Updating the fall closet

Now that September is upon us, I'm starting to think seriously about wardrobe holes/ needs for the season. My NAS was fairly light and basics-heavy (i.e. undies/ bras). I am happy with my purchases. The lightweight red sweater became an instant workhorse. I've already worn it 15 times (or more). I probably won't wear it much in winter (too lightweight) but for late summer/ early fall/ spring it  turns out to have been exactly what I didn't know I needed! :)  

For the first year in a while, I was not happy dressing for summer. I missed my usual dressy opportunities. (Mr. Suz and I did not get away this year for our usual theatre jaunt, and I was not able to attend WritersFest summer events.) So I sadly did not get to wear my occasion wear. Our weather was wet, wet, wet, and chilly most of the time. I had to do a lot of car travel so fell back on older pieces (tube skirts) that work well for that felt a bit dated, or in any event, didn't make me feel fab. I did take a short trip to the Maritimes where we enjoyed gorgeous weather the entire time, but that was strictly casual. 

For fall, my activities will be once again be mostly casual. I'm back to school, and taking a class which will involve lots of walking and outdoor excursions. I'm still working from home. I do have one evening presentation to give onstage in early November, and I will be attending a few dressier events in late September. I'm also hoping for a trip to Montreal with Mr. Suz in late October, where I will dress up in the evenings. 

My shopping list so far looks includes the following: 

  • A soft grey cardigan, long (to replace a worn out one).
  • Patterned pants or jeans? 
  • More casual chelsea or moto boots, weatherproof — for walking. Needs good arch support -- to replace Blundstones which aggravate my plantar fasciitis. I need to get on this requirement SOON as my Aquatalia Sweeties are now past renewal. 
  • 3 basic fitted turtlenecks, preferably merino — navy, black, grey.

Holdovers from last year that I could still use more of: 

  • Bright colour (red, royal, fuchsia, etc.) in tops or scarves. 
  • A few more cropped tops/ sweaters. 
  • An asymmetrical or other dramatic sweater. 
  • A few interesting belts.

Peacoat — not a short jacket but a mid-thigh coat (this is a MAYBE, not an immediate need). 

I'm still considering the EF asymmetrical sweater...it's on sale again and I am wondering if it is worth ordering. I am worried it will feel too long for me, even in petite? 

Also wondering what else I might consider for the fall/ winter, to round out my closet. Of course that will become clearer when I do the switchover (probably this weekend) to a more transitional closet. 

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My reviews and report. ETA Team Wear

I came home from an overnight trip to Toronto with a cold. :( The consolation is I also came home to some boxes! :) 

The good news: Most of what I ordered works! 

The bad news: The price of it all. :)

I stocked up on bras and undies as I always do, but won't model those. :)  All worked well. Thanks to Kkards for the suggestion to try the Chantelles -- I like them. 

For the clothing, one of my goals was to increase the representation of red in my closet. I ordered the Halogen cardigan and kick flares. The cardigan is, as Angie reported, very lightweight, and on its own would not make a good winter sweater. But or spring and fall, or layered over a more substantial knit top, it will work well. The pockets don't sag as much on me as in some of the photos, though they do sag a little bit. It's not expensive and adds some punch. 

I love the kick flares. They fit more or less like leggings up top on me in this size, and do make me a bit self conscious about my thighs, but even so, I enjoy them, and almost prefer the red to the black -- somehow the red seems to go with the kick flare style and make it extra fun. I might even bring them on a trip I'm going on tomorrow where temps may be variable and a warmer pant might come in handy. 

Next up, the CoH Cara jeans and the Cece bell sleeve top. The jeans are going to be my new favourites. They are ankle length on me. They are high waisted -- they come up to my navel. I love the CoH denim -- it is cotton rich with a bit of stretch -- and this is a nice dark wash. 

The bell sleeved top is a gorgeous colour for me, which doesn't quite show in the photos due to the light. It's nothing extraordinary but it's fun and not expensive. I haven't had any sleeve detail clothing yet during this trend and this will be a nice way for me to enjoy it. The sleeves are not too long, as sometimes happens for me. 

Scarves: I'm keeping the very inexpensive BP grey and white. Love it. I am sending back the Kate Spade and the Halogen Vintage blooms. The Vintage blooms is nice quality but a bit too twee for me, and the Kate Spade is pretty but the fabrication is not worth the money, IMO. 

Next, the fun BP crushed velour tee. LOVE this! It will be so much fun to wear. And later it will make excellent loungewear. 

