Blogger Copycat Day 4: Think Pink

I missed posting my outfit yesterday because my photographer was out of commission. I will try to get a shot on the weekend to make up for it.

Meanwhile, here is today's effort.

What I liked in this particular A-P outfit was the juxtaposition of the slouch, distressed, boyish jeans with the pink top.

But this is a spring look, and today was chilly.

So my interpretation is a fall version. I traded out the sheer top for a knit top that includes a very faint silver thread. It doesn't show up in the photo but it does give the top a very subtle shine when it is in the light or the sun. For the "gauzy" effect of her top, I substituted my BR scarf (waving to scarf twin, Ariadne). I wore my slouchy distressed skinnies and I did not roll them up because it is too cold to run around in rolled up jeans. I added my fuchsia knit jacket; the overall palette is thus deeper and richer, as befits the autumn. Of course i don't have fuchsia sandals and could not have worn them today even if I did. So I threw on my fave DV booties, figuring what the heck. And I completely forgot about her arm candy, because, well....I don't really *do* arm candy as a rule. So, FWIW.


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Blogger Copycat Week, Days 1 & 2

*What* possessed me to copy Atlantic-Pacific?

I swear it was foolishness more than hubris. I *know* I don't have her figure, her youth, her bank account, or her closet. And I don't even *like* some of her outfits! Theatrical in the extreme, on the face of it they are not the most wearable for a MOTG who lives in a small, very casual city and who works from home.

But I *do* like the playful mix of high and low, dressy and casual. I do like some of the unexpected colour combinations. I do like the play of textures. And I *do* want to learn what works and doesn't work for me, and why.

Anyway, here goes.

Day 1: Daytime sparkle and gingham. This was a spring outfit of hers. We had spring-like weather yesterday, so it was appropriate.

Real-life wearability factor: 7. I went about my day in this outfit but I felt a bit uncomfortable. The layers were bunching and that bugged me. I felt a bit over-the-top. Not so much because of the sparkle (that was fine) but more because the multiple layers felt "stagey" somehow.

Happiness factor: 5 (love my white jeans), but to be fair, I might have been happier if I hadn't had a rotten cold.

Day 2: Navy and black colour block.

I hitched up my black gored jersey skirt to make a mini. You may not be able to see but I am wearing blue tights and my new blue Theory turtleneck, plus my Vince Camuto colorblock coat. I don't have a leopard bag so I tied a scarf to my red bag. I don't have the fancy Tory Burch shoes so I wore my Doc Marcies (at least they tie up) and hoped my buttons and bracelets would add the shine that her shoes give to the look.

Real-life wearability factor: 9

This totally surprised me; I thought I'd feel completely "costumed" in this very dark look with an unaccustomed short skirt, but I wore it out to the doctor's and felt comfortable. Also wore it to a virtual meeting and nobody squawked.

Happiness factor: 10

I would actually wear this again, even though it's a completely different look for me! I love the new sweater, love the coat, and love the Marcies. Combining them felt just fine.


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WIW, WI Didn't Wear, and What I Learned on my Vacation

Hello all -

I've finally collected a few of my vacation outfit pictures and am ready to post them. I missed you all when I was away!

I tried to check into the forum when I could, and I read the blog…but could not post comments to the blog! I was blocked from doing so in China. :-( It made me appreciate our freedoms.

We had a rich and fascinating trip. I felt really good about my travel capsule, and it served me well through a wide variety of activities and weather conditions. I will post the full list of items brought in the replies section for those who might have a special interest, and get straight to business in this post.

Most Worn Items:

1. Fuchsia knit shrunken blazer.

2. Boxy striped Breton style sweater.

3. Skinnies.

4. MaryK's multicoloured wonder scarf. (Thanks to MaryK, my Secret Santa last year!)

5. Grey Eileen Fisher draped cardigan (thanks to Nancylee, who gave it to me).

Seldom Worn items:

1. Button down long sleeved shirts.

2. Shorts.

Never Worn items:

1. Grey cowl jersey dress. (This was essentially an extra in case of very hot weather, which didn't materialize.)

2. White button down.

Takeaway lessons, some surprising.

