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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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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Pack a Bag: Monterey Hotel

Until very recently, I had no idea that Spain established Monterey as the OG capital of California circa 1776. It was inevitable as Monterey’s geography boasts a bay and the town is such a central location between the baja and the alta. It was not until over 125 years after the establishment of the capital that the Monterey Hotel was established. The 1904 architecture exemplifies the Victorian style albeit within the middle of the a historic town center populated with Spanish-influenced architecture.

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The stained glass, carved woodwork, plantation shutters, and architectural moldings were my favorite tangible features of the hotel, which has 69 guestrooms split between the historic wing and the contemporary wing. The FF&E (layman’s term: furnishings) of the hotel is also impressive. I was particularly into the antique valet, pictured below, of which Jamie snagged nearly as soon as we rolled in our luggage.

Jamie and I stayed in room 409, which is in the historic portion of the hotel. The suite sits on the corner of Calle Principal and West Franklin Street, offering ideal Monterey views. We could even see the Monterey Bay from the bedroom and the sitting room. Swinging open the bedroom window and plantation shutters to the mellow weather and sea breeze followed by the complimentary breakfast was the best way to begin our days.

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The location of the Monterey Hotel itself makes it the optimum place to stay. It is my personal belief that one best takes in the built environment while on foot. Every location and attraction you could want to visit is accessible by foot and because Monterey is so dang beautiful, you should absolutely take advantage of the pedestrian friendly nature of the town. Through pedestrian paths and sidewalks, the following attractions are accessible by foot from the Monterey Hotel :

  • Alta Bakery and Cooper Molera Adobe – 0.2 mile walk
  • Monterey Museum of Art – 0.3 mile walk
  • Old Fisherman’s Wharf – 0.3 mile walk
  • Cannery Row – 1.1 mile walk
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium – 1.5 mile walk
  • Lover’s Point Park – 2.5 mile walk

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Sincerest thanks to the Monterey Hotel for sponsoring our stay.

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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24 Hours In: Los Angeles

Los Angeles has always been an enigma to me. I find it to be so easy to plan a trip in any walkable city. Philadelphia, New York, Boston, DC: I have dominated planning trips in all of them. Cars seem to be so necessary in LA, that it is just intimidating.

The last time I was in Los Angeles, I was there for GreenBuild. While I was thrilled to be able to meet up with people from the east coast who I had not seen in awhile, that time was exclusively spent in downtown LA, going back and forth between the hotel and the conference center and to restaurants and bars in between.

Before 2016, everything I knew about LA, I learned from The Hills. It was not exactly as though Lauren and her gang of frenemies were taking in cultural experiences of the city, but that is exactly what I set out to do with our time there. And maybe eat at every LVP restaurant too.

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The Annenberg Space for Photography has a particularly fantastic exhibit. Contact High: A Visual History of Hip Hop will be on exhibit until mid-August. While the space, which is located in the middle of Century City, has free admission and validated parking, I recommend scheduling a tour with a staff member to get the most out of the experience. As a {mostly clueless} white woman, it was the best way to educate myself on the hip hop movement.

Sidebar: Did you know that hip hop has four elements: break dancing, graffiti, MC, and turn tables? 

I also recommend visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles. While the art is impressive, the site, design, and development plans of the museum are on display and caught our interest. The MOCA was one of the first cultural institutions that was built downtown and it served as a catalyst for the development of many others, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall. We were excited to note that Arata Isozaki designed the Museum of Contemporary Art. For those out of the built environment loop, Arata Isozaki won the 2019 Pritzker Prize which is commonly acknowledged as the Nobel Prize of the architecture field.

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Sincerest thanks to Visit Los Angeles for planning our day.

Pack a Bag: The Carlton

The Carlton is the ideal midpoint of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Paso Robles is underrated wine country due to its big sisters, Napa and Sonoma, located just up on the 101. This territory should not be missed; I am not lying when I say that I returned home with five bottles from the two vineyards that Jamie and I visited.

Atascadero is the idyllic town about twenty minutes south of Paso Robles and the second stop on the Friendship Road trip. The trip up from Palm Springs was picturesque, at least after passing through Los Angeles. Our stay at The Carlton was the perfect punctuation at the end of the drive.

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Located within the Colony District and walkable to seemingly everything worth visiting in Atascadero, The Carlton was established in 1928 as a one story building at the corner of El Camino Real and Traffic Way. The following year brought a second floor annex, consisting of 52 guestrooms, topping the first floor of department stores. (Don’t you just love a mixed use project?) The 1930s brought a new owner, a new neon sign, and celebrity clientele. The hotel changed hands several times in the last half of the twentieth century before it was converted into a senior living complex. Eventually it became nascent until 2005 when it was restored and returned to its former glory as The Carlton.

