What is fashion?

What is fashion?

By Jeff Sawyer

“Fashions fade; style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent

Let’s explore fashion.

The first part of the word, fash, is a Scottish verb. It means to worry, or vex. It’s a descendant of the early French word fascher, which evolved from the Latin fastus, meaning disdain, scorn, or contempt.

Not cheery so far, this word.

The second part of fashion is ion, a noun. It is a particular type of atom or molecule.

Put them together and you get worry over every molecule of your wardrobe.*

Every fiber of your body agonizing over every fiber on your body. Fashion hardly seems aspirational. Or enjoyable.

And then there is extra-strength fashion: fast fashion, with its ethically challenged position on sustainability.

You think of Paris when you think of haute couture, but in fact many Europeans eschew wardrobes overflowing with the next new thing in favor of fewer things. Better things. Things that last. Designs that traverse the seasons.

Their closets are smaller. Less is more.

As more people catch on to the idea, fashion as we know it may fade.

But elegance, quality, grace … they’ll always be in style.

* Note to etymologists, who by now are cringing: I am making this part up.**

** Note to readers who may have thought etymologists studied insects: those are entomologists. Etymologists study language.

PS. Entoetymologists study insect language.***

*** Not really – I made that up, too.

Closet capsule collection: fall 2017

Wearing a favorite look is a surefire way to boost your mood.
To quote a sign seen recently in Portsmouth, NH,

“I’m nicer when I like my outfit.”

Surely, you can relate.

As you gear up for fall and add a few timeless pieces to your wardrobe, we’re setting out to improve your season with a closet capsule collection specially curated with nine mood-boosting essentials.

Want to feel confident about your outfits this fall? Your new wardrobe starts here.

1. The Cargo Jacket

Garnet Hill Organic Cotton Cargo JacketFeminine, favorable details (a cinchable waist, camouflaging length, princess seaming) redefine this between-the-seasons staple — with pockets for stow-and-go-everywhere ease.

2. The Artful Cardigan

Garnet Hill Signature Merino CardiganStyled with prints that pop and a slim-fit style that flatters, a warm wool cardi reboots your basics in a flash. Stash one on the coatrack, in your bag, and at your desk, to ward off the chill in a pinch.

3. The Layering Tunic

Hacci Long Vented TunicPlay with proportion with a long layering tunic — it’s a fun, fashionable way to add a little extra length to your look. Look for one with exaggerated side vents for some dramatic swing.

4. Skinny Jeans 2.0

Level 99 Ultra-Skinny JeansSlim jeans are one of the best ways to balance bulkier toppers. Our latest iterations embrace comfort alongside style, for skinnies that are unbelievably soft and super-stretchy.

5. The LBD (Latest Black Dress)

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Jersey A-Line DressBlank-canvas versatility gives the little black dress worktime sophistication and nighttime elegance. This season, look for swingy, A-line shapes, ultra-slimming seams, and unexpected details like pockets.

6. Beautified Booties

Dolce Vita Noreen Heeled ShoesWhen it’s too cold for a sandal and too warm for a boot, a bootie is the easy answer. If you’re not quite ready to put away the open-toed and strappy styles, look for cool embellishments like cut-outs and perforated detailing.

7. The Two-Way Clutch

Latico Lidia Convertible ClutchFor desk-to-dinner days, you need a two-in-one purse that converts from cross-body bag to clutch. Choose one with a sleek silhouette, in textured leather, with a score of great details like a specially designed pocket to keep your phone handy.

8. The Look-Closer Necklace

Dana Kellin Wrapped-Stone NecklaceInstead of a statement necklace that shouts, choose one that quietly demands attention. Invest in a unique, hand-crafted piece, with look-closer detailing that plays nicely with everything in your wardrobe.

9. The Cashmere Wrap

Garnet Hill Cashmere WrapToss a cashmere wrap around your shoulders for extra warmth and luxe softness, in an instant. For even more interest, choose one enhanced with a pointelle stitch, cool color-blocking, or Fair Isle embellishment.

Kristyn Lak Miller is a freelance Garnet Hill writer based in Portsmouth, NH.

Summer’s a wrap—a wrap dress, that is

By Kristyn Lak Miller

This story starts innocently enough.

Back in June, I bought Garnet Hill’s Gathered Wrap Dress in Deep Navy. I was instantly drawn to its combination of style (faux-wrap front, pretty drape) and comfort (jersey knit, pull-on ease).

