October 25th, 2023
On My Mind

My Style Re-evaluation

Early July I posted on American-born Parisienne Charlotte Husson’s inspirational personal style and how my fatigue with the stealth-wealth/quiet-luxury — aka absurdly expensive minimalism — trend sparked a re-evaluation of my own personal style. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I own and wear, but every so often I look at my rails and feel as if something is missing.

Last evening, on my way to meet my husband for our weekly French tutorial at Coucou, I popped into the A.P.C. Surplus store and had an aha moment when I spied this dress. A feminine printed silk shirtdress with a kind price tag was the missing piece. Add knee-high boots and a cardigan and I am transported back to my twentysomething self in a good way. Funny how one item can shift everything.

  • Can’t be exactly sure of the color of this dress but it seems to be crying out for Ann Mashburn’s plum suede pull on boots???

    HeleneOctober 25th, 2023  11:16 AM

  • APC has great printed dresses and blouses. I also love Massimo Alba for women. which you can order from Serenella in Boston. He makes elegant shirtdresses in silk , but the entire line is beautiful and timeless.

    Hope your French lesson went well, Preston!
    x S

    SeverineOctober 25th, 2023  11:29 AM

  • I love this. Absolutely nothing like an APC dress and cardigan to make me feel like a French ingenue. Casual red lip a must.

    Urvi DalalOctober 25th, 2023  11:56 AM

  • So happy you had this moment and it sparked a good memory. I’m enjoying Allison Bornstein’s book immensely and this kind of an inspiration is the goal.

    SueMOctober 25th, 2023  1:23 PM

  • Do you plan to switch out the belt for a leather or suede one?

    StarrchicOctober 25th, 2023  3:33 PM

  • A Saint Laurent chain belt, although, I like the matching belt.

    PrestonOctober 25th, 2023  5:17 PM

  • I love APC. I wish they would open a store in the DC area.

    TracyOctober 25th, 2023  7:36 PM

  • Preston, I understand your current distaste of obscenely expensive wardrobes. I’ve always scrutinized every purchase down to the “will I wear it until I die?” test. The other question for me is, “do I have time and somewhere in my life to wear this?” But even so, even if the answer is yes, prices have gone from “it’s a bit of a splurge,” to a feeling akin to grotesque. Perhaps luxury has jumped the shark! Something has changed, and the current lot of luxury collections, for me, is just a turn off. Over-indulgence – whether it’s dessert, drinks, square footage, or wardrobes – feels so last two decades. I love beautiful things and fine craftsmanship, but I refuse to be hosed. Meantime, I’m enjoying what I have and sitting this season out.

    PaulaOctober 25th, 2023  11:21 PM

  • I agree with Paula. I love it all but have REALLY scaled back due to pricing. If you read the articles on Business of Fashion, most people are not buying. I am dying to see the price point for Phoebe’s collection.

    TracyOctober 26th, 2023  7:27 AM

  • I’m chuckling at “jump the shark” an expression my husband and I use often. Prices are indeed grotesque and folks are buying less, an untenable equation for the luxury houses. I’m shocked that new brands are launching with ridiculously high prices, too. Price should not imply luxury. My problem is I post only what I like/try/buy and that has not been a lot recently. Frankly, luxury for me is time with my family, friends, and time to read. I love beautiful clothes and accessories and I’m fortunate that my lifestyle allows me many opportunities to wear them, but I try to be reasonable and thoughtful about every purchase. Like Paula, I want things to go the distance. I just replaced my LL Bean Duck Boots from boarding school, held together with duct tape was not a good look. Silly, but I’d hoped they would last my lifetime.

    PrestonOctober 26th, 2023  8:56 AM

  • I so agree with Paula’s comments. Prices on luxury good seem to have doubled in the last two years. Many of the dresses, jackets, sweaters and pants are made out of synthetics. I prefer natural fiber and high quality fabric so right now, I am not buying new, but purchasing some resale and wearing my closet. And buying some 100% cashmere at 60$ a yard and having a jacket and skirt made.

    RebeccaOctober 26th, 2023  9:15 AM

  • I love your blog more than anything but please never stop posting even if you purchase less! I must say the last couple of years I have thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to Paula’s comments! Always spot on ❤️

    DebOctober 26th, 2023  11:20 AM

  • Ditto Paula! Can I add hotel prices to the list of insane without a corresponding jump in service?

    MMSOctober 26th, 2023  11:31 AM

  • Rebecca, I appreciate your note on synthetics. While plastic can certainly do useful things in the world, I try to avoid putting microplastics in water when I wash clothing. Microplastics aside, good natural fibers feel different when we run our hands over those fabrics. Clothing made from natural fibers holds shape, drapes, breathes, and even reflects light differently than synthetic clothing. And as you suggested, these fabrics are harder to find now. Do you mind sharing where you buy material by the yard?

