Five polished pieces

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I went to a party the other night (for this fascinating book , written by my talented friend Darcey Steinke) and it was so fun to get just even a little dressed up, because I feel like I’ve been shlepping around in boyish layers and sweats for weeks. It’s a pain to look put-together when it’s yucky out (and it was raining that night) but even when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s possible to look like you made an effort if you employ a few key, classic pieces. A blazer, as we all know, instantly dresses up anything you pair it with, and I’m quite fond of the band collar and clean cut of this one.

A drape-front blouse is a little more forgiving and feminine than a traditional button-down, and would be aces with that blazer.

I like the way these super-sharp booties dip in the front—it’s just a sly little bit of sexiness. Also, the heel height is three inches, which is just about as high as I can semi-comfortably go these days.

I desperately need a pair of wool trousers, and these, from Nili Lotan, are just perfection. So pared-down and smart. If you’re looking for something cheaper, you could do a lot worse than this Everlane pair.

I was given this Il Bisonte bucket bag as a gift, and I rely on it entirely, and do not understand why Il Bisonte isn’t a bigger deal, because their bags are so good: classic, streamlined, so well-made, and deathly chic. If you like the shape but don’t care for the price tag of this particular one, try trolling eBay and Etsy for similar vintage Coach shapes.

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25 Thoughts on Five polished pieces
    Jennifer
    21 Feb 2019
    7:47pm

    Il Bisonte bags were super popular in my HS back in the 80s. I still covet one my friend carried back then!

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    Melissa
    8 Feb 2019
    8:48am

    I’m going to order that book!

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    c.w.
    8 Feb 2019
    9:25am

    I’ll be ordering that book and recommending it for my book group (we are all of a certain age). I’m in the process now of looking for a gyno that specializes in menopause since my gyno retired last year. I’ve been told by two different drs. that because I had cancer I should not do any HRT, but my bones need it. Rock and hard place. Oy and Egad. That blazer is perfect. I love handbags that are not frippery laden!

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    Annette
    8 Feb 2019
    9:36am

    I love your blog, but “deathly cheap”? $468?

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      Pia
      8 Feb 2019
      9:47am

      Chic, not cheap

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      Kim France
      8 Feb 2019
      11:02am

      Annette, you misread. I said deathly CHIC, not cheap.

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    kimbersam
    8 Feb 2019
    9:38am

    Kim, I love all these choices, but wonder how you (and the GOACA think tank) maintain their pristine blackness with two light-haired dogs? I have light haired beasties and no matter how many lint rollers/brushes I use, I am coated. And yes, I vacuum constantly.

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      c.w.
      8 Feb 2019
      5:15pm

      I know this is going to sound a tad insane, BUT I have a dog that sheds fur like PigPen sheds dirt and she’s blonde and seemingly everything in my house is black or dark grey. I vacuum and dust mop constantly, but that doesn’t help things like my couch or my beau’s womb chair (and, yes, I’m one of those people who lets their animals on the furniture because I was raised by wolves or worse). I accidentally, but happily, discovered that if I take a rubber soled shoe like a flip flop and run it over the couch it gathers all that fur up into a pile which I can then vacuum up with a hand vac. I’ve used the bottom of a flip flop and the sole of one of my Uggs. I know it sounds a little wack-a-doodle, but there you have it. I have NOT tried it on a pair of black wool trousers, but I’m not far from that edge.

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      Kim France
      8 Feb 2019
      11:05am

      Well Sammy doesn’t shed so that’s a help, but Mister sheds constantly so I do go through a ton of lint rollers. It’s not a terribly winning battle.

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    CC
    8 Feb 2019
    11:02am

    First things first (second things first?) – love all of these items, and I bought a Rag and Bone blazer with a similar cut well over 10 years ago and it is timeless and so useful. Love your apartment decoration post from yesterday too- love it all.

    For the book recommendation, thank you. I’m 44 and none of my girlfriends are feeling perimenopausal shifts and problems as I am, and have for a month, more like a year now. It’s isolating and just…not a good feeling. So I read Jen Gunter and you and and don’t feel so alone. There’s more I could write but I just owe you and others thanks. I have a hard-earned yet hopefully not bitter feeling that many, many women, however educated and woke and on and on, cannot even among their close friends admit that shit changes, and that some of us don’t yet distinguish between the secret and the private in a helpful way. Anyway, thanks, Kim.

