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A Little Sisterly Advice. . .



As promised, my Washington, D.C.-based sister (she lives within walking distance of The National Cathedral) has sent some photographs of one recent combination of items that are pretty typical of her attire for both work and during her off hours.  Without further ado, let's turn things over to my sister for her particular philosophy on how to present oneself in a put-together way regardless of the situation or occasion:

As a wardrobe minimalist, and one raised on Ivy Style, every item in my wardrobe has a purpose. Living in the city, and walking almost everywhere, my clothes need to function in an active capacity. 

While I have a classic style, it is most often married with functional edgy pieces (boots, skinny jeans, etc.). In the past 15 years, I have gravitated to a neutral color palette for the clothing items in my closet and, at present, my wardrobe is comprised of 65% black items, 15% blue (including denim), 15% grey, with the balance most likely white (shirts, tees, pants). 

I feel best when my outfit is low-key with the color pops coming from my accessories (bags, belts, shoes, scarves).  This outfit was assembled to meet 3 different functions on a blustery Sunday:

1) brunch at an upscale diner in DC

2) running errands - the grocery and a few nice boutiques (walkable from my home)

3) walking the dog (I do not leave the house in athletic wear to walk the [LARGE] dog. I may not always “dress” but the outfit always has thought behind it).


Using my favorite foundation pieces of a grey cashmere sweater, black skinny jeans, Chelsea boots, and a grey wool tweed blazer, I added the texture of silk in a black scarf accented with calla lilies, layered under my trusty 17” pearl strand and topped off with my smallest pearl earrings. Not pictured is a red satchel bag to add a punch of color on a cloudy day. 

This is one of my favorite outfits because it is elevated for most weekend events, allows me to walk as far as necessary, keeps me cozy, and gives me the sense of casual elegance I strive for in all my outfits.


Interestingly, my sister and I never actually heard the term "ivy style" during our formative years at home outside of Philadelphia with parents and grandparents.  It was simply how we saw family members, nuclear and extended, dress during the workweek AND during the evenings/weekends/holidays/vacations, albeit in a slightly more casual way.  

But lying around on the sofa in stretched out, torn whatever beneath a stained Snuggy was simply not an example we ever saw at home or when visiting family along the eastern seaboard.  

The one time I appeared in a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off (in June 1980 after 7th Grade Field Day at school), I was told in no uncertain terms to return to my room upstairs, change shirts, and never to appear clad in that particular item again.  Disposing of it was later suggested that evening.

Even at 13, I saw Mom and Granny's point.  But I digress! 

Thank you to my sister, The Moonbeam, for her contribution to Classic Style, and I hope she might grace us with some more photos of her ivy/trad/prep attire before too long.

-- Heinz-Ulrich






  1. Heinz-Ulrich -- What a lovely post from a lovely young woman. You sister's style is very much like that of my wife, who today is wearing a tweed jacket, cotton shirt with a scarf, chinos and flats. No pearls today, but they made an appearance earlier in the week. I look forward to more such posts, and I know that my wife would be happy to learn of any stores that consistently carry good quality traditional clothes for women. As much effort as it takes for men to find classic ivy-style clothing, it seems that it is even more difficult for women.

    1. Thank you, Charlottesville! Perhaps my sister will develop a future post on just that topic? I will ask.

      By the by, I will visit my sister for a few days in June and plan a sojourn to the D.C. branch of J. Press. It's not that far from her place. I see a couple of additional silk knit ties with horizontal stripes in my future.

  2. Oh, dear Brother, thank you for letting me share my style. I think I remember that awful tee shirt…I think it survived about 8 hours or less. =) It was always nice having parents and grandparents who were dressed to leave the house. No curlers, scuffs, or otherwise house-specific clothing past the front door (unless it was Granny’s dressing gown in the side yard for morning coffee from her bone china cups). I love blending my classic pieces to create something uniquely me. Perhaps, if your readers agree, you will let me share again?


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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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