Style

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

Whenever we walk by Clare V.’s Brooklyn store on the way to work, there’s a woman standing in the doorway looking impossibly adorable. Over time, we’ve gotten to know Sarah Ali Pacha, the store manager, and she’s just as sweet and warm as she is stylish. Originally from Algeria, Sarah moved to the U.S. in 2011 and now lives in Crown Heights with her three-year-old son, Laeth. Here, she shows us five outfits she’s been wearing all summer and reveals the one thing she’ll never put on…

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

Fitted T-shirt: American Apparel. Midi skirt: similar. White sneakers: Vans. Woven bag: Clare V.

“I really relate to the style in French New Wave films by Truffaut and Godard from the 50s and 60s, like Jules and Jim or Breathless. It’s a sexy look but also really wearable. The brands I shop from again and again are American Apparel, H&M, Zara and ASOS, especially for tops, which I don’t think you need to spend a ton on. A great T-shirt is a great T-shirt. I also like wearing independent designers like Black Crane and Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

Knit tank: American Apparel. Drawstring pants: Szeki. Heels: Maryam Nassir Zadeh. Earrings: Annie Costello Brown.

“I never wear a bra. I have small breasts, so I honestly don’t need one. It would feel like covering something up for no reason. I’m the same about makeup. I wear some mascara or blush, but that’s it. I don’t want to conceal too much and I think I look nice just how I am.”

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

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Chambray dress: American Apparel (sold out), similar. Purple pouch: Clare V. Sandals: similar.

“Bags and shoes are where I’m willing to spend a little more because they last a long time. I used to be the type of person who had one bag and only a few shoes, but now I have a few more and I try to alternate them all the time. They really make an outfit — a simple dress or jeans become much more interesting.”

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

Striped pants: Totokaelo (sold out). White tee: Clare V. Leather sandals: Birkenstocks.

“One of my favorite categories of clothes is trousers. I have a lot of them. They’re tomboyish but elegant. You can style them in a very feminine way if you want to, but they’re still easy to run around in. I especially love the shapes of all the pants made by Szeki.”

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

A Week of Outfits: Sarah Ali Pacha

Cashmere sweater: Everlane. Trousers: similar. Loafers: DNA Footwear.

“When it comes to dressing as a mom, the most important thing to me is to keep my personality in my clothes. I can wear things that are good for playing and running around the city, but they still have to let me feel like I’m expressing the real me, not just the mom me.”

Thank you so much, Sarah! Your style is fantastic.

P.S. Five outfits that always work and a French bra trick.

(Photos by Ana Schechter for Cup of Jo. Interview by Lexi Mainland.)

  1. This series has become my favorite in your blog! Reminds me of old blogs, of the ‘next-door’ girls sharing what they were wearing unpretentiously. I miss those days!

  2. KayN says...

    Sarah, you are lovely and cool without trying too hard – and your little boy is GORGEOUS!

  3. Aga says...

    I love that she doesn’t wear a bra or make-up!

    “I think I look nice just how I am” – words to live by!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed!

  4. I love her style. It’s so effortless.

  5. She is well and truly chic!

  6. CoraD says...

    Love this!!! More, more, more, please, please, please!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes for sure!

  7. Eva says...

    Could you do Beauty uniform with her, please? would love to read it :)

  8. Laura C says...

    Great post Lexi! I love Sarah’s attitude, she is strong in her simplicity.
    I think that all of us readers have great outfits too. Have you ever considered to do a sort of contest or something? So once a month you could write a style post “introducing” one of us.
    Just a suggestion!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great idea, laura!!

  9. Meredith says...

    I love her style! I would love to see what she wears when the weather turns cold. As others have said, maybe a series…

  10. I am in love with her style i am a trouser lover too. I do not wear make up well lipstick maybe eyeliner on a special occasion but i cant say the same with a bra lol it would be nice to go out without one. Never ever will happen with these lol

  11. Janine Laiden says...

    Cutie!

  12. Laurel says...

    Please make this a series, it’s awesome! And she’s got fabulous style. Well done!

    • Natalie says...

