Angie's Fall Capsule from my Wardrobe

The lovely Ingunn and Kellygirl (along with Angie) inspired me to get cooking in my own closet. 

First mistake: I didn't re-read the blog entry before I got going, so I didn't choose a specific colour scheme.

First discovery: My summer wardrobe had a pretty clear colour theme: blue, blue, and more blue with splashes of white -- and the odd splash of black or another colour. (Nothing wrong with keeping it simple, right?)

Well, my early autumn clothes don't seem to be in colours at all! I have a closet full of neutrals. And I'm a colour loving girl. Hmmm. Do you sense the phrase "wardrobe hole" in the offing? 

My goal was to create an "early autumn" capsule of outfits I might genuinely wear from the end of August through the first week or two of October in my climate. Of course actual weather conditions would affect my choices. 

Another goal was to use the Leith track pants as one of my bottoms. These have been sadly orphaned in my summer closet. I wore them a few times in May and from that point on, the weather has not felt right. (If I worked in an air conditioned environment, they'd be fine, but as it is...poly pants in summer? No, thank you.) I'm hoping they'll come into their own in September conditions. 

I did remember the number of garments to choose -- 6 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 footwear, one belt, one scarf, 2 toppers, and a bag. I stuck with this number. In quite a few cases, I felt limited and suspected the outfits I would have created using different items already in the closet would have been better. But I wanted to try this in a "purist" way just to see what I could see. 

Equipment silk shirt in winter white/ light taupe/ blue/ black print
J. Crew Cotton tuxedo front shirt
Cassis hi-low silk tab sleeved Tee style top in taupe
Loft knit peplum top (black) 
Amber Sun colourblock sweater in berry and plum tones
DVF Tinkit sweater in blush/ white/ black animal print

Leith track pants
VC tube skirt in navy
Banana Republic slouchy skinnies distressed denim

Toppers & Accessories: 
AT military style jacket, navy (details are difficult to see, but it has epaulettes, wrist tabs, etc.
Thrifted denim military style jacket (this one has an asymmetrical closure with high neckline)
VC leopard wedges
Report Marks bootie, light taupe
Leopard belt
Vintage Coach cross body used as clutch 
Target "miracle" scarf

I'm not showing every possible permutation, but I'm sure you get the idea. 

Some discoveries: 

Early autumn transitional is a tough season for me to dress for. In particular, the toppers didn't feel right. At all.

Both are older items, so although they partake of the military theme of this season, there was still something off about them. Also, they felt too dark, too bulky for the time of year, and oftentimes, the proportions didn't feel right to me. But, looking into my closet, I did not have a lot of choice. I could have tried my fuchsia knit jacket, but it's looking worse for (a lot) of wear. Question: what sort of a topper would work? (It will be too warm for my leather toppers so I ruled those out entirely. But it seems I really do have a wardrobe hole for fall toppers. And my short denim jacket didn't work with anything but the skirt, either.) 

I need a new autumn bag. Maybe a berry tone, cranberry red...something. 

Those Leiths are still really tough for me to style and feel okay in. They didn't really work with either topper. I wasn't crazy about them with any of the tops. Question: What do I need to do to make these work better for me? 

If you've read this far, thank you so much! I hope my new collage making works. And I'm grateful for your suggestions or observations. 


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


WIW: Inspired by Marley, Shannon, and & Sveta ETA: going to new lengths

Shannon's talk of silk shirts and blouses must have put a bee in my bonnet today. Because when I went to my closet, the first thing I pulled out was this Ann Taylor silk shell. 

I made this purchase out of desperation. I needed something to wear under my fuchsia silk suit and MNSara kindly helped facilitate the order. In the end, I chose another top for the event, but I couldn't return this one (final sale) and besides, I liked its simple, oversize look. 

Even so, it has been a bit of an orphan this summer. So today I challenged myself to wear it. Inspired by the gorgeous Marley, (and her beautiful, relaxed, mostly white look), I thought I'd try for something a bit like her outfit. 

I was going to wear my distressed slouchy skinnies, but instead I decided to pair it with another closet orphan -- these Gap slouchy khakis in sage green. I bought these originally for my daughter, who didn't like them enough to wear them. So I kept them myself. And wore them a grand total of twice. I just didn't reach for them for some reason. 