1. I've heard it's wisest to limit ourselves to 2 pair of shoes per trip. But extra footwear can be worth its weight in gold. True, it takes up extra room in the suitcase. But I brought 5 pairs of shoes on this 4 week trip, and I was SO grateful for each and every pair and never regretted bringing them! Having several footwear options helped me feel comfortable, reasonably presentable, and equipped no matter what we were doing, from climbing the Great Wall of China to stepping out for an evening in sophisticated Shanghai. The right shoes seemed more important than just about anything else (besides rain gear). Next time I travel, I will consider bringing extra footwear (or buying it at my destination) once again.

2. A vibrant knit jacket is a brilliant travel companion. It doesn't wrinkle, it is easy to dress up and down, it adds a hint of structure, and it can add a much needed pop of colour to an otherwise fairly neutral palette. And guess what? My workhorse knit jacket was an impulse purchase. $20 at H&M when I was actually out looking for something else. (The CPW is already far less than $1 and I will soon be seeking a higher quality version of this item since I know it will serve me well.) Lesson 2A: Impulse purchases are not always mistakes.

3. Just because something isn't worn OFTEN doesn't mean it's not vital. I only wore my shorts once -- during an unseasonably hot day of travel between Shanghai and Hangzhou. But wow, was I ever glad to have them that day. A skirt would have been awkward while I was hauling my luggage and climbing stairs. Trousers would have been much too hot. The shorts took up next to no room in the suitcase and were there when I needed them.

4. A soft cardigan can double as a travel "robe" and packs easily. I wore my Eileen Fisher cardigan on the plane journeys and on one chilly wet evening in Beijing. Otherwise, it didn't see much outdoor action. BUT it still qualified as a key player for me, because I also wore it every single day as loungewear over my leggings and T (which served as my PJs).

5. When travelling, a person sometimes craves a higher level of comfort or ease. Except for my denim shirt (which I wore often) I wore my button downs less than I would wear them at home and less than I had expected. I think this is because they didn't feel cozy enough (in the cool places) or cool enough (in the warmer places). Also, they were a bit more difficult to layer.

For similar reasons, I found myself rejecting the black waxed denim moto while in China. The texture felt too "hard" and "crunchy," and either too warm for the climate, or not warm enough. The style felt a bit demanding somehow (too assertive, maybe, as if trying too hard to be cool?) and the black felt draining when I was jet-lagged and craved colour! Having said that, the moto came into its own when I got to Vancouver. Once there, I wore it numerous times.

6. Scarves are super travel accessories, helping to tie an outfit together and adding a jolt of colour or pattern. This is obvious, and I already knew it, but I couldn't have been more grateful for my wonder scarf on this trip - it just worked with everything else.

Here are a few of my outfits. You will see lots of repetition; I really did wear the same items again and again, often layered, and often in the same or similar combinations. And I'm certainly not claiming that these are high fashion. But they were comfortable, practical, and (I hope) attractive enough to pass muster wherever I went.

Thanks to YLF for helping me to create this capsule!


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WIW: At Home, Wearing Trousers

My first day home, and it is cold! Or I am cold. Or I HAVE a cold. Or all of the above. I'm not entirely sure.

At any rate, I'm sleep deprived, and craving cozy.

So I put on my new thrifted Theory charcoal wool trousers, the classic wide leg ones. Oh, they are SOOOOOOO comfy! I adore these pants.

I added my charcoal wool turtleneck for a column of colour. (Or column of calm neutral, if you prefer!)

Sick to death of accessorizing with scarves for 3.5 weeks, I uncharacteristically added a necklace, plus my silver belt and a cuff. And my specs, because I can't even bear to put my lenses in today.

Nothing spectacular here. Just an ordinary, classic look. That's classic classic. Not even modern classic.

But on the evidence of these trousers, I would argue that quality = luxury. I feel positively cosseted in this lovely soft wool with its hint of stretch.


