How great are these knit crocheted hats? The ear ones are obviously cute for Halloween, but I would wear the hood ones all year round. They are very Drew Barrymore in Grey Gardens, yes? I will need to have these on hand for the next time I am Edie Beale.

Find them all here. (The shop also sells patterns! Fun times.)

AuthorAB Chao

Dress / Scarf (similar) / Shoes

Ah, fall in the south: sleeveless + sandals + scarf. Because it might get below 70! I wore this outfit to last week's Mini Design Camp in Portland. It was funny because the loft owner, the intern, and I were all dressed in the same green/black combo. Although I think my dress might be green/navy. Anyway. It was cute.

Here's to leaves and, eventually, sleeves!

Photo: Ben Corda

AuthorAB Chao

Today we are going to talk about that funny etiquette rule that demands we not wear white after Labor Day. First of all, what does it even MEAN? I have never understood it, but I have blindly followed it all my life. Let's go to the books.

The no-white rule after Labor Day originates from Victorian times when wearing white was as much a status symbol for the middle and upper classes during the summer, as not wearing white was the status nuance after Labor Day. The fashion nuance was that if you didn't know the rule, you weren't fashionable. 

Huh. Well, that makes a kind of sense. Sort of. HOWEVER, my home state is Louisiana, and although we are sticklers for the many, many rules of etiquette (I can tell you about ALL of the forks), it is so hot here that we consider anything under 80 degrees "a cold snap." Wearing white just makes the weather seem cooler, doesn't it? (If there is some scientific explanation for why black is better, I don't want to hear it.) And, as y'all might have noticed, white is also basically my signature color.

So I hereby declare the no-white rule dead to me. I encourage you to break this silly rule as well, and guess what else? Tide would also like you to break it by entering their Tide VIVID White + Bright Rule Breakers of the Week Contest. The contest? Upload a photo of yourself breaking the rules of wearing white. The prize? Oh, no big deal, just a $3000 shopping spree. No White After Labor Day Rule, you are OVER!

I am really going to enjoy breaking this rule, especially since I own more white clothing than a person probably should. Please regard:

Fall bike rides are my favorite thing ever. It's actually too hot between April and right around now, early September, to ride a bike. But, check it: yesterday the temperature topped out around 90. A breezy 90.

This is what fall in Louisiana looks like: crocheted shorts and a sleeveless top. Five degrees colder and I would have on a jacket and scarf.

The great thing about these shorts is that even though they're white, they are texture-y enough for fall. They will also work in December with tights and boots. And I shall wear them then in that manner.

Flowy tank c/o Maggie Mason, who just showcased a vintage white dress that is also about to get stolen. Shorts: Urban Outfitters. Shoes: Tsubo.

Do you like this dress? I do. And I have actually broken two rules with it: not only is it white, it is also a skirt. Oops.

The thing is, I am five feet tall, and the skirt is four feet tall, and I loved its interesting bottom, so it is now a dress. How perfect is it, with a light scarf, for an autumn wine tasting? Pretty perfect.

Yeah, we're tasting white wine. It is hot, OKAY? 

Sparkly shoes go very well with white skirts-turned-dresses.

Make no mistake: I wish we had cool enough weather to drink heavy red wines and make chili and gumbo, but those days are months away. So in the interim I'll be tasting white wine and wearing a white dress while doing it. PS, there needs to be a way to have gumbo cold, like gazpacho. Gumbspacho: somebody get on that.

Dress/skirt: Banana Republic. Wrap: J. Crew. Shoes: Kate Spade. Sparkly bag: Headscarf: Vera.

A thing that Southerners like a lot is the watching of football games. (We are the home of LSU and the Saints: Geaux Tigers, Who Dat, etc.) Some of us like to watch those games outside. And some of us don't have enormous flat-screen TVs in our custom-built patio areas, so we make do. And some of us enjoy making do in our white fashion sweats and silver metallic high-top sneakers.

Fashion sweats: They are a real thing.

Here I am contemplating which part of this is funnier: The fact that the TV doesn't actually work, or the fact that I ate two entire bags of popcorn during this shoot.


Breaking the rules, drinking a beer, living the dream. Now, will you be wearing white after Labor Day? Clearly.

Top: Emerson Fry. Fashion sweats: Rue 21. Neon socks: J. Crew. Necklace: Kate Spade. Shoes: Pour la Victoire.


A super-special thanks to the sponsors of this post: Tide VIVID White + Bright. Now go enter that contest, you rule-breakers!

All photos: Ben Corda

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.

Some of you may know that I started a funny Flickr group a while back called Bench Monday (along with my co-conspirator Martha), in which I encouraged people to photograph themselves standing on benches on Mondays, for fun. You may also know that I tire of things easily, so after a few months of Mondays, I was done. HOWEVER, I do like taking pictures of outfits, especially where I dress up in my own interpretation of a French girl (The highest compliment you can give me, in fact, is that I look French. Shut up.).

I usually work from home on Mondays, so I get to be a little more casual than business casual, which you can see by the length of this dress, which is actually a t-shirt from American Apparel, which is an idea I stole from a certain light packer. Today I wore this to do work, go to the store, take Hank to the river, and go for a bike ride.

My hair is too short to go into a proper ponytail, so I supplement with a vintage scarf. Knot in front = French. The beautiful shagreen cuff is by Cocodri.

Tiny ponytail is unacceptable, but will be remedied as soon as I buy a bottle of Mane & Tail. Heh, just kidding. OR AM I?

I bought the belt via the AB Chao International Shopping Team when Stella McCartney had her line at H&M. Sarah braved CRAZY crowds to buy this for me in Chicago. It's all kind of broken and janky now, but I still love it.

Oh, hello, I am just standing here in front of my closet doors being French. Cigarette? Oui.

That's right. You know French girls have just a little bit of edge in every outfit. Here: a bit too short in the back. Amazing suede (and somehow indestructible) sandals by Chie Mihara.

Aaaaaaand, here's the real me. Not French, just unable to understand the remote. And quite sad about it.

AuthorAB Chao
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