Welcome to Outfit Anatomy, a series of comprehensive style analyses that aim to break down what we wear by answering questions like: How much did that cost? Where did you find that? Why did you buy it in the first place? Up this week is Hannah Baxter, Senior Beauty Editor at Coveteur.
I’m one of those sensitive people who can barely look at a wool sweater without breaking out in hives, so instead I try to stick with cashmere. I’d love to drop serious coin on every The Elder Statesman cardigan I can fit into my closet, but I typically choose to go the vintage route. It’s way more affordable than buying something cashmere off-the-rack. And to naysayers who are worried about pilling, just take some small nail scissors and get to work [ed note: or Leandra’s favorite sweater shaver, of course]. This turtleneck cost $45 and is about five years old. I bought it when Instagram vintage dealers were just starting to gather steam and you didn’t have to check your notifications every 60 seconds to snag something good. I’m also a big fan of a power-red–it makes me feel like I’ve got my shit together, even on a Tuesday with an inbox at 500.
The Levi’s have that ideal high-waist, straight-leg silhouette that I’m now determined to replicate with a custom pair or three. There’s also zero stretch, which is great for making your butt look good but admittedly a little tough for sitting comfortably. Wearing white pants is also a personal challenge for me to behave like an adult and not spill coffee or soy sauce on them. I love them dearly, even though I still inevitably stain them and have to soak them in a bleach bath for 30 minutes.
I got them for $50 from a vintage shop in L.A. It was the first time I had ever been there and my first work trip as an editor, so I was feeling all kinds of accomplished. I was 26 and had just been hired full-time at Coveteur a few months prior. I was attending the LACMA awards as a guest of Gucci Beauty, and was getting ready to shoot a story with Petra Collins (a true style crush). I’d left the editorial world for a year and a half prior to that role to work at a few jewelry brands. I’d been feeling incredibly burned out and just wanted to reevaluate what I wanted to do with my life. This trip felt like I was finally back on track to becoming the type of editor I’d always wanted to be, and realizing that I truly loved working in beauty professionally, as opposed to exclusively fashion. I sort of see beauty as my life partner and fashion as my lover, if that makes sense.
As for the shoes, there’s nothing I enjoy more than an old man loafer. I basically want the footwear collection of a retired golfer, and if there’s anything I’m willing to invest in it’s good shoes. I have probably half a dozen shoes that are purely for decoration, like Rosie Assoulin sequined heels I got at a sample sale that are definitely about to break or Miu Miu silk mary-janes that are about six inches tall. They look cute on my shelf (and I get away with wearing them when I’m somewhere like L.A. or Paris), but they’re not suited to a walking city like New York. It is NOT fun when you’re running around to appointments and your shoes start to pinch or you develop a wicked blister. Shoe shopping for me is about finding the right balance of comfort and design, which is why a loafer or a derby or a flatform boot will always be a wardrobe staple for me.
This $265 pair of Gucci loafers came from The RealReal under my loafer tab, which I admittedly check daily. They’re a chunkier style which I’m very into right now, and the leather is already buttery soft since they were worn and loved before I owned them. The hint of hardware also gets me every time–proof that classics are classics for a reason. I wear these constantly, especially with some fun Darner socks in the winter or a feminine mini dress in the summer.
The Louis Vuitton speedy is a hand-me-down from my great aunt Ruth, who is my absolute favorite person in the world. She’s lived the type of life people write movies about, and was in New York City for about 70 years. She’s retired now and lives with my dad in Florida (she’s also turning 102 in July), and although she was never one for pricey fashion, her partner, my uncle Bobby, very much was. He was this dapper guy from Harlem who was always dressed so sharply, and he gave her a whole collection of LV luggage. I don’t know what the occasion was for the gift, but if I had to guess, it was just because he wanted to treat her.
She gave most of the collection to my sister and me a few years ago during an apartment clean-out and I claimed this style. Because it’s actually from the 60s or 70s, the quality is so much better than the modern version, and it just has so much character. I like to add a bandana so it doesn’t seem so capital “F” Fancy. The bandana is from my mom, who lives on a horse farm in the Midwest and was a little baffled when I asked to borrow it for fashion purposes. I don’t like dressing in flashy or “obvious” brands just for the sake of it, but I am a child of the 90s, and part of me misses that campy aspect of putting together an outfit with logos everywhere. It feels a little less thirsty with vintage pieces versus contemporary ones.
I got the jacket for $25 while thrifting in Bushwick, one of my favorite weekend activities. Since there are so many cool, artsy people in my neighborhood, the local Beacon’s Closet is usually stacked with good finds. It’s reminiscent of some of the patchwork jackets from Bode, but at a much lower price point. I also love that it’s quilted. It kind of reminds me of the coat my sister would always wear when we went to horse shows. The horse show aesthetic is very specific–quilted jackets, jodhpurs, tall boots, big diamond earrings. My family wasn’t really at a place to be able to fully participate in all of that (it’s a very expensive hobby), but every now and then I see a piece that is reminiscent of that vibe and I just have to have it.
I like the challenge of taking a piece with a busier pattern or loud color and incorporating it into many outfits. Maybe it’s my own personal rebellion against the luxe minimalist thing that’s happening right now. As much as I want a closet full of neutral cashmere sweaters and cinched-waist trench coats, I can’t help but be drawn to prints, colors, and textures. I’d much rather pick up some vintage 70s silk shirts and wide-leg checkered trousers. That just feels more like me.
As a whole, I think people are gravitating toward this minimalist vibe as a reaction against the “more is more” mentality promulgated by movements like streetwear and the “look how much fashion I can fit on my body” kind of thing. I do appreciate the idea of investing in high-quality pieces that you’ll have forever, but I never feel totally like myself in that sort of luxe, pared-down look. Maybe one day I’ll feel differently, when I can afford to pick up a piece from The Row as if it were a cup of coffee.
My godmother gave me this amazing pineapple necklace a few years ago. It was hers first, so I’m not sure how old it is, but judging from the complicated clasp, at least a few decades. It makes me feel like a Miami grandpa, another one of my favorite style references. I’ve been looking for a second charm to pair with it, but for now it’s pretty perfect on its own. People always ask me where I got it and I love saying it’s vintage even though they’re always so bummed.
I wish I could plan out my outfits ahead of time—it would probably help with my tendency to run at least five minutes late to everything. But I really have to dress according to my mood each day. The type of look I feel most confident and authentic in is constantly evolving—for instance, this outfit feels preppier than I typically dress, but it’s still menswear-inspired and filled with textures and patterns. I just saw a guy on the train who was wearing white trousers with a red hoodie and I couldn’t get him out of my head.
If I tried to recreate this outfit on a different morning, it probably wouldn’t look 100 percent the same. I might crave sneakers instead of loafers; maybe add a beanie, or a swipe of sparkly eyeshadow. Maybe a chunky silver necklace would feel better than yellow gold, or I’d roll up the pant legs. The clothes themselves can only do so much—for me, it’s really about the different ways you can style them, or put unexpected pieces together. That’s what I find so fun about fashion—it truly is limitless. As told to Harling Ross.
Photos by Joshua Aronson.