Best Trench

I have a thing for uniform dressing which is odd because as a person who works in a creative field, I'm totally short changing myself.

A few months ago I attended the PEN awards dinner with Reyna Grande where we both wore our own versions black pantsuits. (Hers might have been an actual lady suit, but I wore a pair of black Club Monaco trousers and my trusty gap velvet blazer on top of my favorite Martin & Osa pearl gray sweater.)

As we milled around, we noticed a healthy sprinkling of people dressed in what could only be considered costumes. Jewel toned velvet blouses, floor length gypsy skirts and even few hats were seen. As much as I'd like to strut around like an artistic peacock, the truth is I'm a simple gal who enjoys simple things. And on that list is the trench coat. While it won't score me any points in the personality category, it's a classic and goes with just about everything. Well, maybe not a gypsy skirt and off the shoulder burnt velvet blouse...Actually, yes the right one would.

Just because a trench is a trench doesn't mean it has to be double breasted. In my case, where I'm breasted enough, I know a single placket of buttons looks best on me. When it came to upgrade from my very basic Old Navy trench, $50 that later went on sale for $19.99, I shopped online at bluefly.com because I've had great luck buying shoes and coats there before.

The Special Enough Trench

You'd be surprised how little variations can take a trench from utilitarian to kind of special. Even though this Kenneth Cole, $133 from $225, mid-length trench in 'sand' seems a little boring, I prefer to think of it as classic. I could wear it out to dinner or just about anywhere. (Mostly because I don't go anywhere too fancy. Lucky me!)

What I also like is that the belt isn't a belt or at least not a tie one. For me this makes everything look just that more tidy. And while the lapels are wide, they're not clownish and the seaming is boob friendly.

Unlike with my Old Navy trench, this one will get more careful laundering. Meaning, I just won't toss it into the washer along with my towels or jeans. I'm not a fan of dry cleaning, but if that's what it takes to keep it looking crisp, I'll do it.

The Good Time Bag

I won't buy or wear Banana Republic shoes. Nope and no way. I don't care that they're well priced, they're not worth the pain they cause which just ends up as wasted money. Their handbags, though, are a whole other deal. A couple of years ago BR had a great run with structured handbags and I'm glad I not only bought (at retail, around $225 as I remember) a Flatiron bag, but I got it in white.

Of course, it sat in my closet because it was white and I thought, stupidly, too flashy for me. I pulled it out the other day as I was rushing to get ready for a lunch meeting and stopped everything to kick myself in my own ass. This bag is perfection. It's the right size, the hardware is just enough and the color is neutral but nowhere near boring. I wish I would have had the guts (and money) to buy it orange, too.

The Daily Grind Trench

While the above Kenneth Cole trench could take me out to dinner, sometimes (most times) I have to make dinner myself. I also have to walk the dog, pick the kid up from school, shop for toilet paper, etc. So I need a trench that's a bit more causal, but will still make me look (and feel) put together.

This Laundry by Sheli Segal, $132 from $220, mid-thigh length trench in 'vanilla' is perfect over my not so special Levi's 545 jeans and still goes with my favorite J. Crew Pixie pants. While I doubt it'll make my workout clothes look like real clothes, I know the kid will appreciate me throwing it on over them when I take him to school.

The Too Cute Tote

For the most part I carry everything around in a leather wristlet which means I don't carry around much more than credit cards, my keys and a tube of lip balm. My little purse is just a slightly over-sized wallet with a wrist strap. This works out until I actually want to carry stuff around with me.

My daily life doesn't need a purse but it does need something and that something is a tote. While I have made due with a red nylon Target bag (saves you five pennies at check out), I'm not big on carrying it when I'm not actually going to Target. When I found this canvass tote with a screen printed image of a manual typewriter on etsy.com by theboldbanana, I was smitten. At only $8, it's a bargain and while kind of boastful (yes, that's a typewriter and yes I'm an author), it's still cute and very useful.

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