Privilege Blog

A Singular Piece

This post sponsored by Halsbrook

Fashion has moved to a “post-trend” universe. So says Cathryn Horyn at the New York Times, and I agree. In these days of multiplicity, high style requires evidence of the wearer’s imagination,  AKA, “Yes I Dressed Myself.”

Recently, in New York, I was amazed at how different everyone looked. On the Upper East Side, from the older woman on Madison Avenue in classic trousers, white shirt, and immovable hair, to the German woman in full Barbour and boots crossing Park with her daughter. In Brooklyn, my son’s friends in Crown Heights wore skater skirts, tights, and huge sweaters; a waitress in a Thai restaurant, brown lipstick. I cannot say I spotted a trend per se, only aspects that appealed here and there.

In this environment, one understands the appeal of a singular “Hey I Haven’t Seen That Before” piece. Imogen would call it a “hero.”  I suppose because it saves the day.

I think this Piazza Sempione knit coat from Halsbrook qualifies. It picks up on our current longing for things handmade, things from other cultures. It’s impeccable black and white wool and cashmere. And, the leather latch reminds me of my father’s 1960s duffle coat. What more could one want?


But style is contextual. So can a truly singular piece can carry you across the country? I think so.  For example, let’s imagine this coat on a slightly edgy UES woman of means, in November. She “New Yorks” the look (AKA hardens it)  with shiny pointed Prada ankle boots, and stays warm with a cashmere fisherman’s sweater. Maybe a silk tank underneath.

Untitled #204

Knit Coat: Piazza Sempione via Halsbrook || Enamel earrings: Hermes || Leggings: Fabrizio Gianni via Halsbrook || Lipstick: Kevyn Aucoin “Bloodroses” via Nordstrom || Watch: Ebel via Bloomingdale’s || Ivory cashmere sweater with pocket: M.Patmos via Halsbrook || Bag: Céline || Ankle boot: Prada via Saks Fifth Avenue

But can we take the coat across the country, to a similar neighborhood in San Francisco? What is SF’s equivalent of the UES, anyway? Well, there isn’t one. But certainly the Union Square/Maiden Lane area serves as our center for traditional luxury shopping. You’ll notice immediately, as you saunter across the Geary Street crosswalk, fancy daytime San Franciscans are both less edgy and less formal than New Yorkers.
We’d love a pair of Ferragamo Varas with a chunky heel, that’s just enough excitement thank you very much. Our warmer weather means we might hide a summer top under our coats, and show our ankles well into December. But we still love the coat.
Untitled #205


Knit Coat: Piazza Sempione via Halsbrook || Bag: Lotuff || Black crepe pants: Peace of Cloth via Halsbrook || White blouse with black trim ‘S Mara via Halsbrook (on sale 60% off) || Gold earrings by Shreve, Crump & Low via 1stdibs || Shah Modal and Silk Scarf via Halsbrook (on sale 60% off) || Ring via Shreve || Shoes by Ferragamo

And one could of course wear Madame Sempione with jeans and Dr. Martens, if so inclined. Or to the office, over a charcoal suit. Or with a little black dress and knee-high boots? There are all kinds of days to save, now aren’t there.

Note: All first time Halsbrook customers can take 10% off their first purchase with the code HBEMAIL.


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41 Responses

  1. I would be happy living in both cities, wearing all of the above…all of it! All capped with something handmade from another culture…resounding yes! Great ensemble Lisa! :)

  2. Lovely coat. I am a fan of the brand we do have some pieces in a local shop and I have a pair of their trousers. A bit pricey I tend to buy in the sales.

  3. Great look no cold in Southern California. I’ve got some fab coats waiting for a cold day. Halsbrok also has some great looking scarves. Really nice site. Love your mock ups.

  4. Both ensembles are gorgeous! And both cost more than my first car….but at the end of the day, would you rather an Italian coat & shoes or a crappy old Toyota? Although I adored it at the time……

  5. I love the coat but I would so seldom wear it. Living in Southern California, I haven’t bought a wool coat since the nineties.

