Style Stories

One quick look: the woke-me-up outfit template

A nightgown, wrap sweater and riding boots -- the irony does not get lost on me!
by Leandra Medine Cohen
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Does getting dressed afford you a sense of release? I’ve described it before as the feeling you get when you click into a stationary bike with the right kind of shoes on but I think underneath that feeling is a sense of harmony — like my outsides match my insides, or reflect a version of them I’m pleased to display. I think the reason it (getting dressed) was feeling a bit like a slog last month is because so few of my dependables felt “right.” What I mean by right is like they produced the kind of harmony I’m used to accessing through them.

I understand the pattern of how this goes a bit better now: it’s a condition that comes up in some way most winters (though this has been a decidedly temperamental one) and the solution can be as obvious as not thinking about it so much — just wearing whatever is good enough to get you out the door. Or focusing on other pursuits to nourish you.

But I had a great moment two weeks ago when I went to meet my friend Christene for lunch in Brooklyn. I don’t see her often, but it’s always great when I do: she’s the kind of person who is diligent about creating a life that inspires her, and being around that energy when its in full swing is like stepping into a love bubble or something. I can empathize with the desire to create inspiration — and really understand the spiritual traits that underpin it: how turning pain or discomfort or misunderstanding into beauty or honesty or something truly pleasurable can feel like the greatest triumph of a lifetime.

After lunch, she took me to the store Salter House to show me the homewares (Cafe L research!) and the amazing quilts that they sell (more her vibe than mine) but I found my way to a rack of clothes as I do and towards a wrap sweater and nightgown that gave me the click-in feeling — the sense of harmony I’d been looking for.

Pure Cashmere NYC wrap cardigan and nightgown, both purchased from Salter House. If you’re local, you should go there in person. It’s pretty great

You know what I think the thing is about being a woman? Or maybe this is just the thing about my being a woman: I am never not looking for connection. Even (maybe especially) when it is to myself. I love feeling a sense of closeness to my true nature. To the truth more broadly! And clothing is such a fun way (though not the only way) to access this portal. I think this is the real reason that I find style so important, that it continues to play such a central role in my life.

If I had to break down what about the look feels right, there’s a spirit of refined maximalism, a sort of rough-edged femininity that tugs at this era of personal style that I suspect we’re walking into.

Technically speaking though, I actually think it’s more about what doesn’t feel wrong.

Toteme boots; looks like they’re cheaper from here and you know what? I still think these are a great budget contender

Which is the weight of the fabric (thin cotton poplin — the dress is technically a nightgown) against the black sheer tights I’m wearing them with (Swedish Stockings, I’m impressed by how well they are holding up given the sheerness/frequency with which I wear them), and how they look over the rigid-shaft riding boots.

The sweater is flimsy and soft and wraps around my waist, which is not usually an accent point I pay much attention to, but there’s a femininity about it that has rarely mattered to me but that I’m into lately and I can’t quite access it through my typical true and true: jeans.

What jeans do give me is a sense of cool youthfulness. And I value that as a consistent trait to display, so the way I reconciled what’s missing in this look was through the hat, choice accessories (inconveniently large rings), and maybe the riding boots because there’s a classic, refined, unflinching coolness about almost everything Elin Kling (Toteme) touches. It’s not exactly a cool youthfulness that these accessories espouse, but it is its own brand of “uptown” personality.

The way I see it there are two predominant (though not exclusive) codes on the topic of how to get dressed when you live uptown: you’re either a practical mom running on Kronos time or a retired woman living on Kairos time.

I choose to subscribe to the style cues of the latter, even if the demands of my own life fall more squarely into the former bucket. That tension creates a more generous buttress around my self-definition.

To close the loop on release and harmony, I actually think finding that tension is one of the key things about getting dressed. It allows you to access an honest yearning just as much as it does the facts of your reality. Within the gap there is often among the most satisfying places to find yourself in harmony.

You probably have all or most of the ingredients to make this look, but here’s a breakdown of what you can use, featuring heat tech and some unlikely hat recs, with practical recommendations that will probably serve you through the summer too (poplin nightgowns are a great way to stay cool when the air is thick and your skin is salty):


Salter House
Sisters Nightdress
$88 USD
Here's the one i'm wearing. I recommend a pretty lightweight poplin; they’re easier to move in, look more interesting with tights, and will carry you into the summer making them an unlikely but pretty damn good all-year-rounder.
Salter House
Chores Nightdress
$88 USD
Length should hit about mid-shin or just a bit higher so that they interact with the boots but don’t cut your leg, or the shoe off.
Salter House
Lorna Nightdress
$72 USD
Salter House
Jodie Nightdress
$74 USD


80s Vintage Cotton Embroidered Sleep Dress
$85 USD
1940s/1950s Long White Lace Nightgown
$75 USD
Antique White Cotton Nightgown
$165 USD
Vintage White Cotton Prairie Ruffled Nightgown
$108 USD


Pure Cashmere
Wrap Cardigan Oatmeal
$175 USD
Here's the one I'm wearing. I recommend it implicity because the fabric is soft and a great weight. It looks nice styled with nothing under, too and a long chain around your neck with slightly flared trousers.
Ven Store
Polo Cardigan
$271 USD
Another good option could be wearing a cardigan you already have (something like this) and belting it with ribbon/string (or a reg belt) if you don’t have a wrap cardi and don’t want to get one. Length here matters too — wrap is great around the thinnest part of your waist and length should cover until about your hip bone.


The Riding Leather Knee Boots
$1,130 USD
Here are the Toteme ones
Banana Republic
Cheval Leather Riding Boot
$490 USD
Banana Republic recommendation
Porte & Paire
Glossed Leather Knee Boots
$550 USD
These from Porte & Paire
Jil Sander
Paneled Leather Knee-high Boots
$954 USD
And these, which are kind of amazing in white, and on sale (extra 30% off at checkout apparently).


Crochet Bucket Hat
$95 USD
Loro Piana
Crochet Cotton Beanie
$600 USD
Loopy Wool Beanie Hat
$220 USD
Victor Glemaud
Knit Bucket Hat
$155 USD


Lele Sadoughi
Bezel Cabochon Cocktail Ring
$102 USD
Bold Quartz, Enamel & 18kt Gold-plated Ring
$406 USD
Hotlips By Solange
Bubblegum Pink Ring
$270 USD
Kenneth Jay Lane
Coral Starfish Ring
$110 USD
Vintage Citrine Sterling Silver 925 Cocktail Ring
$52 USD
Vintage Gold Plated Classic Green Glass Cluster Cocktail Ring
$76 USD


Signing off yours today in sensational earnest,