By KATHY LEEDS
I’m a Los Angeles native, and have lived here until I made a temporary move to New York City, while my daughter was in college on the east coast. I loved my time there, and still visit often. But I always knew I’d be moving back in LA, where I’m now happily and forever ensconced.
I wanted to retain some of the polish and nod to fashion that I felt I’d achieved in NY, while staying authentic to my roots and lifestyle – a thoroughly LA woman. Comfortable, casual, modern, and like everyone, still a bit unique.
I was very flattered and surprised when Preston asked me to write a guest post on LA style. I’ve never thought of myself as particularly fashionable, but I do have a “look”. I’d describe it as essentially West Coast and a bit tomboy in its origins, but I think it works just about anywhere now. However, in LA you can wear it at night to any restaurant or dinner party, with a just a few tweaks to make it more “evening”.
In my admittedly ubiquitous uniform of jeans, tees, lightweight sweaters, boots and a bag, each Fall/Winter I make a few adjustments, that hopefully helps set me a bit apart. I buy and edit, paying attention to details and trends such as silhouettes, and proportions. I think this keeps my uniform both current and modern.
For a few seasons, I’ve been on the lookout for a special bag, a sort of signature piece and one that I wouldn’t see coming and going. I finally found the one while in Italy this summer on vacation. A bag makes a big statement in LA.
I do want to thank Preston, because her “Will I grab it from my closet?” has been the sentence that guides me in every single purchase I’ve made since I started following her blog, and the truer I stay to that question, the fewer mistakes I’ve made. I’ve always gravitated to neutrals, and minimalism in my clothing, so I stick to that. I also love to support designers from Southern California and buy as much as I can from Jenni Kayne, Kendall Conrad, and James Perse. My shopping mall is the Brentwood Country Mart, which I can walk or bike to, and has all three shops. Pippa Small has a shop there, too.
I’d love to share some of the updates I’ve bought in anticipation of our fall and winter. Boots have always been the first thing that I (and most of my friends) get excited about. I think it’s because we have so few items that are generally considered winter wear, we definitely don’t get as excited about sandals!
Updates for this season….
Jeans – I refresh this item more than any other in my closet. I will spend $300 on a great pair because it’s the anchor of my wardrobe and worn more than 300 days of the year. Cost per wear is one of my guidelines in buying. This year I wanted some in a darker rinse, a pair of straight leg, and a cropped black pair with a bit of a flair to wear at night with my new boots.
Tee shirts – mine get dirty, and stretched out. I like to keep them new and fresh, otherwise casual goes quickly to sloppy. I wear white and heather gray most often, crew and v-neck, short and long sleeved– usually James Perse.
Sweaters – I bought a few sleeker ribbed pullovers this year, and a very lightweight long cardigan that I will live in – day and night. And when I don’t have time to change from yoga clothes, I’ll throw it on to cover me up while I run errands.
Blouses – to pair with jeans for evenings out. These from Nili Lotan replaced my Equipment silk shirts which felt tired and dated to me.
Bag – I’ve wanted this bucket bag for a few years, and finally ordered it when I was in Italy this summer. It’s the most beautiful leather and rich shade of cognac, with a hidden monogram inside. It feels very unique and a fantastic reminder of our summer vacation. Saddlers Union, Rome.
Small “evening” bag – Kendall Conrad – small black suede – this and my Jenni Kayne boots will be enough to change my day look into evening.
* When I do travel back to NY, I add both a black and a navy blue blazer to keep my very dressy and fashionable mother- in- law from fainting.
Collage items top: Chloé scarf, J. Crew jeans, Jenni Kayne boots, Nili Lotan blouse, Saddlers Union bag. Bottom: Nili Lotan blouse, Jenni Kayne cardigan, Jenni Kayne boots, Kendall Conrad bag, Joseph shoes.
Checked owl-blend and printed quilted cotton coat
Ashland cropped mid-rise straight-leg jeans
Iliana Harkness bucket hobo
Wool and cashmere cardigan
Lauren flat suede Mary Jane slide
Round-frame tortoiseshell sunglasses
Linda 45 leather pumps
Zip-detailed stretch-cotton bomber jacket
Fair Isle cashmere and wool-blend vest
Maisie ruffled crinkled silk-satin blouse