Casual striped top

Not original, but this is right up my alley and I happened to match the blog post. 

Full length mirror in darkness so photos a mishmash of what I could grab. Haven't worn a jacket to work from home in ages but this one is comfy and I haven't worn it much in recent years. 

Will have to change later to garden! It's going to be a warm one here. 

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WIMW: Balloon jeans and linen

I ordered these M&S balloon jeans weeks ago and they finally arrived, along with a linen shirt. 

Tried them on quickly to see if they will work. 

The verdict: yes! I like the fabrication -- and the olive is a nice change for me from blue. The length is perfect. The waist is a bit snug but I think it will give and I am also up a few pounds on account of being laid up with an injury all winter. 

The linen shirt is wrinkled from the bag, but it's quite lovely. The background is ink, not black. The fit is nice and neat without being too close. 

I'm actually tempted to order these in the grey if they still have them in my size. I got the "short" and they work in my usual UK size (ordering in Canada). 

My apologies for the awful backlit photos -- now that I have a mirror, I see it is in precisely the wrong place for taking decent pics! All the light comes from the windows behind. I'll have to come up with another option...

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Style BVP

I'm awfully late to this discussion, but I've enjoyed reading the responses! It's been fun getting to know how you see yourselves in relation to your clothing, and quite revealing -- I'm sure these conversations will help improve future outfit labs and the like!

Beliefs:

  • Clothes can express who we are and who we want to be in the world.
  • Style is for everybody. It’s not limited by a person’s age, size, income bracket, race, ethnicity, gender, body type, nationality, etc. Stylish people come in all kinds.
  • Style can be learned and developed over time. You don’t have to be born with it.
  • Clothing can be a source of aesthetic pleasure, and aesthetic pleasure is a good in the world. It brings us joy.

Values

  • Practicality: Clothes have got to work for the wearer. (Or at least this wearer).
  • Beauty: fabrics that drape well or hold their shape, well-cut designs, rich colours, interesting textures—these enrich our lives and are worth seeking out.
  • Fun: Girls just wanna have it. And for me, fashion’s a place I can play. Learning is also part of that fun, which is one reason YLF is such a great gathering spot--so much to learn from Angie and all of you! 
  • Sustainability, which for me means maintaining a moderate sized wardrobe that includes a mix of older and newer pieces, buying consignment/ vintage at times and at other times seeking out locally designed or mindfully sourced fabrics, continuing to learn about the impact of the industry on the planet, and donating my gently used items so that they get a second life.
  • Coherence: Meaning, significance, making or revealing connections. I'm not sure this will make sense to some, but it's about a felt need to make sense, to make, period, and to communicate. 

Personality:

If you look in my closet, you’ll see a whole lot of blue! Alas, it’s true, I have a melancholic streak…but I like to think I’m also lucid and reflective. Often, I appear calm, but you know what they say — still waters run deep! (Gah…to think this woman calls herself a writer, right? ;)  Okay, okay…)

Also…see those flashes of red and berry and magenta and fuchsia? Yep, I have a fiery side, and I’m warm and energetic, too. I need to move, and I need to spend time outdoors….hence, the importance of practical clothing.

There’s a fair amount of white — for clarity. And grey, because I’m the farthest thing from a black-and-white thinker — in fact, my friends and family tease me that one of my favourite phrases is: “It’s complicated.” Ambiguities intrigue me. 

Look at all those stripes and tartans and patterns —even on the footwear!— and all that silver and pewter—there’s the spunk and fun coming out. I’ll mix them in, mix them up, and happily wear them every which way. In other words, I don't mind standing out a bit, don't mind drawing attention to myself. Sometimes. And unexpected associations delight me. As does the slight friction of juxtaposition. 

In shorthand, I’m an INFJ-(maybe A? if you believe those subtypes..or any of them, frankly), like Staysfit, and maybe Jenn. And probably half a dozen others here. While I need my alone time to process, in person, I’m talkative and social and sometimes quite assertive, especially on behalf of others. I love to connect with people and help them (there’s a reason I teach), I love love love to learn, and I need to make meaning of my experience with words. 

I’m also an Upholder with a questioning side.

And also, a lucky parent, because my kid just cooked me supper! 

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Essentials 2021

Every year we get into deep conversations about this and every year it gets simpler for me...not least because my list of essentials grows ever smaller -- likely due to a change in climate with my move, and also the pandemic, meaning I don't really go anywhere! 

My list is awfully like Angie's and also is similar to Carla's -- and this makes me think this concept is just easier to grasp if you are a modern classic dresser with a limited colour palette. 

For me, it's blue and white, all the way, with stripes as a key pattern. My essential jeans are slim straights (cropped or not), even though they are not trendy. I've also added a pair of slim straight navy pants, which I find myself wearing more than the jeans these days -- they're that comfy! 

Footwear would once have included sandals and booties, but things have gone haywire with my injury, plus my new suburban location, and sneakers are pretty much the only essential at the moment! 