Boots! The Aquatalias actually work on me -- not too tall at all! Whoo hoot!! They are a lovely boot and it will be fun to tuck into them again after several years of mostly wearing booties. 

Earrings -- love these delicate everyday silver earrings. 

Hoxton jeans -- these came from Canada and are going straight back. First, they sent the wrong ones -- without hem detailing. Second, I would have liked another size up anyway. Third, I find the fabric too soft (I like a bit more structure in my denim). Fourth, they charged me $285 CAD (i.e. not the sale price!)

I apologize for the light. The light comes in from behind and I try to adjust for it, but it's not ideal, so the colour representation is not always perfect and the shots are not the best. 

ETA: It's a cool evening so I wore the new red sweater out to supper with DH and brother! Total love. 

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Burberry coat

When you get a moment, Angie, can you tell us something about this Burberry? 

I hope to replace/ upgrade my old VC mixed-media military style peacoat which has been a total workhorse for me. This is far more than I expected/ planned to spend, but I know from experience that when it comes to this type of coat, if it is the right item, I'll wear it for a decade or more. 

Visually, this ticks a lot of my boxes. I am not sure it's in the budget, but I'd like to know if it is worth considering at all. 

Thank you! 

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What's your surprising summer MVP?

I know that summer has just begun for most of us, but this subject is on my mind because recently, we had a hot day and I pulled out my own surprising most valuable player -- which is 3 years old and still going strong. 

What makes it a "surprising" MVP? 

  • It comes from the Loft -- who'd have thought it would still be going strong after 3 years? I literally put this thing into my cart because it was on sale and I had a credit from some t-shirts that had developed holes on their first wear. I had ZERO expectations. Loft, you proved me wrong. 
  • Made of thin cotton voile -- not exactly the most durable fabric, in theory. 
  • Bought on a whim for a specific purpose (trip to hot, hot China in July). Never imagined it would become a workhorse later. 

What makes it a most valuable player? Well, it goes with everything! 

Something about this style (bat sleeves, curved hem, a bit shorter than many tops) makes it highly versatile -- I wear it tucked and untucked, with medium and high rises. It works with a tube skirt, skinny jeans, culottes, wide crops, shorts -- really, pretty much every bottom.

I can layer a cami under it for greater warmth or modesty. (It is quite sheer, but the pattern hides a nude bra enough for me.) I can also layer a sweater or jacket over it for warmth. 

The blue and white is my signature, gingham is a favourite pattern of mine, and the pattern seems a good scale for me. 

It often does not require ironing -- the wrinkles fall out when I hang it up straight out of the wash. It dries really quickly if I have to hand wash. 

It packs up into nothing. 

What's your surprising MVP, if you have one, and why? And, pray tell, how the heck can we learn to identify these items before wasting our money on other, less worthy contenders! 

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Little Blue Dress

Summer has arrived with a vengeance here and my planned outfit (with summer scarf) will have to wait for another time. Today, to go outdoors in a scarf would be foolish. Not only is it extremely hot and humid but it is also very windy and this little silk oblong would not stay on. 

But here are some iterations of a new dress from Everlane. I already own a heavier cotton knit shift dress that I wear in spring/ fall and on cooler summer days. This one is for crazy heat like today's. I can wear it casually at home but I can also make it "date" worthy if I need to, with different accessories. It will be good for travelling. It also works over jeans because it is cut loose through the middle. I wouldn't wear it to an office because it is a bit sheer, but for my lifestyle it is ideal -- exactly what I wanted in a casual summer dress. 

Apologies for the lighting here. I am doing my best. DD still has the DSLR for projects. 

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Tomboy casual with a twist

Quick pic -- I don't have a silky bomber but I do have a new silky kimono so I wore that today to book club. 

Bonus pic of my new ring from Iceland. I did not buy myself a sweater but did treat myself to this instead. 

Sorry the light is so poor for the photos. One of these days I will get my DSLR back from DD. :)

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Iceland travel report

Well, I managed to get it all into a carry-on...but the carry-on was so heavy I had to check it in. :) Oh well. It worked out. There was time to collect my bag at the airport before meeting at the car rental place for travel to final destination, and the carry on (just) fit into the tiny vehicle with the others' bags. 

Iceland was amazing. I only wish I could have stayed for longer and explored more. Since I was on retreat and then at a conference, my excursions were limited. 

I took a lot of clothing and needed every bit of it. I wore every single thing -- most things multiple times. I'll post a full list of items below and you will see many in the Finds. 

