If you could see me right now you would not feel compelled to trust me with this fall fashion edit.
Let’s use the iconic Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City fame to paint a picture of me and my style these days. There is a scene in the Season 4 episode “The Real Me” when Carrie is asked to be a part of a runway show pairing models with “regular people.” She is hesitant because she knows she isn’t a “real model.” But with a pep talk from her friends, she shakes it off and struts confidently onto the runway wearing a royal blue silk Dolce and Gabbana trench coat, bejeweled underwear, and platform stilettos. Confidently, that is, until she trips on her heels and falls spectacularly on her face. Heidi Klum, her “real model” counterpart walks right over her, prompting her horrified friend Stanford to gasp “Oh my gosh, she’s fashion roadkill!”
This is me—fashion roadkill. In a blogger’s world of style experts, I am the one lying in the middle of the runway of life.
I wasn’t always like this. Sure my style trended towards athleisure, but I still added a denim and sweater look into the mix at least a few times a week. Even on days when the only people who saw me were my children, my husband, and maybe the postal service lady, I would still make my best attempt to make leggings fashion.
But then March 2020 hit. And life has me tripped flat on my face.
At first, the stay at home order made my look trendy. Those with typical professional wardrobes closed their closet doors, reaching for the cozy clothes from the back of the drawer, Zoom shirt always close at hand. My everyday style of t-shirt and leggings became cool again.
However, the two week stay at home order refreshed and refreshed and once again refreshed until even my leggings were sick of seeing me in the morning. Soon summer arrived, but without the usual events to pump up the wardrobe—no street festivals, happy hours, backyard BBQs, or vacation destinations. Just more of the same, perpetuating the never ending pajama/exercise/swimsuit rotation.
And here I lay at the beginning of fall, facedown on the runway of 2020, tripped by the high expectations of our times—managing my children’s virtual education, distracting a toddler from emptying every cabinet, balancing my working needs with my spouse, and keeping us all healthy and safe in the midst of a global pandemic.
My fashion these days reflects my mood—bored and worn out.
But keep watching this episode, friends, because this is where Carrie and her infinite wisdom become a guide. Laying on the ground humiliated she decides this:
“I had a choice: I could slink off the runway and let my inner model die of shame. Or I could pick myself up, flaws and all, and finish.”
Like Carrie, I have a choice. I could lay here and get stepped over by life. Or I can get back up, shake my hair out, and give my very best catwalk twirl turning this downtrodden mood around.
And it starts with my wardrobe. If the old proverb stands true, you are what you wear (I might have just made that one up) then I’ve decided there are two things I want to be to make this fall the best months of 2020—cozy and fabulous.
Whether you are like me and managing virtual learning, working in your home office, or a careful balance of the two, then cozy is definitely how you want to feel in your body. It’s one of the greatest pleasures of home. But now that you are cozy, it’s time to show off that good feeling. That’s when your wardrobe must become fabulous.
Here are four style staples you should add to your fall wardrobe this year to achieve this cozy and fabulous vibe:
The House Dress
According to the internet, everyone needs a House Dress right now. Flowy, soft, eye catching but barely noticed by your body, the house dress is the antithesis of your granny’s mumu. It says dressed up and fabulous but cozy and body friendly. I’ve been wearing this great one the internet loves. But this one or this one from H&M looks amazing. Or if you have some serious money to spend and you love the sustainable fashion industry, this product line by Miranda Bennett is my dream.
The Faux Leather Leggings
Sometimes, though, we aren’t feeling our grandma’s florals. Sometimes we want an edgier look, something that says “If I wasn’t such a wimp about needles, I would totally have tattoos all over my body.” (Just me?) This is when you need faux leather leggings. If you do not know the glory of leather leggings then you need to trust me, they are like butter. I even have the cheap knock offs and I still love them. You can dress up or down, even go for a brisk walk (through gently falling autumn leaves!) And when your spouse or children come whining to you about the wifi not working again, you can bust out your best Sandra Dee and say “Tell me about it, stud.”
The Wide Leg Cropped Pant
When I was pregnant, someone told me these postpartum wide leg pants would be all I would want to wear (sadly discontinued but I found similar ones linked here.) They were correct. I wore those things until they fell off my body. And when I thought about cozy, I thought of those pants. But while they fit the cozy goal, they are a bit too causal to be fabulous. So I set out to find the wide leg look that felt good on my body in a pant that looked pulled together. I think I found them. Their high waist stands up well to the up and down off the floor with a toddler task as much as the social distancing with girlfriends on the driveway look. I already have my eye on these similar ones from Everlane. And this denim pair is giving me all the 1970s fabulous vibes I need right now. Bonus points, my eight year old suddenly interested in fashion (thank you babysitter’s club!) told me I looked “cool” and I might have cried with joy.
The White Button Down Shirt
Finally, you need to get yourself a white button down shirt. Ok, stay with me. I know this sounds stuffy. But trust me, if you get the right shirt, it is heaven. I was lucky enough to find a worn in cotton boyfriend shirt in a local thrift store last fall and I wear it all the time (or I did before I fell on the runway and forget how to put on clothes.) Here are the requirements to achieve your very best cozy yet fabulous look. It should be soft fabric, preferably all cotton or natural fibers. It should be big enough that it doesn’t pull anywhere on your body, yet designed with a slight hug to the female curves. Thrown over leggings (leather would be divine!), under a denim jacket (collar pop optional), tucked into your wide leg pants, even tied up around your house dress—the options with this shirt are endless. Perhaps that’s another requirement for our fall wardrobe—versatility. I certainly need more of that in my life.
So what say you—are you ready to get back up onto the 2020 runway with me this fall? Are you ready to turn your mood around and enter this season with a strut to match your confidence? As Carrie says, “When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.”
Keep walking, my friends. Wear the comfy dress, the cozy leggings, the wide leg pants, the flowy shirt. But make it fashion.