Casual Friday: Something Pressing Down

We’re out on location and I have dragged The Photographer to one of my favorite intersections in Washington, D.C.
Perhaps you are saying, FaVOriTE iNtERseCTiOns? WhAt? WhY?

Stay with me. Hear me out.
By “favorite intersections,” I mean a spot where you get great urban views from multiple perspectives. Like this:
I am facing north, you are looking south

I am facing north, you are looking south

I am facing south, you are looking north

I am facing south, you are looking north

And now I’ve just turned around.

I am between two landmarks: the National Portrait Gallery (originally the U.S. Patent Office) and the Carnegie Library. The elegance of both (Greek Revival, Beaux Arts) is soothing my eyes, my mind, my spirit. And yet I feel something looming, something pressing down upon me.
Something looming

Something looming

It’s not a modern masterpiece, but my inner-magpie nevertheless responds to the glitz of a mirrored building nestled in between early 20th century brick and marble buildings.
Of course the very best example of this, in my opinion, is Copley Square in Boston, where the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church and the Hancock Tower live together. Each is a masterpiece and together they are magical.
The building is a poor man's John Hancock Tower

This shiny walkway may be a poor man’s John Hancock Tower, but I’ll take it

The Directrice takes it all in.

On to business! What am I wearing?
A white blouse, a tiny sweater vest, and cropped jeans with the cutest shoes ever.


Familiar blouse

You’ve seen this blouse before. It’s big and boxy, made of crisp cotton. Mitigating elements, however, are: mandarin collar (reduces bulk), gauzy back.
But for the mitigating elements, it might overwhelm me.
Take note, wardrobe planners: Having at least one collarless white blouse is a good idea. Sometimes (often) you want a white collar to serve as an accent. But occasionally you want to reduce bulk; collars can be tricky to fit under certain sweaters and dresses. At those times, the mandarin collar is genius!

See how nicely this mandarin collar fits under the sweater? A traditional collar would not have worked.
Fringe around the collar

One side tucked under the other; fringe around the neckline of the sweater

I saw this sweater on Intermix Online. It was worn under a backless blazer with nothing underneath. Not right for my office, but I could see the possibilities.
Interesting cut-out

Interesting cut-out

I promised you the cutest shoes ever, didn't I?

I promised you the cutest shoes ever, didn’t I?

But the best part of this outfit is the shoes.
Perhaps you are thinking, How would I know, Directrice? You’ve been yammering on about city views and showing me pictures of a tacky bank building.
Fair enough.

Let it never be said that the Directrice is not a man of her word.
Behold the cute shoes:

Cute Shoes

According to A Guide to Elegance, a well-dressed woman should replace her good shoes every year.
Since I am not living in post WWII Paris, I have the luxury of owning a few pairs — rather than a single pair — of good black shoes and therefore can keep them in excellent condition for a few years. But I do need to refresh periodically.
These were sort of irresistible.


At the library

At the library

Have a fantastic weekend!
Sweater: Jonathan Simkhai Shredded Linen Blend Cut Out Knit (marked way down, but runs very small; I am wearing a medium after I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying on a small); Blouse: Vince; Jeans: JCrew; Shoes: Tory Burch; Bag: Marni

13 thoughts on “Casual Friday: Something Pressing Down

  1. I am continually amazed by how you see possibilities in items I would have never considered. This sweater is lovely on you, but to my eye, tacky on the model. I’m actually tempted myself!

  2. One of the best things I’ve learned from you is how to take something that for whatever reason catches the eye on the hanger but “isn’t enough” (e.g. skimpy, transparent etc.) and combine it with other elements so that it becomes timelessly chic. My mother drummed into me buy “outfits” not random separates; your sensibilities have put paid to that notion wonderfully!

    • I hope I won’t be the cause of a showdown over Thanksgiving dinner, Blonde! In one sense, your mother’s advice and my methods come from the same place. When I buy something that “isn’t enough,” I usually do have a plan for working it into an outfit. That plan may not be an outfit that the designer envisioned, but it is a plan! The real danger (cannot believe that I just used the word “danger” to describe what follows) is a closet full of odd items that don’t really amount to a wardrobe. Part of the reason that I buy so many quirky blouses and jackets is that all of my pants are black or grey. In any event, I am truly delighted that you feel like you are learning from this blog! Thank you so much for your comments!

  3. This outfit speaks to me and defines best your lovely, quirky style. Mandarin collars set off the face better than a stand collar and fit sleekly with sweaters and blazers; I personally prefer them. The shoes made me laugh as I discerned the buckles lastly. I love traveling with your photographer. Travel vicariously is perfectly enriching too. The cropped knit top is the cherry on the sundae. Kate

  4. I LOVE the shoes…..they make me think of the expression ‘a square peg in a round hole’ or is that a ’round peg in a square hole’ !?!?! 🙂 My motto, keep them guessing! Thanks from a devoted, quirky reader!

  5. Stylish as ever. I wonder if alternate pairs of those shoes have the round buckle on the left and right shoe?
    I usually go past mandarin collars, I’m not convinced they are a good combination with my long neck, but will look again – layering them might make all the difference.

  6. It seems to mundane to say “great post” — but really, it has it all: humorous, interesting musings on architecture (including a shout-out to my own Boston’s Copley Square), great outfit and instructive thoughts, as usual, on how to layer, build and juxtapose in an outfit, much as the architecture around you does. Brava!

  7. The sweater vest in the link doesn’t seem to have the fringed collar all the way around, like yours. I will have to re-think mandarin colors…

But what do you think?