Still, I've been in love with some of Sveta's looks using these trousers in blush. And my daughter and I were actually on our way to shop for back-to-school at the GAP. What better occasion? 

Taking a cue from Marley, I added silver accents and a bit of a heel. The bag was all I had that would even remotely work for our purposes. I needed a tote. :-) 

Critiques and comments welcome. 

ETA: Mona suggested full length; Ceit suggested pushing them up on the calf. I like the look of BOTH of these much more than where I had them. Unfortunately, Ceit's solution won't work -- they won't stay pushed up like that on my leg and just fall down the minute I move. Suggestions welcome!


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


Mural Jacket and Halogen skirts

So. Today I spoke with Customer Service at Nordstrom's. We agreed that the best solution to my "holey" Only Mine Sweater would be an exchange. I'll order a new one at the sale price to my U.S. address, and return the old one from the U.S. for free. And then just bring it home. 

Since I'm going to make the trip anyway (about 40 minutes each way) now I am considering two things: 

1. Exchanging my Halogen pencil skirts for petites. That way I don't have to hem them. They will hit just above my knee. Does this make sense? 

2. Seeing if they will allow me to get that Mural jacket again at the sale price. (It was on my original order). I'm not sure if they would, but I suspect so. Despite my dislike of the faux leather, I really did like the way this jacket looks. And I haven't seen a bomber that combines the details I'm after -- especially the higher collar. 

I am also considering that Kamalikulture turtleneck dress, by the way.  :-) 

Would love your thoughts. 


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


Oh the Fun of FiftyOne (NOT)

Remember I ordered some Born Lissa boots in ink blue last winter from Nordstrom's? They arrived, but sadly (and not surprisingly) they did not fit. So I applied for a return slip and sent them back. 

The day they went (via DHL) I wasn't home and Mr. Suz didn't get a piece of paper from the DHL man. But months later it struck me I had not seen the credit for these boots. Hmmm....

On a tip from Jjsloane (thanks, Jeanne!!) I realized that I could track things via my email from Nordstrom's issuing the credit. So I did -- only to discover that the boots had made it as far as the FiftyOne facility in Ohio -- and no further. No wonder I wasn't credited. 

Today I called Customer Service at Nordstrom's and had a delightful chat with their representative there. She noticed another large credit on my account and asked me about it (to see if the boots had been part of that order). 

No, I explained. That was an order of stuff that NEVER ARRIVED in the first place. That Nordstrom's kindly credited me for. 

Ah, she said. Oh yes. Good old FiftyOne. 

I asked her if she hears a lot of this. 

Between you and me, said she, it is a bit of a nightmare. 

At least I have the comfort of knowing I am not alone. And the credit for the boots on my account. 


Ask Angie: (and all) Hem, Let down, or taper? Help me sort my skirts (long)

While we're on the subject of marvellous midis, I need to beg your indulgence and some help -- which I hope might also be of help to others. 

I'm 5'4" with a longish neck, short waist, longish rise, average length legs but proportionately short calves. 

As you all know, I've been wearing the VC tube skirts all summer with great pleasure. While I think the proportions are best on me with a 2 inch wedge sandal, I've also been sporting them with my Cons, and even low vamp flats. And my eye has pretty much adjusted to the ladylike midi-length. (Pics 1-4) 

Recently I updated my skirt wardrobe to include 2 new Halogen pencil skirts. These are a bit more substantial and work better for me in our cooler weather than the VC tubes. 

I already own one of these skirts. (Pic 5)  But it is a petite and hits just above my knee. I asked on the forum if I should lengthen it to the mid-knee to bottom of knee length of my new pencil skirts, which are regular sized, looser on me, and a bit longer. (Pics 6-7)

Responses were mixed. Some felt lengthening was the way to go. Others voted to leave the black one shorter for the sake of variety. But then CocoLion spoke up with an interesting observation: She felt that it would be the proportions were better on the shorter skirt if I planned to wear with boots or booties. 

Denise has an exceptional eye and I have learned more than a thing or two from her on my time in this forum. In fact, she has never led me wrong yet! (One of my very fave, style-defining looks is a copycat of an outfit of hers.)

