WIW (and why I rarely wear it)

Today it was cold enough to bring out the GAP Lemming sweater from last year. 

A couple of people suggested last week when I complained about a bit of boredom in the No Repeat November project, that I should vary my silhouettes more often and try some tunic sweaters or at least longer sweaters. 

Here's why I rarely do that. With my short-ish legs, it cuts me right in half. 

Granted, this is a "worst case" scenario -- I did this on purpose. High contrast, with a different colour again of footwear. I could extend the leg line a bit with same colour shoes. I could semi tuck the sweater (but then I'd be back to my regular silhouette) or I could wear a faded denim to tone the leg more to the top. And I have tried all of those, and they are improvements. Nonetheless, the longer sweater isn't really my best look. Much as I like it. 

I've never found a longer tunic length that works on me either, and I have trouble understanding that. It might be because my calves are proportionately short? I like the look on others but far less on myself. 


No Repeat November, Week 3 WIW

We're on week 3 of the challenge. It's been interesting.

Apologies for the lack of light - I tried to brighten up where possible. 

Friday: Pics 1-2  A warm day, could go out in just the leather jacket. 
Saturday: Pics-3-5: Another warm day, sunny. You've seen this one. 
Sunday: Pic 6: A miserable day. 
Monday: Pic 7
Tuesday: Pic 8 Maximal
Wednesday: Pic 9  back to normal, phew!
Thursday: Pic 10 : tough work day, cozy clothes required. 


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


How to bring the light in? Bookending in winter for the fair haired

Texstyle's musings here about the preponderance of dark outfits on the forum these days (and elsewhere, too) reminded me of a subject I've been wanting to raise, because I could use some help and styling suggestions. 

So. In winter, like most of us in the north, I always end up wearing darker colours more often. Partly it's what's available, partly it's what's practical in a rainy, snowy, slushy climate, and partly it seems to harmonize more with the environment and quality of light. 

I do continue to wear colour in winter - particularly reds and berries -- and increasingly, I see the value of adding light (winter white, light taupe, light silver grey, etc.) wherever I can. Not only does it help to lift my mood (along with the injections of colour) but it also looks good on me, with my fair colouring. An all-black or even all-ink outfit can be pretty harsh and draining. 

But here's my issue. I find it really, really hard to get lighter colours on the bottom. And that would be ideal for bookending. 

Okay...so I have my Petty booties. Check. I also have light taupe Report booties but those are really for warmer temperatures -- I don't wear them in the winter. 

I do think a pair of light taupe or grey booties would be a good addition. But the risk with those is that I sacrifice leg lengthening priorities -- because pretty much all my bottoms are dark in winter. 

I've been hunting and hunting and hunting for light taupe jeans, or light grey. I haven't had much luck. (Suggestions welcome.)

Trousers could also work, but realistically I would not wear them as much. One reason I WILL wear my white jeans (even in winter) is they can go into the wash. 

I also have on my shopping list a more FADED pair of blue jeans. Currently the ones I own are mostly on the darker side, except for my slouchy distressed skinnies, and they are starting to show their age after 4 hard years' wear. 

I would love, love, love to wear more skirts and dresses in the winter. But I always end up wearing the ones that are dark -- because I need warm hose, and those are opaque, and it's tough to find hose in colours other than navy, black, grey -- and even when I do, it doesn't look good on my stubby legs. Especially with booties. 

I was much enamoured of some of Vix's looks with tall taupe boots. So leg lengthening and beautiful on her. And on me, they'd have the added advantage of bookending. Bingo! 

But the heels on those particular boots were too high for me and so was the shaft height, alas (I never tried them on in person but just looking at the measurements it was pretty clear). Meanwhile, most taupe boots available are very casual looking. I would want something "in between" I think. And I am very, very hard to fit in a tall boot. 

Do any of you fair haired women struggle with this the way I am struggling? What solutions have you adopted? I would love to hear and see how you have solved this and brought cohesion to your own outfits! 


WIW: Inspired by MaryK. Stripes, plaid, leopard and boots.

Inspired by Mary, I decided to try my own take. Of course mine is far less colourful! So I added a bit of shine. There is a blue stripe in the plaid that is hard to make out in the pics. 

This is a lot going on for me, but it's a fun change. I'll have to top with a coat when I go out because it is cold here today! 

Boots: La Canadienne; Reversible coated jegging, Bluelab; belt, no name; chambray shirt, Halogen; Breton sweater, LLBean; scarf, no name. 