    RMOctober 26th, 2023  1:49 PM

  • Agreed Preston. So eloquently stated.

    TracyOctober 26th, 2023  4:07 PM

  • Agree! I come here for Preston’s takes and then eagerly scan for Paula’s comments. Thanks to both of you!

    STOctober 26th, 2023  4:26 PM

  • Thank you Paula and Tracey, great to discover I’m not alone in this.
    I went and did something a bit different, I was looking for a lux camel jumper…….so I went and bought the Drops wool which was reduced and I’m knitting one and enjoying it…..cost effective and very rewarding and nearly finished.

    CelesteOctober 26th, 2023  4:36 PM

  • I’m tracking with Preston, Paula and Tracy – and I wonder if we’re in a vicious cycle. That is, I wonder if there’s a causal relationship between some of today’s fashion mantras and skyrocketing prices among fashion and luxury brands. Stealth WEALTH and quiet LUXURY both connote and may give brands permission to go to higher prices. The “buy less, buy better” trend may give buyers (including me) permission to spend more per piece and retailers an imperative to raise prices to preserve revenue despite declining unit sales. Don’t we all give ourselves the leeway to spend more on “forever pieces?” I can’t help but wonder if the language we use to describe the current fashion environment – the one new brands are entering – is part of the problem. I’m also wondering how Phoebe’s collection will be priced – will it reflect this dynamic or counter it?

    Lisa MacOctober 26th, 2023  6:02 PM

  • Preston, I forgot to add: the dress and outfit sound lovely. I can see how you’d enjoy wearing them. This is easy elegance. 🙂

    RMOctober 26th, 2023  6:42 PM

  • HI RM-In response to where to get quality fabric by the yard, I order it all online. I recommend EmmaOneSock, Gorgeous Fabrics, Britex, B&J, Farmhouse fabrics and Mendel Goldberg. The selection at many of these shops varies with the week or month so if you don’t see what you want at first, look later! Happy hunting!

    RebeccaOctober 26th, 2023  8:38 PM

  • Lisa Mac’s comment about buying trends and the language attached to those trends makes complete sense to me.

    PaulaOctober 27th, 2023  12:56 AM

  • Rebecca, much appreciated! I’m excited to dive in.

    RMOctober 27th, 2023  6:54 AM

  • To Rebecca and RM, that is a great list of fabric shops and I’ve been a customer of all but Farmhouse (will have to check that out!).
    If you are in NYC, B&J is great to visit (in the garment district, on the second floor,) they provide generous sample cuts and are well lit and organized, my go-to for quality basics. Mendel Goldberg on the Lower East Side, specializes in Chanel tweeds and other luxury fabrics and is a wonderful visit.
    EmmaOneSock is a favorite, she gets roll ends of designer fabric, so has limited qualities, so if something looks promising, you usually have to act. She is the best at photographing, and describing fabric, and also gives Pantone numbers, so if you have a deck (or even look for online references), it’s really easy to know what you are getting. This past week she had a batch of Loro Piano fabrics (many are already sold out). Over the years I have bought many cashmere, merino, wool, linen, high-quality viscose, and cotton high end fabrics from her and have never been disappointed. Again, w/EOS, you have to act quickly as her high end solids tend to go really quickly.
    One other source I’ll add is Stone Mountain and Daughters, which is in Berkeley. They always have a great selection and also get designer roll-ends.. All above I’ve mentioned ship quickly and beautifully. And, as RM said, you need to keep referring back as stock changes pretty quickly every week or so.

    Lisa FOctober 27th, 2023  7:46 AM

  • Lisa, many thanks! It has been years since I had clothing made. Getting back into the game sounds fun.

    RMOctober 27th, 2023  10:58 AM

  • Regarding fabric by the yard, I recommend Emma One Sock, B & J, Marcy Tilton, and Mood has some good fabrics too. All online.

    AprilOctober 27th, 2023  2:23 PM

  • The commentary on this post is excellent. Prices are rising everywhere and we are constantly force fed so much newness in this digital age. It’s overwhelming and, for me, usually results in avoidance altogether. I’m over the “more, more, more” mentality in America and am striving to live a gentle life focused on the essentials. Paula’s ‘square footage’ comment really resonated with me – I typically feel ‘less than’ in our small home, but it meets our needs. Plus, McMansions are tacky. Lately my time and energy have been going toward Preston’s luxuries: time with loved ones and time with a good book.

    On a lighter note, Preston, missed opportunity on the ‘Duct Boot’ pun 🙂

    MarchelineOctober 28th, 2023  11:33 PM


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