I just recently attended the Founder’s Day Celebration for the US Military Academy at West Point, here in Austin, with Gen. Robert Caslen, who recently retired as West Point’s Superintendent. Most people don’t know this about me, and probably wouldn’t believe it; but I turned down a potential appointment to the United States Military Academy to attend The University of Texas. My choices were between those two schools and Sweetbriar College for Girls. Could you get more disparate choices? Insight into my scary brain where I couldn’t decide (still can’t) if I wanted to be President of the United States of a Solid Gold dancer (are y’all old enough to remember that Saturday network television show?) While my Lt. Col. father couldn’t have been prouder to have a daughter headed to the Academy, my mother was apoplectic that her southern belle daughter would consider trading in her petticoats and kitten heels for BDUs and combat boots.

You know the old adage, “if mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy…”? You can guess how that turned out, and how my beloved UT became my alma mater as the happy medium between serving my country and serving tea.

Anyway, even though I failed to follow in my family’s Army-service footsteps, I always maintained an affinity for that long grey line. (Lucky me, I did end up landing a West Point beau, and love being ensconced in all that military history and heritage as his perpetual plus 1). And while BDUs and combat attire are less than fabulous, there’s nothing like the cut of those gorgeous grey wool dress uniforms that are equal parts practical (it’s freezing in upstate New York) and pomp (with the epaulettes, gold buttons and plumed hats – quite the fanfare!)

Though I love a vivid jewel tone, one of my standard wardrobe go-tos is head to toe grey. Maybe it’s a nod to my parallel life as a West Pointer, or maybe it’s just a classic neutral that always feels put together. Either way, here I’m squared away in grey wool cropped trousers, V-neck sweater, and faux double-breasted blazer, all from Banana Republic. I also love this jacket on the verge of spring with white jeans and a striped t-shirt. And year round with classic denim and a crisp white button-up. The gold buttons scream for gold jewelry – classic hoop earrings, stacks of bracelets, or a layered chain-link statement necklace. It’s a great alternative to the classic navy blazer – anything you can do with it, you can do with this.

I’ve also included some fun snaps from our trip to WP last fall. Such a gorgeous time of year to be there.