Checking out the new arrivals at Madewell


Even though this brand can skew a little young and sometimes twee, I still find a lot to like in the way of left-of-center classics and tomboy-cool pieces. I also like that they’ve become a lot more size-inclusive—pretty much everything is available up to size 24 or 3X.  I think this dress has the prettiest, almost art nouveau print. Check out this top in the same pattern.

These snake-print mules remind me of a pair Emerson Fry used to make that I coveted for a long time, but never pulled the trigger on. These are just a little funkier, though, thanks to the bright hit of color, and I’m pretty tempted.

This corduroy suede tote in an excellent mustard yellow feels very back-to-school to me, but in the most sophisticated way.

I don’t know why a black jean jacket appeals right now, but it does. I feel like maybe it’s more polished and grown up than blue denim.

This kind of retroish floral print dress just looks so easy to wear.

I don’t usually see the point of short-sleeved sweaters, or brown for that matter, but this really appeals.


Just a rather perfect henley.

I’m a big fan of army pants with a stripe down the side, and this one is subtly glittery, which is fun.


Some feminine but not prissy dresses, part 2


Let’s start out today with the spendiest option I found: a Veronica Beard dress with an unstoppable floral print (I especially like the color combination) and a very flattering shape.

I think the neckline here is quite pretty.

This has the ease and put-together-ness of a shirtdress, but then the strategically-placed bits of flounce take it in a softer direction.

I adore that this dress is seersucker: so unexpected, but totally delightful.

This is sort of caftan-ish, but has good little details—like that crisp mandarin collar—that keep things polished.

A black floral with a bright daisy print: so fun.

The silhouette of this hippie girl dress is pretty clean (and props to Anthropologie for deploying a grown-up model).

My uniform for much of the early 90s included a lot of vintage floral dresses, and this pretty red and white specimen puts me in mind of them, somehow. I guess because it feels slightly retroish.

The lines of this dress are so clean and chic that I almost don’t mind the slightly puffy shoulders.

A sweetly retroish butterfly print.

Here is today’s example of a high (and slightly prissy) neckline I can live with, I think because the rest of the dress is so streamlined.

This dress feels very gamine French girl to me.

I like the flattering neckline on this graphic polka-dotted number.

I can totally see the old me wearing this to the office: it’s such a good, statement-making print, and the dress itself just looks really easy and wearable.

I love how the acid yellow contrasts with the black-and-white leopard print here.

Some feminine but not prissy dresses, part 1


This post came about because It was looking at this dress on Net a Porter, and thinking that it appealed, even though it’s girlier than I usually go. But summer brings out the girly in me, because it’s really the only time of year I wear dresses anymore, so I decided to go look for other options like this, and found a ton.

The touch of flounce here is offset by the graphic Mexican-looking print.

There are an awful lot of florals in this post, and this one is really sweet without being too sweet.

A polka dot tie-waist dress in a very bold blue.

Here is that rarest of things: a high-necked dress that I actually like. The full skirt is what keeps things feminine here.

Just a simple shift that manages top be a bit sexy too.

I usually loathe one-shoulder anything—I just think it’s an awkward an unflattering look almost invariably—but this dress is so graceful.

The snake print here lends a little edge to an otherwise pretty femme-y silhouette.

I love that this full-skirted shirtdress is very dark blue instead of black; I also like this version of it with red and white stripes.

A really good tie dye print on a clean, easy shape.

This cute dress just looks like the easiest thing in the world to throw on when it’s hot out.

Another very fetching tie-dye (I don’t always love brown, but I do when it’s combined with light blue) on a sculptural shape.

This halter dress is pretty bare, but so pretty, and you could always throw on a cotton cardigan to cover it up a bit.

I like that this pristine white dress from AYR has the slightest hint of sleeve—just that tiny bit of fabric can be so much flattering on the arms.

This floral dress is from Doen, a California-based line with a crazy following,  and I think their hippie girl dresses are some of the best out there.

And for those of you who are serious about never going sleeveless, I bring you this pretty navy floral.





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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