And experiments with layered short & long toppers

The Boden stamp print skirt featured in Angie's post today arrived in my correct size and got its first outing on the weekend -- out for a meal, yay! It was cold, so I wore it simply with cashmere sweater, booties, warm tights beneath. Flashy earrings in lieu of other jewellery. 

I still don't have a long (midi or midaxi) coat so I experimented with toppers. 

In the end I went with the most conservative option, simply because I adore this Hilary Radley alpaca coat and it doesn't get many outings any more; I've had it since the year I joined YLF. So I think it qualifies as an "oldie but goodie." 

The vest alone would not have been warm enough but I wanted to see how it might look or feel with the skirt. Then I tried a short puffer, layering the vest over the puffer, or even under the puffer! Which (if any) do you like?

I struggled with bags. I really need/ want a navy or light grey structured crossbody, but that is a creature I do not own. I ended up wearing with my mustard bag, which was a fun pop of colour. 

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Top Up: Something old and something new

In the 2016? NAS, I got this gorgeous Vince silk shirtdress, chiffon overlayer and sleeve, in a really nice cut. I love a collarless shirt! I wore it a bunch in its first two years, but honestly, it was a bit short for my preferences even then, and more so, now. I tried wearing it as a tunic over leggings or skinnies but while I adore long-over-lean on others, the silhouette doesn't flatter me and I'm never happy wearing it. I kept intending to donate the dress, but I had happy associations with it (trip to London with Mr. Suz...) so I kept hanging on to it despite my best judgement. 

Finally it dawned on me -- have it made into a blouse! Why not? So here it is, with my new Liverpool pants. 

Next up, a new top from Aritzia, also final sale (and cheap as chips). Made from modal and lyocell or tencel (not sure which) with a long 70s collar -- it reminds me completely of that era. I think the colour works well with the suit and it is easy to wear. Wore it yesterday layered under an old cashmere tee from J. Crew. 

Warning: if you are considering it, this top is not for the large busted or broad shouldered -- it fits narrow. Lots of stretch but it almost gaps on me (30DD, wearing S, which is what was recommended.) 

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Parachute stylings

Ok. Trying a few of the suggested stylings: 

1. With white boots and all white oversize top as per Angie. 
2. With a higher neckline, as per Brooklyn
3. With more refined footwear, as per Jaime. 

I have several white or white dominant tops that I could use if I want to wear these with the white boots. 

I liked Brooklyn's examples with high neckline, sleeveless tops. I have similar tops, but I would not be super likely to wear with this particular pant because it is a heavier weight cotton -- more for fall/ winter. If I find a linen or cotton-linen blend version of these pants I will absolutely try that suggestion! 

My "refined" booties are 4 pairs of identical but for colour pointed toe, and one pair of navy square toe. Trying a few versions. 

Note: these are not "complete" styled outfits -- I'm just trying out the proportions and colours of boot, and seeing the overall effect. Which I know makes it difficult to judge. But would love your thoughts on the footwear options in particular. 

Realistically, this particular pair won't get a lot of use with sandals because of its weight. It might get some wear with sneakers and I don't think either of my current ones are ideal, but that is fine because I'm due for a sneaker update and can look for styles that work. Kyle sent me some great options. 

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Parachuting in! Styling ideas?

So...I think I finally found my parachute pants! 

These are Aritzia's TNA "Supply" cargo, and it's a good thing they fit because they were final sale. 

Trying them here a few ways. First (1,2) with new top -- more on that in another post. 

Styling attempts. Suggestions more than welcome! 

#3 Trying with a blazer...not sure? 
#4 With a cashmere hoodie. 
#5 Just the striped tee & sneakers
#6/ 7 with denim jacket
#8/ 9/10 leather jacket
#11 Rails shirt -- double plaid with footwear.  :) 
#12 with white denim
#13 trying with a more substantial sneaker (only ones I have -- coral) and top with coral to tie in. I don't think I like the pants with these shoes. 

