Keep, Exchange, Alter, or Return: Portobello skirt

Shannon set me on a shopping mission when she picked up this cute Portobello skirt from Cleo a few weeks' back.

And she may, indirectly, have been the catalyst for my TAUPE revelation! (Thank you, Shannon).

Of course I decided I had to have it.

Sold out in my store, of course, in every size, but I ordered it, it arrived, and I love it. Stretchy, walkable, a perfect length for flats or low heels, it is ideal for my upcoming China/ Vancouver travel capsule, and could also form the basis for a new TAUPE capsule. So you KNOW I want to keep it.

There's just one problem. Either it doesn't fit quite right, it's sewed defectively, it's too big, or my body is weird (or maybe some combination) because it sort of puffs out in a weird way on one side. There's extra fabric on one hip. Just looking at it (off my body) the seam appears straight. But on me, there's a poof.

I hoped it might "settle" if I wore it around the house, but it didn't. Hubs noticed it and said it looks weird. Daughter doesn't think it is a problem. When I have a top pulled over it as in pic #1, it doesn't bother me. But I am wondering, should I try to get a replacement or have it altered? Would love your thoughts. It's made of a knit material, by the way.

The top is a "freebie" from consignment, a product of the late, lamented Cassis. This is the kind of thing that makes me continue to consign. I had never owned a sheer top like this before and would not have paid full price because I would not have seen it as "practical." But for free, I brought it home, and holy schmoly. Not only can I layer it over a bunch of tanks and camis to change the effect, but it covers up my not so nice chest area and allows me to wear my beloved blue-grey jersey dress with comfort, which none of my previous camis did (the necklines being too low). I can also layer it under lots of other tops. Brilliant!


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More leather deliberations

So...have I bored you enough with my leather deliberations?

I've discovered that buying a leather coat is a shopping adventure all its own.

Fortunately, I do not HAVE to buy one. So I won't settle for less than wonderful.

But I went back to Danier yesterday to do some more trying on, and made some interesting discoveries.

First, the red (actually, raspberry) moto that I tried on last week is still by far my favourite. I really love it on me.

And I guess, if I'm honest, the reason I went back to the store was that I was still thinknig about it.

I tried on several others, including the one that Merwoman bought (gorgeous jacket, by the way, and it comes in a beautiful green colour as well..)

But in most, the fit was off in some indefinable way - either too tight in the shoulders or too long in the arms or too something...waist not hitting in the right place, mostly. As Shannon and Sylvie have both said, it can be tough to find jackets at Danier that work for shorter body types.

This one:

had a lovely cut for me, and felt much more like something I would wear indoors. BUT...the leather has some sort of finish so it doesn't feel as soft, and it doesn't have zips at the cuffs so you can't play with them as easily. The sleeves would need shortening on me. And it's a bit bright a red for me, too - a true red vs. a soft red.

There were others as that isn't yet on the website that had a dramatic collar and fab knit panels in the arms, making it feel perfect for indoor wear...but it was only in black and the cut wasn't quite as good for me personally.

Anyway. Here's my dilemma. I really do love the moto (#1) BUT I worry it will become an expensive orphan. It feels too snug to layer under (I was fine yesterday with a light sweater beneath but I wouldn't want to put much else underneath). It feels too bulky and "outdoorsy" to layer over -- and besides, I would be ROASTING if I wore it indoors. Yesterday in the store with just a thin sweater and sleeveless top I found it extremely warm.

So it's essentially a spring/fall good weather coat for when you aren't wearing another jacket or coat over top.

And I honestly don't know if I would ever wear such a thing. I love to wear jackets as my "third piece" to add interest to an outfit. That's the whole reason to make this purchase.

So to buy a jacket that I'd always have to take on and off and that wouldn't layer over my regular jackets (i.e. the third piece) feels a bit...I don't know...risky? One of the banes of my life in summer is that I don't have (can never find) tops with enough interest to carry an outfit on their own. With a jacket that I always remove indoors, I'm stuck back in styling "summer" throughout the fall and spring!