Garnet Hill Gathered Wrap Dress

At the time, I thought of it as a cute new dress—but it quickly became so much more.

I first wore it for a lunch date with a friend. The dress was completely effortless though it looked like I had put in a fair bit of extra effort (love that!). In it, I felt relaxed, confident, and happy (love that, too!). My friend complimented the dress. Our waitress did, too. After lunch, I bought the dress in its two other summer colors, Chili and Dark Ashwood.

Garnet Hill Gathered Wrap Dress


And that’s how this season came to be my Summer of (Wrap Dress) Love!

Having this dress in a trio of colors, it’s become my go-to most days—and nights—of the week. I’ve paired it with Superga sneakers and with Frye sandals. I’ve left it unadorned and dressed it up with layers of Chan Luu necklaces. I’ve worn it for long walks and work meetings, a romantic dinner with my husband and a trip to an amusement park with the kids, blueberry picking and even a Sunflower Festival. My daughter, a budding photographer, has taken candids of me in this dress on many, many occasions (it’s her photography you see here).

Garnet Hill Gathered Wrap Dress

This dress is always the just-right choice, even on windy days—remember, its flattering wrap is faux!

I’m someone who usually tosses everything into the washing machine at once (colors, whites, towels, Legos) and hopes for the best, but I like this dress so much that I wash it separately, on the delicate cycle, and I hang it to dry. And, confession time, I did something I have never done before: I bought a back-up for each—yes, I splurged on a second dress in all three colors—because I have a history of staining only my favorite items of clothing.

And to say this is a favorite is a massive understatement.

Recently, I received Garnet Hill’s latest catalog. Flipping through the pages, getting inspired for Fall, I noticed that two new colors have been added to the Gathered Wrap Dress for the season—Black and Baltic Teal. I look forward to my Fall of (Wrap Dress) Love!

We’re wondering if you’ve ever defined a season or two (or longer) by fashion, like a pair of sandals that always reminds you of that perfect summer, a cashmere cardigan that’s kept you cozy over the last few winters, or a scarf that you’ve worn, year-round, for the last decade . . . and is now your signature item. Let us know in the COMMENTS section below—we want to hear from you!

Kristyn Lak Miller is a freelance Garnet Hill writer based in Portsmouth, NH.


The latest sandal trends from Donald J. Pliner

From the beaches of Miami to the neon-lit streets of Las Vegas and beyond, Donald J. Pliner shoes and accessories are infused with bold, modern styling inspired by places frequented around the globe.

Donald Pliner combines unique details with luxurious materials to create sandal styles that span all occasions from cabana to soiree. The freshest designs to join our collection embody what’s going on in footwear right now. These are the top trends for the Donald Pliner pieces we have selected for the season.


Donald Pliner Doli Demi Wedges
Go ahead, flaunt that pedicure. Sandal season is officially open, and as you lighten your layers, it’s time to expose those pretty toes.


Donald Pliner Fae Woven Sandals
A little shimmer and shine instantly elevates a simple silhouette, taking it from day to evening, and from classic to unexpectedly modern.


Donald Pliner Vida Elastic Shoes
The intricate detailing of woven leather straps adds texture for an unexpected twist on a minimalist sandal — add a heel and you are ready for anything.


Donald Pliner Dani Wedges
Snakeskin prints add depth and dimension to metallic leather, offering fashionable flair to the most wearable of styles.


Donald Pliner Mules
A cork sole or heel lend a natural touch to modern styling that gives the shoe a chill, versatile vibe — special enough for seasonal events, yet easy enough for every day.

What are your favorite sandals and trends for spring and summer?

6 Hygge Tips for All-Season Coziness

When we think hygge (hoo-gah; Danish coziness), we often think of winter, hibernation, curling up in a big, thick blanket — but it’s a lifestyle, something to embrace all year long. We’ve come up with a list of ideas to keep that cozy, happy vibe going season after season.


Hygge Design Tips - Signature Toile Flannel Bedding
A crackling fire, the glow and sophisticated scent of candles, the shimmer of metallic and glass, fairy lights in branches… Whether it’s a gathering of family and friends or some well-deserved alone time, these things create a warm, inviting atmosphere.


