Considering coats...

First, the sickbed report.  My doctor says it is just a nasty virus, and I should stay in bed. I suspect enterovirus. Today it is hard to breathe. But they ruled out pneumonia (at least for now). It's watch and wait. 

They did not say I had to stop planning my wardrobe.  :) 

I have not had a chance to add my coat tally to the recent thread about coats. But for winter coats, I currently own 3. 

1. Dark blue-grey (slate) puffer coat with removable hood/ faux fur by Lole. It is an extremely well made and warm coat but it does have a slight "gear" vibe to it. Which makes sense, because it's made by a gear company.  (Going into its 4th season). I love this coat, but the grey (while flattering) can weigh on me after a few months of frequent wear. I live in a grey place. 

2. Wool blend military style colourblock peacoat by Vince Camuto. Got this on a steal from Winners a few years ago and wear it a LOT. It has only a thin poly lining so is not as warm as my other coats. And it is quite fitted. But it does layer over a leather jacket or blazer and is a great travel coat. You may not be able to tell from the photos but it is ink up top and black on the bottom. (Going into its 3rd season). 

3. Hilary Radley coat in cranberry red wool/ alpaca. This is my dressiest coat and also my most luxurious. I love it. It was my first major purchase on joining YLF. I am sorry this photo is so horrid. It's not quite knee length but is my best coat for skirts/ dresses. The neckline can be worn up, like a funnel neck; folded over (I am not sure what that neckline is called); or open for an exaggerated collar look. I love this variety. (Going into its 4th season). 

I would like to add another coat to my collection. I am considering a cocoon shape to accommodate bulkier knits. I am also considering another puffer coat. 

If I get a new puffer I would strongly prefer a colour or white/ cream. If anyone has any leads, please let me know. Sadly, I'm sized out at LLBean. And usually  (though not always) sized out at Land's End. 

I was also hoping for colour in a new wool coat, if I get one. Coats are among my statement items, I wear them a lot, and the colour makes me happy. 

Problem? I haven't found many coloured coats that could work for me this year. Alas. 

Here are the J. Crew cocoon coats I have been mulling about. The first one is a lovely colour for me (I think) but reads so much more casual to my eye. 

The second is elegant and sophisticated, and as a neutral, probably more versatile. But would that be soul-sucking beige on my complexion? I can wear oatmeal and taupe and a pink-beige very well -- but a yellowy beige makes me look as bad as I can possibly look. 

Also, can anyone tell me the difference between double cloth and stadium cloth? 

Sizing is a whole other issue. Ugh. Can't try on where I live. Have to guess. Will have to pay big time for shipping back if there are any mistakes. 

Thank you for your thoughts!! :)


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WIW: For Elizabeth P Head to toe toile

The flu persists. It's now my 10th day of acute sickness and in retrospect,  I was under the weather for a full week before that. It probably doesn't help that I had to travel for important meetings last week, or that I have been under unusual stress. 

So, let them eat cake, I say!! Head to toe toile it is, just for Elizabeth P. 

Actually, that was just for the photo shoot. The real outfit is another version of sporty luxe. 

What should I do with the ties on these pants? Should I rip them out, or let them annoy me? Or are they less annoying than I imagine? 

I see I have cut off my feet. Better than cutting off my head, I suppose. Although at the moment, I wonder....

Off to cough into a kleenex again. Ugh. 


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WIW: Grey Statements

I have barely left the house in three days. The sickness continues. To amuse myself I sleep, drink ginger tea, pet the cat, and read YLF. 

Here are a few more statement sweater outfits. All feature new (and older) pieces. 

I ordered J. Crew's toile sweatshirt because I am a sucker for the pattern. It will probably work better with a skirt because of its slightly cropped length, but I can also layer it over a shirt. Super comfy. 

Also, I wore layered greys to feed my step-daughter's cats the other day (the extent of my travels). But I think I should have worn pants instead of leggings, taking a look at this photo. 

Today I have on the cheetah print sweater I bought for my daughter's birthday at last year's NAS. It is now too small for her (partly because she threw it into the regular wash and her father was not paying attention!!! ) so I have nabbed it. 


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Casual boot update

Some of you probably remember that I was looking for a pair of super-casual boots earlier this season to replace my old Blundstones that had always been too big on me (and that my daughter had permanently "borrowed," anyway.) 

