191: Ask Shannon: Paris Travel Attire, Savvy Investment Shopping, Simple, Weekday Dinner Ideas & Totes

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #191 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube Quality Leather Totes Hi Shannon – I was going through your capsule wardrobe pieces and I saw the mark and graham brooklyn tote and the cuyana tote listed.  I have been looking for a cognac purse and have seen both of these before (in addition […] Listen now or continue reading below.
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #191
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube

Quality Leather Totes

Hi Shannon – I was going through your capsule wardrobe pieces and I saw the mark and graham brooklyn tote and the cuyana tote listed.  I have been looking for a cognac purse and have seen both of these before (in addition to madewell and everlane).  Do you have any experience with either brand and/or tote?
Thanks so much!
—Jennifer
~The Vintage Tote Bag, by WP + Standards, $195 (monogram available), ships for free in the U.S. if order is over $75
~Leather Passport Wallet, by WP + Standards, $95 (monogram available)
~Able, Mamuye Leather Tote (more colors available), learn more about the company founded on the mission of being “a lifestyle brand focused on ending generational poverty by working with women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances. We manufacture directly in the communities we wish to impact, both locally and globally, creating jobs and ending the cycle of charity dependency” here. $178
~Mark & Graham’s East/West Leather Tote (red, black and navy available as well) $199
~Mark & Graham Brooklyn Tote, new colors, $225
~Everlane Day Market Tote, (four colors available), $165
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How to Know Which Quality Clothing Items to Invest In

I am currently binge listening to the podcasts for the umpteenth time and you speak to quality over quantity frequently, with which I completely agree. However, how is one to determine what brands/items are quality without having to spend a fortune playing trial and error… Thanks so much in advance! Keep up the awesome work, I look forward to every post and podcast! —Jennifer

Follow these tips:

  1. Check the label
    1. While not in every scenario is paying more money equivalent to a quality item, often it is. However, do your due diligence, and following the below four steps as well to ease your mind if you are new to a particular designer.
  2. Try it on, feel the fabric, check seams, and see how it has been made.
    1. Natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen and wool will last longer than synthetic fabrics; however, even natural products can be diluted – check the fiber quality and density – feel it. The more fiber, the longer it will last.
    2. Look at the buttons and buttonholes: is the stitching tight? This is a good thing. If there are loose threads, this is a bad sign.
    3. Clothing with lining is normally a very good sign, just make sure to check the seams.
    4. Interfacing in collars and cuffs is a good sign as well as it creates the intended structure, but also takes more time and money to construct.
  3. Look to experts in the field you trust – stylists, designers, bloggers, fashion columnists, critics
  4. Have patience. You may have to try on more than a few different brands to find one that not only is top quality but works well on your body type and is to your taste.
  5. Don’t be afraid to return the item if it just doesn’t feel right for you.

~How to Find Your Signature Style

~The Perfect Trench is Personal

Simple Seasonal Eating for a Busy Schedule

Hi Shannon!
I have to be at work by 7:30 am every day and don’t get home until 5:30 pm or later.  So there’s not much energy left to get up early to cook breakfast or spend a couple of hours in the kitchen cooking dinner.  I don’t mind spending maybe an hour cooking dinner and cooking enough so I could eat it for lunch or supper another time during the week.
I love the idea of eating with the seasons like you’ve mentioned.  Can you recommend any books, cookbooks, etc. that might have sample menus and simple recipes so you can eat whatever is in season at the moment but use easily found ingredients and the recipes don’t require you to be a trained chef spending most of the day in the kitchen?   I’ve tried to come up with my own menus but haven’t had much success and found it exhausting.  Any recommendations you can give me is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for all you do!
Marty
  • Capsule Menu Details and Seasonal Menus
  • The latest seasonal menu, Winter – download for free here.
  • Simple go-to weeknight dinners for a busy schedule:
    • Goal: A protein, a low-starch vegetable (prepared in a simple manner roasted, steamed, etc.), and a side of whole grains (brown rice, forbidden rice, quinoa, couscous, barley, etc.)
      • EX: a single salmon fillet pan-fried seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted broccoli with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and black rice (forbidden rice).
      • EX: Lunch or simple and done dinners: Salad greens (baby spinach or arugula), topped with homemade vinaigrette, tossed with a grilled protein – fish, chicken, lean beef, etc., added roasted sliced almonds, walnuts or pine nuts, and a tablespoon of freshly grated cheese.
  • How to Feed Your Body Well
  • How to Enjoy Eating Every Day and Love the Results, episode #165 – seasonal cookbooks are listed on point #10
  • My homemade vinaigrette recipe:
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • View all of TSLL Recipes here

What to Pack for a Trip to Paris in the Spring

Hi Shannon-
I am going to Paris this spring for a few weeks and I don’t want to sacrifice style for comfort and good sense. What would you recommend wearing to walk and walk and enjoy the trip without looking like a tourist and keeping my sense of style intact?  What shoes to wear!? Handbag? Jewelry?
Any thoughts would be so much appreciated.
Cordially,
Jen from So. California

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~SIMILAR EPISODES/POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:

~Ask Shannon Episode of 2017, episode #163

~How to Cultivate Your Style All Year Long, episode #149

~International Travel Prep List, episode #183

Petit Plaisir:

~The New York Times Mini Daily Puzzle
  • free
  • takes fewer than 5 minutes
  • exercise for the brain
  • timed to challenge yourself
  • current and historical references



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12 thoughts on “191: Ask Shannon: Paris Travel Attire, Savvy Investment Shopping, Simple, Weekday Dinner Ideas & Totes

  1. I so enjoyed this episode Shannon and listened multiple times (even with no Paris travel plans in the near future). Thank you for the delightful content and listen (as usual). Have a great week!

    Molly

  2. Have an upcoming trip to London – may have to try on a real Burberry 🙂 Thanks for the tips! I know you didn’t want to say which brands have poor quality, but it would be equally helpful to know which ones we should be wary of/double-check!

    1. Completely understand your inquiry. I am wrestling with how to address this and understand your interest. Just know I will not include those brands in my posts. Have an amazing time in London! The Burberry store near Oxford Circle is gorgeous! Enjoy!

  3. Hi, Shannon! Another wonderful podcast, how I look forward each week! I just want to make one comment of polite and respectful disagreement. About natural fibers: I love them, too. But I really think synthetics have come such a long way, and they do a lot either by themselves—especially for work-to-social days and for travel. From a great slim beige or black pant in well-made poly/rayon that takes one from the plane to the museum to dinner with nary a wrinkle or sign of soil…to a silk-look utility blouse in a great color that continues to look polished, even after many hours, car rides, meetings, etc
    On my last France trip—a Brittany wedding, then Paris in the summer—I really regretted the cotton cardigans/shells and linen pants I’d packed, and after one day, they were wilted, the elbows stretched out, etc…and remained in the suitcase. Meanwhile the pieces with some stretch in non-wrinkling fabric kept me feeling well put-together.
    So it’s just LITERALLY the only time I’ve listened and said, “Hey, now hold on…”, and so you must know I’m a huge fan. Please keep up your good work and thank you!

  4. Thank you for another great episode! I especially enjoyed hearing about how to identify quality clothing through interfacing, lining, and other features. If you have more tips along these lines I would love to hear an entire episode devoted to this topic! Thanks as always for producing a quality podcast!

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