I would love your thoughts on this. Angie already weighed in saying the red jacket looked (to her) layer-able over; Sveta weighed in and suggested it seemed more outdoor oriented, and I suspect, temperature wise, I run more like her than like Angie, or rather, we live in a much more similar climate, where a jacket like this would feel too warm as an indoor topper. Diana made the interesting point that she sometimes swaps out her jackets, carrying around the one she will wear inside and taking the leather off when she gets there; that's a neat idea but one I think would drive me personally batty.

At the end of it all...still thinking about jacket #1. Sigh.......


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WIW at Danier (and did not yet buy)

Like Shannon, I went out to buy undies this afternoon. While at the mall, I popped into Cleo to try to pick up the portobello pencil skirt she bought. But they are totally sold out.

Popular item! :-(

Then, I just happened to find myself in Danier trying on jackets!

Here are some pics. I am sorry - of course they are iPhone pics and not great quality.

#1 is in "teak" which is, I guess, a sort of dark taupe. It has an amazing, bizarre, movable collar - you can wear up, down, folded this way and that. Quite odd, in some ways, but fun. The back detail on the jacket, which you can't see, is truly lovely. I like the way the sleeves scrunch and stay.

#2 I tried in what they call red, but is actually a sort of raspberry. (Pink moto jacket, anyone?) It is a bit heavier, with a different kind of cuff - still scrunchable, but in a different way.

It is $100 more than the other one.

Both feel a bit snug, but the SA assures me they are supposed to feel that way and will "give."

Would love your thoughts. I did not buy either, but am considering. #1 would be in one of my neutrals, #2 would be in one of my accent colours.


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Breakthrough! (Shout out to Steph - Mrs. Eccentric)

Shout out to ALL of you, actually.

Subtitle: All I Really Need to Know Was Sitting in My Lap

Una said that her angst filled moments usually preceded a breakthrough. I'm like that in my creative work. Looks like I'm like that with wardrobe planning, too.

Because just as she predicted, I've had my breakthrough.

It arose out of a PM from Steph (Mrs. Eccentric) and a subsequent conversation. Now, I tend to listen to Steph. As you know, she was the catalyst for my first big style breakthrough, about a year ago.

Like many of you, in our most recent conversation, she had lots of good insights and experience to share regarding my sense that my wardrobe lacks a core.

And the crux of my problem, she suggested, was that I need to pick one dark and one light neutral and start building the wardrobe around those.

How many times have I seen and read that advice?

And how many times have I said, "Yes, yes...that makes sense." And then gone out and bought whatever fit and whatever I could get my hands on, as long as it was in a semi-flattering colour that "went" with the rest of my wardrobe somehow.

Or said by myself, "Yes, yes, but "my" neutrals are never available, and in the meantime, I need something to wear!!!" Or, "Yes, yes, that's all very well, but I happen to LOVE colour and it makes me happy." Or, "I know, I know. But black is so USEFUL and DRAMATIC." Or, "Yes, yes, it sounds really good in theory, but I don't look good in a light neutral. SSB? No thank you! And even light grey is "iffy" on me....those light colours just wash me out completely!"

And so on.

All of my objections, by the way, are true. And - let's face it. A year ago my closet was essentially empty. I wasn't crazy to think I needed to populate it with SOMETHING ASAP. A girl can't go round naked in my climate.

So I populated it. With sale rack finds. With consignments finds. With the occasional "real" purchase. And then felt disappointed at the mish-mash that resulted.

Sure, it was better fitting and much more fashionable than my previous wardrobe. Sure, it was somewhat more expressive of who I am. And it certainly worked better for most of the occasions I'm called on to attend.


Don't get me wrong. For some people, it would be perfect. This is temperamental. Some people crave variety, don't mind lots of different colours in their wardrobes, and have no problem with what, to me, was visual noise.

Those of you who were mystified about why I felt I needed a core may well belong to the group that LIKES mishmash. Or the group that loves a large wardrobe. Nothing wrong with that. It's just a different preference!

But I am who I am, and I need coherence. Not just because I have an OCD streak, LOL. But because without it, I'm not fully expressing my ideal fashion personality.

I will be EVERLASTINGLY grateful to Angie and her guidelines to dress for our dominant climate and lifestyle - these are two ideas that I feel have really had an impact and made it possible for me in the past year to get dressed most mornings and feel reasonably good in an outfit. .