I got some great suggestions. I particularly liked gryffin's suggestion to hunt for a pair of paddock boots, and I think I may still do that to add to the casual boot collection! (Thanks, gryffin). 

A number of people also wondered why the heck my Aquatalia Sweeties wouldn't serve this role. I didn't really have an answer to that; it just felt as if the Aquatalias were too "good" for the purpose I had in mind. (Mainly light hiking and tramping through parks on the way to my gym.)

My update: I tried the super fun kids' Blundstones with the pink inset that LisaP recommended (#1 in Finds), but alas, they don't come in my size. So I ended up going down a size in the brogue style chisel toes.

This style turned out to be a good choice. They fit more snugly than most because the brogue styling adds an extra piece of leather, which was actually a benefit to me. I had to try a few pairs, but managed to find a good fit in the new smaller size. They are a bit difficult to get on and off, but that is usual with this style until it's fully broken in.  

Meanwhile, I also brought the Sweeties out of hibernation and I've been wearing those like crazy as well! 

In fact, over the last two weeks, I've worn each boot at least six times.

So clearly I wasn't imagining a need for this type of footwear. I had a real hole and the boots will earn back their cost. It's nice to have the option between the slightly more "citified" quilt-detailed black boot, and the shorter, dark taupe-y brown nubuck boot.  

So, all's well that ends well, and as Angie would say, all sorted!  :) 


WIW: Statement Sweaters

And will wear all winter (WIWAWWAW, AKA WeeWaaWaa) Which sounds good for MOTG, no?   :) 

I am sick in bed today and I am not going to wear anything but sweatpants. But here are a few of my statement sweater outfits from the last few weeks, both featuring the new orb tote that Vivian recommended along with J. Crew knits. 

#1/2  J. Crew Collection "framed" cashmere sweater (picked up on super sale, yay!), Orb bag, Gap snakeprint scarf (waving to scarf twin GoldenPig), CoH Racer skinnies, SE Petty python boots, Danier jacket outdoors. 

#3, worn for a long walk -- J. Crew Collection cashmere tipped sweater, ON leopard print scarf, Kut Diana white skinnies, Orb bag, Blundstone chisel toe boots (an update on that a bit later for those who recall an earlier post.) 

Happy weekend! Send virtual chicken soup! 


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Essentially speaking...

I've been enjoying the conversation on Angie's thread. 

Sveta said: "This is how I understand what are essentials: things which simple enough in color and style to play well with a lot of other things AND without them you CANNOT build outfits true to your style AND lifestyle."

This rings so true to me. It's that intersection between style and lifestyle that is so interesting and important to recognize, and unless you do this, you'll never be able to identify your true essentials. It takes acceptance. Acceptance of your body type/ income level/ climate/ actual activities (vs. fantasy) and your genuine needs. 

Well -- call me lucky, or blessed -- or maybe dull as dust. Because for me, identifying essentials has never really been a problem. I knew what they were, intuitively, even if I never really thought about it explicitly. And I consistently bought them, over and above any statement items. In fact, I still do. (More on that in a moment). 

CocoLion added something that also resonated: "...for me, a head-to-toe essentials outfit is easy but can get boring. I think this is why every few days I wear a bright colored shirt just to break things up." 

Wow, did I recognize myself there. And here's the unhappy result:  In the past year I have been feeling a bit guilty or worried about what I see as too much "churn" in my wardrobe.  

As a work from home mother who consistently wears outfits that fall into Amid Privlege's "Humming along" category, I find that my clothes "work together" really easily. The wardrobe is cohesive. And I can get dressed without any real angst. 

At the same time, I easily tire of the same old same old sweaters/ jeans/ belts looks.  The fact is, I get bored. 

Like Denise, I've  typically looked to colour and/or pattern to elevate items from the "essential" to at least the "regular" category. But that doesn't stave off the boredom. So I've been trying to vary the silhouette a bit, but that requires a bigger investment.  

Lots for me to ponder here. I've just come up with a set of ratios -- my personal percentages of essentials, statements, and regulars in each clothing category. But I will save this for another post because this is already quite long. 