So when she spoke, I was bound to listen. Because here is the thing. Unlike my VC skirts, which I wear with bare legs and sandals in summer, these new Halogen skirts will be worn almost exclusively with booties and boots. That is partly a function of my climate and lifestyle and partly a function of my hard-to-fit feet. Low vamp styles simply won't stay on when I am wearing hose. Flattering as I find them for my short calf, they're more or less out of the question in the winter months for me. 

And -- in addition -- these skirts will only rarely be worn with bare legs. Sometimes nude hose, yes. But far more often with more substantial hose and tights. That's just the reality of my climate. In winter, you don't wear skirts without coverage. 

Now, my knees were never my favourite part of my anatomy. So while I do wear Bermuda shorts, I'm not crazy about above-the-knee skirts in summer. But I have no problem exposing my knees when they are in tights or hose. And as a matter of fact, my shorter black skirt has been a great length with boots in winter -- it has never bothered me. With tall boots, it exposes a bit of skin (or hose) and that gives a sense of "airiness" or structure, and with booties, it works pretty well, too. (Pic 8)

At the same time, I was a bit mystified. Recently, I wore my midi length VC with bare legs and booties and felt the effect was not just "okay" but pretty good indeed!  (Pic  9)  That made me wonder if length is not even beside the point here. Maybe it is the skirt's TAPER that makes it more flattering to me. 

So I decided to do a little side by side experiment. 

These are not styled "outfits" (for the most part). I just want to look at length and proportion. 

In Pics 10-12, I am wearing the Pliner booties, first with black skirt, next with blue, and then with the VC tube (and no hose, for the most abrupt line possible). Here you can see the "hoof like" quality that some described these booties as having on my feet. (I am okay with that).

In Pics 13-15 you can see the black skirt with the Munros, the blue skirt with Munros, and the VC tube with Munros and tights. 

In the end, I am left still wondering, what is the best solution here? 

Note: I realize these bootie styles have different vamp shapes and colours, which does affect the overall impression. But I'm aiming at a length or shape that will work with all options. 

Thanks for indulging this long post. For me, proportion and line are among the toughest nuts to crack. I have a feeling that for me, here, it may be a combination of factors. Length plays into it. But it may also be LINE -- and a tapered skirt is exceptionally good not just on my body SHAPE but also with my body proportions. What think you? 

And should I shorten the new skirts, lengthen the old one, or taper the new ones? 


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


WIW in the frigid chill...and exciting season spanning news about VC skirts!

Well, exciting to me, anyway, LOL. 

But first, what I wore last week at my training workshops. 

Recall -- I was living from a suitcase. First, Sveta's place and our NAS adventures. Then a visit with my mother and brother. Followed by two days of nonstop business meetings and meals with colleagues. Followed by home, more than a week later. 

Day 1: This taupe silk hi-low Cassis top (courtesy of the generous and lovely Celia) has won a lot of love this summer. Since it is lightweight silk and we've had a cool summer, it has been perfect for visits to air conditioned restaurants, etc. I wore it with my eminently packable VC navy tube skirt, sandals, a cuff, and a necklace....and FROZE HALF TO DEATH!!! 

I did add my white denim jacket for a while, but it wasn't enough to cut the chill. 

I am unused to air conditioning. No wonder all you lovelies complain about it. What species of insanity says it has to be below 18C inside when it is hot outside? OY!!!

Luckily, I had been shopping for autumn clothes and I still had them with me! So, out of my capacious bag, I pulled my new Amber Sun sweater and my Munro booties for Day 2 -- and remained toasty warm and super comfortable. Also, I got a HUGE compliment on the booties from my 20-something male co-worker who told me they are "hot." There you go. I didn't tell them that Munro is famous for making comfort shoes for old ladies. ;-) 
I also got a ton of compliments from my female co-workers who were excited because my specs matched my outfit. 

Next up: my amazing discovery today that will allow me to wear my VC skirts for longer into the autumn (and earlier in the spring). Last year when I tried them, I could not walk in tights while wearing them -- they just bunched -- and so did all the slips I tried. Ugh. 