Footwear: 

1. Are the white boots too clownish with this or are they okay? 
2. I think I prefer the plaid combat boots to anything else I have. Should I look for another pair of combat boots in navy or. a different colour? These are an item that would get real wear, so I don't have to fret on that score.  
3. White sneakers -- these feel too insubstantial somehow. But maybe my eye will adjust? Maybe a platform sneaker for spring? 
4. I tried with my black Blundstones, too  in #10 -- they are okay, I think, but maybe not the best. 

I didn't try with sandals yet because those are still packed away. 

I hope the consensus is positive here because, well, final sale, but more because I'm totally in love. These are a very substantial and soft cotton. They have pockets up the yin yang. They are advertised as having a slight "sheen." I don't see that, but they do drape nicely and feel good on. 

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Doing the math

I just measured a bunch of my own rises. As a shorter person who is short-waisted but has a long rise and slightly shorter legs (oh, the variables, right???) I was curious to see what's low and high on this body. 

And honestly, doing the math makes me wonder how any of us ever find pants to fit! 

Today I'm wearing my Liverpool ponte pants. They have a 9" rise, which on me, is verging on a lower rise...it hits at my hipbones. I can hike it up a bit with a belt if desired, but that's where it falls if I just let it be. Well below my navel, in other words, let alone my actual waistline. A little lower than the fit on the (presumably much taller) model. 

Considering I'm only 5' 4" (on a tall day) that might be surprising to some and explains why, in the past, I could rarely buy "petite" pants -- back in the old days, they were made proportionately with shorter rises. (Less so now, I fear, for my truly petite sisters.) Sometimes I could finesse this by sizing up in petites, which would drop the waist and crotch. But not often.

But while my rise is long, my upper torso is short (short in objective terms, since I am short, and short in relative terms, on my own body)..so there's not a lot of real estate to play with, folks! Here is how it looks. 

The Emerson BF jeans (my favourite jeans, really) have a 10 inch rise, which is sort of a high mid-rise on me. It hits more or less just below my navel. These jeans do have a longer back rise, which can be very helpful in terms of overall fit -- as suntiger pointed out, the front rise measurement alone often won't tell you enough, depending on figure variables. 

My ON baggy jeans have a 10.5  inch rise which is high on me! Half an inch to go from high-mid- to high! If I'm wearing a belt, I have to tighten it a full notch or two if I'm wearing these pants. 

The pants that hit just below or on my actual waist (i.e true high rise) have 11 to 11.5 inch rises (depends on waist band construction etc.) My J Crew plaid pants and my CM pants fall into that category. 

In the past, I've gone as low as an 8 inch rise  (with a belt, and much tugging of pants to stay up on my relatively narrow hips). I could conceivably go as high as a 12" inch rise (with some gasping for air because this would hit at my rib cage and compress my late middle aged middle, especially when sitting.) 

But honestly? I'm looking for pants mostly between 9 and 11 inches and one is low and one is high on me! 

For this reason, I am ALL for variety in rises -- let them proliferate at every level so everyone will be able to find something that works for her! 

Have you done the math on yourself? What are your personal sweet spots? 

31 comments

Style for 2023

Last year, I began a thorough closet edit, which is ongoing. I also replaced my worn undies at the NAS as well as some key essentials like white shorts, jeans, and a sleeveless summer top. As always, I replaced worn footwear. 

Feeling that I was in a bit of a style rut, I started the process of renewing my style by revisiting my moniker. I came up with a new one: laid-back luminous garçonne, which is not so far from my old one (urban prince), but which nods to the more casual reality of my current living situation while also reminding me to shine. :) 

My goals for the year ahead are few and simple. The first is all business (my practical side); the second is conceptual. the third gives me a destination to pursue those ideas. 

  1. Continue major edit of closet. I've now retired 46 items, a substantial number, but when I revisit the spring items in storage, I know I'll be sending a few more out to pasture. 
  2.  Tell a fashion story.  I'm much inspired by Brooklyn's approach here and the consideration she gives to the mood she hopes to establish for each season. To this end, I may adopt Bijou's wise suggestion to modify my moniker by season. For example, I like to wear dresses and skirts in summer. Does a garçonne wear dresses? Well, yes, in fact (think of those flappers) but for the sake of cohesion and clarity, it might help to establish the feeling I want my clothes to convey, which might differ to a degree, season to season. Looking at some of the spring collections might offer inspiration here, and I might adjust my moniker to remind myself of the specific mood I want to embody. 
  3. Visit local consignment shops in search of statement items that reinforce my style persona. In Vancouver I found good statements and replacement essentials on consignment. But I haven't explored these shops in Victoria. It should be a fun adventure. 

