WIW: Angie inspired BF

So, after all my angst about my avant-garde failures (http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....think-help) and the discoveries I made through that process, I pulled out the BFs and went out for a drink with a friend.

Observations: Immediately felt like "me" again. What are the elements? The slouchy jeans are just plain comfortable. I like comfort! The crisp shirt with popped collar - angles, fit. I need angles and structure, not loopy, romantic drape.

I don't have Angie's super cool belt and shoes so I wore my Reports and a pink belt for a touch of femininity.


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Mistakes Were Made (I Think): Help!

Apparently, I am a slow learner.

In the flush of my new decision to try out items that seem more "avant-garde" (and without a very clearly defined idea of exactly what I mean by that) I did something very dumb.

I went shopping.

Oh - and I hadn't been shopping for ages. And things were on SALE. And I have sale-buying itch, which I usually try to scratch with thrift or consignment shopping (figuring that my mistakes or risks cost me less overall that way, it satisfies the itch -- and sometimes I come out with a real winner.)

Oh boy.

Let's just say that I HOPE this can be a positive learning experience.

I bought two items. The good news is that this "experiment" (if I can dignify it with that name) did not cost me TOO much. And I can always consign the items right away if necessary...or use them on my upcoming trip to China. At least they will not wrinkle.

The damage:

Item #1 - Made in Paris, no less! Ooo la la! And of a very wicking fabric so great for travel - can be washed in zee sink, Madame, and will dry overnight! Can also be layered with a top under and/or leggings.

Husband says: "That makes you look pregnant. I don't like that one."
Daughter says: "That dress is weird. So what if it has pockets if it looks weird on you?"
Mother says: "That dress makes you look fat."

Item #2 Made of a lovely drapey jersey. Great colour. I am influenced by both of these factors, and the saleswoman's decision to knock down the already half-price item by an additional $30.

Daughter says: "What IS it??"

Mother and husband have not seen it. Because I feel so downright weird in it I can't imagine wearing it, inside or out!

So. This is the thing. Much as I was hankering after "avant-garde" drape and shape, when I actually have it, I feel OFF in a major way. Not like myself.

Is it a question of simply needing to push a bit at my style boundaries? Or am I right that this type of item just really isn't "me" in some important way -- doesn't express what I want, or even if it does, doesn't work for me, personally?

I keep feeling as if I need some crisp lines, some angles. After trying these on, I have a great hankering for tailored, fitted jackets. I tried on two at Zara yesterday that I quite liked. You can see them here: http://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs.....TAL%20CORD

and here: http://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs.....D%20BLAZER

I loved the back detail on both and the black one was shot through with gold that sort of picked up my hair and a teal and copper thread as well. But I did not buy, because I felt guilty about wanting more jackets. I already have a lot of nice jackets....and anyway. I can't wear jackets all the time.

Help me, YLF friends. If THIS is not the way for me to go about it (and I am pretty convinced it is not) how CAN I add...I won't say "edge" because Angie is tutoring us on the proper use of that word....but perhaps I will say an "urban attitude" to my style...short of dressing ALL in black and charcoal grey, I mean.

Is a suit the way to go? What next?

And should these items go into the consignment bag or out the door to some YLF friends?

BONUS: two new pairs of shoes that I think were a greater success. Clark's sandals - SUPER comfy (I walked about ten miles carrying heavy bags in them yesterday) and simple black flats that actually stay on and were also on sale).


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


How Many Black Booties Does a Blonde Haired Woman Need?


I think Una and I should live together for two months, so our better qualities could rub off on one another and each of us could keep the other one's more regrettable tendencies in check.

Remember last year when she was bewailing the need to buy boring basics and I was championing said basics?

(Of course my own recent thread (http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....style-long) shows why a wardrobe entirely composed of basics is a big a flop as one composed entirely of wackadoodle divas.)

Then, recently, Una sighed about the necessity to buy a pair of sleek black booties.
And she has the black hair to bookend them!

Now, here I come, wondering if I can possibly justify ANOTHER pair.

I own: Doc Marcies lace up wedges. And Josef Seibel Callas, a daintier, more dress-friendly bootie. The Marcies are comfortable, rugged, and fun. The Callas are super comfortable, lightweight, and dress-friendly, but a little bit more embellished than I might prefer, and perhaps a bit too dainty for my taste. I LOVED them as my first bootie and am super grateful to list-mate Krishnidoux for alerting me to them. And I will absolutely wear them with pleasure for another year. But. On the whole, I would prefer something more sleek.

Yesterday I tried on these DV Joust booties....and they are great. Simple, streamlined, comfortable, neither uber dressy or uber casual. Strong, is I guess how they feel. http://www.amazon.com/Dolce-Vi.....B0084ABDTA

In the store, they come in black, and in a sort of taupe. Both colours are super. I thought of getting taupe for bookending, but I already have the Reports, so that seems sort of silly, although this taupe is a bit darker. Also, with its open V front, the Report somehow feels very much like a warmish-weather bootie. I can't see myself wearing it in the depths of winter. Whereas I CAN see wearing the taupe DV. But in winter I don't wear I lot of taupe and brown. I DO wear a lot of black tights...and black lengthens the leg line with tights and with dark wash jeans. This is what I have been pondering.