Well...I tried this again today with both sheer and opaque hose from Hue -- and it worked!!! I don't know if it is because the hose were by a different brand or because the skirts have since been washed, or what the difference is. But it worked. The opaque hose led to a small but manageable amount of bunching, but with sheer hose I was able to move around just fine. Yippee!! I am so delighted. These skirts are by far the most fun and comfy items in my wardrobe outside of BF jeans right now, and to be able to extend their wear a bit longer is a dream come true. They still won't be full winter skirts, simply because the fabrication is quite light -- but I figure I'll be able to get a full month of wear more from them at either end of the season (mid fall and early spring). 

You can guess where all this is going, right? Now I wish I'd bought MORE of these skirts at the sale price!! 


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


Wardrobe refreshers: Building them in

Angie's recent post on end-of-season buying got me thinking. In my response on the blog I said I rarely buy things at the end of season since joining YLF, because in the past that has usually been a mistake for me. 

But there are exceptions, or near exceptions. For example, I bought two VC tube skirts late last summer. Granted, when I bought them, I believed they would be all-year round purchases for me. Once I got them and realized I'd only be wearing them in the late spring/ summer/ early fall period, I felt a bit guilty and worried that I had wasted my money. Well, it turns out they have been my absolute top summer workhorses! So much so guessed it...I bought another. 

Firmly and decidedly on Team Wear, I have since worn the new VC skirt 4 times in 5 days! 

That's what I'd call a "wardrobe refresher." It wasn't a "need." I could have lived the entire summer without owning this skirt. But I'm clearly enjoying it and it has given my wardrobe a new lease on life. I'm wearing tops I wasn't otherwise wearing all summer, and enjoying the new combinations. 

This has led me to the following reflection. If it's usually a mistake (for me) to buy items at the end of season for next year, it is not necessarily a mistake to buy them close to the end of season for this year. 

Which makes me wonder: maybe I should budget and shop with this idea explicitly in my mind. Buy most of my newer items as close to the beginning of a new season as is practical. But reserve a bit of mad money for one or two key (possibly statement) items that I allow myself to buy mid-season. 

How about you? Do you plan with refreshers in mind or are they always impulse purchases? Do your mid-season purchases get a lot of love? 


NAS Last Chapter: Controversies and Conundrum

Thank you for all your help so far with my NAS-related questions. You must have thought we would never get to the end of this saga! But I believe today's is the final chapter.

So. Get your cups of tea. Settle in your chairs. Prepare for a long set of questions. Here we go! 

Another item that met with some dissension from the fitting room floor was the striped Pleione wrap blouse. Some felt the cut or the pattern or all of the above were overwhelming for me. (Pics 1 and 2)

Well, I love the style for me, full stop. I need to ensure the V of the neckline on tops like this gives enough coverage, but as long as it does, I think the cut suits me, and it feels good. So let's put that out of the equation, please. It might not be everyone's cup of tea. (If you don't like loose fits, look away!) But to my eye, that aspect works, and I'm not worried about it.

But let's consider the actual wearability for my life. Sveta, who saw it in person, liked it. And we all know how great her judgement is!

Despite that, I worried that the stripes' contrast might be too high for my low-contrast colouring. But because I liked it, I brought it home to experiment. It can be returned at some point. Tags are still on. 

Here are a few potential stylings. And Sveta, please give me a break on the colour thing. Most of my bottoms are denim or black! Unless I keep that cobalt skirt, of course!  :-)

Pic 3: showing volume with volume (Leith track pants). 
Pic 4: Tucked with a pencil skirt (and Pliner booties). 
Pic 5: Worn with Theory moto skinnies. 

What do you think? If I keep this blouse it will replace a black button down with puffy sleeves that I do not care for any more. 

Next, we return to footwear. This time, we're looking at the Aquatalia quilted moto boots. These boots, if you recall, got very mixed reviews from the fitting room. Most people felt that they did not work so well for me. (Pics 1 and 2)

But the comfort -- as well as the refinement -- plus the fact that I was striking out with waterproof knee-high boots and I NEED boots -- persuaded me to bring them home to try with outfits, just to be sure. (I can always return on my next trip to the US if they aren't right.) 

In Pic 6, Here they are with my black Theory moto skinnies tucked in. I have lightened the photo up so you can see a bit better. (Pic 7).

