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James Andrew -- early autumn ensemble

James Andrew — early autumn ensemble

I’m not sure what happened. I was enjoying my extension of summer and suddenly it’s Autumn!

And so I’m reluctantly retiring my summer ensembles — as well as the rosé I’ve been drinking, I’ll have to shelve it for something more full bodied – something that can take the chill out of the air!

Transitional times of year can leave one in a sort of no man’s land when it comes to wardrobe choices. Of course, this rather drastic meteorological shift toward darker, cooler climes comes with some emotional changes as well, but sorting out one’s wardrobe can certainly help one feel a bit better about the whole thing!

I’m thinking it may be too early for tweed, but perhaps corduroy, camel hair, and cashmere might provide just the right level of insulation for now — we’ll graduate to heavier fabrics as the season progresses. Time to break out some of my warmer/richer toned fragrance favorites as well! Tom Ford London and Tuscan Leather; Creed Bois du Portugal and Vintage Taborome; Jo Malone Amber and Lavender; all seem right for this time of year. Needless to say, I’m scrambling to put together finishing touches and track down pieces where there are gaps – the right ties, shirts, shoes, gloves, scarves, etc., to flesh out and complete a fabulous fall look.

By the way, eBay has offered some rather spectacular finds and I can’t wait to sport some of these new pieces for you. I’ll be mixing it up a bit with my tried and tested staple pieces, giving all new life and interest.

A perfect early autumn ensemble starts with this sublime camel hair and cashmere jacket with suede accents by Tom Ford, Turnbull and Asser purple gingham cotton shirt, Polo Ralph Lauren purple cotton corduroy pants, vintage Gucci purple foulard silk scarf and python belt with silver double horse head buckle, vintage orange, purple, and lavender plaid silk pocket square, vintage Rolex, Polo Ralph Lauren sneaker boots (an eBay steal), and my fragrance is Jo Malone Amber and Lavender.

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Watercolor by the author.

Watercolor by the author.

There are always people who we see at the best parties and social events, yet how well do we really know them? Take for instance my exquisite friend Frances Shultz – we’ve known each other for several years and have run into each other in all sorts of places — Lyford to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between. I knew she has great Southern charm, elegance, and wit, but reading her marvelous memoir, The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness, gave me a whole new level of appreciation for this wildly talented, resourceful, and intelligent woman!

photo: Tria Giovan

Garden Room – photo by Tria Giovan

The Bee Cottage Story shares Schultz’s journey from utter despair and confusion to a place of love, acceptance, confidence, and joy — we see this journey paralleled by the transformation of her home; a metaphor for the process of healing and self-discovery. It’s a revealing book filled with goodies; from spiritual insights to the nuts and bolts of decorating. Actually it touches on a whole lot that I find near and dear! Needless to say, we absolutely love it!

The author

Frances Schultz – photo by Trevor Tondro

Schultz certainly has had her share of ups and downs, yet the process of turning Bee Cottage into a home was a tremendous gift that got her through some of her darkest days. Shultz’s tells us that the cottage’s name alludes to the many “be(e)s” that accompany any good transformation — that is, one should “… be creative, be outdoors, be cocooned, be social, be alone, and best of all be me, just be.”

It should also be mentioned that Schultz’s book is filled with the most glorious photos capturing early images of her homes, her family, friends, and much morel It really is a joy to explore her many facets —— her gorgeous process, her highly considered interiors, her thoughts on living comfortably, and the many notes on subject like guest rooms and collecting!


The Pergola – photo by Trevor Tondro

“Maybe it is not so much perfect bliss we seek,” Schultz tells us, “but rather self-awareness.The Buddhist principle of detachment from self-imposed suffering is in its essence the ability to recognize our own neurotic patterns and step aside from them. We aren’t necessarily “cured” of them; we just aren’t caught up in them.The openness and effort to learn sustains our momentum to grow and change. It gives us confidence to admit that things, thoughts, people or places that worked for us at one time in life may not work in another. Letting go creates the space in our closet/day/life for the new/better to come in – or maybe there is just space, and that’s great, too. There is no magic pill for a muddle free existence, but there may be a way to keep one muddle from spilling into another.”

Certainly one of the best books I have read in a long time — do pick it up!

Photo by Tria Giovan

Photo by Tria Giovan

Frances Schultz recently invited me to stop by Bee Cottage, and from the second I stepped onto the property I felt the healing energy of the place. The glorious gardens and the incredible interiors are, in a word, spectacular.

James Andrew at Bee Cottage.

James Andrew at Bee Cottage.

I’m pictured here, seated on one of a pair of the most beautiful benches at Bee Cottage, soaking up the glorious energy and beauty of Bee Cottage and recalling Schultz marvelous memoir. Sporting a Hawke & Co. gray down vest, Tom Ford era Gucci khaki cotton safari shirt, Michael Bastian white denim pants, Kiel James Patrick white woven cotton belt, Polo Ralph Lauren pale blue top siders, vintage Rolex and my fragrance is Jo Malone 154 Cologne.

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James Andrew at the Met

James Andrew at the Met

Last night we were beyond thrilled to attend the opening night gala at the Metropolitan Opera House – the most sublime way to commence the Autumn season.

Scott McBee and I enjoyed a magnificent performance of Verdi’s Otello — the marvelous union of music and tragedy drawn from Shakespeare’s powerful cautionary tale of the distructive powers of jealousy. As expected, the performance and stage sets were spectacular – simply a not-to-be missed night at the opera!

Opening night at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera House

Thankfully most people did indeed dress up to celebrate this very special evening, however there were a few of the shorts and jeans type – pretty outrageous I think. I do wish the Met would require some level of decorum amongst its guests – at least for an opening night gala! When one considers how much effort goes into these productions, the least we can do is dress in a way that honors and celebrates this mutually shared aesthetic experience. Of course, my rant extends beyond the opera to the theatre, ballet, and fine restaurants as well. Enough said on this for now.

Opening night at the MET

Opening night at the Met

To celebrate this magical evening, I’m dressed (top) in a Tom Ford era black silk moire dinner jacket, Tom Ford wool tuxedo pants, dusty mauve cotton voile tuxedo shirt, silk pocket square in purple and lavender silk and patent leather opera pumps, Charvet mauve silk bow tie, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, and my fragrance is Creed Millesime Imperial.

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