      Yes, when I opened this one, I was hoping Week of Outfits was a new series! Would be so cool.

  13. Lisa says...

    I love this post! Please please please make it a series. She has the best style, so chic and understated

  14. I’ll cast another vote for this being a recurring thing! Love it!

  15. Talia says...

    Wow! What an effortless beauty! Love her style!

  16. jen says...

    Wow, she really nails it. I thought immediately of the original ‘Breathless.”

  17. Tiff says...

    Can anyone give a source for that beautiful necklace she is wearing with the dress? It’s so pretty and simple!

  18. Love this post! Her style is so chic but simple. Love it!

  19. Janice says...

    This series is great. I’m wondering if you could do a follow up with some of the women you’ve profiled in the past, but showing how they dress in the winter or other seasons? I’d love to see how their style adapts for the weather for ideas!

  20. Carly Travis says...

    Yesss! Please make this a series! Every style post you’ve done on here is so on point.

  21. Amy says...

    Thanks for this post! Like Lauren E., I really hope that this is a new series. Can’t wait to see more outfits from stylish women.

  22. I ADORE her philosophy about dressing as a mom! I’ve felt this way for a long time, and sometimes find myself lost in the “mom comfort zone”. Thanks for re-framing this idea for me!

  23. This is a woman clearly in touch with who she is and pretty darn happy about it. Love it! She knows her shape and how to play it up. And her confidence is just wonderful.

    I’d love to see this as a regular feature. If you need recommendations, my friend Vallnez is amazing! http://www.vallnezmozell.com

  24. Andrea says...

    I can’t go totally bra-free but I recently made the switch to underwire- and padding-free bras and it’s been amazing. Just enough lift for my E cups to have a really natural look, and so comfortable!

    • shanze says...

      oh- id love to do this, my c cups are post 2 kids and extended breastfeeding e cups. Would you mind sharing what brand of bra actually works?

      thanks!

    • Madie says...

      I’m way more into minimal bras too these days – I just can’t do it with the giant molded, underwire boulder holders anymore. They make me look bigger than I really am, and I’m dying to take them off by the end of the day. But I have DD boobs, so it’s been challenging to find something that gives just enough lift and coverage. This one is a winner: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L5YLSHO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
      And it’s cheap! Anyone else have a winner to try?

  25. f says...

    love! all of it.

  26. BRB have to go completely emulate her haircut

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Haha, awesome!

    • Tara says...

      I’m doing the same!

    • Diana says...

      Haha! I just cut my bangs super short yesterday, didn’t realize it until now, but I probably subconsciously copied this look because the cut happened just after reading this post. ::blushes::

  27. Heather says...

    Oh to have small breasts and not have to wear a bra!

  28. It’s like the fashion version of My Beauty Uniform! So I guess it’s My…Uniform? Anyway, I love it.

  29. lisa says...

    Her style is amazing. The yellow mustard skirt is something I’ve been searching for and not finding it (or buying it when I do find something close). The pleats make that skirt. BUT, here’s the thing, I would never buy those maroon pants based on the website photo, but the way Sarah has styled it makes me to own those.

    • JW says...

      They’re 100% not the same pants. Hers don’t have the belt loops and the weave in the fabric is more textured. I had the same thought. It’s a bummer, as hers are great!

  30. Lauren E. says...

    PLEASE tell me this is a new series! What a cool, easy sense of style she has. “I think I look nice the way I am.” Love.

  31. Anne says...

    She is fantastic! Love love her style.

  32. I want to wear every one of these outfits! So chic!

  33. anna says...

    she is so beautiful and i love her simple style. i must say her son, laeth is pretty stylish himself.

  34. isav says...

    Love this, should most def be a series.
    Sara’s style is fantastic, but my favorite part is that she actually LIKES herself.

  35. This girl has swagger. And that midi skirt, seriously amazing. Would be a great series!

  36. Luna says...

    A lovely women! Her style and attitude: just wow! I love that she doesn’t use too much make up.
    Another vote for turning this into a series.

    • gosh I’d love that too !

