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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Cold weather cycling gear?

Hello, all! I hope everyone is hanging in with this COVID madness. I am still here. I even made an actual fashion purchase recently -- but the goodies have not arrived so I can't show them off yet. Assuming they work.

My question today concerns gear. Specifically, biking gear for cool to cold weather.

A few weeks ago, I tore my medial meniscus on a run. Then, like a fool, I kept moving around on it, thinking it was a muscle pull and would just "get better." Reader, it did not. :(

Finally, I went to physio and was told in no uncertain terms to get off that leg! 

Well, you know me and my walking. This is not an easy order for me to follow. Especially during pandemic lockdown when going for a walk is not only a great form of exercise but the only allowable way to socialize! Yikes!!

Luckily, the physio also prescribed bike rides. So I've been out there every day for about an hour or so. But for now, I can't go for any kind of "power" ride -- I'm limited to low resistance and that means slower speeds.

Temperatures here have been hovering between 6 and 10 C...and oopsie! I have just figured out that I do not have proper cold weather biking gear.

What in heaven's name should I wear? So far, I've been layering merino base and second layer with my short puffer (not completely windproof and often too warm -- I get all sweaty even in supposedly breathable merino). My legs are in fleece tights (also not windproof, so my legs eventually get cold). My feet FREEZE even in double layers of wool socks. And my hands mostly freeze, too.

The only part of me that feels right is the head. The head is good. For the head I have a little merino cap that goes under the helmet and seems to do the trick.

I've ordered a few options to try. A reflective windproof waterproof jacket. A thermal jersey to wear over a merino layer. Thermal tights. And lots and lots of merino layers (but that's another post!) Deliveries here tend to take a long time, so who knows when they might arrive.

If anyone has ideas, I'm listening.

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Yay from me! Double plaid.

As I mentioned on the blog, my very first purchase of clothing with my own money included a pair of Stewart plaid wide leg pants, cuffed at the bottoms. Oh, how I loved them. I even duplicated in a bright red plaid (and wore both pair of pants constantly). 

At the moment, my plaids are more sedate, but I would happily spring for a brighter pair if I find the right ones. 

These culottes are now almost in the OBG category...as evidenced by Roxanna's recent threads, J. Crew sometimes comes through with interesting, slightly fashion forward items (for the time) in very high quality wool. 


These pants date from 2016. Angie mentioned these in a post at the time they were released but I think I was the only forum member to buy them?  People objected to the pleats and wide leg at the time....I mean for themselves....and also the high waist. 

Admittedly, they are a lot of pant -- but in this calm glen plaid I don't find them too much at all. 

Anyway...I still love them. Beautiful drape, lovely fabric, comfy. I wasn't able to wear them as much as I might have wished back in Ontario, where I bought them -- the wide legs meant the cold wind whipped up my legs, and long undies felt bulky underneath and too hot. In my current climate, they are plenty warm for much of the winter with knee highs. 

I also bought the blue sweater at the same time. Another real winner that got very mixed reviews at the time...(I don't mean on me, I mean from J. Crew customers, who didn't like how short it is.)

Various shots of new, shorter hair...and double plaid, with the boots! 

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OBG the champion

This LL Bean Mariner is probably my third. Bu5 vn so it is an oldie. I wear it all the time in so many ways there was no possibility of styling it in a completely new way. So casualized suit and sneakers it is.

I also duplicated in a different colour and wear both versions heavily.

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OBG #4 Blue leopard

I somehow missed the (essential) reminder that we are supposed to try to wear our older items in a fresh way if we can...so my week so far has been a mix. Yesterday's outfit was straight from 2014 (except for the white sneakers when I went out!). 

Today I'm 2013 on top and 2018 on the bottom. :) 

This stretch silk leopard shirt from Ann Taylor is from (I think?) 2013 and is one of my favourite shirts ever -- it is a "goodie" because of the soft fabric, perfect fit, the fun pattern -- and it's in ALL my key neutrals, so it mixes so easily with everything else in the closet. It's warm, though, so I only wear in fall/ winter -- which no doubt has helped it to last so long. 

The Lord and Taylor  merino turtleneck is maybe a cheat since this is my second iteration of this same item since I joined YLF (I wore the first one so much it developed holes). Obviously, a workhorse item for me. It's particularly useful for travel. Can be a base layer, a top layer, a mid-layer. I don't overheat in it, but it keeps me warm. Inset shoulders keep it neat and tailored. 

Wearing with high waisted jeans and western belt from 2 years ago, not oldies but still goodies. 

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