Everything I Need to Know About Dressing for Fall I Learned from My Mom in 1986
The older I get, the more I realize I'm turning into my mom. Specifically, I'm turning into my mom in 1986. In 1986, she was about the age I am now (she was 36, I am 35) and She. Had. It. Going. On. Cool car? Check. Massive collection of Coach and Dooney & Bourke bags? Check and check. Unlimited cans of Tab? The coolest 4-year-old son around? Oh yeah.
Fall was her season. Huge blankety coats. Sensible boots (which we inexplicably called "mukluks" in our household). Turtlenecks she would uncomfortably tug on all day, but yet not stop wearing. Every day was Norman Rockwell meets the Preppy Handbook. I loved it then, and I love it even more now.
How'd she do it?
1. A cozy sweater. Bonus points if it's this Hudson’s Bay Company Sweater which is as colorful as it is practical. It says you're fun, but not too much fun. But most of all, it says you're not afraid to be looked at.
2. A sensible shoe. A Gucci Moccasin was cool way before 1986, and it's even cooler now. Yes they're expensive, but they get better and better with age. With socks in the fall, without in the summer. Resole 'em when they get ratty and keep on wearing them.
3. A car that's good in the snow. Our Audi never left us stranded in the winter. Except for when it broke down or wouldn't start, which was approximately 7 days out of 7. But man I wish I had that thing now.
4. Simple jewelry. Simple jewelry, like this David Yurman Signet Ring is something that you can wear forever, and then pass down for someone else to wear forever.
5. A classic watch. See above. My mother was given a watch for college graduation (I won't tell you when that was, but it was a long, long, long, long, long, long time ago) that looks as good today as it did then. This Cartier Tank Watch is my favorite (except with a blue band - I'm not a monster).
6. A plain turtleneck. A turtleneck is the unsung hero of your wardrobe. Yes, it feels pervy to say "turtleneck" for some reason. Yes, you run the risk of looking like an elementary school art teacher when you wear one. Yes, you should wear one anyway. The Land’s End Turtleneck comes in a nice variety of colors (and sizes!) and won't break the bank.
7. A good leather bag. My mom owned every bag that both Coach and Dooney & Bourke made between the years of 1980 - 1990. Bone. Forest green. Red. Saddle. She had every color in every shape and I regret selling them on eBay for her every day. I already have this Coach Courier Bag in the grey, and I want it in every other color too.
8. A can of Tab.* A girl (and me, too) can work up a thirst running between carpool and the Coach counter at Jordan Marsh. *Replace Tab with Fresca in summer.
This fall, make your muse a suburban mom from 1986 (but leave the shoulder pads in the 80s).