Last year I did a roundup of items that I either already owned -- or wanted to own -- that make up my fall uniform. Here's what I said about this matter:

I get very excited about fall, because it means I get to add on to my uniform. One of my many shopping theories is that you should always have some go-to outfit -- a uniform, if you will -- that consists of basics you can add to or subtract from, depending on the season.

(Other shopping theories include "try to look French," "you can't go wrong with a sundress and flops," and "if you look like you just exercised, that's kind of hot.")

My fall uniform theory very much falls into what my friend Al calls "Elegant Cowgirl." It's a dress theory that affects thousands of Southern ladies every year, and only you can stop it. Wait. I mean, only you can admire it, and try to emulate it, because it's AWESOME. Here's my interpretation.

This year's fall uniform contains many of the same items: the white tee, jeans, cowboy-ish belt, boots, and lipstick are still there. Unsurprisingly, it's all still very Elegant Cowgirl. I've added/changed a few things, most notably a COAT, something I have never needed before. Very exciting. Let's go to the tape!

1. White tee. Same as last year, except I've added one with long sleeves. (James Perse)

2. Last year I had a herringbone blazer on here, which I bought and, sadly, never wore. It did something bad to my shoulders. However, I have many vests I've known and loved, and they have all come from J. Crew, so I am going to try a herringbone VEST this time. We'll see what happens. Please try not to be so much on the edge of your seat.

3. This is my new favorite polish. Like some of you, I have a bad case of neon fatigue, even though I still theoretically love it. This color is still way neon, but it's a little more red/orange than pink, which I find to be a welcome change. Go get some! You won't regret it.

4. A darker red lipstick is replacing last year's pink (Nars Funny Face, still beloved and worn often). I hear dark red is SO IN this year. This one, like Funny Face, appears to be universally flattering.

5. What, another Giles & Brother bracelet? Look, it's on my extended wish list. I tell my design campers to save up for one thing on their wish lists each year, and in five years they will have five awesome things. Well, in five years I will have five awesome G&B bracelets. BAM.

6. It breaks my heart to say this, but I lost my No. 6 boots in the back of a rental car last year. It still makes me sick to think about. Anyway, one day I will replace them -- like when they by some miracle have a coupon -- but this year I am going to try these Frye Engineer Harness boots. Also on my extended wish list, and I am hoping I love them just as much as everyone says I will.

7. Hey, cute scarf. You are sold out. Stop that right now.

8. Same belt as last year. Still going strong!

9. I can't remember the last time I bought a coat. Wait, yes I do -- Banana Republic, 2001. We don't really need them here. HOWEVER! I am traveling to some pretty cold places this fall/winter (see: Chicago, December), so I need to have one. This one is from Delia's, and it is a great color/fit for not a lot of $$$. I don't need to be splashing out on something I'll use just a few times, right?

10. Jeans! These are the Skinny Skinny Ankle jeans from Madewell, a jean that has become number one in my heart since they 1) fit awesomely, and 2) do not have to be hemmed. Hallelujah! Shorties of the world, I urge you to try these. You will salute me from the dressing room.

So that's it for me this year. I also stocked up on tees from Emerson Fry, so I should be good until the new year, at least.

What's on y'all's fall uniform wish list? Tell me, so I can want it too.

AuthorAB Chao
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Last week I posted a photo in which I was wearing a long black skirt. Y'all liked it. So here is some info:

1. It comes from Italy.

2. It is handmade.

3. I have a coupon code.

The first thing I ever ordered from Maria Lucia -- whose company is called Larime Loom -- was a pair of cute wool pants. Fine, they were drop-crotch pants. Or as Sarah Blackwood would describe them, "EWWWWWWWW." Because she is JUDGY.

I obviously disagree with that assessment, and continue to find crazy droopy pants delightful. Anyway. They were super-good quality fabric and obviously extremely well-made. (I am that horrible person who inspects seams to make sure they've been correctly serged and stitched. I'm sorry! It's my mother's fault! Don't be mad.)

Maria hasn't had this particular skirt posted on her site in a long time, but I have had it in the back of my mind for years. So when I emailed to ask if she would make me one, and she replied in the affirmative, I was so excited that I hollered, "YAY!" And then I paid her, and she mailed me this beauty.

Oh, wait. First, she asked me for my measurements, so that she could make it EXACTLY to my specifications, NO BIG DEAL. (Bespoke!)

So, the skirt: it's a long black cotton wrap skirt, made of a medium-weight cotton, with pleats. There's no slit in the side like you'd encounter in your standard wrap skirt, so you are kind of on your own as to how to style it. I think that adds to the charm, since you can wrap/fold/finagle it lots of different ways. My favorite part of the whole thing is the fact that the ends are long and substantial, which makes for cute/dramatic tie situations. You can tie it in a knot; you can tie it in a bow. You can throw it o'er your shoulder like a Continental soldier. (You cannot actually do that.)

Sometimes I wear the tie on the side, but most times I wear it in the back. And I always wear it with a fitted/tucked-in top so that you can see the lovely wrap/tie part.

In closing, Maria is awesome and you should order things from her. AND. AND. AND! She has been kind enough to offer y'all a 10% off coupon until Sept 30th! The code is LARIMELOOM10. Yay! Go forth, and order something beautiful.

PS. Speaking of Italians, Luisa -- who just had a baby and wrote a book, whatever, I'm sure she has time to blog -- has posted a recipe for meatballs that is almost exactly like my own Italian grandmother's. My grandmother doesn't fry her meatballs and neither do I! Rebellion! Also, peas don't fry in the kitchen; beans don't burn on the grill. Please make this on Sunday, and then invite me over. And have an amazing holiday weekend.

All photos: Ben Corda

Did you hear? I have a Mighty Closet! This is very exciting news. Mighty Closet is a product of the Mighty Mind of Maggie Mason: magic-monger, mess-maker, marshmallow-muncher, and medical doctor.

Just kidding. She doesn't like marshmallows.

Mighty Closet is a fun thing that shows a person dressed in several outfits for different events. Mine includes working from home, going to a bar, and romping at the beach. And, inexplicably, tossing apples and kicking.

I'm so excited I had to jump about it. Go see it right chya

PS. If you want to attend Austin Design Camp, but haven't signed up yet, there's something good for you at the end of the post.


Today I did a little spring shopping at J. Crew (thank you, J. Crew Rewards) and Old Navy (thank you, Old Navy sales), and this is what I bought. Hey, does anybody detect some sort of pattern? No? It's probably just me, then.

I am actually looking forward to putting several of these items together, like some sort of demented sailor with a penchant for neon. Ahoy, y'all.

1. Old Navy 2. Old Navy 3. J. Crew 4. J. Crew 5. Old Navy 6. J. Crew 7. J. Crew


AuthorAB Chao
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