But despite that, my wardrobe was still lacking in what I longed for - that indefinable sense of "chic" and coherence.

Unifying neutrals. Unifying neutrals. But what?

Black? Well, I still have a closetful of it (especially bottoms) but it's not the kindest to my face.

Beige? Totally, completely soul-sucking on me, in all its permutations. ANYTHING with a yellow undertone spells death to my complexion.

Tan? Even worse than beige. (Though I adore tan accessories like bags, etc.)

Light grey? Well...maybe. But while charcoal and medium greys look quite nice on me, lighter greys can really wash me out unless it is summer and I have had some sun. Plus, I associate light grey with my mom in the 80s. I DO like a soft dove grey now and again....but as my basic wardrobe? Not so much.

White? I can "get away" with it as an accent, but winter white is much better for me - and naturally, 10 times as hard to find.


Then Steph innocently said, "It doesn't have to be a dark and a light neutral. It could be two darks if you are comfortable wearing darks."

I pondered. I thought. And I realized...I'm a fairly low contrast person. While I really enjoy high contrast outfits on others, and occasionally wear high contrast items/outfits myself with some success, typically I look better in MEDIUM tones with some dark or light for accent.

Steph also said, in passing, about her own neutrals, that she wore them on a continuum. It's not just ivory. It's ivory, cream, tan.

AHA! Bingo!!!!! Lights flashing up in the tired ancient brain.

So...what if my neutrals were:

Blue - everything from ink blue to navy to a soft smoky grey blue or blue-grey - INCLUDING, of course, that complete staple of my work-at-home wardrobe, and with what good fortune, some of my most flattering colours of all, DENIM blues. Oh - and bonus - navy/ ink blue/ and other blues work with black.

TAUPE - yes, taupe - that indefinable greyish/brown mousy tone (like my own mousy colouring) that never washes me out (unlike beige). Taupe, that colour beloved of avant-garde designers ALMOST as much as black. Taupe, that soft, unassuming neutral that works so brilliantly not just with blue, but with several other of my favourite accent colours....not to mention with all the BLACK that I still have in my wardrobe and can't easily purge. And with white/off-white.


I then took another leaf from Steph and checked out the wardrobe planning sheets on Sewing Plum. These are brilliant - more flexible than many I've seen, and a great set of basic guidelines.

I have already started formulating some concrete wardrobe plans. The MINUTE I hit on this neutral palette, I could see gaping, horrible holes, not-quite- emergency-needs, and desires (and I could distinguish between these). I will write a post about that this weekend.

But in the meantime, taupe, in general is a big hole in my wardrobe right now. I do have some items, not all of which mix and match perfectly (due to the tone of taupe, mainly) but some of which do, and all of which mix well with my blues.

One thing I do NOT have is a taupe jacket of any description, apart from my consigned glen plaid jacket, which is sort of bordering on brown/tan. And since jackets are my signature item, I think it would be a good investment.

Instead of a blazer, I was wondering, what do we think of this jacket from Danier? Anyone seen it in person?

Oh. And why do I say the answer was sitting in my lap?'s tough to see Max's eyes. But believe me, they are beautiful blue. And doesn't he look great on that dark blue couch?

Thank you, all, again, and more to come!


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Should I dye my white jeans?

I own the Kut Diana skinnies recommended by Angie. I find them very comfy.

But much as I love the LOOK of white trousers, I found I really didn't wear them that much. When it is warm enough for white here, it's really too warm for denim pants. So I only wore them about 7 times this season.

If I dyed them, I'm thinking dark red.

Advantages of keeping them white: I have some white jeans for next spring! I truly do love the look, and as the seasons change it can be great to use a lighter coloured bottom to lighten up. Maybe I'd find a way to wear them more next year. And eventually, I could cut them off for clams, which I'm pretty sure I'd wear much more often.

Advantages of dying them:

I'd wear them this season, and probably get much more wear from them overall.
I would have a coloured denim bottom. I don't currently own any coloured denim bottoms except my new reversible legging jeans. They are a sort of eggplant.

If I did dye them, what kind of dye is best?

Dye them: Yay
Don't dye - save them as my white pants: Nay

Thank you!