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


More minimimal than I thought

So...now that I'm in inventory mode (and with Mo's great post still ringing in my ears along with several 333 posts, like Alexandra's) ... I just did an overall count. 

Articles of clothing -- not counting shoes, bags, scarves, etc. or gear items, or sleepwear, undies, strictly layering garments or hose. Or coats. Or strictly "special occasion" wear. 


That's for all four seasons. Or all 6 seasons. Whatever you want to call it. It includes: pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, tops of all kinds, sweaters, jackets. And also includes more than a few items that I suspect I'll purge. (A few "maybes" that I left until spring to decide upon.) 

Okay, I am hardly in Claire's league. But I thought I had more than this. 

Can I go shopping now?  ;)


My Fall 2013 purchases (Long and analytical)

Inspired by the wonderful MaryK and Annagybe, I'm posting my F/W 2013 purchases so far.  Because, oh yes, I fear I am not quite done! (I have a full shopping basket at Nordstrom's as I type this...) 

So far, I am super happy with all my purchases. Only 3 items are still unworn. 

1. Navy David Meister dress. This is a classic that I got on considerable discount and I bought it as my winter LBD. I'm not worried about it -- I'll wear it when the time comes. And even if I don't I am more than glad to own it. You never know when you'll need a simple, elegant dress at a moment's notice. 

2. Grey knee high dressy boots. Weather has not called for them yet. 

3. Donald Pliner bronze shooties. I knew these were a serious risk when I bought them. I love them, find them quite comfortable, and will certainly wear them over the holiday season. But, as I told Sveta when I bought them, they risk becoming near-orphans in my very casual life. I had to accept that they would be a few-wears-a-season purchase, and buy them anyway. The CPW is always going to be quite high on these -- which is okay with me, because I think it all averages out. 

I've bought many more higher quality items this year, and love every one of them. I have also bought a bit of fast fashion at Zara -- and love those items just as much. 

My costs have been similar to Mary K's -- well....similar if you don't count the knee high boots, that is! Those obviously added a huge amount.  But, since they were a generous gift from my mother, they do not come off my personal budget. 

What I've bought: 

1 David Meister dress       (Pic 1)                      
1 Tiganello  bag                (Pic 2)
1 Halogen pencil skirt        (Pic 2)                                         


Munro Cranberry booties       (Pics 3 & 13)     
La Canadienne Grey boots        (not pictured)                 
Donald Pliner Bronze shooties    (Pic 4) 
La Canadienne Black boots        (Pic 5)
Zara Ink booties                               (Pics 2, 8, 10, 11)


Only Mine  Dot cashmere                           (Pic 6)       
DVF      blush leopard print                       (Pics 4 & 7) 
Banana Republic Blue sweatshirt            (Pic 8)
Banana Republic Striped merino             (Pic 3) 
Amber Sun  colourblock                           (Pic 9)
Zara grey                                                  (Pic 10)

Zara Jacquard jacket                                (Pic 2 & 11)  


Halogen Chambray                           (Pic 12)
VC fuchsia                                         (Pic 13) 

I also purchased two transition season dresses (Kamalikulture, pics 5 & 14) ) and the striped VC skirt (not pictured) for transitional weather. 

Examining these purchases, clear favourites emerge, but other than the three items already mentioned, every single item has seen multiple wears already -- and don't forget, we are very early in the season here -- a season that will extend until the end of March at minimum. (And this is why I think it is okay, even justified, if I decide to add a few more items to my closet. The need for variety in our long winters is pretty obvious.) 

Here, my new things are remixed with older items from last year or earlier: VC Elmay leopard pumps (last year); J. Crew boy shirt (spring); MK belt & J Crew jeans (spring); Noir trousers (last fall); Danier bag & jacket (last year); white belt (spring), Pettys (last winter), BR slouchy skinnies (4 years ago); Danier bag (last year, Theory trousers (last fall), SW booties (last winter); Comrags skirt (5 years ago); leopard belt (spring), Long and Leans (2 years ago); Old Navy denim pencil (2 years ago); modal sleeveless turtleneck (3 years ago), Theory moto skinnies (last fall); white Kut from the Kloth jeans (1.5 years ago)...and so on. That's probably too much information but could be useful to those just starting and thinking about how long it takes to build a wardrobe and how you identify your "keepers" over time. 

