Red is Best

Although I enjoyed dressing to a theme last spring, before my life got interrupted by my accident, I felt stymied in coming up with a new theme for the autumn—mainly because I was dealing with so much on so many fronts, I didn't have time to think a whole lot about fashion. But  I'm returning to the idea now, for the holidays, because why not?

My theme for December is "Laid Back Luminous Garçonne Paints the Town Red."     :) 

Okay, so this is a bit aspirational. I have very few holiday events to attend this year. Just a few small parties and dinners with friends. All casual. But despite the surprising paucity of red at retail, I've collected a range of items in various reds over the years, and have added in particular to the "cranberry" capsule this season. 

See Finds, below. I'm going to be wearing these items on repeat all December, together with silvery items, whites, and of course my blues. I started on Dec. 1, dressing down my daytime outfit with my cranberry utility pants and red plaid boots for a rainy night reading/ book launch. 

Apologies for the kitty box! Since the light is better in the laundry I may just take photos there in future. 

Meanwhile, any Canadians remember Kathy Stinson's little book? I have always felt like the protagonist of that story. 


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A keep, a return

I love Boden knits. But trying on is difficult (no stores here) and there is a cost for delivery and returns. So it's tricky. 

I took a chance at the sale price on two sweaters, one of which I am keeping and one I'm returning. 

Keeping the Effie sparkle stripe sweater. Very subtle daytime sparkle and comfortable and easy to wear. They'd sold out of my regular size  in this colour, so I took a chance and sized down, because my experience with this type of ribbed sweater at Boden is that it is generous. That is the case here -- even a size down it's quite fluid on me. 

I'm returning my other purchase. It's a lovely sweater but the reds are too rust for my needs (in the photo I thought they were a little more neutral dark red) and the knit gauge is too heavy for my needs -- it's a true pullover for layering under, not a top to wear on its own, really. 

At the doctor's with my kid....


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Echoing Ecco Love

As I mentioned in the blog post today, I'm a huge Ecco fan and have done well with many of their boots, sandals, and sneakers. My current Eccos in Finds. The flip-flop isn't perfect -- the footbed on it is not quite right -- but I use it only as an at home summer shoe. The other sandal and the Biom sneaker are gear, but gear that crosses over to casual day wear. The Soft 7s and LX 35s are fashion -- but practical fashion, if that makes sense. I think that's what appeals to me most about their footwear. These are comfort shoes, but look good and go the distance. 


Velvet Colettes

Hi, all -- 

I retired my old J. Crew plaid pants, a holiday staple. They are a straight-verging-on-skinny and I'm not enjoying that silhouette now. (I didn't donate them, though; they are such a great pant I think there's a chance I"ll come back to them later.) 

Meanwhile, I've been wanting a velvet pant, wanting to add more red to my closet, and wanting to try the Colette wide legs for quite some time. 

Voila, the Colette in red velvet comes to the rescue, along with a plaid shirt from J. Crew to make up for the lost plaid pants, and Ecco booties as featured in Angie's Fab Finds for this week, except in the limestone. 

I love these booties. They are ingenious. They come with two sets of insoles so you can adjust the fit for different socks/ stockings. They are very stable because of the rubber sole. The leather is very soft. On my leg, there is not a lot of flower-pot effect. The toe is called "round" but I would call it a wider almond. Not truly round. Anyway, I love them so much I just ordered the black patent at the super sale price. 

Love the Colettes, too! They are fun and cozy! 

And the shirt conforms to Angie's description exactly: 

Red Tartan Christmas Fabness. The red is less bright in person, and the fabric is a spectacular crisp and sharp cotton. Gorgeous quality. Size down one size. Layers well under roomy sweatshirts and sweaters.

Please forgive the photo quality. You can have dark plus over-exposed in my study, or brighter, with kitty litter box and a dirty mirror in my laundry room! 


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Belated "persona + theme" report

Hi, all! I've had a difficult autumn with health, family health, work, and other challenges, and haven't been able to post much in a while. But I did want to report on my experience with the "persona plus theme" experiment I tried in the spring. You may remember that, taking inspiration from Brooklyn and Tanya, who over the past few years have concentrated on a specific theme each season in their dressing, I decided to do the same, with the twist (which I think Tanya also employs) of thinking also in terms of my fashion persona and some current trends I want to incorporate. The "this character does that" idea. 

Mine for the spring/ summer was "Laid-back luminous garçonne does off-kilter ultility pretty."

My accident in late spring put a bit of a dent in this plan, so to speak, in the sense that I didn't really go out much or even leave the couch for a few weeks. Apart from a short trip to San Francisco in late summer, and a very casual working retreat in July, I didn't get out much. 

But I did enjoy playing with the theme and thinking in those terms did help me compose outfits that made me happy. The photos are all poor quality but maybe you can get the idea. 