Hygge Design Tips - The Blue Moon Bedroom
Soft cashmere, baby alpaca, New Zealand wool, lustrous silk, rustic linen, brushed cotton… Texture adds comfort and makes you feel relaxed and well rested. Surround yourself with what you love by layering your bed and wardrobe with pieces that make you feel good. Cocoon away!


Hygge Design Tips - The Organic Cotton Bedroom
By all means, get outdoors as much as you can, but when you must be inside, bring the nature into the space. Soft botanical prints, a knotty wood grain, driftwood, seashells, fresh flowers, house plants, and artfully arranged branches can add natural elements to a room. And don’t stop at home — infuse nature into your office or workspace, too.


Hygge Design Tips - Interlocking Box Shelves
Build and share mini libraries around your home. A collection of your favorites arranged on a nightstand in the guest room, a couple shelves in the living room, a basket of books in the breakfast nook or in the dining room. Engage family and guests (and spark conversations) with a wide array of topics and stories ranging from epic fiction and biographies to history and fine art books.


Hygge Design Tips
An ideal blend of practicality and art, there’s something truly special about hand-thrown ceramics. Eating warm noodles or oatmeal from a stoneware bowl, hot tea, coffee, or hot cocoa from a favorite mug, fresh flowers carefully arranged in a beautiful vase — all bring joy and comfort to daily routines.


Hygge Design Tips - Eileen Fisher Ombre Cotton and Linen Duvet Cover
There’s quiet power in color. Selecting the right palette and tones can help you find comfort, energize your wardrobe and home, and elevate your mood. We recommend shades inspired by nature: a sea of deep-blue hues, lush greens, the soft blush of a sun-kissed morning sky, earthy neutrals and undyed fibers that communicate the lay of the land.

For more inspiration and special picks, explore the hygge-inspired corner of our collection.

What to Wear for Every Holiday Event


Via Spiga Leopard Print Coat
When it comes to holiday shopping or a small gathering with friends, comfort and style prevail. We recommend a spot of cozy cashmere mixed with denim, corduroy, or matchstick pants. Equestrian-style leather boots offer comfort while keeping in step with the trends. Complete the outfit with a big roomy tote that holds everything for holiday errands.


Garnet Hill Chevron Down Coat
From finding the right Christmas tree to having an impromptu sledding party, you never need to trade warmth for fashion. A channeled down coat provides insulation and a fashionable shape. Dressing in layers allows you to customize your comfort as temperatures fluctuate. A nice pair of boots (appropriate for snow, if need be) and toasty cashmere accessories round out the look.


Garnet Hill Pointelle-Collar Cashmere Sweater and Slim Velvet Pants
Whether you’re entertaining family and friends at home on the “big day” or attending an office party at work, we recommend combining fine fabrics and designer details for classy comfort. An easy cashmere sweater in a beautiful hue and distinctive shape is so inviting. Try a touch of velvet or lace to add opulence to easy-to-wear silhouettes. Look for styles with decorative details that keep the look fresh and festive.


Evening work parties, holiday soirées, and New Year’s Eve are invitations to turn up the glamour. There’s just something festive about the shimmer and shine of sequins and the glint of a fabulous piece of statement jewelry.
Garnet Hill Silk-Bow-Detail Blouse and Festive Pencil Skirt
For something feminine and flirty, try a dress with a lacy overlay. Lace provides coverage while creating a subtle peekaboo effect.
Garnet Hill Boheme Easy Lace Dress
When in doubt, always remember that a little black dress is your best friend. It can effortlessly move from day to night, workday to an evening out. Simply transform the look by switching out tights, boots, and a roomy tote for a pair of heels, bold jewelry, and a beautiful clutch.
Garnet Hill Brianna Knit Dress

The Signature Summer Dress, By Day and By Night
– by Alex McLean, author of the Lex What Wear blog

Garnet Hill Signature Summer Sundress in White. The Signature Summer Dress, by Day and by Night. By Alex McLean, Lex What Wear.

Like many Garnet Hill pieces in my wardrobe, the Signature Summer Dress is suitable for a variety of occasions and any time of day. Depending upon your personal style, the versatility of this easy summer dress will inspire you to keep things casual or glam it up.
I’ve had my eye on this feminine number, with its fit-and-flare silhouette, for a while. When given the opportunity to style it, I had already imagined wearing it to a few events related to my upcoming wedding. It’s an ideal choice for this bride-to-be.