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January purchases: Thanks to the forum

OK, so now I have a full length mirror at last but the light is terrible! I need to figure this out. Meanwhile, I've overexposed a bit so you can see. 

My main goal, anyway, is to show off my new purchases, with thanks to several forum members. I got both of these on sale. The Blondo Cayla boot in burgundy patent is a fab addition to my closet, and now that I can walk for half an hour in my neighbourhood (with great care and deliberation....) I get to sport these babies! My smaller size fit perfectly, even with a partial insert for plantar fasciitis. They are going to work really well for me. Thanks, SarahDB! 

Then, the RM Julian in gunmetal nylon. Janet owns this one and I had been coveting it for ages. My leather Julian needs to be dyed (it is irreparably stained but still in great condition otherwise.) It's also a bit heavy for my new sporty lifestyle. The nylon bag is wonderful. I think Christina also has this one, and Sterling was instrumental in getting me to try the nylon version as well. I now have 3 Julians, one leather and 2 nylon. The gunmetal nylon is more substantial than the cobalt one and I prefer it. But the cobalt is fantastic in the summer for a pop of colour. Next on my list, red, and then to dye the pale grey one. 

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WIW: Zella pocket legging and Icebreaker Quantum hoodie

Well, since I tore my meniscus, and spend hours of every day in physio, biking, and now "practice" walking, pretty much all I wear is gear. Today, ta-da! -- I just happen to be wearing two items featured in Angie's blog post. :) 

I really like the Zella 7/8 pocket legging. It's the one I reach for most. The regular length leggings are mostly too long for me and I have to turn them under, but I also just like the way these ones fit. 

And the Icebreaker hoodie is a really great colour for me. (Not that this photo really shows you -- sorry. I have the mirror now, but the set up is poor for light. Will have to work on that.) 

I got mine on considerable sale this spring from Icebreaker. They have excellent sales several times per year. 

Not shown: knee brace. ;) 

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2020 Review

Time for my year-end roundup! 

My colour of the year was red, and my word of the year was move.

Ironically, I write this wearing blue, and benched due to an injury! But I did move this year — moved cities and houses, and also moved a whole lot on the trails, on foot and by bike, as well as in a regular kettlebells class.  

My main goal was to wear outfits that are Modern, Classic, Vivid, and Practical with a stronger element of “signature” — a little less on the “playful” side and more towards a bit of drama. That goal isn’t really reflected in my purchases, which still reflect the playful element of my style more than arty drama. 

I need to ponder that. Several times over the years, I've said that I want more arty drama, but I always end up buying preppy playful. Maybe my unconscious is smarter than my conscious mind. That is, maybe the gamine in me knows that playful and dynamic is who I really am. And maybe I should just go with it? Hmmm. 

Then again, this year, I barely shopped and barely wore “outfits” at all!

Instead,  as I said in an earlier post, this was the Year of Gear.  And that does relate to one of my other goals — to identify specific capsules in need of upgrading/ building and work on those. I had pre-identified gardening and biking as new capsules for me, and in fact, my gear purchases took care of my needs in those areas, as well as adding to my hiking capsule, which also needed bumping up.

Another goal was to shop in person especially via thrift or consignment. Well, I couldn’t do that in a pandemic, so I’m not going to beat myself up about ordering online.

Purchases for the year were (surprisingly) about steady with last year’s — but this does not count gear.  All but two of these purchases qualify as "instant workhorse" items. Many have already paid for themselves in wears (and several are almost worn out -- Sorel sneaker boots, I'm looking at you.) The only two that didn't get a huge amount of wear are the BR linen top and the gingham scarf. I'm sure they'll prove valuable next year, so I'm not too worried. Both were sale items. 

I haven't actually checked, but I'm pretty sure my retirements are about the same, so my wardrobe numbers are holding steady (though I have yet to do a new count to see exactly where I'm at), with a larger gear capsule on the side. 

I didn't take many photos this year at all, alas...but a few outfits that feel representative or made me happy....

Will follow up with goals for next year in another post. 

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Eating my words, and unexpected gear crossover

So, you know that velvet shirt I wasn't too sure about last week? 

Um...I have worn it no fewer than FOUR times this week already! 

Who knew I needed a cozy-luxe shirt? Apparently, I really did. 

Meanwhile, these BR pants, beloved beloved beloved but starting to show a bit of wear (mainly because I had to have a zipper replaced on them and the seamstress did not do an impeccable job, in my view) have suddenly become my new best friends -- for my bike rides!! Yes! Stretchy, warm, easy to layer over tights, and if not windproof, then darn close! 

Not only can you wear gear as fashion, you can now wear fashion as gear! 

ALSO: Full length mirror!!! YAY!!! 

On another, less happy note -- I have reinjured my meniscus simply by doing my physio. So recovery is set back. SO frustrated with this!! I was doing so well, but one of the exercises she suggested aggravated things and it is almost back to square one. She does say this is common with meniscus injuries and just keep (carefully) plugging on with what I can do. So....

