The M Dash

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What I Wore: Sarah LaFleur

October 20, 2019 | Filed in: Your Closet

To show the versatility and ease of our new Omakase wardrobes, we’re launching a style diary series, following a week in the life of M.M. employees. First up, our CEO, Sarah LaFleur. 

Sarah wears the Cheryl coat, the Jane dress, the Wide Strap belt, and the Williamina earrings.

Saturday

NYC, I’m back! How I’ve missed you. I’ve been in Japan and India for the past two-and-a-half weeks. My co-founder, Miyako, and I traveled to Tokyo to do a press announcement about a recent investment and also to explore a potential opening in Japan. I wore my trusted Adelaide for the actual event, which I pulled out of my suitcase (wrinkle-free!) after having tucked it in the bottom of the pile for five days. In a running theme, I developed another eye infection and debated wearing an eye patch but managed to get it under control in the nick of time. My eye is my tell: if I’m stressed, it’s getting infected. Miyako needs to design me a sexy, wrinkle-resistant eye patch for these moments. Do you think it would sell?

I’m deviating a bit from “what I wore today” here, but this is what was in my suitcase:

In Tokyo, it was 80 degrees, so I lived in my breezy staccato pieces: the Marilyn dress, the Annika top, and the Zhou culottes.

In India, it was 95 degrees, so I wore my beloved Gigi dress (which I love so much that I got it made in another fabric while I was in India!) and my stretch linen pieces: the Angelina top and the Chester pants (which I now own in three colors)

For every flight, I wore the Colby pants, the Giulia top, and the Para pullover. I feel like Jennifer Lawrence ready to be paparazzied at LAX.

Sarah wears the Carmen jacket and the Ponza earrings.

Sunday 

Now that we’ve ventured into casual pieces, I tend to wear M.M. on the weekends, too. Today, it’s the Hockley pant with the Celeste top, my go-to Audrey Hepburn look. 

I stopped wearing tight jeans about two years ago. I just can’t wear uncomfortable things anymore. It started when I was doing IVF (where, in a twist of irony, you begin to look 4-months pregnant), and I stopped fitting into my jeans. I think I can fit into them again, but honestly, why bother? I’ve got the Hockleys now.

I will take full credit for the birth of these pants. I told Miyako I wanted the Foster pant, but even comfier. She looked at me like I was insane. Six months later… voilà! The Hockley pants were born. I live in them now.

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Monday 

It’s back to work! When I left NYC, it was 85 degrees, and now it’s a beautiful 55: autumn in New York. I take my 90-pound pup, Ruggles, out for a walk in Central Park. Most days, I feel like this city will eat me alive, but sometimes, it makes me feel like the star of my own romantic comedy. Today is one of those days. I wear my extra-comfy sweat pants from Marine Layer and my Patagonia fleece. I often worry about running into a customer looking like, well, most definitively not the CEO of M.M. It has happened a couple of times before, and I always go into panic mode. “I don’t normally look like this!” (But I do.)

Sarah wears the Cheryl coat, the Jane dress, the Wide Strap belt, and the Williamina earrings.

This week, our company is launching Omakase, our new capsule offering. We’ve all been test-driving the various Omakase offerings to make sure it’s perfection, and I decide to spend this week in the Power Player Omakase.

There’s something about going to the office after a long time away that makes you feel like it’s your first day of school. I decide to throw on the Jane, which I call my “Michelle Obama dress” (White House years), and dig out my Cheryl coat in sharkskin. I love a good coat. One of the best pieces of fashion advice I ever got was to change your coat depending on your outfit. For most of my twenties, I used to spend the winters wearing one puffer, regardless of what I was wearing underneath. Apparently, this is a dead giveaway for “unfashionable person.” Change your coat to match what you’re wearing underneath. “Dressing for the streets is just as important as dressing for the office!” I’m trying, I’m trying!

Footwear: my go-to commuter flats are from Chloe, which I almost always score for a hefty discount, new-in-box, from eBay, but today I decide to put my best foot forward (literally) by walking to the subway in my Ginger pumps. They’re made for hitting the pavement.

Sarah wears the Cheryl coat, the Jane dress, the Wide Strap belt, and the Ginger pump.