SHOPPING GOALS

In this thread, I came up with a shopping list. I started working on it right away and have met with some success -- Finds below. 

  1. Belt. 
  2. Indoor loafers. (Might even get a second pair if I can find some on sale!)
  3. Oversized pullover. (Got one oversized sweater, sent several back because they went too far in that direction.) 
  4. Knit (?) suit or knit jacket. (Liverpool).
  5. White shirt, slightly oversized or interesting structure. (Boden).

Other shopping goals, including HEWIs

  • Bottoms in interesting shapes — wide leg or barrel leg.  (Got one pair). 
  • A dressy midi coat (to wear with and longer skirts)
  • New sleeved "dressy" dress to replace several that I've retired.
  • Structured bag, probably crossbody. 
  • Puffer jacket packable (this is a need if my current one can't be fixed -- needs new zipper).
  • Interesting chunky yet refined silver jewellery

I feel like the outfit I wore yesterday is a good representation of where I want to be -- the pants are loose and current, so is the top, which has some texture, and the belt and boots add interest and shine. At the same time it's not precious -- all these items are completely washable and waterproof and I actually went on a 7 km walk wearing this exact outfit except I switched out the boots for my more casual white ones for the walk. 

Thanks for reading if you got this far and if you have additional ideas, I am all ears! 

25 comments

Whitebread Woman? Inspired by Kkards

I loved kkards' "vanilla girl" outfit yesterday! I had never heard of this trend/ aesthetic until I read her link. But I knew right away I could do my own version. This outfit is directly inspired by hers and is a near repeat of another I wore, but the changes (snakeskin boots, addition of belt) make it dressier. than my previous version. It's also closer to my inspiration -- one of the reasons I think kkards' outfit works so well is that the boots and belt tie in with her hair. 

This belt is one of two that "Santa" (aka Suz) left in my Christmas stocking. I love them both so much. The blue belt has been on repeat but this one has only had a few wears so far. It will come out a lot more in spring/ summer. 

Now, if I can just avoid spraying myself with pomegranate juice like I did yesterday when wearing my new ivory merino sweater! (Fortunately, it came right out.) 

Thanks, Kkards, for the inspiration! 

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With cats

I went for a casual supper with friends from Vancouver tonight. The restaurant has fantastic food and beautiful décor but it is unpretentious, and my friends tend to dress way down . (They are litigators but wear mostly sweats and yoga clothes except when in court.) They are also huge cat lovers. 

My outfit  — less dressy than I'd have chosen if on a date alone with Mr. Suz or out with other friends, but more dressy than these friends ever go --  followed today's formula: wide crops and short jacket. I chose my La Canadienne heeled boots again because they make me feel so grounded but also give an element of swagger. I wore an Equipment silk shirt with a conversational print of Siamese cats in honour of my friends. And my sparkly red scarf. 

You can see the cat in the print more easily in the photo of my watch. :) Although it is very subtle, the cat has blue eyes and the pants have a blue line in the check. 

Excuse the need for pressing on those pants -- I fixed it before we left! :) 

Amazing meal and it was so fun to go out! 

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More items for review: Club Monaco

So...I shopped up a storm, apparently, in the last two months of the year! 

I sent all the M&S order back. 

Re the Boden: I changed my mind and am sending back everything except the plain t-shirt and the skirt, but I have also ordered the skirt in a different size to compare. I decided the sweater is just a bit too oversized and too warm for my purposes, and the sweatshirt feels a bit too "cute" for my style. 

The skirt is borderline too large so I want to compare the size down. 

Next up, 2 items from Club Monaco. I love them both and intend to keep so my question is about the length of the pants. 

