Two positive things are happening in retail at the moment. First, Madewell, Anthropologie, Banana Republic and Anne Taylor Loft are at last offering extended size ranges in their merchandise assortments. Second, we’re finally seeing below-the-knee dress and skirt lengths that aren’t ankle length maxis. It’s shaping up to be an even better season than I thought.
Here are some neutral items across a range of price points that worked well on my clients recently. Some items made it into my own wardrobe, and I’m delighted. All items are quietly interesting but north of simple because they pack a little extra punch through fabrication, embellishments, and clever design detailing.
- Ann Taylor Ruffle Tweed Long Jacket: One of the best long Spring tweed jackets I've seen. It's flounced, but hangs off the body in an angular way. Works on a range of body types. Streamlined. It would have been mine in a light colour.
- Banana Republic Eyelet Hem Couture Sweatshirt: Super cute and very soft opaque sweatshirt with adorable eyelet trim. Best on straight hips because the cut is not forgiving on the hem.
- Burberry Dot & Giant Check Wool & Silk Gauze Scarf: The iconic wool-silk Burberry scarf is a timeless item - even with polka dots. I prefer the version with the red dots, which to me is still quite neutral.
- Banana Republic Asymmetric Ruffle-Hem Pencil Skirt: A good skirt for both a straighter or curvier figure. Surprisingly flattering. Runs a size big. Looks fab matched with white, black, olive, toffee and red.
- Ann Taylor Striped Pearlized Trim Blazer: An excellent striped KNIT blazer that looks extremely crisp. Very comfortable, polished and does not crease. I love the pearl buttons. The fit is fab on a larger bust and curvy body type. Runs a size big.
- Boden Kristie Broderie Top: A quality item with a Modern Retro flavour. The lacy eyelet is soft and crisp. The blue fabric is chambray. The fit is fluid yet streamlined. Covered yet breezy. Best on a longer neck and smaller bust. This pretty little darling earned a place in my wardrobe and is magical with white cropped straight jeans. I tried the version in white but felt like Little Bo Peep. I vote blue.
- Madewell Ainsley Chelsea Bootie: Extremely comfortable, ultra refined and very well made gold booties. Classic yet futuristic. The gold is subtle and not garish. Best on a low or regular volume foot with narrow ankles. At first I hesitated because the brogue detailing was too masculine for my style, but they ultimately earned a place in my wardrobe because the gold pops them back into "pretty" territory. I've worn them three times already and love them.
- Halogen Short Trench Coat: A fab cropped trench coat for a warm climate. Super cute. Hangs open beautifully.
- Ann Taylor Pearlized Flare Crop Pants: The pearl buttons on these navy cropped flares just about launched me into orbit. The pants fit a curvier body type quite well. Straighter figures should size down. Might run a size big. They are long and cannot be hemmed so order petite. Fabric is soft and substantial. Great drape.
- Banana Republic Tweed Mock-Neck Sheath Dress: Fab dress for a straighter figure with a smaller bust and longer neck. Super cute with flats.
- Halogen Teagen Sneaker: A flatform with a flexible rubber sole that bends as you stride. Best on higher volume feet.
- Banana Republic Eyelet Maxi Dress: STUNNING high-low maxi dress that earned a place in my wardrobe. It looks like a designer piece and absolutely WOWED me. It's well made and 100% bra-friendly. The eyelet is soft, and comfortable. Flattering, tailored, dramatic and very pretty. Love the defined waist. The sleeves are much shorter in person. The hem cannot be shortened easily, so by all means order petite. It runs a little big, but not too bad. The length is about three inches longer on me than on the model. The bottom two tiers of the skirt are not lined which adds visual lightness to the style. I'll be wearing it with white flats and a denim jacket when I need a topper. The white eyelet is just as gorgeous. 100% cotton and machine washable too.
- Madewell Brady Block Heel Bootie: Well made cut-out booties for higher volume feet. Comfortable, crisp and polished.
- Catherine Catherine Malandrino Sloan Tie-Waist Dress: I haven't seen this dress in person yet, but it looks interesting. Streamlined and camouflages midsection lumpage and bumpage. Fun diagonal lines, and just enough length.
- PAIGE Nellie Clean Front Culotte Jeans: I had high hopes that these white denim culottes would be stiff, crisp and substantial. They are soft, stretchy and drapey, which is not what I'm looking for - but my clients tend to like this type of denim so you might too. Very comfortable and roomy on the legs.
- Club Monaco Matie Trench: Olive trench coats are rare, and this one is gorgeous. Well made, crisp and polished. Might run a little narrow.
- Boden Rosabel Heels: A simple Mary Jane in a classic pattern makes a statement. Comfortable and great quality. Read the rave reviews.
- Boden Classic Belt: A navy belt with brassy GOLD hardware is rare. I haven't seen this in person yet but it's on its way to me.
- Banana Republic Soft Jersey Twist Top: A super soft less-than-basic tee with a knotted welt. Works on a range of body types. Read the rave reviews.
- Banana Republic Soft Sustainable Modal Cross-Front Top: Silky to the touch and better than a basic tee. The diagonal lines on the hem add interest and structure. Great on its own or layered under a topper.
- J.Crew Ruffle pencil skirt in 365 crepe: A ruffled tailored pencil skirt with length adds a playful touch to a work look. GREAT length.
- Ann Taylor Stripe Tie Neck Blouse: A surprisingly flattering KNIT blouse that cleverly accentuates the waist while camouflaging muffin top. The drape of the fabric makes the elastic waist fall a whole lot better than this type of silhouette usually does. Great for high-waisted bottoms and travel. Crease-resistant. Available in solids.
Visit the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.