years because I could not bear the thought of having to apartment hunt or worse yet, move in the heat again.

2011: The sesquicentennial of the Civil War brought me to several battlefields for work events. After returning to the office from Manassas, I kept my office light off and made an iced peppermint tea. I do not think I left the office that evening until the sun went down.

2012: Wearing the jacquard dot J.Crew pencil skirt that Michelle Obama made famous and chafing like hell on my walk home from the office. By the end of my commute, my legs felt as thought they were in a straight jacket.

2015: My window air conditioning unit in the aforementioned West End studio quit. As it was the weekend, the property manager initially refused to fix it. As I am quite knowledgeable about DC landlord / tenant law, I knew that the property management company was obligated to fix it as the temperature exceeded 85 degrees. Email sent, unit replaced.

I wish I had not missed the spring window appropriate to wear these dresses. Right now, the DC climate is not conducive to anything with long sleeves. Give it a month, though, when the temperature cools and the District gets an onset of autumn and any one of these dresses can make a home in my closet.

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Equestrian Athleisure

Lately I have been obsessing about the sporty, classic slant to athleisure. I have to admit while I love the style, I did not have the ladyballs to start wearing the staples until finding inspiration from an unlikely source. Within the past year, I read about how one of the wittiest internet personalities around, Sarah Solomon, brought athletic “props” with her to bars to see if it would attract men. While I have been off the market for a solid five years, I was inspired to follow her lead and invest in some WASPy athleisure.

Along with rowing-slash-cricket blazers and tennis sweaters, it is time to induct equestrian apparel and accoutrements into the preptastic sporty trifecta. Picture swapping out your black Lululemon Wunder Unders for a pair of jodhpurs. Skip the racerback tank for a crisp button down bodysuit hybrid. Imagine taking a pass on your go-to yoga wrap or Under Armour hoodie – pending your workout of choice – in favor of a classic navy blazer. Instead of a pair of Allbirds (barf), zip up a pair of riding boots.

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Cable Manners

Fun and little-known fact: cable sweaters are actually a type of Aran sweater. Aran sweaters are named for a set of islands on the coast of Ireland and as such originated as a popular Irish fisherman staple in the 19th century. In addition to the Cable stitch, there are several other stitches that fall into the family: Diamonds, Honeycomb, Irish Moss, Ladder of Life, Tree of Life, Trellis, Trinity, and Zigzag. Each of the stitches are symbolic; Cable stitch represents Luck.

The cable knit sweater transitioned from a blue collar staple to that of the would-be white collar collegiate aesthetic in the middle of the 20th century. It was this time that cable sweaters began to be worn during athletic pursuits, like tennis. The original athleisure, if you will; cable sweaters of the 1950s are to black leggings in the 2010s.

My closet could use more cable sweaters. Wool, cotton, and cashmere are my choice fabric picks. I avoid polyester and acrylic like the plague. Unfortunately as a tall woman, I struggle to find sweaters that fit, especially as far as sleeve length goes. I recently found a version of the cotton crewneck cable sweater that is available in tall and I have been coveting it in the yellow colorway.

I scoured the internet for every cable knit sweater I could find. The price points range from 38 dollars to over ten times as much for the super premium cashmere version. The sweaters from the below roundup range from petite to tall to plus to plus petite, with monogram options and in every color of the rainbow. My advice is to invest in the best of quality, fanciest effing one that fits you. You will wear it forever and eventually the price per wear will diminish to mere pennies.

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Tapping Into my Inner Trustafarian

Concert festivals are not a new thing. There was Woodstock, Altamont (looking at you, Hell’s Angels), Live Aid, Lollapalooza, Lillith Fair (#tbt amirite?), Warped Tour, and my favorites: Bonnaroo and Jazz Fest.

Jazz Fest walked so Coachella could run.

My upper years of undergrad I ran with a rather trustafarian crowd. A friend and I were discussing upcoming plans for the spring of my senior year and along with Mardi Gras and Spring Break, the conversation turned to Jazz Fest which our social circle had plans to go. I replied that I had to miss it that year so I could wrap up my senior thesis. I was working in an archaeology lab that last semester, so editing during the week did not fit in my schedule. I still regret not better managing my time and missing it that year.

OG festival style was nothing like the peacocking that happens nowadays. The thought of a flower crown or a Native American headdress or any of the other thirst traps (is that what the kids are calling it?) would not have even crossed my 2005 mind. The last thing I wore was a turquoise camisole layered over a bright white camisole, distressed to the point they had holes-in-the-knees gray Lucky Brand jeans, and a scarf tied around my head, 1960s-style. I distinctly remember watching the Better Than Ezra set and less clearly, Widespread Panic. Holy shit, that was nearly fifteen years ago. What a reality check.

What would I wear today for any music festival or even just brunch? I think I would make the reference to the original of music festivals, Woodstock, and sport some tie dye. The pattern really has stood the test of time (fifty years) and while it used to be trendy, these days it is a classic.

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Loafer the Moon

I am so into loafers right now. Like blazers, equestrian style, and cricket sweaters, they are a decidedly preppy staple, so the traditional ones will never go out of style. I cannot speak to the Gucci furry, embroidered loafers, but count me in for the ones with the classic shape and horse bit detail.

Penny loafer? Check.

Heeled loafer? Check.

Driving loafer? Check.

Kiltie loafer? Check.

I love that loafers are an androgynous style. I have said it before any I will say it again: I love borrowing my from husband’s side of the closet. Lisa Birnbaum’s The Preppy Handbook references the tomboy aesthetic via borrowing from your brother’s closet as being a classic prep move. I will never borrow my husband’s loafers (or any shoes, save for stealing his Bean Boots in desperate moments), so it is time to stock up on the footwear staple.

Sound off below what style is your favorite.

clockwise from top left: tan penny loafer // tan suede loafer (also available in burgundy) // blue patent heeled loafer // green suede kiltie loafer // burgundy velvet crest loafer // tan driving loafer // patent kiltie loafer // houndstooth crest loafer