I knew it as soon as I saw it: the Betts Dress from J. McLaughlin would be the perfect winter staple. Classic A-line silhouette, knee-length and long sleeved—it was altogether elegant but with an eye-catching vegan leather collar and gold buttons complemented by sleek side welt pockets. It’s so very Claire Underwood. I wore it on this
episode of The Rhode Show and featured it on this episode. And the reason there’s not a link to the dress on this post is because it’s not even available online any longer. There’s some good news for Newport locals though- there are a few left in various sizes at the Newport J. McLaughlin on Bellevue, and marked nearly 50% off at $109.)
So the Winter Sale at JMcL is in full swing with 50% off hundreds of pieces. Four of my other favs right now:
The Elm Skirt ( pictured a top)is a textured jacquard pencil skirt with rich pattern of red, black and gray on winter white. Flattering and fabulous, the skirt is a statement piece that pairs best with a simple solid (likely already in your wardrobe) and is built to last. Originally $189, now $89.90.
Not even DVF knew when she invented the wrap dress, the style would be one of the most enduring in women’s fashion. The Lila Wrap Dress in Pop Arcadia (this one: black and off-white) features a v-neckline with point collar, ¾ length sleeves, self-tie belt in reverse color pattern, and most of all, is made from J. McLaughlin’s signature (and super comfy) Catalina Cloth. Though part of the fall collection, this can easily be worn any time of year. Was $225, now $109.90.
I love pieces you can wear the whole year through. They’re more practical and offer much more bang for the buck. Stripes and Newport go together like peas and carrots (viva la Forrest and Jen-nay!). The Campus Sweater in wide stripes of taupe and off white is as perfect for now as it will be on a crisp summer night. Was $198, now $89.90.
The Casey Dress in Mayan Paisley (below) is brilliantly designed to be super flattering. The top half features an angular pattern that skews to the smallest part of the natural waist, while the bottom half sports an art deco-esque pattern that is timeless. Another piece made with JMcL’s Catalina Cloth (and with hidden pockets), this dress is a traveler’s dream. Was $225, now $109.90.
J. McLaughlin in Newport is located at 180 Bellevue Avenue. Happy shopping!
New Year’s Eve is around the corner and whether your perfect idea of welcoming on 2017 is watching the ball drop in Times Square while comfortably on the couch or it’s by getting all dolled up and dancing he night away, here are four fashionable looks and easy accessorizing ideas I brought to The Rhode Show this week:
Look 1: Soft cotton CHEERS t-shirt from Old Navy ($5 on sale) and Gap true skinny jeans, both from Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Look 2: Long-sleeve sheer tunic/dress with leather paillettes by Staples from The Sail Loft on Bowen’s Wharf in Newport. Pair with black leggings and heels, opaque black tights and heels, skinny jeans or with a blazer, etc. Shop The Sail Loft now via Shoptiques.
Look 3: Gold, rose gold and silver sequin mini dress with 3/4 sleeves, round neckline and a swing silhouette. Can also be paired with leggings or tights. $189. The Sail Loft on Bowen’s Wharf in Newport. SShop The Sail Loft now via Shoptiques.
Look 4: Long-sleeve shimmering body suit paired with flirty tulle midi skirt. Whole look from Charlotte Russe and under $50, both from Tanger Outets at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
On me: Use your favorite black dress as a canvas for chic accessories. I’m wearing the J. McLaughlin Betts dress which is as elegant and dramatic as it is comfy and low-maintenance. The vegan leather collar and side welt pockets make for chic detailing. $225, J. McLaughlin Newport.
Easy accessories: Extra long necklace with gold chain and amber-hued stones, J. Crew Factory Store; multi-stone tassel necklace from LOFT, both from Tanger Outets at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Tips for shopping at Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods Resort Casino:
- Strategize! Visit first to see which shops you want to explore first so you can make the most of your time there.
- Join TangerClub in advance and check in at Shopper Services with your member card for a free coupon book.Free coupon books also offered to police, fire,rescue services & military personnel every time you shop. AARP and AAA members (and CAA) also get the free coupon book.
- Download apps for the stores you want to shop in advance for added coupons. Also sign up for any e-newsletters they offer as they will also often have discounts.
- Enjoy! The comfy couches between stores are perfect for a email check and to relax.
Disclosure: Tanger Outlets provided me with a gift card to experience the outlets at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Some might think Santa does his best work under the tree, but great things come in small packages. Today, I headed to The Rhode Show to share some sensational stocking stuffers sure to make in impression. Click to watch!
For the wonderfully whimsy woman: Flower Eyewear by Drew Barrymore, $39 to $88, retailers nationwide.
For the dapper dandy: Funky trouser socks from J. Crew Factory Store at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, sale, 3 for $10
For the jet-setter: Passport leather case from J. Crew Factory Store at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets. Regular: $32.50. Sale: $13
For the fashionista: Tassel necklace from LOFT at Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, Under $12 with ales and promotions.
For the “investor: Mason Pearson brush, $105 – $200, Soap & Water in Newport, Bowen’s Wharf. Developed and patented more than 100 years ago, Mason Pearson’s hair brush is the ultimate grooming tool featuring the finest, premium-grade boar bristle, which is gentle to the hair and scalp. Does it date back to the Industrial Revolution? Yes. Is it worth? Oh, hell yes. Shop there now by CLICKING HERE.
For the glamour gal: Kate Spade Little Shiloh $59 + 60% off. (Wrentham Village Premium Outlets)
For the little one: Little Finger Puppet Board Books, $6.99, Island Books, Middletown. To shop, CLICK HERE.