What Makes a Good Shopper?

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of shopping with the vibrant and lovely Ariadne. Not only was it fun but it was also successful. In large part, I attribute that to Ariadne herself. Why? Because she's an excellent shopper.

As someone who needs all the shopping lessons she can get, you'd better believe I was grateful for the instruction. Here are a few of the tips I picked up from watching and listening to her.

Number One: You learned it first here from Angie. Be patient, picky, and practical.

Practical: Naturally, in stores full of the holiday collections, we both saw MANY lovely items that either of us would have chosen for a fantasy life. But Ariadne quickly put them down after perhaps a loving pat or two. "Fantasy life!" she said. And we moved on.

Picky: Occasionally a lovely item comes along and it is a great price and looks fantastic...but something is "off" about it. When that happens, leave it alone, as Ariadne left the super cool lurex thread sweater from the sale rack that had a noticeable flaw.

Patient: Ariadne has been looking for a jacket to wear casually for four years. Four years, and no luck. Yesterday we hit pay dirt with not one, but TWO lovely jackets. Her patience paid off! Now she has one pop of colour jacket and one neutral.

A few more suggestions I gleaned from watching her in action:

Don't be afraid to ask questions or request assistance. That's what the SA are there for!

Know the merchandise. That allows you to ask more intelligent questions. Browse online or via catalogue first.

If you aren't sure, put it on hold and ask a friend for advice.

Try the item against the colours you hope to wear it with.

If the choice is a tough one (two items that are both good) go with your gut. Pick the one you were initially most drawn towards.

What other qualities make a great shopper, do you think? Besides stamina and comfortable footwear, that is? ;-)


J. Crew Schoolboy blazer - experiences?

On a whim, I bought a $20 fuchsia knit blazer from H&M.

Who knew? This slightly shrunken jacket has become a complete workhorse for me. You can hardly peel the thing off my back! Granted, I am travelling and it is one of only two jackets I have with me. But even after weeks of almost constant wear, I am loving it!

So I'm considering investing in a higher quality item in the same colour.

Does anyone have experience with the J.Crew Schoolboy blazer (in any colour). Fit, sizing, comfort? I do not live near a J. Crew to try on.

It is not knit, so it might not feel as comfortable as my present jacket, which is a factor to consider. But the overall fit and slightly shrunken style looks quite similar. You can see mine in pics 10 & 11 of this thread:

I also found this...ahem....rather pricey version from Nordstrom:

This seems rather a lot for a knit jacket, or am I mad?

On both of these, I sort of miss the fun zipper detail. Maybe the solution is just wear the cheapo version until it falls apart.

P.S. I tried the Gap Academy jacket and the fit was off on me. The quality was about the same as my H&M jacket.


Kate Spade bags: Your opinion?

Historically, I am not a bag lady.

I used to be that person who owns ONE bag and wears it with everything for five or six years until it falls apart or I get so sick of it I can't bear to look at it any more. To me, bags were purely functional.

YLF has made me begin to appreciate the potential "fun" quotient of a good bag. For our trip, I bought a large red tote (not leather, but decent quality) and it has served me well, but it is too big and a bit too slouchy for my everyday preference. Unfortunately, apart from a rather well-worn and too small black cross-body and a very tiny vintage Coach bag in burgundy, I have nothing else. I would like to get a couple of decent options this year.

I am bling averse, and don't want or need a status bag. But I would like a bag that adds more than simply function, and I'd also like one that wears well. I am tired of the cheap non-leather bags that fall apart before a season ends. I'm looking at you, fun yellow bag of this past spring, that fell apart before summer was over. :-(

Today in a consignment store I found a Kate Spade Wellesley Maeda, like Kari's mustard one, except this one is bright pink. The price seemed good (half what it seems to run on ebay, although still a substantial chunk of money for me.)

The bright pink might be mostly a spring/summer colour; I doubt if I would wear it much with my red coat or my grey puffer. But at the price, I am wondering if it would still be a good buy for me. I like the shape and size a lot.

Would love your thoughts! Thank you!