Pic 8 -9: With a skirt and sheer hose. Note that I would probably wear with more opaque hose in winter, but I wanted you to be able to see them more clearly here. 

In Pic 10 you can see them with dark denim. And then in Pic 11, with lighter denim and a coat (which is how the proportions would usually be seen). 

If I keep these, they would replace my Doc Marcies (Pic 12). I am not feeling the Marcie's funky style so much any more, and have never been able to deal with the migrating tongues in those boots, which drive me batty! These boots are admittedly a very different style. But they are both mid-calf boots.

Note: I do not own any other mid-calf boots. But this is a pricey item. Is it practical enough/ versatile enough/ useful enough? I would like to be able to wear it with pants, mostly, but with a skirt in a pinch (especially if I am unable to find tall boots that fit me.)

Also up for review, and not an NAS item, in Pics 8-10 , is this J. Crew foulard print Tippi sweater. I like this sweater a lot; anything with this type of detailing (tipping, contrasting lines) seems to work well on me.  But while it technically fits, I wonder if it would look better in a more generous size. Thoughts? 

Finally, we come to the big conundrum: the Only Mine dot sweater. You will see it on me and wonder how there could be any question. It lights up my complexion and will obviously work in my wardrobe. (Pics 13-15)

So what is the problem?  Well,  I got it home and put it on, only to discover a HOLE in the sleeve!! 

I am very sad about this. Reordering will be tricky -- it's not like I can just order an item for exchange. So I'm not too sure what I will do. 

If I keep or exchange, it will replace this thrifted taupe sweater that was not a great cut or fabrication that I've already put in the donate bag. (Pic 16) 

Thus endeth my saga! 

If you have come this far, you deserve a prize for shopping valour. Thank you for helping me to think through these purchases and make wise choices!! 


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


The Great NAS adventure continued: One hit and some questions

By now, you must be wondering, will this story ever end? LIttle do you know what I got up to in that Michigan store.....

Yesterday, I showed my unequivocal hits -- the items I'm 100% satisfied with. 

One sweater. One dress. A pair of booties. 

But, dear reader, I confess -- in the face of so much fab stuff, I could not remain as restrained as that. 

So I brought home just a little bit more.   :-)

One item is a star that I won't get rid of even if you pay me. 

However, all the others remain in doubt. Even though I liked them well enough to bring them home, and truly want them to work, they still need to earn their place in my closet.

That's where you come in. You can help me decide whether or how they will. 

To work then! 

My winner is the DVF Tinkit sweater,  (Pic 1) another Angie pick. It's blush with black. I hope it works for my complexion. Showing it first with my slouchy black trousers….and my new Donald Pliner booties. (Sorry - can't find those online any more.) 

These booties are up for contention. I tried the black (more practical) but they did not feel comfortable. So I almost left these bronze ones in the box without trying.

Okay, who was I kidding? They were there. I had to try! And lo and behold, the fit was exquisite, unlike the black. Sveta took one look at them and said she would spank my bottom if I did not buy them. (Or words to that effect.) 

Truthfully, she did not have to twist my arm too hard to get me to bring them home.  However, now that I have them here, I am wondering, how on earth will I wear them? Can I wear them with black? What colours of hose will work with them? What do they look best with? It seemed as if they would pair well with taupes. But I don't actually own any taupe bottoms except my taupe skirt that I will probably pass along this year due to its being too short. 

Here they are with my black Halogen pencil skirt (Pic 2) and same with sheer hose.  (Pic 3)

This is my old skirt, which is petite. Should I let the hem down so it's an inch longer? I usually only wear this one with hose. 

Also showing them with the new (regular) cobalt Halogen seamed skirt. (Pic 4) I love the colour, but now that I have it home with me, I wonder if I'll be able to style it in winter. I do have tops to wear with it. But what colour hose work with cobalt in winter? 

Here you also see the full stumpifying effect of the Pliners with a midi (on me). It makes me doubt the wisdom of these shoes for my particular shape -- beautiful as they are.  Or perhaps it is just these shoes with a midi. Not sure. 