“Good manners reflect something from inside-an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.” ― Emily Post
In this season of giving, good manners mean recognizing the host and hostess of your gatherings with a sincere token of thanks. Channel you inner Emily Post and always play by the rules of civility with this locally made and locally sold gifts.
From Lou Lou’s Décor, Newport:
From Soap & Water Newport on Bowen’s Wharf
Birchwood Pine Classic Candle & Diffuser Set from Nest Fragrances featuring two of Nest’s signature products in an iconic seasonal scent. Use the reed diffuser to scent your space or brighten the room with the classic candle.
The Pumpkin Chai classic candle by Nest Fragrances creates a cozy autumn ambiance with a blend of wild pumpkin, spicy Masala chai, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon.
Molton Brown 5-piece travel set (airplane-approved size) featuring body wash, shampoo, body lotion, body polisher and hand cream
From Isherwood & Company on Bowen’s Wharf:
Handcrafted cheese board and cheeseboard/trivet set made by Howard Burbank of Westport
Seas the Wine wine tote by Mona B fitted with FitVine wine (has 1/3 calories and carbs of comparable wines and 1/3 of the sulfites — read my review HERE)
Nautical napkin rings by Vilmain (made in the USA)
Urban Agriculture CO. organic herb growing kit as featured in Oprah’s 2016 Gift Guide as Product of the Year
Note Cards and thank you cards by Wildes of Port Press:
The October issue of The Bay Magazine, on newsstands now, features my monthly home feature. For details and more photos, pick up The Bay this month or CLICK HERE. PHOTOS BY MIKE CEVOLI
“I remember my husband saying, ‘If we don’t buy this house, we’re not going to have a house,’” recalls Mary Ellen. “It had four tiny rooms with a dirt driveway.” But it was enough, so the little family moved in and made the house a home. “I think it cost $26,000 and the mortgage payments were a little over $100 a month – and we had a hard time paying it sometimes!”
The layout of the home was a little awkward as well. Mary Ellen says there was a small living room, and bedrooms bookending the, as she describes, “itty bitty” kitchen. “And you had to go through this tiny bedroom to get to the kitchen,” she says.
After getting on their feet, the Fraziers decided to expand on the home by adding a second floor. The space would accommodate a new master suite. “Then we took the other side of the house and added a great room. Later, we decided to move downstairs, so we added another master there – but this all evolved over quite a bit of time,” explains Mary Ellen. The couple even modified the home as recently as five years ago to create an in-law suite to accommodate Mary Ellen’s parents.
But as Mary Ellen first adjusted to the changes in the home, she also got in touch with a wonderfully whimsical side of her personality: decorating with an unabashed spirit. Color became her passion. Colorful window treatments, furniture, décor and artwork. Colorful light fixtures, decorative pillows and throws. Colorful accent walls. She looks around and has an epiphany: “I think I’m a closet decorator!”
It’s no surprise, really. Mary Ellen says she grew up in the age of neutrals and her childhood home reflected that trend. “If my mom put up celery green drapes it was like, ‘Oh my God!’” she laughs. So her penchant for personality in the home all makes sense, she explains. “Some people go off to get tattoos to rebel; I rebel with color!”
Mary Ellen says that through the decades, she has gone through various stages, like many homeowners. “The country stage, then all the antiques, the all-Oriental furniture and now it is what it is,” she says, which might be described as nautical meets pop art meets sophisticated sass. “I don’t know where the inspiration came from,” she says. “It’s just evolved.”
It’s not that Mary Ellen is all color, all the time. Many surfaces are linen white which serves as a baseline. But the accent walls (there’s a purple one and orange one, to name a couple), furniture (like the banana yellow hutch) and décor (like the pair of acrylic octopus chandeliers by North Kingstown artist Nicole Ketchum and her husband of Chandelier By NK, sporting hues of turquoise, fuchsia, green, orange and red) do all the talking. In the dining room, orange leather chairs strikingly contrast with the pair of purple chairs that are parked at each end of the table. In the kitchen, where the orange accent wall resides, there is an obvious “seaworthy” motif. The kitchen cabinets are brown, but that may not be for long. “In a year they could be white,” Mary Ellen hints.
As for Walt, he enjoys Mary Ellen’s decorative eye. “He’s not one of those husbands who has to go furniture shopping with me and look at every single thing. He just sits in his recliner and will go with anything,” she laughs. When Mary Ellen starts rearranging furniture, which is often, he goes with the flow. “Walt is just like, ‘Oh my God, there she goes again.’” That isn’t to say Walt doesn’t pick up when Mary Ellen has a new design inspiration. “If I sneak a new chair into the house, a week or so later he’ll look up and say, ‘I see you bought a new chair…’”
While Mary Ellen sources her colorful pieces locally, she also names Home Goods as one of her favorite stores. She says she has gone shopping with her daughter Stephanie and might say to her quietly, “Did you see what that lady had in her cart? For her home?”
“And Stephanie will say quickly, ‘Mom! Have you seen what’s in your cart?’” Mary Ellen laughs. “And she’s right!”
Mary Ellen and Walt say they love the way their home looks, even if it is evolving all the time. “It’s not for everyone, but it makes us happy. People walk through the door and say, ‘I could never do this,’ but they also seem to love it.”
A cacophony of color, the Frazier’s home is decidedly warm and welcoming, so it’s no surprise it is a favorite place for friends and family to gather including their grandchildren. “We love this home – it’s a happy place.”
For details and more photos, pick up The Bay this month or CLICK HERE.