Ask the Edit: Vol. IV, No. Twenty-Seven

Sep 14, 2017

Ask the Edit: fall sweaters, bridesmaids dresses, football game attire, and more fashion advice.

I need a purple dress for a wedding. There are only three bridesmaids and we’re all wearing different colors, and get to pick our own dresses. Something in the eggplant or plum color variety is preferred, but I’m open to options! Please help!

– Nita 

Picking your own bridesmaid dress, nice.  Here are a few options from most expensive to least expensive.

This Trina Turk plum lace dress is pretty phenomenal.  This structured Romi strapless dress is a modern choice.  This Calvin Klein off-the-shoulder dress has trendy bell sleeves.  And this Adrianna Papell dress makes velvet-burnout cool again.

Hi Belle!

I’m heading to a football game with my boyfriend and his family. I went to a school where going to the game wasn’t an event you dressed up for and am out of my league. He went to the Naval Academy, so we are looking at cooler October temperatures for the game. Do you have any thoughts on chic football attire? Thank you!!

– Emily 

I come from the school of thought that you should wear team attire to the game.  I like this Naval Academy half-zip in grey and this Navy sweatshirt.  But if I were going to the game, I would probably take a different route to showing some fan pride and looking cute.

I would pair some white denim jeans with grey booties.  Add a longer navy cashmere sweater.  Then, top the whole thing off with a Naval Academy rugby-stripe scarf.

Hello!

I need to replace my chambray button up shirt this fall. I would like to spend under $100 and prefer it slightly more fitted/tailored than relaxed. Any favorites? Thanks so much!

– J 

For a sophisticated looking chambray button-up, I like this $49 Community Clothing tailored top.  This Brooks Brothers shirt is also a winner.  But if I were buying for myself, I would pick this textured Tommy Hilfiger shirt or I would go for this tunic-length top from Banana Republic.

Plus-size?  This darker top from Old Navy is nice.  Petite? This classic wash shirt is a good choice.  Tall?  The BR tunic top comes in tall lengths as well.

Hi!

I just wanted to say your blog has helped me tremendously with style and career advice. I was wondering what handbags/totes/bags you recommend for commuting via public transportation and also going to grad school? I find I’m carrying books, notebooks, laptop, lunch, and other essentials and my large black longchamp is not holding up well. Do you think a backpack is the best option? Thanks!

Taylor

In law school, I switched off between a Dagne Dover Legend Tote and a Lo & Sons OMG bag.  They both held up beautifully.  The Lo & Sons holds the most, so that might be your best option, as they also make a bigger size, The OG.

If you choose to go with a backpack, don’t fight the fact that it’s a backpack by trying to pick a “cool” one.  Just pick a simple, functional one and you’ll be fine.  I like the Herschel bags.  If you’re going to splurge, my boyfriend highly recommends the Tumi backpack.

Hello!

Do you have a favorite grey legging? Thank you!

– J 

At first, I thought this was an oddly specific question.  Then, I realized that I do have a favorite grey legging, but it depends on what kind of leggings you want.

If you’re looking for athletic attire, I like the Zella midi-tights in the grey melange.  If you’re just looking for a cozy legging, I like this Halogen seamed leggings.  I wear mine under tunic sweaters around the house.  But for pure basic leggings, fall into The Gap.

Hi!

LOVE your blog. I was wondering if you had any good recommendations for cozy fall sweaters that are cotton? It seems like all my favorite stores only have sweaters in wool or cashmere, and while totally cozy, they’re all dry-clean only! I just want some cute sweaters that I can throw in the wash without worrying that I just ruined a $200 purchase. Totally cool with air-drying or hand-washing. 

– Melly 

A lot of readers ask for cotton sweaters because of allergies or because they don’t want to care for wool or cashmere.  I recently bought this AllSaints Itat Shrug cardigan, and I am obsessed with it.  For a more consistent selection, there are three retailers I would bookmark.

LL Bean has a nice selection of cotton sweaters.  I am buying this fisherman’s sweater for this fall.  Land’s End has a wide selection of colors and styles.  I lik this striped, casual raglan sweater.