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      HickfromStyx
      9 Feb 2019
      4:14pm

      Not only does shit change, but denial is great. Aging, and female aging, is one of the last great taboos in western society.

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    Jocelyn
    8 Feb 2019
    11:26am

    Love this post! Would you consider another one with more about blazers? And perhaps with some that come in a size larger than 8? My size 12 shoulders thank you!

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    D.Morgendorffer
    8 Feb 2019
    11:31am

    You can actually find good prices on vintage Coach in decent condition at Tradesy, but the trade-off is that you have to invest more time browsing through pages compared to Etsy or Ebay. You can sometimes spot the rarer colors (like navy) and rarer shapes on Poshmark. However, with Poshmark, there’s the risk that, the farther back you go, the seller may be inactive.

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    Lisa
    8 Feb 2019
    12:11pm

    I have a question regarding the Il Bisonte bucket bag (which is beautiful). At the link, it says that the bag could be worn either as a shoulder or crossbody bag, but it doesn’t provide the strap length. Would you mind giving us an estimate of how long the strap is in the crossbody position as compared to other crossbody bags you have and have discussed here (for example, the Clare V. Sac Bretelle)? Precise measurements are not necessary — though they would be great — just a sense of the length as a point of comparison. This would be very helpful!

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      Mary
      8 Feb 2019
      4:38pm

      Hi Lisa, This is Mary from JDR and Company. The bucket bag, as a cross body, falls approximately at the upper hip. The strap is adjustable but measures at approx 20″ from the shoulder as its longest usable length. I hope that helps! PS we’re getting more Black in towards the end of the month!

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        Jax
        9 Feb 2019
        12:01am

        Hi Mary from JDR. I was also wondering about the weight of that beautiful Il Bisonte bag. I’m highly allergic to carrying heavy bags, ever since I was traumatized by a beautiful black leather hobo with hardware that didn’t help either.

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          Mary
          9 Feb 2019
          10:16am

          Hi Jax, for a larger bag such as this, it’s fairly lightweight. There’s no major hardware adding to the weight either. Because it can hold so much, it’s really going to come down to how much weight you’re actually putting into the bag that’s going make it truly heavy.

          We do have a smaller version of this style — you can search “A1074” on our website — it’s also crossbody, perhaps even a little more generous in the adjustable strap length. Stop by the store if you’re in the neighborhood!

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    Lynn in Tucson
    8 Feb 2019
    12:28pm

    I have the old-school black Coach bucket bag. It’s really a workhorse.

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    Kathi
    8 Feb 2019
    1:04pm

    Very chic post, would love to get the bucket bag but out of my budget range. Woe is me.

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    Viajera
    8 Feb 2019
    1:09pm

    Hold the phone. Nice clothes … but my ankles feel cold just looking at those pants (both of them). (La-La is having a cold snap.) It is curious-making. Does this trend mean anything, or is it random? I can rarely make it through any piece of fashion journalism but I still want to know.

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    Joannawnyc
    8 Feb 2019
    1:13pm

    I can also recommend looking for an older version of KARA’s bucket bag, called the Dry Bag–I bought one from a consignment shop and it’s been fab. They are not very expensive used.

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    y.k.
    8 Feb 2019
    7:16am

    What a nice gift!
    I love Il Bisonte – they also have beautiful wallets.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    10 Feb 2019
    4:18pm

    Thanks for the Everlane trouser recommendation, Kim and moi! I’ve got the black shirt from Nordstrom (From when that line was called Pleione) and while it’s pretty, the fit is rather odd for me – tight in the shoulders and upper arms. I’ve got the old-school Coach bucket bag in navy that my friend the life-organizer snapped up for me on one of her many consignment trips. A classic!

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    gablesgirl
    8 Feb 2019
    8:00pm

    Il Bisonte. If you have never been to their shop in Milan you are missing out:)

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    moi
    9 Feb 2019
    10:07am

    I’ve tried on all kinds of spendy simple black trousers, from The Row to Paul Smith to Vince. And Everlane’s is the pair I finally settled on. They fit beautifully, fall at just the right spot on my ankle (I like a slight crop), and the price is right.

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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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