They also have them in blue online (but not in store). So that is another option.

Or maybe I should just forget it entirely! Because...let's face it, they ARE a basic!


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Help me edge towards my aspirational style! : Long

Hello, YLF friends -

A year or so ago I posted a thread requesting assistance from our own Mrs. Eccentric (Steph) to help me refine my style. http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....e-my-style

Steph suggests picking ONE beloved outfit and trying to distill its key elements as a way of moving toward a more consistent and coherent personal style that rates high on what Jayne calls the "happiness quotient." I was very taken with her idea and wanted to put it into practice!

I have a history of buying mostly boring basics. This is partly because I genuinely LIKE classic clothes, and partly because I'm practical and historically have been on a tight budget. But it's also partly because I was too scared to buy anything else. How on earth would I wear it?

With Steph's help, Angie's, and yours, I figured out that I was aiming toward something that I then called an "artistic professional" style. And I also learned the importance of the "third" piece in lending the slightly more dramatic element to my core classics. Bingo! I instantly felt a whole lot better. http://dashingeccentric.blogsp.....-case.html

Last year, this formula worked pretty well for me. I bought a few fun, distinctive, and functional jackets last winter and wore the heck out of them, along with my basic jeans and skirts. I bought some nifty footwear for the first time in …decades! (And saw how much it added value to my life.) My wardrobe might not have been perfect, but I certainly felt better in my clothes than I have felt in many, many years. My outfits felt more like true expressions of who I am, and I enjoyed my clothes much more.

But. (And you knew it would come to this, right?) I am now at a crossroads. I need a style refresher. Because in my heart of hearts I know that I haven't yet achieved what I was originally aiming towards. I've reached an approximation, but ONLY an approximation. And now I need help to move further.

Angie's blog post the other day about mixing fashion-forward pieces and classics http://youlookfab.com/2012/08/.....n-forward/ was especially pertinent to me. Because lately I've recognized that what I REALLY want, what I've wanted all along, is to figure out a way to add an element of the…I don't know…avant-garde? Definitely more fashion forward and modern.

I don't really even know the words for it. Nor do I really know the designers who make it. Linking through Femme d'un certain age http://www.unefemme.net/2012/0.....pired.html I find this blogger who wears a lot of Rick Owens. I can't afford Rick Owens. But you know…I like the simplicity. The interesting structure and drape.

I am wanting now to shout out to our own IronKurtain who could be a great inspiration to me. And I know, I know, IK - Eileen Fisher!! But. Eileen tends to be a bit softer and "floatier." Plus, Angie has warned me that her stuff will swamp me, as a rule. And this, in general, is a problem of the general style for me. It overwhelms my small frame.

Also...what I don't like - and what seems to be the issue with all such designers and lines? Too. Much. Black.

WHY do they all design in black only??? I don't want to crowd my closet with unflattering clothes that may meet my "cool" quotient but look like hell on me.

My next problem would be how on earth could I create a cohesive look together with the retro elements I also enjoy, if I am drawn to this kind of style? I'm feeling sartorially confused! How do I mix my retro funky whimsical Fluevogs or Docs with something like this?

What I would love from you, if you can help:

Designers and lines of clothing or bloggers I might look at for inspiration.

Any other ideas you might have about this. Including the idea that I am nuts and should just leave well enough alone.

Oh - and here's a new rubric for you: Sophisticated, urban, simple, arty (but not boho), novel. Susan.


WIW for the Launch of Kingston WritersFest

Sorry you can't see the whole outfit, but you have seen the dress in previous posts. It is my Cleo dress.

Really, I'm just putting these up to remind myself that WritersFest is coming up and I will need to do some outfit planning for five days of public appearances in late September!
It's that time of year already again.

And may I add that this dress has been a real workhorse for me this summer. It has come out to play a number of times and I do not tire of it. Very comfortable, easy to wear, no worry about bra straps slipping out and showing or anything of that nature. Thank you, Cleo!


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


My husband AND my daughter love my boyfriend: what should I DO?

Oy, vey, the trouble I am in!

Taking a cue from MaryK, who alerted us to a Gap sale on the weekend, I jumped on the sexy boyfriend bandwagon and ordered 2 pair: one size up from usual, and 2 sizes up from usual.

They came today.

I put them on.

Husband came in. Gave me the once over. And announced: Wow! THOSE ARE GREAT!!

Meanwhile, my daughter was examining them. I had also ordered jeans for her, but hers didn't fit. While I was trying on one size of the sexy BFs, she grabbed the other and pulled them on.

"Mum, can I keep these?" she said.

YLF friends, help me out here, please. Will my daughter steal my boyfriend? Should I let her?

Is my husband mad? Because I must admit, figure flattering on short-legged moi, these jeans are NOT.

