Inspiration, By Invitation Only

A while back, I started a Pinterest board called, “The Friends of Khaki.” I’ve been collecting images of sand and camel and, yes, khaki, ever since. In December I pinned this photo, via Sally at Already Pretty, and thought “Perfect! Camel, black, and turquoise!”

And just as quickly thought, “Horrors! Pointy-toed high-heeled turquoise pumps!” Foot pain meets pop of color just aren’t my gig, as they say. But the inspiration stuck, the color mix perched in my imagination like a blue migrant in a winter tree.

Last month, in the after-Christmas sales, I passed a MaxMara store at the Stanford shopping center. In the window, a perfect coat. Camel, perhaps needless to say. I wasn’t looking, per se, but clearly the concept was blowing around somewhere in the back of my mind.

The process of developing and executing style is rarely linear. The word inspiration is related to breath and wind, regular but not mechanical. Buying a coat is nothing poetic, but our creative processes show up everywhere.

Although I celebrated Old Black Cashmere – a 35 year old wrap coat – on my recent trip to Manhattan, it was clear even then her time had passed. And a sale of MaxMara cashmere comes along only once in a blue moon. Or maybe I should say turquoise. The coat is light, roomy, soft, informal, and elegant. I’m hoping it’s good until 2048. I’m also wearing a pair of black J. Crew cords, a black cotton turtleneck tee, and black Beautifeel lace up heels. It’s rarely hard to find black clothes to finish up a look, at least in my particular closet.

Not to mention Costco sunglasses, a paisley Etro scarf my brother gave me 10 years ago, and these little earrings.

Interpretation is allowed, even required. It’s always hard to say whether inspiration originates ideas, or simply articulates something we already know or feel.



For a few more more posts from the global By Invitation Only crowd of lifestyle bloggers – inspired, of course, by the lovely Marsha – please visit Splenderosa here.

Camel skirt from Talbots Spring 2011 via

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  • I would say this is a completely successful outfit and looks perfect on you! You were totally right not to pass on the Max Mara coat. I have copious amounts of sand/beige in my closet and recently built up, or re-built I should say, my black basics so am inspired to combine them with a little touch of jewel colours I love.

  • Everything together looks very up to date,timeless and forever in style. Advice is needed. Looking at a new Trenchcoat to replace 1980’s era. I saw a lovely lavender Ralph lauren. I don’t need this for warmth so it might work but I have never considered anything else but Khaki. What do you think?

    8:48 am
    Sandra said...

    Sounds so exciting. Buy it. Wear it like a special gift. If you hate it, I’ll buy it from you. ;)

    11:53 am
    Lisa said...

    I’m liking lavender these days, for all kinds of things. A trench would be especially nice.

  • I adore the color camel. I bought a Banana Republic coat in camel back in the early ’90’s, back when BR still made good quality garments, and I still have it. In fact I wore it the other day and will be blogging about it soon.

    I wore mine with black also and now I am regretting not adding a dash of turquoise. I must try that next time I wear it. I never thought of it.

    Your coat looks great on you and it looks so soft! I can tell it’s wonderful quality even from the photos.

  • Invitation only? Moi? And, what’s this about a recent trip to the city? Did you and Max go Belgie shopping and bar brawling without me again? insert pout…XXOO

    11:58 am
    Lisa said...

    I was just in Manhattan on business. You can be sure, the next time I’m there with Maxie we’re calling you up. After all, we need some muscle the way we roll…

  • What is it about beige? Camel’s hair? khaki? I absolutely cannot wear it. Cannot. It looks dreadful on me no matter the season, no matter whether my skin is sun-kissed, pasty white or deliciously bronzed a la Coted d’Azure Bain de Soleil Gelee #4 (do you remember?!) So, I’ll trade you all the beige and khaki in the world for those absolutment delicieuse turquoise pumps… yes, those with the pointy toe! Ahhhh!!! Delightful.

    You of course, whether in khaki or black are the epitome of style!

  • Max Mara does wonderful coats and their fabrics are sumptuous.
    You’ve got a very lovely coat Lisa!
    Looks fabulous on you and the fit is perfect.
    Wishing I could feel the wool :-)

  • What a fabulous coat – you look great and I love how you’ve styled it – especially the turquoise touch! S x

  • Lovely! You and the inspired outfit :)

  • YOU inspire ME.

    11:58 am
    Lisa said...

    Aw. It’s mutual.

  • At the suggestion of Marsha from Splenderosa, I am stopping by to introduce myself as well as to say “Thank You” for “Inspiring” me. You have Razzled and Dazzled and Wowed me with your creativity, talent, thoughts and ideas this past year.
    Please stop by, say hello and leave a comment, they are always welcome. I hope not to disappoint, but rather compliment your work and inspire you, as you have inspired me.

  • That coat is perfection on you. I dream of owning a coat so beautiful. I’ve always wanted a classic camel Burberry short trench. The scarf is also divine.

  • The second picture of you in the sunshine is a good one!
    Personally, pointy toes on shoes, turquoise and camel do no favors for me.

  • Love the camel… and I kind of like the turquoise shoes…:) xv

  • I love how minimalist and elegant that coat is! Quite comfy looking, too. Sounds like a wonderful purchase.


  • Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

  • What a great coat! May we all still be admiring it in 2048.

    12:01 pm
    Lisa said...

    Longevity is a virtue in just about everything, right?

  • You will not be surprised to learn I love those turquoise pointy stilletoes! :)
    In fact I love the whole outfit – the skirt, the cardie, the surprise of the coloured shoes. Thank you! How I wish it was spring …

    Your coat is perfection.