It was cold in Siglufjörður (N. 66, just slightly below the Arctic Circle) and also at Þingvellir. So, taking a cue from Smittie, I layered a raincoat over my North Face puffer (which I threw into my pack at the last minute and very glad I did!) Reykjavik was chilly rather than cold, and rainy, except for one lucky morning. 

I had only my iphone with me so photo quality is not fabulous, alas. 

Back home now with a sore throat! Hoping to heal up over the weekend. 

1. My pretty room at Siglo hotel
2. The view from the window seat.
5. The view at 11:30 pm...it never got dark. 
7. The evening we arrived was the occasion of the first gay marriage ever officiated at the local church. BIG celebration. Whole town came out and there was much dancing and quaffing of champagne. 
18. We heard the famous Karl Ove Knausgaard talk as a keynote in the conference.
19-20 -- some fashion fun. The designs were wonderful. I bought a ring (which I will show later). My friend bought a sweater. 
22-23 -- the art was amazing...the first photo is all hair from Icelandic sheep. 
24. Haldor Laxness's house (Nobel winning Icelandic author). 

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Packing...for Iceland!

I travel so much that I am usually quite calm about it all...but I am packing for Iceland and am in a bit of a tizzy. I leave tomorrow and will be gone for 12 days. The problems are threefold: 

  • Need to fit it all in carry on, plus day pack.
  • Varied activities -- from retreat/ hiking in 7C temps in the far north, to conference in fashionable Reykjavik, with temps probably closer to 12C.
  • Followed by...several days in (probably much warmer -- even up to 25C and humid) Toronto.
  • No laundry. 

I know the trick will be layers...but which ones is the question! For footwear, I have hiking boots, silver sneakers, rainproof booties (for city) and maybe Fitflops for hot springs and Toronto if killer hot while there. I don't know if that is right but it will probably have to do. 

I have one pair jeans, one pair leggings (for hiking only, since I don't wear them regularly), one pair dress pants, one pair rain pants, and several pairs of base layers in wool and poly. 

I have a rain shell. Rain pants. Hat, gloves. I'm also bringing my cashmere shawl. (Not that it coordinates with my rain coat, but whatever.) Question is what level of fleece (not sure I have what would be right -- can make a quick shopping trip this afternoon) -- and/ or should I bring my thin Northface puffer. Or a puffer vest. And/or my dressy lightweight raincoat for laying over a blazer or leather jacket in the city. Maybe I don't need a fleece at all if I take the right woollen sweater to layer under my rain jacket. I typically don't wear fleece because I tend to move from puffer coat straight to raincoat where I live -- we don't tend to need that in between stuff. 

Also trying to figure out how many and what weight of knit tops. I have a lighterweight cotton that can be worn as a heavier top under a jacket, a slightly warmer cotton that can be layered over merino layer, a thin merino that can go over and under other items, and am wondering what else I might need. 

Ack! Sorry for incoherence. Off to do some more planning/ adjusting. Here are a few of the items I'm considering or taking for sure. 

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Apple red? in Montreal

Hello, Lovelies!

I post from sunny Montreal where DH and I have landed for his birthday weekend. :)  That is the good news. That, plus the sunshine, after weeks of cold and heavy rain where I live. 

There is no bad news, or not exactly. It's just that my slight hourglass/ rectangle shape seems to be verging on apple these days, or at least that is how I am beginning to feel as I play with the new proportions. Maybe I'm just coming face to face with my short-waistedness, which lower waists used to disguise. Anyway, I bought this new skirt from Aritzia. Love the colours (red and fuchsia with bits of yellow, white, and blue/black). I can't get a full length photo, unfortunately -- we are in my stepson's place and no full length mirror. But I will put some other elements of the outfit in Finds -- imagine it with the library stamp Out of Print tee (no Find) and my cropped distressed denim jacket (no Find). 

Anyway, I got the skirt to replace my J. Crew A-line which somehow did not make me happy. I wanted a change up from summer tube skirts. It could be that pleats all the way up to the waist are not the best idea. But the fit is nice and it is comfortable and the pleats stay in -- no wrinkles, either, after a day of travel in the car. I am not sure what other tops to wear with it. I did a bit of experimentation in the closet and came up unhappy, but I was very tired during try-on sessions. 

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Spring flowers to welcome Angie home

At the sight of all the lovely Dutch brights from your trip I couldn't resist showing you what I'm wearing today. My mum's tulip twinset with burgundy and bright red.

In reality I had to switch footwear because it started to pour. But rain also grows spring flowers, right?

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