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Red plaid pants and some more purchases and possibles

As mentioned in another post, most of my clothing purchases this year have been gear. 

But I have bought a few "fashion" items, mostly to fill new needs (indoor footwear for long days in the house, replacement white denim, updated sneakers for fall walking, a nylon backpack, the ripskirt). 

In other words, almost all my purchases have been of the extremely practical kind. 

I guess that's why I went a little nuts at a recent J. Crew sale with free delivery. Ooops!  

This is all potential holiday wear. We'll be at home, just the three of us and the cat, not doing any entertaining or going to any parties. I know many people have enjoyed Zoom dinner parties and cocktail hours etc. during the pandemic but those are not for me. I don't mind a one-to-one Zoom tea or wine date, but I really don't do well with  Zoom dining. 

Anyway...point being, I could wear my sweatpants but I would rather wear real clothes and I'd like to treat myself to something new to add to the feeling of "festive." 

First, the Cameron high rise plaid pants. These are great! Exceptional quality. They are beautiful wool, fully lined, they include an extra self-fabric front button (in case of overindulgence in holiday meals, I guess!) and the plaid lines up! At least on the pair I got. 

I found them TTS or possibly even a bit generous, and they have some give so will stretch a bit. Warning -- they will not work if you have a short rise. I happen to have a very long rise, so they are fine for me. If your rise is short, I would go for the mid-rise Cameron instead. On 5' 4" me, the "cropped" length is a true ankle pant (hits right above ankle bone). I like this "Laura Petrie" style pant -- it is slim up top and gently glides over calves -- not calf-sucking. I'm inclined to keep them. 

I also ordered a scarf to give myself a red outdoor accessory complement -- this one works with red, burgundy, blue, lilac, etc. (That is, with all my coats) and I can wear blue and burgundy hats with it as well. It's a bit scratchy but that doesn't matter so much to me with an outdoor scarf. And I suspect it will soften a bit if I put it in the wash and air dry. 

Onto the tops! 

First up, a lace shirt. I've wanted something in lace ever since I joined YLF (thanks, Angie!) but somehow, I never found my perfect item. This shirt comes with its own matching camisole and has a bit of stretch. It does not feel scratchy against the skin as some laces do. They call it "Baroque blue" but I'd say it's royal/ cobalt and since I also wanted to add more in this colour to my closet, The price was exceptional. I thought I'd give it a whirl. Inclined to keep. 

The Margot sweater is just a titch towards orange-red, so not my absolute best (I do better with anything from true red through cranberry to cool burgundy). But again, red is something I definitely want more of and this fits a need for now. So I'm wavering on it. Price was reasonable. 

The velvet shirt is another something I've wanted for years and never found. This one is soft, like a smooth hug, and feels very cozy, but I don't agree with the reviewers who crowed about its quality. It's fine, not at all bad, but I would not have wanted to pay full price for it and I'm debating a return (if it's returnable -- I need to check). 

Note: I find the two shirts to be on the small side. In the past, I often ordered a size down from the one I've ordered here at J. Crew and was fine -- these are on the just-barely-okay side for me in the shoulders and if I were ordering again, I might have ordered up. The sleeves are ridiculously short, i.e. they are on the short side for me and I don't have long arms. It doesn't matter to me since I always scrunch sleeves, but I thought I would report on it. 

Apologies for the length of the post and for the terrible photos. My full length mirror is supposed to go up tomorrow at last!! 

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2020. The year of gear.

Yeah yeah yeah. Fear, too. But for now, I am focusing on sartorial matters. 

In the past, I didn’t include gear purchases as “clothing” — gear was more along the lines of “exercise equipment” and I put it into the “healthcare” portion of my budget. But I noted that some forum members (Sal, Jenn, LaPed come to mind -- also maybe Carla??)  do include gear in their clothing budget. I've always been in awe of this, a little bit, because they also have relatively small wardrobes! So if you take away the gear -- there's not all that many items left for "regular" wear! 

Now I've been wondering if I ought to make this switch in thinking as well. because this year, my gear purchases far outnumbered my “fashion” purchases, not to mention the fact that I ended up wearing gear throughout my day far more often than I would have done in the past.

Part of this is just…COVID. Instead of exercising at a class or a gym, early in the morning, I’m exercising at home at inconsistent hours. I end up putting on the gear and wearing it to do housework as well as workout. 

In addition, certain purchases crossed over easily -- the Icebreaker shorts I bought for hiking turned out to be good enough looking to wear for whatever else I might want to do. 

I also need to factor in non-COVID-related lifestyle change. I moved to a suburban area and took up gardening and biking and increased my hiking so I needed different “equipment” than in the past. Hence -- purchasing to meet the need. 

Fortunately, I got everything on substantial sale, so while it added up to a hefty-for-me sum, I was still well within budget overall. 

Some of these items are still under consideration (i.e. they have not arrived so I don't know if I will keep). But am I nuts or am I nuts??? The thing is, I am wearing and USING it all. So I guess it was sensible. 

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