If this seems like a lot of buying (and it does, to me!) keep in mind that although I did not follow a strict one-in-one-out rule (since I'm still building a workable wardrobe) I did purge more than I bought, so I actually have fewer items in my closet now than at the start of the season. 

What's great is that the items I have are starting to work well together and for most occasions I feel as if I can put outfits together pretty quickly without a lot of stress. Now and again I still go into a tizzy (especially when travel looms) but I do feel more prepared and happier in my daily activities. Thanks to YLF! :)


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


WIW: Wide leg trousers & fluid knitwear

We had a beautiful, sunny and mild day here, so I pulled out my wide leg trousers for my downtown shopping expedition. (Sadly, not a success...I am shopping for my YLF secret friend and I am annoyed because she is someone I feel very eager to buy for, have great ideas for -- and yet the stores are not yielding anything worthy of her! Grrrr.) 

I love these Theory Emery stretch wool trousers. They are a soft warm flannel in charcoal. Sadly, the new version does not fit the way these ones fit me. So I'll need to replace with something different when the time comes. These were a lucky consignment store "freebie" (in exchange for things I no longer wanted.) I had the hems let down a bit for PPL but I'm not sure Wonder Woman East took them quite as far as she ought to have. We had a bit of a heated debate on the subject. She is not versed in PPL. ;)

I also had the sleeves shortened on my Danier jacket. What a fab service that is. They took them up from the shoulder so I don't lose the zipper detail at the bottom. And it only cost $25. Impeccable job. 

Shannon, if you read this, I borrowed your idea and stuck my GAP sweater into the dryer  -- it helped! I still need to do that every wearing, but it is making it possible to wear this again. 

Cranberry suede booties: Munro (like slippers...ah!) 
Wide legs: Theory Emery
Belt: no name
Sweater: Gap mesh sleeve
Scarf: souvenir of China
Jacket: Danier
Bag: Tiganello


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


No repeat MO-vember Week 2

Busy week, more pics because I had to dress for various events. Also a travel week, so LOTS of repeats of specific items. I was gone from Friday early morning until Tuesday night. 

Pics 1-2: Travel garb (6 hour train trip) -- J Crew jeans, Zara booties, Theory navy turtleneck, Danier jacket, Tiganello bag, VC coat. 

Pic 3: Casual dinner with donors at arts festival where I was an invited presenter.  -- noir baggy trousers, Zara booties, DVF sweater.

Pic 4: Presentation outfit-- noir trousers, Zara booties, Equipment silk shirt, Amber Sun sweater. 

Pic 5: "Speakeasy" jazz club dinner and evening entertainment -- BR sweatshirt, Theory moto skinnies, Zara booties

Pic 6-7: Travel outfit. Also wore to see the Bowie exhibit -- BB button down, Amber Sun sweater, J Crew toothpick jeans, BR scarf, Zara booties

Pic. 8: Visit with mother -- Ralph Lauren sweater dress, Lands' End layering turtleneck, BR scarf, Hue hose, Zara booties. 

Pic 9: Visit with mother - - travel day. Denim on denim with daytime sparkle -- J Crew toothpicks, Zara booties, Halogen shirt, BR sweatshirt.

Pic 10: Work-at-home and bookclub -- Lord and Taylor merino turtleneck, charcoal, TR Camerons, Zara booties. 

Pic 11: -- worn to run in. (Yeah, a bonus gear shot.)

Pic 12: Work-at-home -- consignment silk scarf, Zara sweater, J. Crew jeans, SE Petty booties, no-name belt. 


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


No Repeat MO-vember Week the first

A little tribute both to Mo (whose idea this was) and the MOvember fundraising efforts to help protect and save the guys in our lives. 

Luckily, there is no rule that we cannot repeat items, or I would be in trouble. 

Day 1: Had to give an afternoon presentation and reading at the university. 

Navy booties: Zara
Moto skinnies: Theory
Sleeveless modal turtleneck: Winners
Jacquard jacket: Zara

Day 2: Rainy day work-at-home and take my cat to the vet. 

Navy booties: Zara
Dark wash up-sized toothpick jeans: J. Crew
Sleeveless modal turtleneck: Winners
Grey cardigan: Eileen Fisher (gift from Nancylee...mostly worn as loungewear now but once in a while it gets out!) 
Leopard print belt: No hame cheapie. 

Day 3: Worn to take my daughter for her birthday lunch. She is 14!! I wore the kitty print shirt because she loves it so. 

