A Well-Fashioned Fall

I’ve spent the last few days pouring over the magazines that were delivered while I was away. While I mainly read home design magazines these days, my copies of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar were there to make sure I’m not hopelessly out of fashion. After a read of them, as well as the InStyle‘s 25th anniversary edition, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the best parts of being old is that you already own all of the “new” pieces.

September Vogue was thinner than I remembered. Wasn’t it the size of decent-sized city phonebook at one point? I actually preferred Harper’s Bazaar this year, but perhaps that’s because I’m biased towards the cover girl, Christy Turlington (she’s on the subscriber issue, Alicia Keys is on the newsstand one I think, but I’ve not seen it yet.) I like Taylor Swift and what she stands for, but I’ll never get the image of her two drunken fans in polar bear onesies dancing slowly to some song about unrequited love when I took my daughter to her concert years ago.

Here are the highlights of my reading.

Harper’s Bazaar

The ads are always the best part. I like the Saint Laurent jacket. The monkey makes me nervous though. I loved monkeys until I was chased by one in Thailand.

You just know he wrecked this bag five seconds after they took the photo.

I’m all over the big houndstooth at Chanel. I sewed myself a houndstooth pencil skirt in high school from a Vogue pattern since I did not like the offerings at the mall. I’d like a houndstooth piece to channel the 1980s: perhaps a houndstooth midi-length skirt I can wear with Doc Martens.

I have a buffalo check jacket so I’ll be pulling it out to wear this season. I have a similar bag from Dior so I guess if she can put them together, I can too.

I was thinking that these guys must be super nervous around the coat, but it’s Stella so it’s faux. Amber Valletta is everywhere this year. She must have a terrific agent.

I want to be friends with the Moschino girl.

I’ve bought my daughter concert tickets to see Billie twice and I lend her my MCM bag for dances, so this ad proves I’m best mom ever, amIright?

According to the magazine, the fall must-haves are:

Collarless jacket with gold buttons, logo bag, and wedge boots. I cannot do the wedges as I roll my ankles in them but the other stuff is in my closet.

The romantic blouse. Now I know where the old Seinfeld writers are writing. Pass.

The Belted Jacket. I’ll DIY it and give it a go.

The pendant. I have several. Let’s talk about this coat, tho.

(I wish I’d pulled the trigger on the Max Mara one years ago. Now it’s so expensive. I might give this H&M dupe in wool and cashmere a whirl.)

The leather trench. No thank you. I’d look like a fat, suburban version of the guy in The Crow.

The saddle bag. I have an old LV monogram bag in this shape I can drag out.

I’m supposed to buy tapestry (#tb to 1987 Seventeen magazine) and get rid of my ear climbers, peplum tops and multi-finger rings (!). Dark florals, stacked necklaces, fair isle sweaters, statement pearls, top handle bags and embellished kitten heels are back. I can pull those pieces from the archives of my closet.

Brooches are back. My grandmother and Aunt Esther would be so happy. I have quite a few of them.

Because I’m in my 40s, I’m supposed to wear a military coat. I don’t really like that, so I’ll pretend I’m in my 30s with the leopard or 50s with the belted trench. I really wish they’d use astrology instead of age to govern one’s fashion choices. It’s more professional.

I’m always happy to read about Kate Moss’s style choices.

According to HB, I need a pleated skirt, silk scarves (I have a zillion, including my new Un Jardin sur le Toit 45 from the airport in Rome), a cozy sweater, aviators, charm brooches, riding boots, and menswear loafers. I had a shearling bomber in high school and have no wish for another. Apparently, I need The New Cape. God knows one doesn’t want to be running around town in an Old Cape like Michael Keaton’s Batman.

There’s a good article on Cost Per Wear. Fast fashion is killing us all so I like this kind of analysis.

Lisa Birnbach reflects on The Return of Preppy thanks to Hedi Slimane at Celine. This is always my fashion comfort zone so I’m happy.

There is a good article on the reinvention of Valentino. There are a lot of improbably looking winter coats. There’s a fun piece on the new Downton Abby movie. Kevin Kwan has written a good piece on LA that makes me want to visit there again.

All in all, it’s a solid issue.


The ads are similar, although there are always more of them in Vogue. The department stores all have big ads as well as the luxury houses. Celine does seem the most on point. They even got the hair right since the neo-shag is in. And they are killing the preppy thing. As a 1980s private school kid, this look will never fail to charm me.

Etro seems relevant this season. I have one of their scarves somewhere that I need to dig up.

The Versace girl is growing out her hair colour too.

The Row’s ad features two blank pages. Pretty IGDAF of them. It makes me like them even more.

Vogue has an excerpt from Amaryllis Fox’s book, Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA that drops in October. I’ve preordered it as it looks like a fabulous read.

I cannot tell the advertorial from editorial any more but I liked the feature on heritage pieces. The top handled bag, the Max Mara camel coat, the beige suit. Not sure faux fur is a classic yet, but I’m here for the Gucci one shown. I have a faux leopard I’ll be wearing.