Up for consideration: 2 pairs of sexy boyfriends. Please note, both have dropped crotch and hang on my hips, both are removable without undoing the zip. The 4s are snugger on the bottom.

1-3: Sexy BF, 2 sizes up from my regular.
4: unrolled. They actually fit a bit like painter pants I had in the 70s!!
5-7: 1 size up from normal

Also showing a cable knit sweater, super sale deal on this one - came to $12.99 - and I am keeping because I love the colour.

My questions: should I keep either of the boyfriends? If so, which one? Or should I just stick with my old boyfriend, the slouchy skinny from BR? (Final pic) Those fit probably a bit more like the True Religion ones Angie linked to in her blog post. They do hang on my hips and are loose in the bum but are more narrow and more tapered in the legs overall. The denim is very heavy duty, not as soft and slouchy as the Gap's.

Thank you for your thoughts - and apologies for my mussed hair/ lack of makeup today.


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Eastern Ontario Meetup?

Okay. Bit by bit I have been gathering the sense that there may be quite a few of us lurking and posting who live in Eastern Ontario (roughly speaking). I know that Freckles and Krish and Krista (I think?) are in Ottawa, and Mona and I are in Kingston.

Mona and I have been trying to have a Kingston meet up for MONTHS. What with one thing and another, it probably isn't going to happen until early October. But I've been thinking....what if it became an Eastern Ontario meet up? Any interest?

If you haven't come to one, YLF meetups are SOOOOO much fun and it is so wonderful to meet in person the people we've met on the forum.


Hairstyle and Face Shape: A conundrum

In response to a question last night about hairstyle and face shape, I hopped on over to Imogen's blog, were I found a terrific article on who looks great in pixie cuts. http://www.insideoutstyleblog......ircut.html

In that piece, she quotes hairdressing guru John Frieda, who apparently has a rule of thumb: to look good in a pixie, a woman should have 5.5 cm or less distance between earlobe and jaw point.

Of course I measured. And - gasp - I do not fit the profile! In fact, as I suspected, I REALLY don't fit it, measuring at minimum 6.5 cm from earlobe to jaw and probably more (it was tough to get an accurate measurement on my own, and anyway, I could see that I was LOOOOONG in the jaw, something I already knew anyway!) Supposedly, this should make the face look too masculine.

And yet - all here seem to agree that I rock a pixie. What gives?

Imogen goes on to show a photo of herself in a pixie, explaining that with 7 cm between earlobe and jaw, it isn't the right cut for her. Actually, I think she'd look great in a pixie if the fringe were different from the one in her photo, but if she doesn't feel great in it, that's the main thing.

Anyway, I appreciated the scientific and logical approach of the piece, yet discovered that in the end, the measurement rule isn't the be-all-and-end-all.

It made me wonder, Angie, if you use particular guidelines when suggesting hairstyles to a client, or if you go primarily on "feel." Because we all know you were the one who suggested I lop off my locks!


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


WIW: Ever simpler, ever shorter

The title seems to encapsulate my style evolution this summer. I keep going more and more simple. And my hair keeps getting shorter. I have not requested it but my hairdresser seems to have decided on her own.

Sorry for photo quality; these are from the iphone and it is a very grey day here so lighting is not great.

Dress: Land's End. Not wonderful quality but a fun flippy style and very easy to wear.
Shoes: Reiker
Hoop earrings: gift from friend
Ma jong tile bracelet: some fun shop in Vancouver
Bag: Coach, thrifted

So...my question. Has anyone else noticed a style evolution this summer? If so, in what direction are you heading?


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Seasonal Storage: All together now, or separate spheres?

Angie's comments about preferring to store all her clothes in one place got me thinking yesterday.

Like Angie, my preference is for a relatively small, intermixable wardrobe. (Or at least that would be my ideal. Not entirely there yet, LOL!)

But unlike Angie, I very strongly prefer to store my out-of-season clothing in a different closet or storage space (assuming I have the room to do that).

I live in a true 4 season climate. Every September, I haul out the fall/winter things, inspect them, and transfer them to my bedroom closet, meanwhile inspecting the spring/summer things and moving them to the storage closet. I reverse the process in March. Also, in November and May I typically put a few fall/spring jackets away in storage and sometimes bring out the super heavy (or super light) items at that time.

I wonder if this is because my climate is so varied that I have very few true crossover items. The only things I can think of are one black jersey dress, one white button down (almost unworn in summer b/c it is heavier weight cotton and long sleeved) and jeans, although in high summer I do not even wear those -- they are quite simply too hot for me. Everything else is different -- footwear, PJs, tops, jackets, skirts.

If I store it all in one closet, my brain goes crazy with the too-varied textures and thicknesses of fabric, and I get depressed. I get the urge for a giant purge and run in danger of getting rid of items that are in fact incredibly useful in their proper season, but seem ridiculous at a different time of year.

When I lived in Vancouver, I had a completely different experience. There, I kept all my clothes in one closet all year and felt perfectly delighted with it.

Does anyone share my weird neurosis? How do you manage -- whatever your climate?