What I was packing for the trip to LA I’m now not taking


maje blouse

I was finally getting out of town and heading to LA today. Escaping this crappy, terminally grey weather we’ve been having to instead enjoy a place where the sun shines always and people live in charming bungalows with lemon trees out back. But then Saturday afternoon I started coughing a lot, and then it started to hurt when I inhaled. Saturday night I could barely sleep. So I did the responsible thing Sunday morning and went to Urgent Care just to make sure I was in the clear before flying. And the short version of this story is that the doctor said I have pneumonia, so no airplanes for me. I am desperately disappointed and annoyed, but because I know you guys like a packing story, I’m bringing you this post about what I was going to pack anyway. Which included, for whatever reason, a lot of red, starting with this blouse, which I just acquired.

xirena red shirt

Amazingly, given my affection for the color red and for striped shirts, I do not own a good red striped shirt. This one, from Xirena is pretty classic and perfect.


illesteva sunglass

A pair of bright sunglasses  is such a good lazy person’s way to make a big statement with a minimum of effort. This pair, from  J. Crew, is similar but cheaper.


Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 3.44.08 PM

I was probably going to bring my Clare V Gosee Clutch because it packs well, and holds a lot for a bag its size.

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 11.54.52 AM

I know I just showed you a red Nili Lotan trouser the other day—her ultra-slouchy Paris pant—but I also really like this more streamlined pair.

zadig & voltaire scarf

I was quite enchanted by this scarf when I visited Zadig & Voltaire last week: an unstoppably good print in vivid pink and red, and as soft as my beloved Chan Luus.  But the stylish friend I was shopping with wrinkled her nose at it, so I passed on by. I might have to go back, though.

r13 boy skinny jean

I would definitely have been bringing my grey R-13 jeans, which I am currently in a quandary over: I wear them constantly and have had them for a while now, and they’re hopelessly bagged-out. I don’t need my jeans tight, but this just looks sloppy. Also they have a dot-shaped stain right on the crotch that probably nobody notices but me. It would be really nice to have a fresh pair, but they are so damn pricey. Still,  good grey jeans are hard, and I have yet to find a pair as perfect for me as these. Did you know there was a survey a while back in which they asked women which items they most dreaded shopping for, and jeans came in second (swimsuits, naturally, were first). I just love knowing that when I get a pair of R13 jeans that they’re going to fit and flatter me, and not send me into a self-loathing tailspin. Because, with denim, in the end, it’s all about fit: find a brand that works for you and stick with them. Maybe even if they cost a fortune, I’m not sure.

lotan camo trousers

If I were to have brought along a third pair of trousers, I’d have packed my Nili Lotan Jenna pants—in fact I’d actually  probably have worn them on the plane because they’re so damn comfortable. I have them in blue, which is almost sold out, but I adore this dark camo too.

pink no 6 clogs

I would obviously be bringing along some No 6 clogs—the pair I’m thinking of is grey suede and, like the above pants, almost sold out. So I’m showing you this really good pink instead.

hera wash bag

My cosmetic bags are all really trashed, so I’m showing you this Liberty of London one I’ve been stalking.

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 2.53.52 PM

I travel with a flotilla of hair products, because my hair always flips out when I go away if I don’t stick to my usual routine. But this Davines Oi Oil might be the most important ingredient of all. I apply it after I blow-dry but before I use the curling iron, and it somehow magically makes my dry, damaged hair look impossibly smooth. And it comes in this nifty travel size.

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 3.07.57 PM

I kept hearing raves about micellar water, which is supposed to be super-hydrating and cleansing, so I decided to try some Bioderma wipes, and they are so excellent at removing makeup at bedtime when I’m too  lazy to wash my face. I haven’t been using them long enough to know if they’re hydrating, but I love the way my skin feels after I use them—smooth and clean and soft.

portrait of a lady body butter

I always make certain there’s room in my carry-on for a small container of  Portrait of a Lady Body Butter. Portrait of a Lady is my scent of choice, but the perfume itself is too strong for me, so for everyday I use their Hair and Body Oil, which is fantastic and very subtle. But oil is tricky to travel with, so for that I use the Body Butter, which smells so, so good—I have had people compliment me on the scent at gas stations off the Long Island Expressway—and is, I think, more moisturizing than the oil, which is what you want for travel.