For comparison, here are the Munro booties with the same length skirt and no hose. (Pic 5)

To summarize: 

1. Thank you for looking at the DVF sweater. This is a keep! 

2. Keep or return the Pliner booties? How to wear? 

3. Let the hem of the black pencil skirt down an inch (all that there is for allowance)? 

4. K/R cobalt Halogen. If keep, how to wear in winter? 

Note that my toppers at the moment are very limited. I have only my taupe leather jacket, white leather jacket, denim jackets, and a navy military style jacket from AT that is 4 years old (still going strong though). 

Thank you for enduring this penultimate chapter in my saga! 


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


NAS Wins Part 2: Plum, Berry, & Wine (Long)

On the weekend, I bombarded you with different options for my  new VC striped skirt.   But in my climate and situation, that skirt is pretty much a summer item. And we all know the NAS is really about fall and winter clothing. 

So without further ado, let's get onto the big wins! 

First, I should let you know that despite several years on YLF and what has sometimes seemed like a ridiculous amount of buying (and editing), my closet is not ready for a full on one-in-one-out approach. I'm still building my wardrobe, which means that, rather than replacing worn, dated, or unloved items, some of my purchases were meant to fill big blank holes. 

This dusty plum Halogen pencil skirt  is one of those. As I looked into my fall/winter closet, I realized that apart from a very dressy capsule item, I did not have a single coloured skirt. Everything was black, plus one taupe skirt that I will probably pass along this year. And this is after several seasons of admiring so many YLF women wearing their coloured skirts! Well, I have loved wearing my cobalt VC tube skirt so much this summer, that I just could not picture going into the winter without a coloured skirt to accompany me. 

Angie wasn't sure the Halogen pencils were the best way for me to spend my $$, because after all, they're always available and always on sale. But they're not always available to me in Canada. And this year's seemed like better quality than last year's. So I ordered two, and this is one. 

At first I wasn't in love with the dusty, greyed tone of the purple. I would have liked something richer or more saturated. But I decided to give it a try, just in case.

Turned out I liked it in the dressing room, and liked it even more once I got it back home. It works well with most of my sweaters, shirts, and jackets, and will be easy to mix in my closet. 

I have long been an admirer of CocoLion's tonal looks. I think they are a way to maintain sophistication while avoiding black. So the outfit in #1 (which you saw in my change room photos) is an attempt to create a tonal look. I dreamed it up when I ordered these items. But you can never be sure that the colours IRL will be similar to those on the website.  Lo and behold -- it works (or at least I think it does, LOL)  and my vision is reality. 

In Pic 1: I am wearing the skirt with the Amber Sun colour block sweater (which is so lightweight it is less a "sweater" than a top, for my climate). This sweater replaces my Gap cable knit sweater in berry, (Pic 3) which is too itchy, hot, and cut too snug under the arms. 

Pic 2: The Amber Sun sweater can also be layered, as the fit is quite generous. It's easy and pleasant to wear.

As you may have noticed, I'm also wearing the Munro Robyn booties in Pic 1. These are not a replacement item but a "first" -- my first coloured booties. And very comfortable they are, too. I love them so much I would like to have them in a neutral, too.  

I took one look at these booties in person and said to Sveta: "I think these match my winter coat."  Here's proof in Pic 4!!   (Note: I am not sure what I will do for tights with outfits like this, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.) 

Another important purchase for me (and a splurge) was this Tory Burch dress.   (Pics 5/6)  Angie recommended that I give it a try, and I am so glad I did. I had to size up in this one. My usual size was skimpy, too tight on the shoulders and hips, and far too short. This size gave me more ease and the length I preferred. 

This dress will replace my Cassis dress from a few seasons ago (pic 7). That dress has a similar print and colour scheme, but a slightly different neckline and style. It has proved a bit tricky to wear for various reasons, and last year I think I only wore it twice.

The new dress has a different fabrication and will be more cross-seasonal; it's also less fussy. (I was always fussing with neckline and belt of the other dress, plus it attracted static electricity like nobody's business!) 

My mother took one look at the Tory Burch and said, approvingly, "You could wear that dress anywhere!" I think she is right. And since it will be my only dedicated winter dress, I need the versatility. 

Thanks for looking, and I welcome your thoughts. 


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