Relaxed merino top and pants, BR, review. Bonus WIW and cat.

So, in one way you might say I'm at it again, that is, falling back on the fallback that tends to lead to feeling like I'm in a wardrobe rut, that is, prioritizing neutral essentials over more "fun" items. 

In my defence, I know I will wear such items to the ground. And I also felt these styles had potential to both relax and "dress up" my work-from-home capsule. Honestly, if they came in more exciting colours that worked on me, I'd be on board for duplicating. Especially at the sale prices. 

Also, on another note -- I added more lights!! I think it helps....

What I got: 

A light grey merino V-neck in a slightly oversize style. It is very lightweight but not see through and not at all scratchy. As others love puff sleeves, I love a batwing effect. This has slightly dropped shoulders but slim arms and a snug cuff (all-important for structure). I can easily tuck it. Or semi tuck. The back is slightly longer than the front. 

A pair of slim straight navy ankle pants in wool with a bit of stretch. Love these! They are not a duplicate of my older Kit & Ace pant because these are more generously cut -- still qualifying as a slim straight but with much more ease all round. They zip up the front (not the side, like the Kit & Ace pant) and they are a darker, truer navy, not a greyed navy. Super comfortable and easy to wear. 

Bonus WIW today -- red plaid ankle pants and turtleneck. It's cold out there! 

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Greyed and grey

OK, first things first -- I'm experimenting with some new lighting. Does it help? I can probably do even better with a bit of adjustment...I found a few LED clamp lights I can fix in various spots. 

Being one of our resident silvers, and cool complected, I'm raising my hand for greyed colours. But they have to be the right greyed...blue greys or winter whites added to soften or "heather" the colour slightly more than "dirty" it. It's the rare true "dirty" colour I can wear well. 

But the mauve tones in the sleeves of this ancient Equipment sweater might qualify? I think so. Angie used to own this 2014 NAS beauty, too, but I'm sure she passed it on ages ago, not being a lover of grey. I kept mine and although I don't wear cashmere much in Victoria, today it is SNOWING, so it's a perfect occasion for it. This sweater is lovely quality. There is some minor under-the-arms pilling but that's the extent -- it otherwise looks and feels brand new. 

The pants -- also ancient-- (2017) are a greyed navy that I love. These are Kit & Ace back when they used to use all season wool with stretch -- a fabulous fabric, in my opinion. Great for work from home! 

A few more of my grey or "greyed" or "heathered" wardrobe items in the Finds, below. I wear a lot of them! 

Note: the green shorts are too sour to work -- perhaps too "dirtied" vs. "greyed," which would lead to a more sage-y olive. Alas! I find it difficult to partner them with other things in the closet. 

So a Fab Friend has lightened and brightened and cropped the photos further...

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Vintage Trench & white boots

Well, it seems I did not know how much I needed white boots! Instant workhorse. They are easy to incorporate into outfits and help me feel less winter-dark -- a real necessity here, now that November's short days and rain have descended. 

Yesterday I had a book club appearance -- live, in person!! Amazing to do this after so many Zoom events. We drank tea and talked about my book and essays and the participants' reading and (in some cases) writing. 

And I got to début my new wardrobe pet! 

Last week I went on a short retreat with two writing friends to Bowen Island. What a lovely spot. We had glorious weather! (Bonus pics attached). AND, there is a lovely boutique there called Wren, where the owner happened to have a rack of vintage items in addition to her usual contemporary clothing. She has a friend who does costumes for films and then passes some of the items along to her for a popup shop. 

My eye immediately went to this 1970s leather trench in mid-blue. I told myself I had zero need for it (true) but my friends persuaded me to try it on, and, lo,  it was a perfect fit. I can layer under it comfortably. The price was right. 

This coat was made in Winnipeg by the Hurtigs. Another branch of this family is famed in literary circles in Canada. 

What can I say? It was meant to be! 

You can see it once had a zip in lining for cold Winnipeg winters. I could, I suppose, have a new one made, but I would rarely need it in my climate. I was thinking maybe instead I'd look for a short puffer or puffer vest to wear under it in a colour similar to the lining (or the coat). 

I'm going to try an outfit creation session with the coat once I get some lights rigged up for photos. But what I like about the style is the dramatic collar (I have a weakness for dramatic collars!) and the details -- the back belt, the way it nips at the waist so it is wearable with pants and dresses, even those that flare out. 

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Eccos and Blundstones

Just putting a good word in for the Ecco and Blundstone boots Angie featured this morning. Last year I bought the Ecco Modtray Chelsea. They were terrific boots, comfortable, orthotic friendly, with surprisingly durable soles, and very waterproof -- until, all of a sudden, they weren't! (Ooops! But honestly, the downpour in which I wore them for over an hour was extreme). 

Alas, I wore them out -- the insides were broken down after the year's hard wear and they had become too loose on the top so stones were forever sneaking inside -- not comfortable! 