  37. I love her style! A classic love with a personal twist. I hope this becomes a series! : )

    I’m currently 5 months pregnant and miss wearing my regular clothes. Maternity wear is just so…uninspiring. This serves as great future inspirtaion.

    • Melanie says...

      Ugh! Me too. I’m 8 months pregnant and am down to just a handful of dresses and outfits that still fit (on my list to go buy – giant undies and xl hanes t’s) – I’m so excited to wear sweet, chic outfits like this again. Joanna – another vote for making this a series. Thanks for always presenting us with women that present a style that is presentable and approachable :)

    • Lisa says...

      I’m coming up to my 6th of breast feeding and desperate to wear clothes where I don’t have to be able to get my boobs out quickly

  38. Katharina says...

    I love her style, her confidance and would love to know about her life and outlook on things. I can imagine, she has experienced quite a bit with moving from one country to another. If I would live near – I also would just stop to look what natural, stylish outfit she is wearing that day!

  39. This was a really good article. All of her outfits are approachable and cute, while being fashion forward. I love that she doesn’t wear a bra and uses minimal make up! Thanks for posting!

  40. Lauren says...

    Gorgeous woman and her child is absolutely devine.

  41. Sara says...

    She looks so ridiculously chic in the last outfit. Gorgeous.

  42. Amy says...

    Her style is great! And it makes me miss my small boobs. Hopefully they’ll shrink down again a bit when I’m done nursing, but after nursing four kids they probably won’t be quite as perky and bra-free-friendly!

    • Emily says...

      Oof, me too! I figured they wouldn’t be quite the same… but it’s still a bummer!

  43. Laura says...

    I love her!

  44. I don’t wear anything but mascara and blush either. Aside from the fact that I haven’t bothered to “figure out” foundation, I like knowing that I’m just accentuating, not hiding. My Czech grandmother used to say that good skin and good hair go a long way for beauty, when you have both you don’t need much else :-) I can only boast good skin, but it works for me!

  45. Amy says...

    Lovvvve her. Her style and confidence seems to come so naturally. I’m a bit jealous, but also inspired.

  46. Nicky says...

    Love how she’s mixing high & low pieces. It’s nice to see someone with great style that shops at places that are affordable too. Though even the low pieces look like they could be timeless.

  47. Kim L. says...

    “A Week of Outfits” would be an AWESOME series, I hope you take the comments to heart! One fun idea would be to tell the subject she/he was being photograhed for a week for something else, so they didn’t plan their outfits more than usual, and then reveal before putting together the post…

    • Mallory says...

      I second this post! Absolutely love this post! I think we all have outfits in our closet. I love the comments with each photo.

    • Camille says...

      Yes! That would make a great series!

  48. great attitude and style!!! love all of the outfits so much. i think we need a beauty post about her! and i bet her home is chic too!!!

  49. I’ve met Sarah in the store and she is the real deal – lovely and open and she has great style! Love the navy top, will have a look at that one, thanks Sarah!

  50. What I would give to not wear a bra everyday… *sigh* #bigboobproblems

  51. So much respect and serious style props to Sarah! I am very interested to know how old she is and if she has any tips for arriving at that degree of self-confidence and self-worth–it would be so beautiful if we could all be happy with how we look just as we are.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi Mariel,

      She is 33! Wise beyond her years.

      xo
      Lexi

  52. Amy says...

    Are Sarah’s black crane stripey pants really from the kids collection/ in kids sizes?
    Love them and wld love to grab a pair (in adult sizes :)
    Thanks
    Amy

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi Amy, we updated the link in the post but unfortunately those great pants are widely sold out. Black Crane has the same shape in other colors if you check out their site, Totokaelo or La Garçonne, all of which carry a bunch.

  53. Lindsay Marie says...

    She inspires me. I wish I was naturally stylish like her. I love all of her outfits and wonder if I could pull them off.

  54. Alice says...

    Great post.. Love her effortless style. Would love to see a post on postpartum fashion: clothes you can easily nurse in public with.

    • Sierra says...

      Alice – what saved me was layers! Stretchy singlet top underneath and then whatever normal top you would wear over. That way when you’re ready to feed you lift up your outer top, pull down your singlet top. It gives extra privacy and means your tummy is not exposed.