They are meant to be cropped but on me are almost but not quite full length. There is a huge seam allowance so they could potentially be let down but I think I'd wear them more cropped as intended. Thoughts? 

1-5 at the current length with various footwear. My sense is that they are not quite right at this length. 
 6-8 shortened a little. 
9 sweater and skirt with taupe booties as per Angie's suggestion.
10 detailing on sweater. It's not pure white -- more like an ivory, but I think it works. 

Reviews: the sweater is gorgeous soft merino. When I said that M&S merino was thin, I meant it was a bit scratchy, almost see-through. Recent J. Crew merino is one step up from that, but still not as good as it used to be -- and after three seasons it looks very tired. (Admittedly, I wear my merino tops hard all winter.) None of that nonsense here -- this is a lovely quality knit. 

The pants are a light, all season wool blend. In this colourway they are not lined but they do not require a lining. There is a tiny bit of stretch. Nice pockets. Wide, but not overly wide. The check is very faint -- it is white or cream and also a very faint green or aqua -- I am thinking I might look for a shirt with that colour in the pattern for spring. They work with white, ivory, almost all my greys, some navies, reds. I really like the quality. 

Thanks in advance for thoughts! 

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Boden Order: 3 keeps, 2 maybes.

My Boden order arrived much more expeditiously than the M&S one. I will also have to pay for returns for this order, but took a chance anyway because I really love the quality of their knits and several that I was interested in went on substantial sale. 

My 3 keeps: 

Pics 1-3 Striped oversized merino sweater. I had to order the smallest size here and it is still very oversized, but not in the shoulder area or sleeves, which is key. It is a thick, substantial knit but because it is merino, it drapes. I can semi-tuck it, which makes the proportion better with the baggier jeans. This is a kind of no-brainer item for me -- I will likely wear it for years in different ways and even once the oversized trend is over, I will enjoy it at home. The quality is superb. 

Pic 4: Cropped sweatshirt: Such a soft cotton and a fun paisley pattern in colours that brighten my winter days. Is this an illustration of Kibbe's theory that "no amount of detail" is too much for a gamine type? Maybe, though he'd recommend geometric patterns over organic swirls. But I like paisley, so there! 

I'm also keeping a plain white tee with a nice neckline. This is for layering. I did not have one, and this one is substantial and a nice cut. 

My maybes: Pics 5-7 -- a knit dress for summer. This was on substantial discount, so the price was very reasonable. On (wise) reviewers' advice, I sized down. But I'm not sure. This is a type of dress I desperately want/ need. Easy wash/ wear, throw on and go. You may recall my forays this past summer with one from Barbour that unfortunately had a logo splashed above the boob. Anyway...this one needs a racerback bra style (fine with me). It's too long, but could be shortened (I have shown it in the last pic roughly paperclipped up in front.) However, I feel the gathering at the waistline area is just a bit too much. I am getting a mutton dressed as lamb vibe. So I'm unsure. 

Crepe pleated skirt, Pics 8-15.  Pros: I love the pattern on this. I don't own such a skirt. It is basically all season in my climate, with tights beneath and boots in winter and bare legged in warmer weather. 

Cons: the colours are mostly warm. The background is navy (not black) and there is a lot of white in it. But the pinks are warmer than described in some of the reviews (one reviewer claimed there was lilac in the pattern -- I would call it salmon pink). And the red is really a rust..

So the question is, do I have anything to wear it with besides navy or white? I am trying it here with various options -- a fire engine red jacket, darker red sweater, red sweater, the lilac M&S sweater I'm returning, a pink cashmere sweater, and a magenta sweater. It is surprisingly chameleon, at least in the photos, but I'm just not sure. Quality is lovely. It is a bit loose on me -- I ordered up because people complained about the snug waist and I can't stand that. I think I'd have been fine in my usual size but this gives an added measure of insurance in case of layering and it doesn't twist around. 

Another potential "con" is simply the question of whether I'd wear it at all. Sometimes I still buy for my imaginary lifestyle. Am I imagining occasions to wear this? I don't know. 

I hope these reviews may help someone else and I would appreciate any thoughts on the "maybe" items. Thank you! 

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