  • Love it all. I haven’t had the perfect camel/cashmere coat since college. I’m longing for one. Turquoise — in small doses and never, ever in a piece of clothing (for me) is wonderful. And, well, black. . . what can one say?

    You are divine, dear Lisa.


  • No one makes coats like MaxMara. It looks perfect on you!

  • Who could resist MaxMara, Lisa? This coat is divine, and you are divine wearing all this great looking stuff. I keep many things for years, I never tire of any of them and, like you, perhaps I keeps some too long. But, hey, they were great pieces and deserve a dignified end. Thank you for participating today, you’re a DOLL !!

  • Oh how I love camel and black. The tourquoise addition is indeed an inspiration.

  • Love the camel coat – it looks fabulous on you, and MaxMara coats last forever. I have my Big Investment charcoal grey MaxMara coat, purchased 12 years ago, and it still looks current. You’re right too….inspiration comes from all sorts of places, it’s not a linear process!

  • Love it! that coat is wonderful! (and the earrings!)

  • I too adore camel and black (they never go out of style) and the splash of turquoise gives the outfit just the right touch.

  • Gorgeous! I dream of my own camel Max Mara … someday, perhaps.

    12:02 pm
    Lisa said...

    With your skills I sense you may thrift one:). You know, if you come West again, wander down my way and I will take you to a consignment shop that sources from Atherton, California. All kinds of good stuff.

  • I can’t wear camel, but if I could, I’d love to be able to wear it just like this — you look just perfect!

  • I am forever pinning images I am drawn to and then having a similar conversation in my head about the particulars. Green with envy for the camel coat. Love that it is sans belt. The only discordant note in the photo arises from the contrast between your attire and the lush look of green behind you. ; )

    12:03 pm
    Lisa said...

    That’s how we do winter in California! Mind you, it might still be 48 degrees, so coats are required.

  • Looking fabulous Lisa. Very chic!

  • It was fun reading all the “inspiration” posts, and it’s very nice to read a literal one – from Pinterest to an actual inspired coat with accessories.
    Very beautiful coat, and I think you’ll get loads of wear for many years from it. Hope you get your black one too.

  • your hair is 11/10 x

  • Such a gorgeous coat, great length, and you look just fabulous. xx Coty

  • Great outfit. I used to work with Max Mara, an amazing family who owns from Vinyards, to fashion of course, hotels…you name it.I had a beautiful beige cashmere Max Mara coat, but last summer, moths decided to feast on it! You look really great, relaxed and elegant !

    12:04 pm
    Lisa said...

    How exciting that you know the family.

  • You look elegant and beautiful in that coat; would love it with charcoal grey turtle and trousers, too. Now to check out the Pinterest images.

  • Love the look Lisa and love the writing!!! And having ideas on those high heeled pumps….

  • Love the coat Lisa!

  • You “phrased” it just right: Inspiration = Inhaling = breathing in !
    As camel is one of my favorite colors – I Love your post! And the combination with black and an uplifting glimpse of turqoise – what could be more perfect!
    I take a deep ‘breath’ of joy!
    Greetings, Karin

  • Gorgeous coat. There is nothing like a MaxMara they should last for years.

  • You look wonderful. Good for you for buying it! I love Max Mara; hard to go wrong with them. Enjoy your beautiful new coat!

  • Sublime, and MaxMara coats are the best. Great scoop!

  • Nice coat!

    Turquoise is a favorite of mine. In some respects it’s a good thing to live in a colder-than-California climate. The need for a hat/gloves present an opportunity to add in pop colors that you might not want to larger quantitites.

    12:41 pm
    Lisa said...

    True dat.

  • This is a seriously great look! Lovely lapels on the coat and the whole looks so effortlessly flattering, modern and timeless. Especially with the hair worn open!

  • Adore the coat and the introduction of the neck scarf, a camel coats always pull an ensemble together – making it more refine.

  • Beautiful, easy, luxe coat. And on you, gorgeous! I love and adore camel and black, but camel is very draining on me, black is a bit harsh these days. I still wear both: black sweater with khaki pants that are kind of camel and a scarf that blends the two and adds a bit of…blue-green!

  • Camel looks at home in the city or rural surrounds.Ida

    12:42 pm
    Lisa said...

    Even green rural;).

  • As someone whose motto is “Life’s too short for beige” ;), I love the idea of the pop of color in your Pinterest photo, but the stillettos just scream “Barbie,” and the toe cleavage (yuck) does nothing to elevate the look.

  • I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good camel coat, but it’s hard to find a less-expensive quality one that fits and is a flattering shade… maybe I will have better luck finding a unicorn?

    I could get a lot of use out of your earrings, though!

  • I would love for you to publish a book on all things “amid privilege” – I think a camel coat is just that… I have one with a fur cape hood and each time I wear it, I feel so dignified. I used to have a camel pea coat. I think camel is so elegant, sporty and regal.
    Just look at you all cloaked in camel! Love to turquoise lobes.

  • Lisa, great look. I especially love the colors of the scarf with the neutral shades.
    Also, I love your long hair. If only I could let my long hair go gray…this dying it blond thing is so tedious.

  • I want everything on this page – and you as a friend! Gorgeous! Stumbled upon your page and got stuck here for an hour… You are an amazing person!

    9:23 pm
    Lisa said...

    @lisa, Why thank you so much! And we’re all friends here. Feel free to keep sticking;).

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