    True confession: I did splurge on a leather walking coat last Christmas.

  6. It’d also be good with a slim skirt, tights (or not) and boots or loafers.
    The bold and willowy might get away with it over a patterned layer. Off the top I’d say no big patterns, maybe something small with just two colors, one that should be either white or black.

    Soccer Moms wishing to avoid the shivers in late Fall games could go with black jeans.

  7. Love what you put together. Loved the coat, until closer examination revealed sleeves that would be too short for an Idaho winter. No matter, my bank account, as well as my winters are more LL Bean than Italian couture.

    BTW, I still love duffle coats. Had to give mine away due to significant weight loss.

  8. Very nice combinations,Lisa! Ney York was very inspired trip,how interesting it must be.
    After Wendelah confession,I had to google what leather walking coat exactly suppose to be,well, it seems that I have one,too :-).(great for recent temperatures,with scarf and cashmere!) You never know!
    I agree,support and like that there is more about style than fashion decrees nowdays,more diversity and imagination.
    It is fascinating for me,in comments,how different coat and climate attitude and variety there are in USA
    I like to wear coats and jackets,they are so beautiful,here is cold during winter,with a lot of snow sometimes (let’s hope not this one!),but frankly I prefer long lasting spring with nice summer and autumn,without winter,even if it mean no coats at all
    Write more about your trip,please!

    1. @dottoressa, I would love to see pictures of where you are from. Hint hint write a blog:). And more about my trip? I guess I could put up the actually story of what I did:).

  9. Love, love this coat!! This is my favorite time of the year Lisa! Bring on the sweater weather!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Halloween Artistry!

  10. I love that coat, it’s really great. I think it would work in LA, just open over a long sleeved tee shirt and jeans. We do have cold nights, cold enough for a coat. I just happen to have a closet full from when I lived in NY. Love that Celine bag too.

    1. @Kathy, The bag <3<3<3. And I've spent so little time in LA, for a long-time Californian, that I just didn't know what your nights are like!

  11. What an amazing coat! A piece I could see myself admiring in my closet every day… :-)

    But I could also imagine wearing it in so many places… I love your styling ideas for SF & NYC!

  12. Love the coat. It seems I will never completely give up black. Oh well.

    Love the SF look particularly. I once would have worn the NY look, but have come to realize that I am really not comfortable being quite that hard-edged. Slim jeans would be more my speed. And the coat sleeves look perfect to me.

    1. @Mardel, I’m on Team Black In My 50s, so, I’m with you. And it’s funny, I think I get more comfortable with a harder edge as I age. I have absolutely no idea why. The most important thing is to find that comfort level.

  13. Great looking coat! I wish it was cold enough here to justify buying a new one. I do want that Celine bag! It won’t matter what the weather is for that beauty. :)

  14. Love that coat and it’s in my colour palate! Can see it worn over and over in a variety of ways….I like the SF style the most….have shoes almost like those Ferragamos but they have a shorter heel. Would like to see you wearing it with your beautiful grey hair style.

  15. I love that coat!!! I’ve always loved coats of all sorts, but in spite of a packed outerwear closet, I don’t own a UNIQUE coat, a piece of art, one that makes my heart sing…and draws a bit of attention, too. Perhaps it’s time.

  16. Love your SF styles. Just retired at 59 and starting to convert my pant suit and Brooks Bros dress shirt wardrobe to an organized casual style. This may take some time, but starting with basics in blacks and grays. I love the brands you choose. Can you refresh my memory of the mascara you wear?

    Love your style Lisa!

    1. Thank you! Starting with blacks and grays is a great approach. I mostly use Dr. Hauschka mascara, found at Whole Foods and around the Internet. However, if I have a special nighttime something, I’ll go to Sephora and buy a new tube of whatever Dior is making. New mascara is always>old mascara, for impact. My eyebrow pencil, which I really like, is Givenchy.

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