ESSENTIALS + ENCOURAGEMENTS FROM AN EX-FASHION EDITOR



THE ESPADRILLE


Posted on June 18, 2018

Closet Situation


Hands-down my favorite summer shoe. I have at least a dozen pairs collected over the years. The higher wedge ones proportionally kind of work with everything – skirts, jeans, trousers, dresses — you still look casual, but with some height. (A million times more practical than a stiletto.) For me, they signal the start of summer, so I don’t put them on til May, and then by the end of August I am finally tired of them and ready for boots. I have flat ones and medium ones and a very few that are very tall. (2, 4, 6, 8 – this is the number of layers of woven jute the shoe sits on.)

Our brand of choice is Castañer – a Spanish maker that is nearly 100 years old. In Spain, the flat ones sell for next to nothing (you just need to buy the plane ticket...) so if you are lucky enough to go, stock up! Not just for the economy of it, but for the memory you get every time you tie them on. Even here in the states, Castañer actually brought their prices down last year, just as a business strategy... so the value for something so chic and versatile is fantastic.

While I love the way they look (and they're very cute on kids), the slip-ons tend to fall off my feet, and I am all about the romance of the ones that lace up like a ballet slipper. I have thicker ankles (athletic legs! built for running!) but the ties are still pretty flattering. The simpler, darker colors can take something fancy down a notch... and a bright color or a stripe is especially great when the rest of your outfit is neutral. Trust me on this – it’ll throw you off the first time you look down (“all I can see is my feet!”) but take a few steps back from the mirror so you can see your whole self – squint a little – take in the proportion – and see that actually, they’re just the right amount of splash. Cropped khakis and a white tee... safari shirt and white jeans... lots of options.

When I wear them with jeans on the weekends, it makes me feel like I’ve made enough effort to want to be noticed at the grocery store. I may even spend some extra time wandering in the herb section and imagine I am at a European market...

Summer 2018

THE BLUE SHIRT


Posted on June 5, 2018




I started my own line in 2010, three years after Sid's, and kicked it off with the ONE thing I needed in my closet. The idea was - how do you look like you're wearing a man's shirt without actually wearing a man's shirt? I had been nicking Sid's for years, but I wanted one made specifically for a woman, without too much fabric around the waist and a button placement that would show enough décolletage to be a little sexy.

You probably know by now that we made it. Maybe you own one. Maybe you own twenty! It's my holy grail and I own far too many. But then again... maybe not enough? We use the same factory, fabric, buttons - all the same ingredients as Sid's shirts.

I wear them wrinkled on the weekends – often crisper for work – with a pareo over a bathing suit – under a blazer for the airplane with a tank under so I don’t get cold – truly, EVERYWHERE. I have some in exactly my size, some a bit larger because I want it to look intentionally oversized when I undo that extra button. If you are smallish in the bosom, this look works perfectly – tomboy sexy, like Charlotte Rampling in Three. If you happen to be a C cup or above, just wear a camisole underneath so that you can unbutton it enough to show some skin without exposing your real lingerie and embarrassing anyone (sorry; there's a time and a place for everything!)

The one I like the most (and this is a bit like picking a favorite child) is the Icon Spread Shirt in sky blue roxford. It's got that very menswear spread collar, just scaled down a bit. (And if you want to take it up a notch, there's a handmade version that's extra luxurious and worth every penny.) Back to the roxford though... it is in every suitcase I pack, in every load of laundry I do, and my children will remember me most in it.


AN INTRODUCTION


Posted on May 25, 2018




After ten years as a fashion editor, with a long stint of motherhood, I opened a shop and started my own line, Ann Mashburn. And in those early days, I spent every day on the floor. I got to talk face-to-face with the women buying my clothes. It was so much fun.

Ten years later, I spend more time at our headquarters, running the company with my husband. And that's exciting, but I sometimes wish I could spend all day in the shop again telling women what they need and why. It sounds bossy, I know, but I've been around awhile! Truly, though, I spent the early part of my career amidst tearsheets and photo shoots, with top-top-top fashion editors bossing me around. I picked up a few tricks over those years - how to fill your closet with just the right ratio of basics (not boring) to special (not weird), how to find the fantastic among the just so-so, or even how to wear a puffed sleeve without looking like you're at the Renaissance Faire.

My hope here is to give you that bit of encouragement - yes, you totally need that! - that I end up saying every single time I'm on the shop floor (and countless times to my five daughters.) I can't help it! It feels great to look great. I'm just here to help you make it happen. Here's where I'll share the items that I'm feeling lately... some brand new hits of specialness, some since-the-beginning favorites. This is just a bit of what and why around the things that make me know, “you just may need this - I promise."