To get a fit, I had to use a Superfeet sole to take up some of the width in the boot. I do not have narrow feet but I like a snug fit in the midfoot and I need to be mindful of heel cushioning. 

This year, I opted for the new Blundstone lug sole. I already owned the women's heeled style. It is the best fitting Blundstone (for me) I've ever found and is super comfortable and a good "all round" bootie for urban trips where I can only take one shoe. Not dressy, but it passes when necessary and yet is also tough.

I wanted/ needed a versatile, durable boot for casual walks on the trails and sidewalk-less streets of my neighbourhood-- to replace the Ecco. The lug sole was my solution and so far, I like it a lot. I sized up for length in this boot and then had to add TWO insoles and a heel cushion to get a decent fit -- they are quite wide and roomy. But I do like the width in the toe area and this boot is working well for the purpose. I've now taken it on several serious hikes with a lot of climbing and the soles have held up! 

Anyway -- reviews for those who might find them valuable! 

14 comments

Multi-Striped and K/R Laguna

I could not resist...when I returned from my hike I got dressed in my version of today's formula, #1. I'll try the others out eventually, too. 

Stripes here are the top, the sweater, the socks (which you can't see), and the boots. All blue and white, except the boots which have black soles and sides. 

What think you of the boots? These are the Top Pick Lagunas. I just received them. I have not purchased a new fashion boot (as distinct from a strictly gear boot) since 2019, which for me is a long time. I still have a nice bootie collection (see below) so it is not as if I lack options, but most are a shorter shaft and pointed toe. The black Blondos are pretty much toast, and the taupe suede are also looking a bit tired; I will probably retire both at the end of this year. But the snake print and silver are still in good condition. 

White!! Will I wear it? I did once have a dressier cream bootie which I liked a lot and wore with dressy fall/winter/spring outfits, but honestly I did not have enough occasions for it and eventually passed it on. This is a different creature since it has the platform sole, it is a Chelsea style (easy on/ off) and it is waterproof. So it is much more casual and possibly more wearable than my earlier light coloured bootie.

Does it bookend my hair, do you think? It will definitely work with other white/ light tops and my white coat, so I can bookend my clothes. However, that will shorten the leg line, as here. 

I had to add a plantar fasciitis heel thingie here to get a fit, but it seems comfortable and lightweight now that I have done so. 

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Liverpool Suit UPDATE -- new size for comparison

UPDATE: I now have the XS for comparison. Photos 11 on. 

in my mind, there is no comparison; although we're dealing with even worse light today (sigh) the fit is much better. 

However, there is one tiny wrinkle, which may not be obvious: the dickey is inserted in this one, there is a slight "pull" at the front. This is not because it is too small or snug; it has to do with the way the dickie is attached in relation to the pockets on the smaller size --  they don't have as much room to play with so the jacket wants to stand out rather than lie flat. It may relax some with wear, though, or perhaps when I re-attach it I will do a better job. 

In a way, it doesn't matter, because the jacket fits better without the dickie and also fits perfectly well with my own hoodie underneath and is comfortable. This is my bulkiest hoodie and I'm wearing a fairly thick tee beneath that. 

I'm inclined to keep this in the new size; it's really comfortable and feels super easy to wear and work into my closet. 

Back in 2017 I bought a Black Watch suit from Banana Republic that I loved for its versatility -- it was very easy to dress down because the pants were ponte and the jacket had a spunky shorter cut (despite what it says in the Finds -- this was actually a short jacket). The pants gave up the ghost, alas, and  anyway, I had tired of the skinny silhouette, and the jacket is still functional but looking the worse for wear. So I've been hunting for a replacement. 

Several people suggested I search out a knit jacket during my recent thread about style adjectives, style persona, and the challenges of my work-from-home wardrobe. This Liverpool suit includes a knit jacket with a dickey (a poor woman's Veronica Beard) and slim straight pants. 

For those who might be considering it -- Angie featured the trousers (in a different colour) here, and for good reason. The quality of the fabric is quite nice -- it drapes well and feels soft but substantial to the touch, stretchy but not too stretchy.  It is not as warm as the BR ponte pants but that might be a good thing -- those trousers did not work in transitional seasons all that well. The sizing is very generous. I sized down. I would need to hem these (of course) to make them ankle length -- such are the everyday realities of being short.  I have turned them up here. These are a mid rise on me -- just below my belly button. Keep in mind, I have a very long rise. 

The jacket is also fun. I'm showing it with and without the dickey. By the size chart, this should fit, and it does fit the shoulders (at least with the dickey inserted) but it is actually quite wide through the body and looks a. touch wide in the shoulder without the dickey, so I have ordered a size down to compare. 

I would almost never wear the sleeves at full length; guaranteed I would scrunch, and the nice thing about a knit is that you can. 

It's a bit weird, in a way, to make a knit jacket dickey style. The whole thing about the dickey is that you don't have to have the full layer underneath because for some people that would feel constricting. However, a knit is stretchy so the constriction issue is much less. I honestly don't know how often I would wear the dickey thing -- I'd probably rather have my own hoodie to wear underneath! The zippers are a bit fiddly and annoying. But it's nicely constructed for the price. 