A few notes: Winner workhorse items in this capsule proved to be the Zara asymmetrical skirt, the Scotch & Soda denim jacket, the Dries van Noten thrifted plaid pants, the Sandwich spotted/ striped modal top (alas -- it is toast!! -- ripped beyond repair after so many wears), the Cole Haan oxfords. The linen utility skirt didn't get many outings. I liked it -- just didn't wear it a lot. 

In pic 4 you see my very old J. Crew 2 piece dress. I had the hem let down as much as I possibly could because I was finding the dress as it was felt too short for my current tastes. It's still a bit shorter than I'd like, but the extra inch in length made me like it much more, and as usual it was a workhorse. 

In Finds I've included other much worn items not pictured. 

Overall, I'd say this was a valuable experiment and I would like to try it again. I wore skirts/ dresses at more opportunities, remixed older items with new in different ways, made a few new brand discoveries, and had fun composing outfits. 


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Classic/ on trend classic

It seems the classic dressers amongst us have the most trouble distinguishing what I'll call "deep classic" from what might be called "on trend version of classic" or "classic with a twist." So I'm going to try this with my own closet. Anyone want to join? The first set of Finds will be the ones in my wardrobe I identify as true classics. By virtue of cut and colour. 

The second set will be "on trend classics" or "classics with a twist." 

This will not include my purely on trend or avant garde or otherwise "different" items. 

My first set: 

1. Cole Haan oxfords. These are a "maybe" because in a knit fabric, and white. But the shape is classic. 

2. J. Crew straight pants. 

3. Club Monaco merino mock-neck

4. Talbot's white bermudas. 

5. Boden white tee. 

6. BR slim straight wool pants. (Maybe with a twist, since ankle length.) 

7. Armour Luxe Breton tee

8. Bernardo midi coat, princess lines. 

9. J. Crew navy merino sweater. 

10. J. Crew red merino sweater. 

11. J. Crew plaid scarf. 

12. Armour Luxe Mariner tee

13. Lord & Taylor charcoal t-neck

14. Boden navy t-neck

15. BR silk/ cashmere crew neck

16. J. Crew denim western shirt

17. Aquatalia riding boot

18. London Fog black trench (why couldn't it be navy??? waaaaaaa)

19. Le Pliage tote

20. Salt cashmere toque

21. J. Crew cabled cashmere crewneck sweater, navy. 

22. Navy moto jacket (navy may make it less classic, but cut is classic)

STYLE OBSERVATIONS:  very little footwear, very few bottoms here. Mostly tops, and most of those tops are knitwear for winter/ cooler temps. Some outerwear, but not a lot. 

This confirms what Angie has told me about my style—that I'm "trendy on the bottom." Also what I knew -- that my footwear tends to be on trend (to a degree at least). Also, my jackets and outerwear tend to be "with a twist." Not truly trendy but also not purely classic. 


Trends I want to buy into, trends that may or may not work for me

So, in addition to the trends I can enjoy more or less for free with what I already own, there are some I really want to jump on and will have to make some purchases to fully enjoy. 

Red: I love red! In many of its shades and tones. And yes, I do have a bit of red and burgundy in the closet. But some of what I own is not quite the right tone of red for me (a bit too orange/ coral) and some is just very old. I would like to add to my reds while the option is available and refresh this capsule. 

Magenta, orchid, cobalt -- what I said about red. These are excellent colours in my closet and I already own some items in these colours, but I feel I could update/ refresh to good effect. 

Dark Romance -- this is a maybe for me. "Dark" so often means black. And dark romance can veer into goth -- which is too hard edged for my look. Having said that, I love a floral on a navy background. I love the textural elements -- velvet, sheers, shine. So I'm not against playing around with it. I can even do it from my closet in a Vivienne Westwood kind of way with tall black boots, tulle skirt, sequin cami, military style jacket. 

How about you? Which trends will you need to make purchases for if you want to participate? 


Trends already in the closet

I've been waiting for Angie's seasonal trend report. As I perused earlier reports coming out this fall, I started looking through my closet and asking myself how I might use items already in my closet to participate in some of these trends. There are also others I'm really hoping to embrace but need to make new purchases to do so -- I will save those for another post. 

Tall boots: I own 3 pair -- 2 heeled (grey suede dressy and black casual) and a black flat riding boot. I'm going to dust them off and wear them with culottes, dresses, and skirts. I wish I had navy boots or a cooler grey toned boot -- but investing in a new pair doesn't strike me as sensible when these are still in great shape and were quite the investment when purchased, and are comfortable. 

Loose jeans and pants -- I'm almost set for this trend with various shapes and levels of formality. But I have my eye on a few additions of trousers. 

Tuxedos and pant suits -- I currently have one pant suit and am looking at another. I also own a tuxedo blazer which can be combined with an unmatching navy pant to make a sort of tuxedo suit. 

