When in doubt, wear black

The Paris Vogue team at Fashion Night Out in Paris © vogue.fr

And they’re off! The shows have begun in New York and the gang’s all here. Even though I am fully aware of the show schedule, the Spring shows always catch me off guard. They start just as we are returning from vacation and getting the kids back to school.

In an attempt to be prepared, each August I buy a few pieces to update my wardrobe. This summer I successfully snagged the accessories I had my eye on, but I seriously whiffed it on clothes. This is partly due to the Fall delivery schedule and that many runway pieces are not in stores until mid September. It’s also too warm to pull out the great new Balmain sweater and cool-weather pieces I bought. But these are just excuses. This year I clearly dropped the ball and have nothing new to wear this week.

What to do? Do what the Paris Vogue girls do- wear all black with my fab new Valentino Tan-gos, fringed booties and Hermes Collier de Chien a la Emmanuelle Alt.  Ta da!

SHOP

what's new

BALENCIAGA

Suede Crooked-Heel ankle boot

BALENCIAGA

Everyday tote small leather bag

BRUNELLO CUCINELLI

Padded velvet jacket

LOEWE

Roll-neck argyle-sleeved sweater

GANNI

Ridgewood corduroy trousers

PRADA

Point-toe slingback kitten-heel pumps

PRADA

Patchwork fur jacket

GANNI

Alice square-frame acetate sunglasses

VANESSA SEWARD

Clever leather belt bag

M.I.H JEANS

Icon wide-leg denim jumpsuit

TABITHA SIMMONS

Bexley brogue-detail; leather ankle boots

JEROME DREYFUSS

Serge large suede tote

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If I bought evening wear

Kasia Smutniak in Valentino © Paris Vogue

Recently, when I asked a few friends what they were buying this fall, I was surprised that they all had cocktail and evening wear on their lists. It’s not that I don’t go out at night (granted infrequently) or to fancy events, I just don’t prioritize evening clothes in my wardrobe. But I think I should. I cannot tell you how many times I stress over accepting an invitation because I don’t have something to wear. This is because I like my purchases to be somewhat evergreen and I worry that after a few outings, an expensive cocktail dress would linger guiltily in my closet. However, there are a lot of beautiful brocade and embroidered dresses right now that I think I would wear forever.

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On My Mind

Labor Day

Maine coast by Michael Davis

For us, Labor Day is the last day of summer. I drove my older daughter back to boarding school this morning and the air smelled different in Connecticut and the trees were starting to turn. Although I am ready for a change of  seasons, the end of this summer is bittersweet. My younger daughter tells me that “summer would not be special if it lasted all year”. So true.

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Looks

Matchy-matchy, the pantsuit rules

pantsuit

Upper left and lower right from J.Crew; Upper right, Valentino; Lower left, Miu Miu

There are a plethora of matching tops and bottoms in the Fall collections. Miuccia Prada brought back the traditional pantsuit (jacket & trousers), but I prefer a matching tunic and pant; best example is the bright blue one from her Miu Miu show. I also love the J. Crew coordinating printed foulard pieces. And the Valentino dress over a matching pant is great too.

A pantsuit is a simple silhouette and such an easy way to dress. Whichever way you choose to put this look together, I think this is a trend with staying power.

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Cool collaboration

Images and article from the September 2012 issue of American Vogue

There have been a lot of collaborations, especially recently, in the world of fashion. But none is as exciting and downright cool as the teaming-up of Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and KiC favorite, jewelry designer Aurelie Bidermann. The duo co-designed the first Balmain handbag, which appears sleek and simple, yet surprisingly luxurious. This tote looks like a must-have for fall.

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Cool evenings, cool sweaters

Vanessa Bruno Athe Cable knit poncho

As sad as I am that summer is winding down, I love the change in the weather. Last week there was an article in the NYT’s on seasonal change (and fewer work hours) and how it’s important for our creativity and productivity- I couldn’t agree more. The cooler evenings foretell fall days to come, and although it is too early to bring out most of my new purchases, sweaters are the perfect transition pieces. This season, there are tons of new shapes, textures and prints beyond the classic cardigan. Thrown over a sundress or white jeans, a fisherman knit or intarsia print is the perfect topper for end of summer picnics and fireworks.

Marni Geometric wool-blend sweater

Isabel Marant chunky-knit wool and alpaca sweater

Proenza Schouler Intarsia knit pullover

Ralph Lauren Cashmere cape

And my favorite and most versatile piece in my wardrobe, the cashmere poncho. I throw mine over everything from jeans to cocktail dresses.

Field Trip

Sugar Tools in Camden, Maine

Sugar Tools, Camden

Maine, glorious Maine. My favorite state without a doubt. Cool evenings in August, lobster and good friends; I cannot think of a better destination. I packed little cotton dresses and fisherman knit sweaters and hit my favorite spots as we drove up the coast.

One of the best shops by far, is Sugar Tools. On a side street in Camden, this small and perfect store carries the softest tees, handmade leather sandals, some Roberta Freymann pieces, vintage-y housewares, garden accessories, and much more. I picked up a book on canning, lemon verbena room spray, a pine pillow, and a few other odds and ends. Sugar Tools is a destination in itself.

Sugar Tools, Camden, ME

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Beauty

Bare is best

Courtesy of Paris Vogue

Recently, I wrote a post Blue polish? which challenged my thinking on nail colors. The spate of women sporting blue and purple toes this summer intrigued me. But when I went for a pre-vineyard pedicure, I couldn’t do it. I am resigned to being a nude, barely there, nail color person.

