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155: I'm wearing this Toteme top every three days
How to wear Toteme's double-wool top three ways.
Sometimes when I go to a preview, a brand will tell me about a piece they designed to “support” their collection—a pair of shoes for styling or an t-shirt they never expected to put into production—that ends up becoming a best-seller. In a way, this Toteme double-wool top ended up being that for my own personal wardrobe. (I’ll also say that it’s on SSENSE and eligible for the 25% off code.)
At the beginning of the season, I made myself a little Google Slides presentation of references I’d been collecting, from lookbook images to campaigns to runway I’d been holding onto since September to screenshots of people’s IG Stories to photos I’d covertly snapped on streets and trains. (Maybe this is my next public Google Sheet, except it’s Slides…?)
It actually hadn’t occurred to me to buy this top straight away. But when I realized that it showed up on the moodboard across multiple images, it worked itself into the closet of my mind, and I saw with seer-like clarity how much wear I’d get out of it.
It arrived maybe two, three weeks ago and since then I’ve worn it at least five times—some of these looks are outfits I wore out or to an event and then recreated to better capture in studio. It’s become the piece where I go, “Oh, let me just try this thing with the Toteme, I have a feeling,” and then 90% of the time, it’s exactly what I feel like wearing.
The boxy, felted Toteme offers a kind of shapelessness I revel in for fall, when dependence on flesh and form cedes to the rule of may-the-most-reams-win. I love how the bowed-out sleeves mirror the spheres of these barrel-legged Mugler pants, their double-scoop ice-cream silhouette broken up by blue shirttails.
A few notes on these pieces: The Mugler pants are from the brand’s main line—quite an investment a couple years back, and among the best-feeling items I currently own—however they were remade for Casey Cadwallader’s H&M collab (I cannot recommend the downmarket version as it completely misses the point). The shirt is from a Rag & Bone social campaign I recently shot, but it’s absolutely not spon con when I say it’s extraordinarily soft and comfortable, and the exact powdery blue I love against brown. Tabis for good measure, as always.
For those moments when I do want to have a waist—like at a The RealReal dinner I wore this to last week—the top tucks satisfyingly into high-waisted pants. These, by the way, are the vintage wool Escadas I’ve been espousing since day one and were a quick and easy re-up when I realized recently that a gray trouser would nicely fill in a gap I’d noticed. I’ll likely go shopping for a pleated brown pair since that’s another world of opportunity I’ve telescoped.
Aside from the Emme Parsons Ernest fisherman sandals I’ve been wearing a lot lately, I have a long history with white shoes. I wore them almost exclusively for years (I’ve since corrected that glitch), and still harbor a possibly unrealistic belief that they make me look taller. In Paris, I was on a serious mission to buy a pair of the Loro Piana Rebecca flats I’d had my eye on since including them in that season’s Future Shopper, and then again in this season’s Google Sheet. Anyway, turns out they were sold out in all of France (and most of Europe), which saved me from spending $1,000 on a pair of shoes with an implicitly abbreviated lifecycle. When I came home, though, I picked up a pair of these LoQ Camila heels that cost considerably less and are satisfying in other ways: a soft leather upper that molds to your foot, a marginally higher heel with a great shape that keeps these fresher for longer, a cool toe.
Toteme Double Wool Top, $820 / Silk Laundry bias-cut pants, $310 / Maryam Nassir Zadeh Julien bag in Suede Rust, $587 / Emme Parsons Ernest sandals in Ivory Calfskin, $515 / Ayllon Heures necklace in Lazuli, $88
This was the first look I wore when I got the top, just for a walk around the neighborhood—a pop by Outline, a stop into Dae. It’s my take Christian Girl Autumn-PSL is my personality-type dressing. The Silk Laundry pants solve a bunchiness problem I ran into with a few pairs of trousers I thought would work, but didn’t. The smooth surface lets the hem of the wool top move around freely, which prevents it from riding up when worn on its own and left untucked.
Here! Those Emme Parsons Ernest fisherman sandals I mentioned above. I’m sure you can see why I adore them. The gelateria neutrals of this look’s core components make possible a non-Americana pairing of red and blue accessories. This Ayllon necklace is a powerful third eye, which, against the Toteme, recalls the sage wisdom of the Jersey Shore tanning salon: blue and brown really make each other pop. This harvest-coded MNZ suede Julian bag speaks for itself.
Some ideas if you like the concept of the top, but perhaps not the top itself: a Proenza Schouler sweater with similar double-faced stiffness, but a turtleneck instead of a bateau neckline; a “Super Hard” Auralee crewneck that’ll achieve some satisfying bunchiness; a more straight-cut Eileen Fisher version with pockets that’s otherwise a not-far-off match; and one left of this Issey Miyake scrunch-pleated curve top.
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