16 chic grey pieces for (mostly) under $100


& other stories shirt

I love grey and think it’s impossibly chic, and deal with the fact that it tends to wash me out by making sure I’ve got a nice bold lip going, and/or that that there’s another, more flattering color closest to my face. I’ve included a few grey coats here that are not under $100, but they’re all marked down and reasonably good deals. I have a grey striped shirt like this one that I wear endlessly.

zella tee

This twist-front tee is good for stomach pooch camouflage, and also looks like the very soul of comfort (here’s a similar sweatshirt I also like).

& other stories sweater

Nobody can own too many big huggy oversized sweaters.

halogen cardigan

A three quarter sleeve cardigan is excellent for pairing with dresses.

mango embroidered blouse

This embroidered cotton blouse is nice and subtle.

j crew duffle coat

A duffle coat in grey is rather unexpected and even charming.

eileen fisher striped top

This grey-on-grey striped boatneck tee looks like a good option for throwing on when you don’t know what else to throw on.

grey levis jeans

These jeans are a very dark grey—almost black, even—but that’s how I like my grey jeans. If you have any thighs at all, it’s more flattering.

pink stitch dress

A perfect beach cover-up for those of you lucky enough to be headed somewhere warm soon.

topshop turtleneck

I like the exaggerated cuffs on this turtleneck sweater.

via spiga coat

Faux fur in grey is pretty chic, in a borderline edgy way. I’d wear it layered over a hoodie.

eberjey top

This top is Eberjey, so it might be pajamas, but I would happily wear it out of the house, as it has such a graceful, flattering neckline, and I like a dropped shoulder.

j crew topcoat

A well-cut topcoat is just a good thing to own.

bp tee

I love the cut of this slouchy tee.

camuto tunic

This tunic gives you a nice layered look without any added bulkiness.

topshop sweater

And finally: this ribbed sweater is rather quietly elegant, and not too tight, as ribbed sweaters often are.


Did you miss the post I did the other day on cute tops under $100?

19 tops with really good prints


rails lip shirt

Tops with really good prints are a nice shortcut to having a “look,” and I am all about style shortcuts this time of year. I think this  lip print is both chic and cheeky.

marant blouse

I ordered this Etoile Isabel Marant top over the weekend, and it came yesterday and is so good that I put it on immediately (with a cami; it’s pretty sheer). The print is unstoppably cool, and is also blue and black, which is maybe my favorite color combination.

& other stories red blouse

I like the idea of dots on a red background. It’s so nice and bold.

j crew liberty top

Just a very cheery Liberty of London option.

mango purple top

Something about the fact that the dots on this tie-neck top are outlined in black makes the whole enterprise more sophisticated.

vince smoke top

This popover looks so comfortable and slouchy, and the print is nicely moody, if that’s a thing.

& other stories pink top

I enjoy the pops of pink here.

rixo top

A very feminine choice, and a very good red, which I’m always partial to.

mango starburst top

Click through and magnify the image, and you’ll see that this button-down has the cutest starburst pattern.

iro top

I’d wear this blouse under a blazer, or on its own once it gets warmer. I think it’s just gorgeous.

mango green top

Green and black is a rare—and pretty compelling—color combo, and I think the floral here is really sweet.

kule top

The stripes on stripes on this crisp cotton shirt intrigue me.

petersyn top

And the rainbow stripes here are just a delight.

mango knot top

The knot front here is excellent camouflage for a poochy stomach, and the print is appealingly retro.

giada forte top

I just think the print on this somewhat splurgy Giada Forte top is so delicate and pretty.

velvet top

I always like an oddly-shaped dot, and the flourish at the arms here is unexpected and appealing.

mango bow printed top

This blouse has a somewhat trippy print, but I really like it.

& other stories heart top

Maybe the chicest heart pattern I’ve ever seen.

j crew elephant top

This elephant print is just good fun.

Here is a post I did recently on cute tops that cost under $100.



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.

Find Out More


Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.

Join my newsletter! The latest fashion, beauty and inspiration for all the girls of a certain age.