Culture,  Living,  Style

It Had to Be Cable-Knit Sweaters and Pumpkin Candles

It’s 92 degrees as I write this, but the scent of pumpkin and apple fills the air. It’s Labor Day weekend, and I’m determined to bring fall into my house even if it’s sweltering in Los Angeles and will likely continue to be for another two months.

Author evoking "When Harry Met Sally" in rust-colored sweater, gold hoop earrings and berry lipstick, seated outside.
I’m schvitzing. Also, that’s a fuzz on my sleeve, not a large piece of dandruff, in case you were wondering.

I’m the person who walked through Target’s home section yesterday just to fondle the new, cozy pillows and sniff the maple candles, so that for a moment I could be transported to a place where brush fires aren’t a threat. Where instead the fire is in the hearth, and I’m reclined on a fuzzy rug with a mug of tea in my hand, singing “It Had to Be You” to the man in my life, who happens to have four very short legs.

I’ve always loved fall, and now that I live in a warmer climate, I long for it more. We do get the change of seasons here, despite what anyone says. We just get it later. But the trees in my neighborhood do turn, and at some point I’ll be surrounded by the golds and oranges and burgundies that I long for.

But not soon enough.

It’s around this time of year that I think about one of my favorite movies, “When Harry Met Sally…” Maybe it’s because the promo photos feature a perfectly autumnal setting, but I’m always brought back to the scene of Sally and Harry walking through the park. Sally wears her tweed jacket, hat and gloves and it just reminds me of the crisp weather that makes me feel refreshed and that anything is possible. It makes me think, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Funny how that’s the case, right? That the wonderfully nutty, musty scent of decaying leaves should make me feel renewed? If only all signs of age made me feel the same way….

Romantic comedies usually come out in the spring and summer, when the warmth of the sun is supposed to make people in the mood to get it on. I think they belong in the fall. I’ve noticed (as a single person) that people on dating apps seem more apt to be looking for a casual encounter in the summer, but then look for relationships come fall. That’s when I want to see (highly idealized) stories about true love. Again, it’s that fresh-start feeling that comes with the (in L.A., imagined) brisk air.

This is also the time of year that – since school days – has been associated with clothes shopping. Ah…a fresh start for the closet.

And Sally’s style, even at 30 years old, is something I want to evoke, however tangentially. Like this cardigan from J. Crew, which feels fresh, romantic and flattering with its balloon sleeves and high neck. The ivory is the most versatile, although I’m leaning toward the Warm Forest, an inviting peacock blue.

J. Crew balloon sleeve cable knit cardigan

And instead of the wide-brimmed bowl hat that was popular in the late ’80s (I had one from Banana Republic, I think), I’m lusting after this tweedy bucket hat from Anthropologie.

Belle bucket hat, Anthropologie, $58

This one from Madewell has both the texture and color to give you the fall fuzzies.

Short-Brimmed Corduroy Bucket Hat, Madewell, $32

Lately I’ve also been in the mood for the kind of chunkier gold hoops that my mom wore at the time “When Harry Met Sally…” was released. Coincidentally (or maybe due to a collective style consciousness?), they’re now trending.

L to R: Jenny Bird Ora hoops, $95 // Machete .75″ Perfect Hoops in 14k Gold, $68 //
The Hexad BOLD Rei Hoops in Gold (Medium), $29

For now, I’ll just look at these items. Maybe buy one, two or three. And then obsessively click on the Weather app. Rewatch “When Harry Met Sally…” for the umpteenth time. Plus count down the weeks until fall arrives in this part of the country. And remind myself that there will be days in the months ahead that I’m glad I live here and not in a colder climate.

Sooner than you can ask, “But ‘baby fish mouth’ is sweeping the nation?” I’ll be ogling boots and pine candles. But that’s for another post.

Photo details:
Sweater: J. Crew (AW 2018/2019)
Earrings: Jenny Bird
Edie Hoops
Lipstick: Lisa Eldridge
Velvet Jazz
Overuse of parentheticals: unapologetically my own

Robyn Kern is the Tangentier. A long-time writer based in Los Angeles with a degree in screenwriting and an interest in mindfulness, many tangents led her here: a place where people can come to find and share inspiration, dwell in each others' passions, and learn how to surround themselves with what they love on the daily.


  • Lloyd Kern

    I never thought I’d be longing for Fall before until I read this!

    The only reason that I like that season is because that’s when they play the World Series. They used to play it during the early part of October in the daytime when the air was still nice and crisp. When shadows would creep over left field in old Yankees Stadium and Yogi Berra would remind us that “it gets late early this time of year.” Now with expanded playoffs and more teams, the Series frequently extends into November and at night! Seeing snow flakes coming down in Cleveland and maybe this year in Minneapolis and players wearing ski gear is not what baseball is supposed to be.

    The real reason that I’m not a fan of Autumn is what follows—the dreaded winter! Living in the East and listening for that forecast of that horrible four letter word “snow” and an even worse three letter word “ice”. I get a kick out the weather forecasters predicting some overnight “light” snow. Of course it’s light! The only time it’s dark snow is when it’s on the streets for days and it’s really dark and ugly.

    While it’s always nice to visit LA to visit Robyn, but I’ll take the true Four Seasons with a little Vivaldi mixed in.

    • Robyn Kern

      You’ve always been fine with the hot weather. I remember you ordering onion soup and coffee while sitting at an outdoor cafe in Epcot in the heat! I don’t mind the heat but prefer when it’s in the 70s – comfortable, when I can sit outside and enjoy it without frying.

  • Meryl KERN

    Fall always seemed most intense when living in Connecticut. The colors were more vibrant probably because of the many maple trees. The smell of wood burning fireplaces& fallen sweet apples spoke of coming winter. Raking leaves was invigorating & a way of meeting my neighbors

    I always wanted to get my nest ready, put things in order so I could cope with the winter seasons The idea of coming in from a day chilled and windy to a warm welcoming cup of hot fragrant something was a draw. It was a great time to cook & bake , steaming the kitchen with delicious aromas.

    As time has passed, winter feels colder here in Pennsylvania. Learning to crochet has afforded me the opportunity to be creative while nestling under an afghan in the works.
    Each season brings its own joys, especially as I look out on an ever changing vista of sprawling lawns, gardens and woods & all the wildlife. Fall is energizing even though the plants and trees have lost their luster. I feel lucky to be a part of all these changes.

    • Robyn Kern

      I love how you make raking sound appealing! All the other things you mentioned are parts of the season that I miss from the NE and try to duplicate here in LA.

      • Rhoda Gansler

        I too am preparing for autumn. I’ve taken my long sleeved shirts and lightweight sweaters out already, but I’m still wearing white pants!!!

  • Linda Burkett

    I loved the end of August, because of the fall editions of Seventeen, Vogue and Elle Magazines and The Fashion of the Times featured leather jackets and boots, tweeds, plaids and luxurious sweaters. They evoke my cherished memories of raking leaves in the backyard, jumping into the piles, and smelling the aroma of burning leaves.
    My first apartment had those autumn colors of harvest gold, avocado green and paprika. So did everyone else’s in the early seventies. I still like to be surrounded by autumn colors now, especially while I’m enjoying my pumpkin spice coffee!

    • Robyn Kern

      Yes!!! I’m with you on the magazines. I loved how they weighed a ton, and I didn’t care that that was due mostly do all the ads. What’s with you and mom with the raking?! Haha. I like the jumping, but wasn’t crazy about the labor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.