TFI began as a way for me to share my thoughts on fashion, but also to highlight the work of incredible women entrepreneurs in various fields within the lifestyle arena. What I love that has evolved since I started this, is the growing number of women designers whom I now consistently turn to for the kind of clothes I want to wear. These women understand the importance of creating a wardrobe, and why women want a uniform–one that is thoughtful, elegant, cool and well-made.
What makes them stand out?
They have consistent points of view; each has created a cohesive line of their own “classics” that they offer up season after season, along with newer, updated pieces. This is so important on many levels. First, they are finally offering women what men have enjoyed for as long as I can remember–the opportunity to repurchase things you love but have worn out, or to finally buy the item you’ve longed for, but couldn’t justify when it first came out. It also eliminates the idea of clothing having a shelf-life–NOTHING you buy should feel outdated six months later. That is outmoded, horrible for the environment, and bad for your budget. The trendiest items in my wardrobe have always been the ones I regret most. I think the pandemic has made many of us realize that one can no longer justify haphazard spending on anything that doesn’t last, isn’t well-made and doesn’t fit with our current reality. I understand the desire to indulge (I have been lucky enough to do so recently), but I question every desire and purchase. Sometimes it’s exhausting and it dilutes the spontaneity, but ultimately I end up happier with the choices I make.
What else do I like about these women? They understand that their clients want clothes that are well-made and of good materials. Some have the sustainability issue figured out, others frankly need to work on it, but that is also where timelessness of their designs come in. Also, the designs are expensive enough that you should be thoughtful before you buy, but for the most part not exorbitant; there are some designer clothes today that give honestly me sticker shock–who buys that stuff? Anyone? So…a quick breakdown of my faves right now (and I am going to leave some designers off and someone is going to be upset with me–I promise I still love you, but this is my Fall hit list).
1) Toteme (top photo). The classics I like most: The original jeans with the twisted seam (have blue and dark gray), the cotton poplin shirts, the trench coat, and shoes including the mid-heel flip flops and boots. Standout pieces: The leather and shearling jackets and blazers with a modern, oversize fit.
2) Nili Lotan. The classics I like most: The button-down shirts, the blazers, the jeans, actually everything. I don’t go to Nili for standout items, I rely on her designs for my everyday basics, because they have enough of an edge. What I Wish Nili Made: Belts. Please!
3) Khaite. The classics I like most: The cashmere sweaters (especially the super thick, chunky ones that are $$$ but hold up really well), the denim, the perfect belts. Standout pieces: The elegant evening tops and some dresses like that above (though others veer too young and over-the-top for my taste).
4) Jenni Kayne. The classics I like most: Jenni’s laid-back California vibe is about how to dress on the weekend and at home (super appropriate now), so her soft, simple knits (including the dress above, which you will never want to take off), and the shoes–from the slides to the Chelsea boots, that are all well-made.
5) Frances de Lourdes. The most luxurious t-shirts you’ve ever tried on. Many slightly sheer and sexy, these are a splurge but worth it. The ultimate layer under a blazer or sweater. (Except this new silhouette shown, which is beautiful and you would want to show off.)
6) Another Tomorrow. A relatively new line of sophisticated, minimal designs that are as sustainable as humanly possible from founder Vanessa Barboni Hallik (who I interviewing really soon so stay tuned). The dresses are elegant, and the tailoring is superb. Anyone who has recently declared blazers are over, hasn’t talked to those of us who are looking for every opportunity to wear one!
I have asked Nili to make belts too!
Thank you for this thoughtful post. I am a huge fan of Nili Lotan’s clothing! And if she made belts (or bags) I would likely buy one. In the meantime, I love almost every belt made by Calleen Cordero. And her shoes are also very well crafted…
So so true. Anything trendy has been ousted from my closet!
Elizabeth Velasquez says
I love everything The Row makes, from the clothes (especially the sweater), the most perfect Franklin slim trouser and the supremely comfortable shoes and gorgeous bags.
Hi Jennifer – thank you for your wonderful posts and recommendations – they’re a welcome respite from the news. I wanted to let you know that there’s no longer a link to your Flair Finds in your pull down menu, so I think viewers can only see your most recent recommendations. If you could add it back, I’d welcome the additional opportunity for escapism. 🙂
Brooke Garber says
Cannot imagine dressing without The Row . . . There are two other women led houses I love . Arabella Walton’s egg trading in London has the most extraordinary luxe cozy sweaters, my favorite is the AX .
Linda Wright’s Crimson in Paris . The Aga Kahn polo shirt is the old school classic I crave .