For work, I would switch over to Ann Taylor.  Their silk/cotton sweater is machine washable.  I also like this lantern sleeve sweater.  And this cotton/poly blend puff sleeve sweater is definitely on my wish list.

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  1. a says:

    I hand wash all my wool and cashmere sweaters using Eucalan, a type of wool wash preferred by knitters. You can buy it at knitting shops or on amazon. I then lay flat to dry. Hand washing is actually better for wool and cashmere than dry cleaning, it is not as chemical heavy and doesn’t degrade the fine fibers. it also makes them softer. I have been doing this for more than 10 years, and all of my sweaters have held up beautifully.

    • Keilexandra says:

      I hand wash/flat dry all of my wool and cashmere sweaters with Eucalan, too! I’m lazy and Eucalan is a no-rinse soap, which is super convenient. Just soak your sweaters for 20 min to N hours (depending on how long you forget about it), then gently squeeze the water out and roll each piece in a bath towel to dry it to damp before laying flat to dry.

      That said, I’m even lazier than the original question-asker and have been on the look-out for machine-washable sweaters… I just bought the Merino Funnel from Athleta, which is wool but machine washable.

  2. Cait says:

    Is there any hope of styling a chunkier sweater (like the L.L. Bean Fisherman’s sweater) for a business casual office? I have several similar sweaters that I’d love to be able to wear to work, but I’m not sure if I can make them office-appropriate.

  3. Valerie says:

    For Emily: I like Belle’s suggestion of a sweater/jeans with a scarf as a chicer option than the usual school sweatshirt one, which was how I used to dress for games also. I might suggest wearing jeans that aren’t white, though, because you might also be sitting on football stands/bleachers that get them dirty (I get dirt on my white jeans all the time, but sitting and standing all day with wooden/metal bleacher dirt might not be as fun). You could do a grey jeans/blue sweater combo, or regular jeans/grey sweater combo with the scarf.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you for your feedback too. I was also a little concerned about the white jeans, but liked the idea of the simple sweater and scarf.

  4. Amy says:

    Re: football game – no one really dresses up for Naval Academy football games. You will be fine in jeans + team tee or hoodie, or the slightly nicer (but sill casual) outfit recommended above. Anything dressier than that and you will probably stick out as overdressed.

    Re: leggings – for everyday, cotton, non-athletic leggings (not sure if that’s what you’re looking for), I can recommend the Felina brand (you can find them on Amazon). They are easy to care for and don’t pill up. I don’t think they’re substantial enough for the coldest winter days, but they are perfect for the other 3 seasons.

  5. Orla says:

    You forgot to mention Everlane for chic commuter backpacks!

  6. Barbara LIsette says:

    Taylor: I have 2 Ralph Lauren Leather Totes that I purchased in the winter 2014 that held up under harsh use. If you can find a RL leather tote, where the handles are sewn onto the leather directly they A) Feel the most comfortable and B) Don’t break. I tried looking for a similar bag online and cannot find any. But perhaps you can look more. Mine was a glossy hard leather…my black one looks a little “loved” but I will never get rid of it as it held so much…

    Good Luck. FYI My Micheal Kors one was terrible! The straps hurt my shoulders with barely anything in it, and the leather was too soft.

  7. Jess says:

    I have been loving the “extra fine merino” sweaters at Uniqlo (so many colors!) and bought a beautiful sky blue merino crew neck at banana last season. I use method free and clear laundry detergent and the “Ellie’s Best” mesh laundry bags ($12, amazon). Bras, merino and cashmere sweaters, sleep masks, and anything else delicate that I’d like to bar from entering the dryer go into a bag binder-clipped to my laundry hamper. They’re easier to identify when I switch from washer to dryer so I don’t have to pick through the laundry load or worry that I missed something. Dry flat on a towel on my coffee table, flipping once to make sure it dries all the way through. Figuring out that I could wash the merino as long as I was VERY SURE it wouldn’t make the jump to the dryer made life so much easier and cheaper.

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