First, I wanted to style the Signature Summer Dress for a daytime event. It’s easy to layer, so I added a dark-wash denim jacket, and a green necklace for a pop of color. The white lace details become the main focus – and why wouldn’t they? The detail work at the bottom of this dress is stunning.

To get the most bang for your buck, wear the dress with a denim vest, a light cardigan, or a hint of leather to spice things up for the day. The denim jacket adds a low-key element that makes the dress seem more casual, fun, and flirty.

The wedges I chose for this look are easily the most comfortable shoes I own. They add just the right height to all of my summer dresses, and pair nicely with just about any color. You can see these wedges in both the day and evening looks I’m wearing.

They can also be worn with jeans, distressed denim, skirts, and jumpsuits.

In the evening, this dress takes on a fresh new look with the addition of a few accessories. I tied a fun animal print scarf to replace the necklace. Animal prints are a nighttime look – a little feisty, but classic. I picked out a little black handbag to finish it off. I would typically shy away from wearing white at night, but I’ve actually fallen in love with this entire outfit.

Styling one look for day and night is challenging, but if you plan ahead and accessorize well, you’ll get two looks from one dress, and feel confident in your purchase. I love that this dress is now part of my bridal event wardrobe.


What do you call a group of…

Tulip Bouquet

What do you call a group of…

  • A group of Kashmir goats is called a herd.
  • A group of Garnet Hill cashmere sweaters is called a good start.
  • A group of parrots is called a pandemonium.
  • A group of colorful Garnet Hill tops is called a delight.
  • A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance.
  • A group of Garnet Hill shoes is called not enough shoes.
  • A group of bitterns is called a sedge.
  • A group of Garnet Hill flannel sheets is called a snooze.
  • A group of mosquitoes is called a scourge. (The mosquito is sometimes said to be the New Hampshire State Bird. In actuality that is the Purple Finch.)
  • A group of random, unmatched socks in the drawer is called inevitable.
  • A group of guinea fowl is called a confusion.
  • A group of Garnet Hill linen tops is called a summer.
  • No official word on what a group of groups is called. Probably a group.

Stripe a pose:
the story behind nautical stripes

Nautical Stripes Trend - Essential Sailor Tee


Originally called a marinière or Breton-stripe shirt, the classic navy-and-white-striped tee has rocked the boat for decades as a timeless design that’s reminiscent of a seaside resort.

Nautical Stripes Trend - Essential Sailor Tee
Here are some fun facts about everyone’s favorite seafaring stripes:

  • The Breton-stripe tee was born in 1858 as part of the Act of France that named the navy-and-white striped knit part of the uniform for French navy seamen in Brittany.
  • The original design had 21 stripes to signify each of Napoleon’s victories.
  • After a visit to the French coast, Coco Chanel was inspired by the iconic stripes and introduced them to the fashion world as a design element in her collection.
  • Celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, and Jean-Paul Gaultier helped put the style on the fashion map.
  • Hollywood spotlighted the tee on James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955), and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1956).
  • In 1965 Andy Warhol filmed Kitchen. It starred Edie Sedgwick, who wore the striped top with black tights. The outfit became synonymous with Warhol’s signature style throughout the ‘60s.

These clean, simple stripes remain a classic go-to pattern in our women’s apparel, kids’ clothing, and home collections. What memories do nautical stripes conjure for you? How do you wear your sailor stripes?

Quote/Unquote: 15 compelling quotations on
design, fashion, and style

Garnet Hill Eco-Cashmere Fair Isle Sweater

“Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade.”

-William Battie

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“I’ve always thought of accessories as the exclamation point of a woman’s outfit.”

-Michael Kors

“Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”

-Kate Spade

Fashion is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

-Author Unknown

“I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world.”

-Bette Midler

“Confidence is the best fashion accessory.”

-Vivienne Westwood

“Simple. Sensual. Timeless. This is the essence of our design philosophy.”

Eileen Fisher

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I know white clothing is supposed to enhance that summer glow, but writers don’t tan.”

-Diablo Cody

“I am anti-pants.”

-Lena Dunham

“I base my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.”

-Gilda Radner

“Never wear anything that panics the cat.”

-P.J. O’Rourke

“Life is short. Buy the shoes.”

-Author unknown, but look for someone in new shoes

“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”

-Dorothy Parker