They herald shirtdresses, tweed jackets, tall boots, and trench coats for fall. I can only hear Miranda Priestly’s acerbic comment: “groundbreaking.” I will be wearing the tuxedo jacket, however. I have a YSL Le Smoking and a Brooks Brothers one that used to belong to my youngest.

I need Tom Ford’s bedroom.

I cannot wait to watch The Politician on Netflix.

Lauren Santo Domingo’s life makes me feel sad for my own. I mean, this is the woman’s barn.

Gigi is on a mini trampoline and having to date some guy from The Bachelorette for attention. How are the mighty fallen.

She’s on page 541 so I feel her pain.

Loving the preppy look by Burberry. I need some knife-pleat skirts.

The weirdest piece is the Miu Miu hat with brooches. Holden Caulfield meets the Queen.


InStyle is not in the same class as the other two magazines, with the ads for Softsoap and White Strips, but Julianne Moore makes a fetching cover girl. I’ve met her twice and the woman glows. She’s sweeter than pie and I always like to see her in the press, so I picked it up at the newsstand.

The fashion is chaotic with overly busy editorials. Gwyneth mildly shades the publication in her essay in the magazine as only Gwyneth can:

I remember when the magazine started everyone was like. “Oh, People is doing a style magazine! What is this going to be?” I liked it right away. InStyle was friendly and accessible but still looked fantastic, which was a breath of fresh air.

I felt very honored to be on the cover in January 1999. I was 26 and it was a time in my life when everything was going absolutely crazy. I was becoming super famous.

Friendly and accessible and she was on the cover before she was famous. Girl…

It’s actually a pretty good issue if you can get over the ads for psoriasis cream. Love the models in actresses’ dresses. Amber in Cate’s dress is gorgeous.

Michelle Pfeiffer looks amazing in Bruno Cucinelli. Her look is #goals.

Love Gigi as the Moschino girl. Now I feel bad for what I said about her in the trampoline photos.

I like the photo spread with Michelle Dockery. I really like the fancy grunge, although I’d do this look with a long skirt.

There’s an article on Donna Strickland who won the Nobel prize for Physics at the nearby University of Waterloo. Yay Canada! Yay STEM!

Finally, there is a little piece on Capri that brought back memories of my holiday. So I loved that even though it belongs in a spring issue.

In the end, Autumn 2019 is like pretty much every other fall. I’ll add a camel coat, a houndstooth midi skirt, and perhaps a black knife pleat skirt to my closet. I pretty much have everything else, which is probably the best thing about aging.

Do you plan on making any fall purchases?



  1. I studied Fashion in college when I was in my early 20s and I remember being obsessed with magazines. I used to collect them – especially the European editions of Vogue, Bazaar, V Magazine, and i-D. One of my younger cousins is now studying Fashion in university, so I’ve given my magazine collection to her. I was never a fan of US Vogue to be honest – I much preferred British Vogue. Harper’s Bazaar was a favourite because they always had the best subscriber covers and fashion editorials. So glad to see Christy Turlington on the subscriber cover – I will buy anything with her face on it lol


    • It’s a treat to see the old supermodels. I always preferred them on the covers to actresses promoting a film. What a treat to study fashion! I always feel like it’s living art. I’ll never tire of it even though its less relevant to my life now than it was when I was younger. I’ve always preferred British Vogue too: they take more risks, I think. Xx


  2. Hi Jen, thanks for a great summary! My m.o. for magazine buying is either to look at who is on the cover, or to choose the one with the most pages! I don’t buy so many magazines nowadays – I’ve been a huge magazine fan since I was a teen and it was becoming quite the problem (I really hate to throw them away!). However, I do want to get the In Style – I love an anniversary edition.

    I read and loved your posts about your hols, especially the Italy post. Your photos are stunning! We just returned from our road trip to Cape Breton and I’m trying to catch up on many blog posts and you tube videos.

    Further to what you and Veebs said above (and by the way, I’ll be reading Veeb’s blog, it looks really interesting!), I find myself looking for British magazines almost exclusively; a nearby Wal Mart gets the UK Good Housekeeping and one other women’s mag, and I really love the recipes, fashion and home decor. It’s a pain to be paying $10 for a magazine, but then that’s why I try to keep it to only one or two a month now!


    • I do enjoy magazines. If I’m feeling stressed, they are always a go-to source of relaxation.

      Our vacations were lovely. It’s truly weird to be back home. They say a good vacation changes you and I’m finding that’s true. I hope you had a lovely time in Cape Breton! Xx


      • Yes, we did, thank you! We were actually only in Cape Breton for the weekend (but had lovely family time there), then we made our way back home via Halifax, Quebec City and an absolutely lovely B and B in the village of St. Denis-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal. I feel sure you would love it – La Belle aux Berges, if you are ever in the area.


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