Metallics -- as a laid-back luminous garçonne who has been adding metallics to the closet since my hair went silver, you'd better bet I am all over this trend. Fall/ winter worthy metallics already in my closet include footwear, bag, jeans, two piece dress. Am I done yet?  I doubt it. This goes beyond trend to signature for me. 

Peplums -- I own a few old peplum tops from J. Crew that I still enjoy wearing. They are dressier items, so don't see much action, but I might see if I can style them a new way. 

Leather clothing -- I have a great leather moto and a fab coat. I don't have pants/ skirt or other leather or faux leather items. Would not be averse to adding. 

Statement socks: I have a few of these. 

Hem length -- I'm going for the midaxi length as much as I can and have a couple of options. 

How about you? What have you already got in your closet that will allow you to play with this year's trends -- should you want to? 


Seasonal workhorses (and their opposite)

We're coming to the end of summer n the northern hemisphere and I'm guessing winter is on its way out for those of you on the opposite side. 

Time to evaluate how things went. 

My workhorses included the following: 

1. Cole Haan knit Original Grand oxford. New. Wow, what a comfortable shoe! And washable! It was an MVP all summer long. This was a new brand to me. I worried about the purchase at first because even on sale they were pricey, but they more than paid for themselves and made up for the lack of a white sneaker (see below).I promptly ordered more styles from this company when they went on sale to have them to use in the fall and on reserve for next summer. I bought a platform version, a similar shoe in grey, and a loafer for strictly indoor wear. 

2. Zara asymmetric skirt. New. Wore it several times a week except in the hottest days of summer. Loved it! 

3. Dries van Noten cotten linen plaid pant. New to me (but from the 2013 season! thanks to Jaime  and LJP and others for finding their provenance -- bought on consignment). Best summer travel pant ever. Dresses up and down, looks fun and interesting. Got compliments on them in San Francisco and elsewhere. 

4. Gap crop wide leg. New. Easy summer jean in fun silhouette and wash. 

5. J. Crew two piece dress. Old. Always in frequent use but this summer saw even more wear because I let the skirt down by as much as I could and I prefer it at the longer midi length. 

My duds were: 

1. The white EOS sneakers which promised so much -- KILLED my feet no matter what I did to mitigate. I have to get rid of them. 

2. Sandwich knit top -- not truly a dud, but a workhorse that worked so hard it fell apart! After our San Francisco trip I found it had multiple holes, presumably from the delicate wash! I am not sure it is reparable, though I will try, because I wore it multiple times a week all summer and adored it. 

Lessons:  try new brands, shoes can feel great in the store and awful in the wild, keep being trendy on the bottom, and expect a bit of wear and tear. 

How about you? 

What were your seasonal workhorses? Were they new items or older? Any surprises? Any lessons to be derived from your successes (or failures)?


Trip report: ETA I wore the puffer after all

My plane's delayed so while I wait, I'll offer up the trip report. 

My packing proved excellent, so thank you for the advice! There were only a few items in Finds that I did not wear: the puffer (totally unnecessary), the blue and white silk blouse, and the DVF cardigan. I wore everything else, multiple times in most cases, and it all worked in different combinations well. 

Big winners included my Cole Haan oxfords -- more comfortable than either pair of sneakers even for a substantial hike in the Presidio and a walk down to Marshall's beach! (I washed them out afterwards, too, and now they are sparkling white again). 

The silver slingbacks worked! No slipping off and the comfort is great! They also pack well because they have such a low profile and they are lightweight. I only wore them twice, but was really glad to have them. 

The Dries van Noten pants were fantastic additions to this capsule. I got compliments on them and found them the perfect weight for the temperature several of the days and evenings. Wore them 3 times. 

The wool pants were too warm for most days but I did wear them once on a day that began cooler and foggy. I was really glad to have my Zara sarong shorts with me -- I wore those 3 times, too, because it was warmer than we'd anticipated most days. 

Denim jacket and sweaters were useful in the evenings and for sporadic layering in daytime. 

Judging from our short visit, San Francisco's climate is unlike any I've ever known and it might take some getting used to! Layers are key, as everyone advised. But I'm used to dressing in layers. This was a bit different because the changes can be so swift and also so temporary! If I lived here I'd definitely need a wardrobe of backpacks to carry around all my stuff all day! 

We had a terrific time checking out different neighbourhoods. We figured out the transit system and enjoyed getting around by MUNI and BART. We happened upon a gallery opening in Chinatown -- an African-American artist who does amazing work with resins and masks (https://jessicasilvermangaller.....lhouettes/) and got to mingle with the invited guests, which was fun. We stumbled on some lovely little community gardens. We explored lots of different neighbourhoods and did most of the typical tourist stuff as well. And we ate a lot of good food!

People were unfailingly helpful and kind. 

ETA: I wore the puffer after all. When our flight out of SF was delayed by about 4 hours, we missed our connection to Vancouver Island and it was the last flght. No hotel rooms to be found, so we ended up sitting in the airport all night. The puffer came in handy around 3 am in that pre-dawn chill!