As I start buying some key fall pieces and am falling in love with black all over again (a big thank you to the September issue of Paris Vogue which is devoted to the goth color), I am loving my colorless nails all the more. I have to admit that the pressure to avoid black as the world was print and color crazed was tough-going.

September 2012 issue of Paris Vogue

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Priscilla Woolworth

Priscilla Wollworth

Priscilla Woolworth photographed at home by Agnes Baddoo for Keep it Chic

It is no secret that I am focused on creating a more eco-friendly home. So, when my friend (and Style Setter) Agnes Baddoo suggested we cover her friend Priscilla Woolworth, I jumped at the chance. Although born in New York City, Priscilla spent much of her childhood in the south of France. It was there that she developed a deep appreciation for a simple, eco-centric, yet stylish lifestyle. Summers in Maine at her storied family’s retreat, Clearview Farm, (Priscilla is a descendant of one of the founders of F.W.Woolworth of the “five and dime” stores), solidified her commitment to the environment. These days, Priscilla lives in Los Angeles where she runs priscillawoolworth.com, an online general store and monthly almanac she founded that offers eco-friendly and socially responsible products, and advice and information about living a sustainable lifestyle. It’s a truly modern version of the famed Woolworth stores and legacy.

The mother of two daughters with Cassian Elwes, Arielle, 22, and Lucie, 20, Priscilla is an inspiring KiC profile.

Priscilla Woolworth's House

Photographed by Agnes Baddoo for Keep it Chic

How did your childhood help form your dedication to the environment? Growing up in the south of France exposed me to such a gorgeous way of living by my French family who really knew how to create a lovely quality of life by making a simple yet beautiful environment at home. We all enjoyed what nature brought during the different seasons, the foods and flowers in particular. Spending my summers in Maine opened up my eyes to the beauty of trees, dragonflies and wildflowers and it was there that I realized how vital it is to protect nature. Living in California made it all come together; the indoor life and the outdoor life. They can be lived in a way that is environmentally responsible. All you need to know is how easy it is to do.

What are 3 things everyone could do easily to help the environment?
1) Buy food packaged in glass jars you can reuse for food storage or other uses, reducing the amount of trash you make and saving money on buying food storage containers. 2) Buy school or office supplies made from recycled paper or materials. 3) Use non-toxic suntan lotion at the beach, which is better for you and also for the water you swim in to cool off. Suntan oils and lotions pollute the water and endanger the sea creatures.

Tell me about composting… Composting rocks! I keep a compost pail, one from my store, by my kitchen sink and fill it up with veggie kitchen scraps. I empty the pail into my Valentina composter. After a few months, it breaks down into nutritious compost material, which I add to my vegetable garden, where I grow the vegetables that I pick, etc. The cycle comes full circle and starts up again. I love that.

Whose style do you admire? Jane Goodall for her kindness towards animals and her simple chic.

Which eco-friendly designers do you like? Stella McCartney for her all around earth friendliness and Liya Kebede for her activism and humanitarian work with her brand LemLem.

Favorite books and movies: Books: Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck; Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder; Interpreter of the Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, …  Movies: My Man Godfrey; Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring; Seraphine; Nowhere in Africa; Whale Rider; The Chorus.

Summer essentials: Ray-Ban Sunglasses , Odacite moisturizer, handcrafted Barbara Shaum sandals, white shirts by Ronaldus Shamask, jeans by J. Brand…and my reusable glass water bottle goes with me whenever I go.

Favorite summer dish: Salad Niçoise in a bowl or stuffed inside a crusty piece of bread like they do in the south of France, called a Pan Bagnat.

A day with your daughters is…Doing a project together that involves us staying home and having a great time, then cooking dinner together, eating it by candlelight in the kitchen, sharing stories and laughing the night away.

A perfect day alone is…Not being in a hurry and staying in my pajamas until mid-morning, having breakfast and pottering around the garden, going for a swim, lunch out somewhere yummy and beautiful, taking photos while I’m out and about, catching up on my New Yorkers, The Week and English Elle Decoration back at home while drinking a cup of tea…

Keeps me sane…My cameras because I love shooting images every day and then sharing all my news in my monthly Almanac blog.

A few of my favorite products from Priscilla’s online store: Outdoor wooden compost bin- the Valentina, Priscilla Woolworth Market Bag in cotton- blue, Stainless steel compost pail, Reusable organic produce bag, Reusable glass bottle, Olive soap, Paine’s Balsam Fir incense cones, Odacite Organic skin care products, Home garden Bee House, Stainless steel lunch box, Natural moth repellant sachets, Long wooden matches.

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The return of the classic scarf

Celine Fall 2012 Leather scarf courtesy of vogue.com

Many of my friends will be surprised to hear that the scarf is making a fashion return. To them, it never went out of style. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the traditional printed silk scarf. I love them in theory, but feel they age me. It reminds me of Jennifer’s post Am I too old?. The classic scarf is a staple of my mother’s generation and a way for women to “add a dash of color”. I have a vast collection of Hermes scarves that have sat unworn for years. I tried them as belts with white jeans, knotted into halters, and tied them to my handbag. But around my neck, or worse, on my head a la Jackie, has been a no go. So, I have given several away.

However, leave it to Phoebe Philo of Celine to bring the scarf back into the fore for Fall. The Celine version is leather, which certainly makes it more interesting. Will I go there? Maybe. Somehow, Phoebe makes everything chic and I am willing to try again.

Celine Fall 2012 leather scarf courtesy of vogue.com

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