As I’m settling into that mid-30s stretch, familiarity has become a desirable state. There is capacity in it, especially on the other side of a decade of seeking novelty, taking risks, making plenty of mistakes, and wanting to learn from them. In familiarity, I’ve been surprised that there is a lot of room for regeneration. For discovering that there’s still so much love for the faces, places, and pursuits you once loved but forgot, and that you are still so much the ‘you’ of youth.
I’ve returned to old friends and have found them more wonderful than ever, realizing that I’ve carried them and their stories with me. I have rediscovered the exhilaration of stargazing on docks and rowing waters; biking to the suburbs and running beaches. I’ve held onto every bit of Boston summer sun and resurfaced the classic songs and playlists that play under my hazy, sprawling daydreams and time spent sketching or writing.
With so much basking in the good and the familiar, I’ve let go of the need to have every new style in my closet, and pared, and winnowed, and considered the things I seek, buy, and keep. I now have a lot of less than I did even a few months ago. But I have a lot more love for everything I do have.
A designer who is beloved and increasingly familiar in my smaller wardrobe is Caron Callahan.
A veteran of the contemporary design worlds of Barneys New York and Tracy Feith, Caron launched her own label in 2013, inspired by her surroundings and her spirited Brooklyn friends and neighbors—the confident everywomen who love beautiful clothes but don’t need to make a fuss about them.
Caron’s pieces are resolutely feminine, but practical—exactly what she wears and tests herself for durability and functionality. In predominantly natural and eco-friendly fabrications, they are the kind of wardrobe staples that you can wash at home, don all day and night, and mix and match, season after season. With her commitment to small-run production that is entirely U.S. based, it’s not only her slow fashion product that is sustainable but also her business model.
Organized together in my closet are a cluster of Caron’s dresses and coats (and even a pair of pants), many of which are the same styles in different fabrications from over the years. While an outfit comprised of just a Caron Callahan dress or a dress and coat is about as easy as it gets, each individual item is truly special. Here you can see why.
The Timora Dress (around $300 on sale; shown here in magenta clipped dot cotton) is the more current evolution of Caron Callahan’s Goa, in concept a tiered, mid-length frock with cinchable side cutouts. Though it took plenty of deliberation (and consigning of other items) for me to take the plunge, I’ve found that Timora is as perfect for a barefoot cup of tea on the back porch as it is for a day of meetings (but under a cardigan). Like many Caron Callahan pieces, the modest length and longer proportions mean that even women in my height range (6’0”+) will find a flattering fit—and a fabric that holds up, whether in 100% magenta/taupe clipped dot cotton, or in 100% magenta cupro.
For me (and I might guess many of us) a feminine cotton dress is perfectly familiar. A less complicated, more understated piece that complements. A piece that lets us—as we have always been, as we are in the now, and as we will be—come through and shine.
Size XS/S available at Fairlight NYC; on sale for $300
Size XS-M available at Mabo; on sale for $304
Size L available at Garmentory; on sale for $320