Is J. Crew getting good again?

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The jury is still out, but a perusal of the once-essential brand’s new arrivals is encouraging—as are the prices, which seem to have settled into a more sane range than in they were the Jenna Lyons years. I still don’t quite think they’ve got a whole vision going on there—which they certainly did during the Lyons years, sometimes to a fault—but the aesthetic is also less all over the place than it has been recently. I’ve wanted a leather skirt for ages, but might settle for this faux version.

Such a chic little boucle jacket—I’d wear mine just as it’s styled here.

The styling of this teddy sherpa topcoat, on the other hand, is just ridiculous: for starters, the combination of bare legs with a big cozy coat does not hold much appeal outside of a fashion shoot, and I will never endorse the little-socks-with-heels look for anyone over the age of 25. But I like the coat! And it comes in black and brown too, just fyi.

A cool wool shirt jacket in heather grey.

This sweater blazer comes in a ton of good colors, and is just so easy.

I’m thinking I might go for this cashmere patch pocket cardigan, because it’s kind of similar to my favorite (and now moth-destroyed) Vince sweater.

I’m a big fan of J. Crew corduroys: they’re flattering, pretty well-priced, and come in a satisfying range of hues.

A very smart houndstooth blazer in a cool combination of navy, brown, and grey.

I’m pretty sure I’ve shown you this lightweight quilted shirt jacket in the not-so-distant past, but it’s just so good and travel-friendly.

 

Yes please to white after Labor Day

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By now, I feel like it is well-known that the old trope about not wearing white once fall’s here has outgrown its utility. White is fantastic no matter what time of year. I do have some rules for wearing it, though, that are different than when I wear summer whites. The first one is that I gravitate to slightly off-white hues—which is especially important when it comes to jeans, which I think look cheap when they’re tight and white. And the second rule is that I always make sure to accessorize with darker colors, like scarves hats, bags, and footwear. Check out how much cooler this woman looks than she would if she were wearing white shoes and socks.

These are a pretty perfect pair of jeans in my book, because they have a nice, slouchy boyfriend cut, and a slightly ecru hue.

Such a cute and useful cotton pullover for throwing on whenever.

A good jumpsuit knows no season. I’d wear this one unbuttoned a bit with a black or mustard yellow tank top peeking out, and later on with a turtleneck.

Just a rather lovely cashmere sweater that isn’t cheap, so here’s a well-priced alternative (that’s not cashmere, alas).

A cool and generously-cut polo shirt. I especially like the length of the sleeves.

I just read something somewhere about how this sherpa jacket from Alex Mill sells out lightning-fast after they restock, so if you’re interested, do not delay.

A good, crisp cotton poplin shirt is almost always a good idea.

A corduroy shirt jacket that’s just so tomboy cool.

A sweet chunky sweater that almost looks hand-knit.

I tried to find a Mac coat as perfect as the one the woman at the top of this post is wearing, and I think this one comes awfully close. The color is closer to gray than white here, but I’m allowing it.

This waffle-stitch sweater has such a cool silhouette, and it’s alpaca, which is always so warm.

Feeling back to school

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Here we have the August 1977 Back to School issue of Seventeen magazine with Jayne Modean—my second favorite Seventeen model after Phoebe Cates—on the cover. I have such seriously acute memories of receiving this in the mailbox at the end of my family’s long dirt driveway in Houston—and poring and obsessing over it for weeks at the tail end of summer vacation. School started in August in Texas, but that didn’t stop us from wearing our new fall tweeds and sweaters on the first day of classes, sweating as gracefully as possible in the 100-degree heat.  It’d be months before it would actually be cool enough to properly wear these clothes, but such was the pull of the Back to School issue.

I still find myself wanting to look like Seventeen’s stylishly preppy covers come fall, and this Alex Mill sweater jacket seems like an excellent place to start.

I also like the idea of this cashmere crewneck, which is such a good heather grey and rings in at just under $150. It also comes in some other good colors.

I’m pretty sure I showed you the white iteration of this shirt jacket recently, but now I’m debating whether to get it in the blue instead.

Such a chic and slouchy houndstooth blazer.

I love the retroish look of this crossbody saddle bag, but it’s kind of pricey, so here’s something similar but cheaper.

Here I am surprising myself by liking brown again—I just think this plaid skirt is great.

I am so intrigued by all the vests I’m seeing lately, and this corduroy specimen is just so cool. Its olive green iteration is maybe even cooler, though.

It seems like everyone I know wants loafers, me included. This pair has a chunky-but-not-too-chunky sole, and is pretty well-priced.

I’d take a seam ripper to that big ugly Acne Studios label and wear the hell out of this fun, multicolored scarf.

 

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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