I've tried to show the plaid, which is a very quiet navy, charcoal, grey that will work well with most of my tops. I think it would look nice with fuchsia, magenta, burgundy, and red, too. Obviously, I would mix and match these pieces, wearing the jacket with jeans and the pants with different jackets. 

What think you? I'm tempted to keep if the XS jacket fits. Despite the dickey issue. There's another I might try from Simon's to compare, though. (In Finds). The problems with that one are the plaid is black, predominantly, and the jacket, I think, is longer. 

Comparison photo of the old Black Watch. That jacket was a bit shorter (I like a short jacket for myself!) but this one is not too long. 

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Some recent returns (and some gear keeps)

I've been quietly ordering a few items. My 12 year old bathing suit gave up the ghost so I ordered some sale pieces from Athleta -- am keeping these. Also got some tights and a few tanks in navies. It feels good to have workout gear in my main neutral instead of the ubiquitous black.

At the same time, I ordered the space age silver jacket that I'd been coveting for a while, on super sale. However, I'm sending it back. The fabric feels too crinkly and I don't think it will be warm enough for me. Nice style, though, if you are looking for a very casual non-down lightweight puffer.

I also ordered this fab oversized cotton sweater from Gap. I really love the loose cut and the slouchy look of it -- also the cotton knit. Alas. the off white is too cream for me and the stripes too bold -- it wears me, rather than me wearing it, so I am sending it back with some regret. 

I share in case anyone else is considering either of those items. 

Onwards! 

23 comments

Ex-blonde, out of isolation

Amazing to think, I bought these booties in 2018, after my hair turned silver. Taupe doesn't bookend my hair any more but grey footwear can be difficult to find and surprisingly difficult to work with, when you do find it! The various greys don't always befriend each other easily.  But I will. happily mix taupe with the few other browns in my closet (even warm ones, like this cognac belt) and it serves as "my" version of an earth tone. 

The pointed toe western-ish boot does not feel current to me but I still like it. So there you go. 

These BF jeans have not yet been hemmed. I see my cuffing job is not very good. Trying to decide how short to make them.

Nothing fancy about the outfit, just running to pick up our veggies for the weekend at the farm.

As usual, the lighting and colours are awful here. Another atmospheric river, so good rainwear is a must! The boots are waterproof too! 

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When the reviews are wrong

With my perennial preppy gene, I've always been attracted to loafers but I more or less swore off them years ago because they are one of the hardest styles for me to fit. Flats are hard on (and for) my feet, period. And slip on styles are by far the worst.  I mean, I put orthotics in my sneakers to make them wearable and to prevent myself from another case of plantar fasciitis. Even then, sneakers, like any true flat, are less comfortable for me than shoes that have a slight lift or heel (about 3/4 of an inch to 2 inches); I'm most comfortable in boots or sandals as a rule.  And most loafers, I find, are too wide in the mid foot and the heel if they fit me in the forefoot. My feet are not wide (just average) but my mid foot is a bit narrow, my arch quite high, and my heel shaped in such a way that flats without straps almost always flip off, leading to awful toe cramps if I try to wear them. 

Still, I really loved the look of the Franco Sarto platform loafer and it is BLUE, which is a key neutral in my closet. Blue footwear can be hard to source, so a transitional blue shoe was HEWI for me. 

I read the reviews, which are mixed, at best, and many complain explicitly about the fit problem that plagues me most. This was a case where if Nordstrom's did not have such generous return policies I might not have ordered.

And yet these shoes are working for me! 

Admittedly, they required careful breaking in, but I can now wear with and without socks. I would not try to walk barefoot in them for long in hot weather (that would definitely lead to blisters) but with careful monitoring they are super comfortable and easy for me to wear.  

I think it is the platform/ lug sole and extra interior padding that make them wearable for me. Like others, I can't wear this shoe in cold like we are having today here -- so from this point on, they will be my "indoor" loafer until spring. (I only wore them briefly outdoors and the bottoms are all clean.) I'm delighted to have a shoe that makes me feel more fab than slippers but is just as easy on and off. 

How do you know when or whether to trust the reviews? I usually pay close attention to them and they have, in the past, helped me to rule in (or out) various items. But this time, I simply would not have ordered if I hadn't known I could return them for free after an in-home try out period. 

24 comments

In isolation...

Well, I finally succumbed to Covid.

The workshop I attended last week turned out to be a superspreader event.

I seem to be getting off with a light case (no doubt due to a recent bivalent booster) but my eyes are weepy, I'm a bit congested, I'm coughing a bit, and today I feel like I need a long nap.

Will be isolating for several more days at least.

I got these ON step hem faded and lightly distressed dad jeans for $27 primarily for my WFH wear. They are the same style as the baggy white jeans I also own. Super loose and super comfy. Echoing others in feeling zero tolerance for anything constricting right now. 

The sweater is from consignment. 

56 comments