The Staple, July 5th

From the Editor

As I come closer to my “ur-wardrobe” (my complete collection of the wardrobe staples I own and love), I’ve been thinking about where I find inspiration. With an infinite number of viewpoints at your fingertips, it’s fascinating to see that things have actually… flattened. Take this week, for instance. It seems as though every preppy or preppy-adjacent blogger/influencer is on Nantucket, posting the same photos at The Juice Bar, the same photos of ‘Sconset, and the same hydrangea photos. A casual browser would be forgiven for thinking the island contained only these (albeit beautiful) things.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about this digital age is that there is a dearth of the individual viewpoint. In a more analog world, brands were immediately recognizable by their key characteristics (you could spot a J. Crew editorial from a mile away). Today, I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between popular brands like Khaite, The Row, and so on.

I get it: a lot of these photos/locations/whatever are proven to get results in the form of likes, comments, and reposts. And that’s great! But building an individual viewpoint or a brand is, to me, something that should reflect your own tastes. That can take a long time, a lot of study, and a lot of self-reflection, but most importantly it takes place in real life. What do you see around you, in your own physical space? Obviously, the internet (Instagram, Pinterest, and so on) is a valuable tool, but I do strongly feel that developing your viewpoint and tastes should exist by observing the active world, and things in a physical form, whether a book, or a magazine, or a printed photograph. I know I’m not the only one with a giant collection of tear sheets under my bed!

“Switching off” this summer has helped me narrow down what I really love for me, instead of what I’m told to love. I deleted Instagram from my phone and have switched my phone’s screen to greyscale. Do you know how unappealing things are when you’re looking at them in different shades of grey? It’s particularly true when browsing online shopping sites. The shopping tabs that are still open on my greyscale phone are these three: this dress, this swimsuit, and this top. Clean, classic lines whose appeal outshines color and pattern.

The text exchange that prompted this column! It’s so nice to feel seen and known, but more importantly, it was a great reminder of what I’m actually drawn to. This was a true illustration of when your friend just GETS YOU. (And I switched my phone back to color for this screenshot.)

And here’s the thing about looking at the digital world through greyscale: it cleans things up. It quiets things down. Instead of feeling like I must delve into the digital world every five seconds (and really, the amount of times I picked up my phone per day was bordering on an addiction), I just don’t want to be on it. And it’s great! It cuts out the clutter. It makes you realize what you really like. I’m still drawn to the same things, but it’s easier to hear myself think, and easier to realize that yes, this is what I want.

Clean lines don’t have to be boring. Some of my favorite items of clothing are cheeky and colorful (case in point). But the shape is timeless, and more importantly, timeless for me. I’ve worn these shoes for two-thirds of my life and will wear them for the rest of my life as well. They are simply what I like. They are what I will wear forever, whether or not I’m posting about them online, or even being seen by other people. They feel like me, and that’s what’s most important.

The Feels-Like-Me Edit

Narrowing down your personal tastes is difficult, but when you know you know. Here are five pieces that are precisely my style.

March Hare Watch

March Hare Watches has been on my radar since their founding, and I was so thrilled when they sent me their Harriet watch to try. Here’s what I love:

  1. The watch is extremely well-made with careful attention to detail. The leather of the watchband is beautiful and supple, and the holes are perfectly placed: I always struggle to find watches that fit my narrow wrist. (They also offer two sizes of bands!)
  2. My watch came with the black leather band and the brown leather band. I wanted to switch to the brown leather, and changing the band could not have been simpler. Instead of fiddling with narrow pieces of metal, there’s a handy spring bar instead that clicks in when you have the new band in place.
  3. The packaging was gloriously beautiful: no plastic here! Just a beautiful box and suede pouch for my new watch. Packaging shouldn’t matter, but let’s be real: it does, and it shows the care and attention begins with shipment and ends with a perfect watch!

Read more about the Harriet watch on the March Hare website! You can get 20% off with the code FEWERBETTER20 if you want to give it a try—and I couldn’t recommend more!

Shift dresses

I like simple things done very, very well. For me, there’s nothing more appealing than clean, classic lines and really good fabric. My shift dress collection is almost exclusively vintage, but I’m so glad there are new brands who are also making great shifts! I have a Molly Moorkamp shift (seen here) that I love, and Eleanor Leftwich’s shifts are next on my list.

For a shift dress to work for me, it can’t be too boxy or too slim; the fabric needs to hang properly; it must be made of a natural material (preferably linen or cotton). Those are hard to find these days, but I absolutely recommend the two brands mentioned above, as well as suggesting you delve into the wonderful world of vintage shopping. (A column on vintage shopping online is coming soon!)


I’m unabashedly a loafer person. I wear them all the time: for the school run; to work; around town; out in the evening… everywhere. There’s a loafer for everyone! My favorites are Belgian Shoes and Stubbs & Wootton slippers. Both are handcrafted in Europe; both can last decades with proper care; and both are timeless. They also come in bespoke selections, so you can make your shoes reflect your own personal style!

A quilted jacket

Not seasonally appropriate at the moment, but a great quilted jacket has been in my wardrobe for as long as I can remember (even in childhood). Again, I like simple lines that allow the piece to be worn with a variety of outfits. Jane Post makes a fabulous quilted jacket that’s truly reversible (read my review here). The right quilted jacket can be used as a layer in colder temperatures, but they can also stand on their own and look fantastic.

The Bermuda Bag

If I have a signature item (at least for summer months), it’s my Bermuda bag. I inherited this one from my grandmother, who purchased it at Trimingham’s in the 60s. The handle is made of Bermuda cedar and the bag is linen. It’s a perfect color and goes with everything from neutrals to “Lilly or louder.” I love the timeless silhouette and all the special memories attached to this bag. As the handle is wooden and doesn’t have a shoulder strap, I don’t generally use it in the city, but it’s perfect for running around town or for cocktail parties. This Bermuda bag is slightly different than the revival of the bags in the 1980s and 1990s–the cover is not interchangeable (I have an older Lilly Pulitzer bag with several covers as well.)

While the original Bermuda bags aren’t available any longer (though you can often find them on Etsy!), I love these options as bags that match the spirit of the Bermuda bag without being “dupes.”

Read the rest on Substack!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *