The Total Package

Today we are zooming out to include a rare display of outerwear. Get pumped, Directorate.+ But we’ll start with the indoors portion of outfit.


I love jumpers (American usage) as much as I love aprons, bustiers, and vests. They are, however, tricky to wear as an adult woman. To some extent, one could say that my love for jumpers is forbidden and has only been expressed as blouse-under-dress.

This jumper is the real deal: a grown-up version of the Eileen West jumper I wore for my college interviews.

Plaid, drop-waist, mid-calf length: put a Victorian-neck white blouse underneath and it’s the fall 1986; I love The Thompson Twins and believe that I can be an architect even though I suck at math

I loved that Eileen West dress; the plaid was purple, blue, and black


Technically, this jumper is a sleeveless dress. The model wore it with the top pair of ties cinched more tightly — to create a greater cut-in (or cut-out) effect — and no belt. In early spring, I am wearing an extremely lightweight (almost sheer) merino wool jersey underneath and the jumper-dress is living its best life.

The fabric is too heavy for summer wear, when a sleeveless dress makes most sense.++ That disconnect between weight and cut may, however, make this dress perfect for the shoulder weeks between spring/summer and summer/fall. Perhaps I’ll wear it as a sleeveless dress in late September.


I need a belt to create some definition at the waist, which is a great way to make a drop-waist silhouette work.

A drop-waist, in my view, doesn’t flatter most women


Now the super-star: a cropped trench coat. Or, put another way, a cropped trench jacket.

So much to love in this little jacket

Is this my most flattering angle?
Who cares?

So much to love about this jacket: contrast topstitching, a little leather collar, banded cuffs, and a gratuitous panel that drapes just so, adding a sculptural element.

The Photographer labeled this set of photos “Bat Jacket.” That’s fair.

Ready for B.A.S.E. jumping

Under the collar is a buckle and throat latch; see the grommets?
Can you believe that there is a part of the trench coat called a “throat latch”?

Jacket: Helmet Lang; Jersey: COS; Dress: Proenza Schouler White Label Pleatable Crepe Drawstring Dress available at Saks Off Fifth (in red plaid and solid black; FWIW, I think the solid black would be very useful and if I didn’t already have something similar, I would buy it)

+ Years ago, while waiting to present an oral argument, my then-boss (a male partner) asked me if I was “pumped” for the hearing. I remember telling him that I had never used that word in my life to describe my emotional state. That’s still true.

++ This fabric is holding the pleats beautifully. Indeed, I think the pleats may be entrenched in the fabric.

4 thoughts on “The Total Package”

  1. D., thanks for the tip! I totally just snagged the red plaid and the black on your say so. I am pumped for these jumpers. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the obvious word play there.)

  2. Directrice, You’re great for my inbox but hard on my wallet! I clicked on a link and found myself purchasing a dress–not the same one you feature so chicly, but still…Love the crazy jacket. Thanks for continuing to post.

  3. I’m in love with the jumper idea. I think I’m now on my own quest for the perfect jumper. Without looking like it’s a school uniform… while working as a school administator… so I need to tread carefully.


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