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Turns Out I’ve Been Dressing Like a “Coastal Grandmother” for 10 Summers

Our CEO’s mix-and-match summer capsule is all about clean lines, breathable fabrics, and calming neutrals.

By Sarah LaFleur

A capsule wardrobe is a set of pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits. And to help you make the most of your M.M., we’re coming up with a new one each month. For this month’s capsule, our founder and CEO, Sarah LaFleur, is sharing the summer wardrobe formula she’s relied on for the past decade.

A few years ago, I had a realization: Without intending to, I’d created a distinct, consistent, and (if I do say so myself) unfailingly chic summer wardrobe. There’s always been a small sliver of my closet that’s just summer stuff, and one day, I looked at it and noticed that every summer piece I owned was one of two colors: white and blue, with lots of Breton stripes. 

The beauty of this way of dressing is that there’s actually nothing very creative about it. The pieces fit into a cohesive color palette, and therefore, everything works together seamlessly. Case in point: When I travel during the summer, my suitcase comes together in 20 minutes or less—which cannot be said about my trips during the rest of the year. 

Thanks to my accidental capsule, getting dressed during the summer always feels like a breeze. This year’s summer collection is basically a replica of my favorite items that I have accumulated over the past decade. I love wearing things that are billowy or oversized, and because they are made in the two unfailing fabrics of summer—cotton poplin and linen—I always stay cool (and sexy!), even if I’m not showing a ton of skin.

Here are my favorite pieces and how I wear them throughout the summer.

Coffee with My Mentor

A few months ago, I had another realization: My 10-years-strong summer capsule just so happens to be a pitch-perfect example of the “coastal grandmother” aesthetic. From June through August, I live in lightweight fabrics with loose silhouettes—like this outfit, which I recently wore for a coffee date with my mentor—and if that makes me part of the coastal grandmother canon, well, I’m here for it.

Brunch with Friends

I own the Samara sweater in three colors (and counting), because it’s the perfect summer sweater. I can just hear my mother saying, “You’ll never regret bringing a light sweater with you.”

Work Day with the Triblings

When I first had my kids, I was really struggling to get ready in the morning—it would be 9:30, and they’d be fully dressed, but I’d still be in pajamas. I ended up literally googling, “How do working moms with small kids get ready for the day?” And the advice I found basically said, “You must get fully ready before you wake your kids up.” I started following that, and my days got much smoother. What that means for my wardrobe is that it’s rare for me to wear non-machine-washable pieces anymore. I rely heavily on pieces like the Wren top, which look great on Zoom, but won’t be ruined by a little mess—which is especially necessary for after-work ice-cream outings.

Weekend with the Triblings

Equally important as machine-washability is mobility, and I often reach for pieces like the Evie top and Sasha short, which allow me to crouch, crawl, and play with my three toddlers. And when I can pull off matching outfits for all of us? It’s the cherry on top.

Park Day to Date Night

I don’t think summer dresses get enough credit for being great outfits for moms of young kids. After becoming a mom, I found myself constantly reaching for shorts, which made me feel like there was no separation between my running gear and my regular clothes. The other day, I saw an undeniably fashionable mom in the park wearing a long, loose dress, and it reminded me just how chic and practical a dress can be if it’s made in the right fabric. The Fatima is one of my favorite things that Miyako has ever made. Wear it without the belt for an extra-easy look.

Drinks with Girlfriends

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pair of white jeans, look no further: the Sammataro, made from our best-selling Better Than Denim fabric, is your answer. I actually have two pairs of these, because I wear them so often. The Meg top is my dream “secret sexy” silk top. It’s a perfectly appropriate boatneck from the front, but that scoop in the back says, “I’m having fun.”

Casual Friday at the Office

My favorite look of all. Gosh, Miyako really nailed it with this top. Yes, I’d wear this outfit to the office, but what I love about it most is that it’s not situation-dependent. I could also see myself wearing it to the beach or to the Catskills. When you don’t deviate from the classics, you end up with an incredibly versatile wardrobe.

Written By

Sarah LaFleur

Sarah LaFleur is the founder and CEO of professional womenswear brand MM.LaFleur . Her mission: to take the work out of dressing for work.

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