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Jamie and I had a room that opened into the center courtyard. Funny story: We unknowingly kept the French doors open but drew the curtains. Only when we woke up to especially fresh air did we realize that we each were under the impression that the other closed and locked the courtyard door. Regardless, we both felt safe on the property which is something that is of priority when I travel.

No stay at The Carlton is complete without stopping at the Back Porch Bakery. Jamie and I selected a loaf of walnut and blue cheese bread which proved to be necessary (especially for Jamie who was our designated driver) on our vineyard stops. Along with provisions from a local craft cheese and butter store, we took out the entire loaf of the artisanal bread and you know what?

We had no regrets.

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Sincerest thanks to The Carlton for sponsoring our stay.

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Gorpcore and After

I love a great brand collaboration. It has grown into an obsession ever since the Lilly Pulitzer x Target debacle of 2015. Given that I have written about Pendleton x Gap, Karl Lagerfeld Paris x Long Tall Sally (twice! thrice!), Lilly Pulitzer x S’well, Lilly Pulitzer x Goop (twice!), Lilly Pulitzer x Pottery BarnVineyard Vines x Target, Tory Burch x Kenneth Jay Lane, Issa x Banana Republic, Prabal Gurung x J.Crew, Hunter x Target, Kate Spade x Beyond Yoga (twice!), New Balance x J.Crew, Draper James x Jack Rogers, and the list goes on and on, I was jazzed to read about Opening Ceremony‘s collaborations. First it was Esprit and then Birkenstock and as I found out today, a second season of the latter as well as collaborations with two classic gorpcore brands.

Last summer Opening Ceremony collaborated with Birkenstock on a capsule collection of Arizona sandals and Boston clogs. I would have indulged in the collection but I have a pair of glitter Arizona sandals that have barely even been broken in. I came of age in the late 1990s to the early 2000s and these styles were especially popular among those at my public high school so even if I did not indulge in the product, I indulged in the nostalgia.

Though it may technically fall into normcore, I consider Birkenstock to be gorpcore. Perhaps it is because the sandals go so well with the outdoor staples. The Opening Ceremony / Birkenstock collaboration opened up a Pandora’s Box of bookmarking the best iterations of the sandals. Neon, iridescent, glitter, hologram, metallic, and animal print, Birkenstock served up all peacocking variations.

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I am also loving the Marmot and Columbia collaborations with Opening Ceremony. While I resisted falling down a rabbit hole – this time – I rounded up my favorite items.

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Are you as obsessed with collaborations as I am?

Is this an ailment that only affects me?

Sound off in the comments.

48 Hours In: Palm Springs

Perhaps it is the inevitable Coachella burnout but I get the sense that Palm Springs is underrated in the sense of cultural resources, art, and architecture. The desert town is not just flamingo floats and alcoholic beverages, although there is plenty of that, but I am so excited to share the rest of the best of Palm Springs.

No trip is complete without a trip on the aerial tramway. My initial reaction to the upwards transportation happened while Jamie and I were driving to the tram station. It blew our minds when we passed the signage to turn off the air conditioning. It did not feel as though our rental was working especially hard (especially in comparison to our days prior spent in the West Hollywood hills) but Jamie corrected me in that he felt our midsize SUV breaking a sweat.

The aerial tram holds about sixty people per car. Don’t load into one side, y’all, because the car rotates. Also there are five towers, each of which transfer the cars that run on the tracks. If you are afraid of heights, it can be uncomfortable to transfer because the car rocks back and forth. Cut to me holding onto the rail in the middle of the car.

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We enjoyed our visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Art and Architecture Design Center. 10/10 recommend stopping at both. They are the ideal respite from the afternoon heat.

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The built environment of Palm Springs is vastly underrated. Sure, people just looooooove midcentury modern architecture, but how many of those actually care enough to examine beyond the surface of what can be seen from the street?

I recommend taking at least one modern architecture tour. We ended up taking two: the Palm Springs Mod Squad Tour and the MidMod Design Tour. Both had their merits and as someone who has her Master’s degree in Historic Preservation, these tours were necessary. Kurt and Lyle were both authorities on the topic. Two approaches to one topic with little overlap made for exceptional learning experiences.

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There is only one hotel to stay at when in Palm Springs and that would be the Monkey Tree Hotel. It was designed by the father of desert modernism and one of the pioneers in midcentury modern architecture, Albert Frey. The owners of the hotel Kathy and Gary, pivoted from careers in architecture and finance respectively, to hospitality.

Amenities of the Monkey Tree Hotel include house made breakfast (vegan, gluten-free, and paleo options are available), sangria happy hour, all day snacks and soft drinks, parking, green charging stations for electric cars, salt water pool, tethered lap pool, hot tub, sauna, and Scandinavian spa. Kathy also has a comprehensive guide to activities, architecture, and tested restaurants that was beyond helpful in planning our trip.

