Wornette’s Classic (Not Boring) Things to Share With You Today

Nicole Wornette gave her mother a boring Christmas list and then shared what's been catching her computer eye


You said I’ll have to live out of one suitcase. I’ll bet yours isn’t this small.

This is a suitcase?

Well, a Mark Cross overnight case.

I gave my mother a boring Christmas list. However amusing it is that I am an adult woman who still gives her mother a Christmas list is not the point in my sharing. The point is that my Christmas list was rejected, or rather sent back to me for a second pass, on the grounds that it was dull and in possession of zero holiday magic. Upon review, I had to admit that I would not want to buy any person the things on that list. It was just a collection of household necessities and personal grooming practicalities; the heart’s desires of a truly boring person. Which I like to think I am not.

The trouble is that my personal style has gotten really classic of late. Actually, the classic bit is not so much the problem as is the visible fallout from this shift. All of my sartorial desires are so utterly simple, their tones so neutral that it’s tempting to view them through the eyes of the more fashionably adventurous among my friends and think of them as boring also. The contents of my original Christmas list served as a reminder not to fall prey to this thinking and get all sloppy with it. To my mind, having classic style is all about specificity and enthusiastic choice; “a gentle exercise of will” at every acquisition.

The following are links that are reminding me of that, among other things today.

PS: The final draft of my Christmas list was as follows: gray crew-neck cashmere sweater, crisp white cotton sheets, and a year’s subscription to The Paris Review. And to get any or all would make this classic wornette very, very happy indeed.

Grace Kelly’s Handbag in Rear Window

I just watched Rear Window for the first time. (I know, I know. “It’s a seminal work” or whatever…) And Grace Kelly’s New York princess style could and should be discussed at even greater length than it has already been. What I will say here, in the spirit of brevity, is that the Mark Cross handbag she pulls out in one scene reminded me of how much I like a bag so utterly free of branding and iconography. It is what it is and she can say whatever she wants with it.

Alice Gregory’s Camel Coat on Into The Gloss

So many reasons why I like this. Where to begin? Alice Gregory, fellow appreciator of the always classic, late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, is a great writer. Next up, this is all about looking for a very long time for the perfect, minimal and entirely classic camel coat. Now this is a story after my own heart! I was very happy to read about Gregory thinking and dreaming about clothes the way I do. And, expecting them to be as transformative.

Refinery29′s Office Tour of The Paris Review

I am a writer, and so, obviously, The Paris Review exists in my thinking as a kind of lit promise land. So imagine my delight at being able to peek inside their new New York offices and read about the personal style of those who call that incredible magazine “work.”

Daphne Javitch for Band of Outsiders

I have been a from-afar admirer of the personal style of Daphne Javitch for, let’s just say, some years. Girl’s got a supremely classic sensibility but is always slightly off-beat. She has described her style as “chic muppet” and I liked that a lot. This is a fashion film where you get to see her shop and get dressed.

“‘A First-Rate Girl’: The Problem of Female Beauty” in The New Yorker

This outstanding article by Adelle Waldman circulated quite a little bit when it first dropped but it’s sparked so many great conversations lately that I would be remiss not to include it here. It may not deal with fashion, but in my mind, it is at least tangentially related. Or they have conversational friends in common. Or just read it, okay?