Tuesday

Today is packed with meetings, so I can hear what the M.M. team has been up to while I’ve been gone. The day calls for comfort! I’m a sucker for knit tops. I pair the Thelma with the Mejia pant and the Wide Strap belt. My theme for this fall is Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy (or is it Gwyneth from A Perfect Murder?). There’s something a bit weird about making someone who was 5 inches taller than you and had totally different coloring your “fashion muse,” but what can I say, her style was classic, and aren’t we all feeling the 90s right now? The Power Player Omakase is filled with pieces that I think she would have worn.

Sarah wears the Thelma top, the Mejia pant, the Wide Strap belt, and the Ponza earrings.

This is a soft, approachable outfit, and I love the classic look of the sharkskin gray fabric with the black of the Thelma—it feels very New York to me. I pair it with the Grace loafer and the Ponza earrings. These are pearl earrings, but organically shaped, so I feel classic, but not stuffy.

Wednesday

I’ve got a day of meetings followed by a panel, and then my husband and I are going out for a late dinner. As a general rule, I’ve stopped wearing black when I appear on panels. I don’t have a particular desire to stand out (if it’s not obvious yet, I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies), but I want to provide some “pop” on stage. My hands reach for the Twyla top in iolite (that’s purple!) and the matching Lenox skirt. The two combined make it look like an elegant dress. Miyako once told me that if you want to look fashionable, you should wear a stylish bottom. Everyone wears a stylish top; only the really fashionable people wear a stylish bottom. This rule definitely holds today: the Lenox skirt provides an extra oomph. Ginger pumps and the Capri earrings complete the look. 

Dinner is at our usual spot, Cafe Luxembourg, which is a French bistro. For neighborhood dining, my husband and I rotate among three restaurants: Cafe Luxembourg, RedFarm (expensive but delicious Chinese), and the newest-comer to the Upper West Side, Leyla (Turkish). At Cafe Luxembourg, I always order the hot fudge sundae for dessert. I have to unzip the top of my skirt by the end. 

Sarah wears the Carmen jacket and the Ponza earrings.

Thursday

I’ve got two very special visitors today: my board advisor, Rebecca Sherer (more about her in another post), and my mentor, Shira Goodman, who was the former CEO of Staples. These women are the people I want to be 10, 20 years from now—the most down-to-earth, collaborative, high-EQ leaders I know. I’m reminded of an article I read in the New York Times this summer about how some of the most successful female leaders have embraced “accessibility” as a key trait. They’re the two best examples I know.

So, I dress to impress! I bring out the Carmen jacket, which is my favorite piece from this collection. Miyako has really outdone herself with this one. The material is an Italian sharkskin wool blend. For the uninitiated, sharkskin fabric has nothing to do with actual sharks! It’s called sharkskin because the appearance created from weaving two different-toned threads apparently looks like shark’s skin… but how should I know? I just love the slight sheen. And the ruching on the jacket screams “don’t mess with me.” This is the I-stopped-wearing-basic-black-blazers-ages-ago jacket. I pair it with my trusted black pants, the Shaw

Sarah wears the Carmen jacket and the Shaw pant.

Friday

Unlike some companies, the M.M. office has a dress code. Monday through Thursday, we’re business casual, and on Friday, we’re creative casual—or as I like to say, it’s Fashion Forward Friday, baby! That means wear whatever you want. Crop tops, short shorts, I don’t care. Just dress to inspire

But today, I’ve got some VIPs visiting, so we’re sticking to business casual. I still want to be comfy and feel a bit of that Friday joie de vivre, so I pair the Thelma (comfy) with the Lenox skirt (joy). I think I look sexy, but appropriately so. 

Sarah wears the Thelma top and the Ponza earrings.

I don’t know if it was finally being back to my routine or just having the ease of the Power Player Omakase at my disposal, but I loved only having a few items to pick from every morning and knowing that whatever I chose to wear, they would work well together. 

Now that the weekend is here, I’m excited to dig into a new book that just came out this Tuesday called Life Undercover. It’s apparently an “Eat Pray Love”-like book written by a former undercover CIA agent who posed as an art dealer. (I wonder how she picked out her outfits every morning?!) I can’t wait to curl up in an Angelou shawl, order some sushi (nope—not sick of it!), and just relax.

Sarah wears the Cheryl coat, the Jane dress, and the Wide Strap belt.

Photos by Rich Gilligan.

Styling by Nyjerah Cunningham. 


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


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