Navy knit dress: Ralph Lauren
Navy booties: Zara
Kitty print silk shirt: Equipment
Taupe leather jacket: Danier
Bag: Tiganello

Day 4: Work at home. 

Snakeprint booties: Sam Edelman
Slouchy skinnies: Banana Republic
Belt: no name cheapie
Sweater: Only Mine from NAS
Cami: BP

Day 5: Work at home

Booties: Munro from NAS
White jeans: Kut Diana skinnies
Sweater: Banana Republic
Scarf: Banana Republic
Belt: No-name cheapie

This is the sweater scarf combo that so wowed me on Ariadne when we met that I had to buy it for myself!! 

Day 6: Had to attend and help with a friend's book launch. Rainy night so I had a trench on over top.

Navy booties: Zara
Black skinnies: GAP Really Skinny
Modal T-neck: Winners
Belt: No-name cheapie
Jacket: Danier
Bag: Tiganello

Day 7: 

This knit shirt is probably one of my most flattering colours IRL. I don't have much in this particular teal/ peacock but I wish I could find more. 

Booties: Munro (as Sveta said, they seem to dance onto my feet and have been begging to be worn with white, of all things -- so I just go with it.) 

Jeans: Kut Dianas.
Belt: No-name cheapie
Shirt: Eileen Fisher
Scarf: Banana Republic

Thanks, Mo, for the push to do this. As you can all see, I definitely work with mini-capsules, repeating articles quite often within a week but trying to vary the outfit a bit. I very obviously have favourite items, the CPW of which is less than pennies. 

Also, if anyone can suggest a replacement for this modal t-neck (it has ruching down one side) please, please, PLEASE let me know. I actually don't care if it is modal. It could be wool, cashmere, or any old thing. I just need a great, fluid fit sleeveless t-neck. I wear this one all  the time in transitional weather. And it is getting pretty tired looking. 


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


K/R Tory Burch dress and if K, help me style.

So. I bought this gorgeous Tory Burch dress at the NAS. 

I love this dress. It is beautiful, nicely made, drapes well, and (if I say so myself) looks good on me. It also packs without wrinkles. And it seems as if it should be versatile. 

Except...2 months after the NAS, the tags are still on it. And I can't see myself wearing it in the foreseeable future. And even on sale, this was a big expense for my budget. So I am wondering if I should send it back. 

What's the problem? Well...despite the fact that my mother, on seeing it, nodded approvingly and told me, "You could wear that dress anywhere..." I can't for the life of me figure out how or where to wear it. 

To begin with, there's the fact that it has sleeves, but is a lighter weight fabric. So is it for summer, fall, winter, or spring? In my climate, it would mostly be a transitional weather dress, I've realized. 

Because if I really want to wear it in winter, how would I? Other than nude hose, I can't think of a colour that would work well (or not one that I could easily find). And then, what about footwear? And none of my toppers look right with it, either. (Admittedly, I don't have many toppers at the moment, but that's another story.) 

Not only that, but I'm having trouble imagining when I'd put it on. For what type of occasion?

I think if I worked in an office I'd wear it to work. But I don't work in an office.

It feels too ladylike for most of my appearances; I'm much more likely to wear jeans and a cool jacket to one of those. And if the occasion is truly dressy, I want something dressier than this. Something like my Nicole Miller sheath. 

 It might be a going-out-for-dinner with Mr. Suz dress...but we stay in more often than go out. I will put on a dress for our dinners in -- but I usually reach for a casual dress. Even when we go out, it's often casual, and if we're out to a fancier place, I'd probably want something a bit less conservative-feeling.

I don't do revealing or va-va-voom. So I would not be looking for anything overtly sexy. Ever. But this dress feels "pretty" rather than "subtly alluring" if that makes sense. And that means I'd be less likely to choose it for a date night. 

It does look great with my red winter coat. So it could be covered up that way in cooler weather. 

I'm just beginning to wonder if maybe in my life there's more of a dichotomy between my casual and smart casual and my dressier capsule than I sometimes suppose. Seems like I want my items either one way or the other. 

If I'm missing something obvious and you can see great ways for me to wear this dress, please let me know. While expensive, I can afford it. It might mean not having something else later this year, but that's okay. It's excellent quality and lovely and if I could wear it, I would wear it, if that makes any sense at all. I also think it probably has style longevity and won't date too quickly. And since it's a goal to build a closet of fewer but higher end items, I'm disposed to try to make it work. 

Hmm. Maybe it's just too ladylike and not princely enough for me? 


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