    • Carouselina says...

      Yes! Totally struggling to find outfits as a new mum- dresses don’t work, and don’t want to be confined to jeans/trousers and baggy tops for the next year!

    • Erin says...

      Yes!!!

    • Emily says...

      Agreed! I get a lot of leverage out of a nursing tank under a tee shirt or tank top, but I miss all the dresses I used to get to wear – at least once it’s fall I can return to all the button-ups I wore last winter!

    • Lisa says...

      I second what Sarah says – wearing a camisole underneath a normal top. I’ve been wearing lots of long sleeved gap t shirts and Breton style tops. But – I’m absolutely desperate to wear normal clothes again. On my first night out without the baby I was absolutely psyched to be able to wear something completely un-breastfeeding friendly and carry the smallest bag I could find with as little stuff as possible in it

    • Lisa says...

      Sorry, Sierra not Sarah. That’s what sleep deprivation does to you

    • Sandra says...

      I used a BOOB nursing top all the time. It just overlaps horizontally in the front so you open it up to nurse. I am going to google now to see if they still make them….

  55. Lauren says...

    So lovely! Would love to see this as a series with women of all different shapes and sizes featured :)

  56. Jo says...

    I love Sarah’s style! All of her outfits are so effortlessly chic. I can honestly say she’s now a part of my Outfit Goals list!

    Jo x
    http://www.cutandchic.com

  57. You look so good in all of these. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite. Lovely post.

    x. Cattleya

    alittlecattleya.com

  58. Lee Leroux says...

    Love love love her style , so low maintenance but she knows exactly what works

  59. Robin says...

    These outfits wouldn’t work for my shape but I love it – so fun to see someone with a distinct style. She’s gorgeous! More of this series please :)

  60. Looks great – fit, fresh and freckles! Have a great summer!

  61. Colleen S says...

    Her style reminds me of Juliette Binoche’s character in Chocolat. I love the look of effortless French fashion.

  62. So chic – but how is she not in a puddle in that cashmere sweater?!

    Another vote for making this a series!!

  63. Kia says...

    I really enjoyed this and I’m so thankful for my friend who introduced me to your blog!!! It’s been a great pick me up when I need a little boost:-) Thank you!!!

  64. Anna says...

    Is this a new series? If so, MORE PLEASE!!! I don’t have much interest in makeup/beauty so I read the Beauty Uniforms for the interviews only, but clothes I love!

    • Gem says...

      Same! I liked this post a lot.

  65. Natalie says...

    I love what she said about makeup…I don’t wear much makeup and sometimes feel like I should but I also think I look just fine the way I am! :)

  66. Dhana says...

    I love this feature! What a lovely inspiration…please post more articles like this, they would make your wonderful blog even better!

  67. Amelia says...

    All these outfits are PERFECT. So jealous you get to peep her looks everyday

  68. Jill Palumbo says...

    How funny she mentioned the movie Breathless! I love that movie and had forgotten all about. Sexy, dramatic and suspenseful, plus it has Richard Gere in it. (smile) The striped pants are adorable!

    • Julie says...

      Richard Gere? Breathless is the Godard film from 1960. But Jean-Paul Belmondo is a fox so if you like Richard Gere you might want to check him out!

    • Kate says...

      Yes please, to Richard Gere! ;) Love this gal’s style. Just goes to show you don’t have to spend a lot to be fashionable! Also really loved her comments about her own body and looks! Refreshing!

  69. JP says...

    I love observing how others dress and I love that you actually interviewed her!

  70. Rachael says...

    Such a refreshing take on fashion, and her son is the cutest! He would get away with everything with that cute smile!

  71. Lisa says...

    Love the outfits– and love that she’s rocking the no-bra, 70s style. Very chic, I think!

  72. Nicole Brant says...

    I have a serious girl crush right now! Sarah is just lovely. I’d love to see her again. Perhaps in a Beauty Uniform?

    • Tawny says...

      Agreed! She would be a Beauty Uniform gal I’d love to see/read!

  73. Annie says...

    Sarah, you are nailing it! :)