Right now is the ideal time to book a trip at the Monkey Tree Hotel. There are several specials running from June until September for both weekends and weeknights.

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Sincerest thanks to the Monkey Tree Hotel and Visit Palm Springs for sponsoring our stay.

Blue Grit

If denim is the basis of all wardrobes, long denim (meaning skinny styles of 34 inch inseams or longer and all other cuts of 36 inch inseams or longer) is the holy grail for any lady topping six feet.

The first pair of long denim that I ever scored was from Abercrombie & Fitch at the New Orleans Riverwalk before Hurricane Katrina hit and before the Riverwalk was converted to an outlet mall. So clearly I remember going back-to-school shopping with my mom, her friend, and her friend’s daughter. Her friend’s daughter insisted in stopping at Abercrombie and Fitch to which I was neutral about, until I found the slouchy bootcut style jeans of my dreams that came in a 36 inch inseam. Initially I saw the darker wash but became especially jazzed when I found the faded blue. At the time, the sticker price of $59.50 seemed expensive, to which my mom’s friend remarked that I should look at Eddie Bauer again regardless of the fact that we had just been there and I noted that the denim did not come longer than with a 34 inch inseam.

I now realize that my mom buying me a pair of pricey denim probably put her friend on the spot to buy her daughter the same or comparable pair, despite the fact that she was not in need of jeans to accommodate her six foot stature. Because you know, she was like 5′-5″ tall.

My mom bought me the jeans and I got every cent worth of that $59.50 plus tax. I do not think I retired them until four years later, but in those four years I wore them no less than twice a week. A little bit of math: 4 years * 52 weeks * twice a week wear = 416 wears. $59.50 / 416 wears = fourteen cents per wear!

It is my firm belief that well-fitting denim should not be contingent on one’s height or one’s wallet. I included denim that is no shorter than 34 inch inseams for the skinny cuts and 36 inch inseams for all other styles with price points starting in the $45 range to the $200 range and everywhere in between.

skinny denim

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free your calves

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black, wine, and colors

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Seerswimsucker

Earlier this week I rounded up standout seersucker pieces on the market. There was one glaring omission and that was purposeful. I did not include seersucker swim because there is so freaking much of it this season.

Unfortunately, only one of the tank styles is available in long torso. Life is not fair.

top // bottom // tank

top // bottom

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knot top (in yellow, pink) // knot bottom in (blue, yellow, pink)

underwire top // bottom // underwire tank suit

top // bottom

tank suit in blue (available in long and standard torso lengths) // tank suit in pink (available in long and standard torso lengths)

top // bottom

JCflutter

flounce top // high waisted bottom // tank suit version

 

Tall Torso Tank Swim

I went the entire last summer without wearing a two piece swimsuit. Not only am I no longer a spring chicken and feel as though I have aged out of the bikini market, but I do not feel so confident in my body now that I have gained my married weight.

One piece swimsuits used to be particularly tricky if you have a tall frame, specifically a long torso. I see a huge difference in the standard length one piece suit and the long length one piece suit that I alternated between last year. For example, I would never dared to wear the former without the detachable halter strap.

Once tall torso one piece styles were on my radar as a size option that retailers were actually offering, I started noticing them everywhere. It was merely a matter of me moving on from the two piece territory to gaining awareness of what was actually available in the swimsuit market.

All of the swimsuits in this post are available in long torso and for my shorter (or relatively average friends), some are even available in standard sizing.

 

asymmetrical suit (available in standard sizing) // printed suit (available in standard sizing) // strappy suit (available in standard sizing)

 

twist suit // lattice suit // striped suit

 

strapless suit (available in standard sizing) // striped suit (available in standard sizing) // belted suit (available in standard sizing)

 

surplice wrap suit (available in standard sizing) // halter suit (available in standard sizing) // ruffle suit (available in standard sizing)

 

v-neck suit (available in standard sizing) // strapless suit (available in standard sizing) // tank suit (available in standard sizing)

Green Therapy featuring Antrim 1844

The Tuesday afternoon of our trip to Antrim 1844 brought my husband and I outside and exploring the grounds of the property. There is more than just the mansion that serves as accommodations for Antrim 1844 and it is worth taking a walk around the property to admire each building.

It was such an amazing afternoon, just taking a few moments to take it all in. I wish I could say that I did it sans technology but my husband and I switched off with photography duty with the fancy-pants camera and when he had it, I was taking stories with my iPhone. An overcast afternoon amplified the chill in the air, but it added a moody, romantically gothic ambiance.

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Afterwards, we thawed out in the Drawing Room in the mansion, before retiring for the afternoon in the Pickwick Pub. Several hours in front of a blazing fire and three cocktails later, and you could say we had warmed up.

Sincerest thanks to Antrim 1844 for sponsoring my stay.

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