Summer 2023 was all about less. Less of EVERYTHING—work, friends, plans, products, spending, all of it. In my quest to understand how to embrace the philosophic meaning of living with less, I learned having less means knowing what works for you. And also knowing what you love. This means one has to know both what they need and what they love. It’s harder than it sounds (for me, at least) but I’ve gotten better about knowing what I need and letting the rest fall away—or into its return box!
I wanted to share the products that did make the cut this summer. These are the items I’ve used (or worn) multiple times a week, have recommended to friends, and, in a few cases, have already repurchased.
These are the thirteen things I loved most this summer…
1. J.Crew Berkeley Bucket Bag
I invested in a few gorgeous pieces from the J.Crew fall 2023 collection in August. I missed the boat on this bag in 2022 and had to wait until it came out again this year. You know an item is worth plunking down a couple hundred bucks when you are still thinking about it many months later. I love how relaxed and understated it is while also looking polished. This is the vibe that I feel most at home with.
2. On Our Best Behavior by Elise Loehnen
This was a voice I needed this summer. The process of looking inward can be disorienting and consuming and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to fall into self-pity. I felt less alone and more emboldened to challenge certain belief systems after reading it. I’ve returned to certain chapters, specifically the ones on envy and gluttony. This book even inspired an essay I wrote for my newsletter, House Call, earlier this summer. You can read it here.
3. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray
$23 – $51
I will never be without this stuff. I put it on before makeup, after makeup, when my makeup needs a refresh, and when my skin looks sad and tired. It’s always in my purse and in my makeup bag. It’s that good.
4. THE GYM PEOPLE Crop Tank
I live in these workout tops. They’re perfect to wear to tennis and Pilates classes or around the house with sweatpants. I get the allure of spending a bunch of $$$ on high-quality workout clothes, given the cost per wear, but these tops hold up just as well in my experience. They’ve stood the test of me wearing them at some point every single day, all summer long.
5. Madewell The Harlow Wide-Leg Pant
We all need a pair of wide-leg pants in our closets. They make most of the tops we’d usually pair with jeans feel like entirely different pieces. These wide-leg pants were the ones that made me a believer. They come in the perfect cut and are available in so many colors. You won’t regret buying them.
6. Doré Le Glaçon Ice Roller (gifted)
This is one of my newer skin-care tools and it is already in my rotation as a can’t-live-without product. It’s becoming more noticeable in my face when I haven’t had a great night’s sleep. Salty foods also bring extra puffiness! This ice roller does the trick. I love that it is small enough to reach the corners of my eyes (where I get the most puffy) and big enough to quickly roll out my cheeks, neck, and forehead, all while sipping my coffee. It isn’t too cold but provides great results without leaving my face wet or too red.
7. J.Crew Louisa Lady Jacket
This is another piece I bought from the J.Crew fall 2023 collection. Finding jackets that hit right at my hip has been hard. I’ve tried wearing styles like this in the past but they always felt a little frumpy. This cut is PERFECT. I love that you get a hint of the gold buttons when worn open, and a very minimal look when worn buttoned.
8. Sézane Denim: Brut Sexy and Le Crop (gifted)
These are two different denim styles that I can throw on and feel put together and cute. They are structured yet forgiving and have great pigment in their washes. I reach for them now over my vintage Levi’s 501 jeans which is a big deal. I will be buying these in additional colors.
A few notes on fit:
Size up in the Brut Sexy jeans. I’m usually a size 25 in denim but wear a 27 in these. Also, be sure to consider the fit notes listed below each wash, as different washes will fit differently. This cream color is made of 99% organic cotton and 1% elastane and runs bigger than my grey pair, which is 100% organic cotton.
The Le Crop jeans run a tad small so go up a size if you are in between sizes.
9. COSRX Snail Mucin Sheet Masks
$25 for a pack of 10
I purchased these masks three times since the spring. I run dry and after so much time outdoors, they were critical for bringing hydration back to my skin. As I mentioned above, I find it much more noticeable when I haven’t had enough sleep (or water), so keeping these on hand is a real treat.
10. Uncommon Kitchens by Sophie Donelson
If Instagram can become a sea of sameness, this book brings back the freshness of the early days of blogging. Each featured kitchen is a feast for the eyes. This book will sit on your coffee table delivering a renewed source of inspiration for years to come.
11. J.Crew Anya Mary Jane Flats
It was 2013 when I fell in love with the penny loafer and she has been my tried and true companion since. This year I found a new hero silhouette for my feet: the Mary Jane. I love these flats with jeans, shorts, and skirts. I tried a couple of other pairs before finding the perfect pair in the J.Crew fall 2023 collection.
12. Target x Future Collective Midi Dress
This dress makes me feel pretty, and we all need pieces like that in our closet. The best part is it is only $38. Pro tip: Cut off the belt, you don’t need it.
13. Ginny Sims Ceramic Mugs
These handmade items are made in Ginny’s small Minneapolis studio. Joe and I now only drink from these mugs and I find they add specialness to everyday rituals. If you are local, you can visit her studio to shop her current collection. Otherwise, follow her on IG and catch her limited runs when they go live. The next will be in November!
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