Thanks for reading these musings and I would love to hear where you think you fall on this spectrum and what the effects are, for you. 


WIW: Boys to Men

Looking at recent outfit photos, I seem to be in an even-more-androgynous than usual phase. In particular, I'm enjoying my Zara lemming oxfords (blaming Shevia). These are my first real oxfords (I know, late to the party) and I am loving them! 

But are these outfits too boyish? Do they lack that necessary element of juxtaposition? Note, they are casual outfits for around home, mostly, and popping out for errands. 

#1: with J. Crew tux shirt, Danier bag, Gap original fit jeans. 

#2: with J Crew merino V neck, CM jacquard shell, Gap original fit jeans.

#3: with Kut Diana skinnies, AT silk blouse, J. Crew crop sweater. Playing with the proportions here. Not sure this is JFE. 

#4: with Kut Mia skinnies (sized DOWN, because sometimes it's still fun to wear a true skinny pant) and J. Crew merino baseball tee. 

Next up for review is an actual MENS' sweater. Yes, Ladies, you read that correctly. I was buying a few items at J. Crew (where else?) and noticed this lovely cotton/ cashmere slim men's sweater marked down beyond belief in one of my best colours. (Marked down, I assume, because it takes a very confident guy to wear radiant orchid, right?). So I took a chance and ordered. I love the fabrication and the colour; it works as a "tee" as well as a sweater. Sleeves are too long, but so what? I scrunch and roll. 

Finally, another recent example of the boyish vibe, that you have already seen. 

So, have I lost my senses? Should I put on a skirt, already? Or a pair of girly shoes? (Not that I'll be able to wear them soon, once the snow flies.)

Honestly, I do wear one from time to time. 9/10 shows an outfit worn to a recent birthday party. (Again, some have seen it already.) 


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Calling Petite ITs: Dressing DD

My daughter is about to turn 15. A long-confirmed tomboy, she is now starting to show signs of developing her style. But she's running up against the usual obstacles: Lack of clarity on what she is after, and fit issues. 

In the past month, she has gone from wearing square-cut boys' t-shirts and BF jeans or cargo shorts to wearing plaid shirts (sometimes layered over a tank) and BF jeans. It may not sound like a big step, but for her it is huge! 

Now we're working on a few other options.  And I'd love to hear your thoughts about brands, styles to try, etc. 

At just a fraction of a cm. taller than me, she's not a true petite....but pretty close to it. And she IS a true IT. It's really, really odd. If you measure our shoulders across, you get the SAME MEASUREMENT. If you measure our shoulders AROUND, that's where things get different. Her upper arms are broad and muscular.

I now have direct evidence of that distinction Angie draws between "square" shoulders and "broad" shoulders. Mine are square; hers are broad.

So where I take an XS in a top from a place like the GAP, she needs a Large in anything woven or her arms will be restricted in movement, and because she is otherwise relatively slim and small busted, the Large is then very loose in the body and long in the sleeves. Thank heavens she likes the oversized BF look.

She can do with a Medium in most knits, which work a bit better. 

Her body type is not unlike Kellygirl's, I suspect, so I've been looking eagerly at Kelly's posts!  But any specific recommendations will really help. 


WIW: MOTG formula plus Viva's bag

Are you sick of this red sweater yet? This seems to have become a go-to. 

I don't usually "do" tees, but today made an exception with the lovely, soft Vince boat neck. 

Mainly I wanted to show the Orb vegan tote bag that I got on Vivian's recommendation. I chose the "Revolution Army" which looked taupe in the stock photo. In my photo it looks more olive. But IRL it's very changeable and it actually works beautifully with my taupe jacket, not that I would probably wear the two together. It's a more casual bag than I usually carry but I think it's going to be a workhorse for my many trips. Thanks, Viva!

Booties: Zara
Jeans: Rag and Bone Dre
Belt: no name made in China
Tee: Vince boatneck
Sweater: J. Crew
Bag: Orb
Scarf: Banana Republic


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WIW: Black "ankle" pants with black booties

I've been wanting to try this outfit out for a while but our weather stayed too warm for it. (!!) 

Then, when I did finally get a chance to try it, today, I realized it's just a reprise -- with dark bottoms -- of my earlier Parsley-inspired light blue and dark red ensemble. Oh well. The good news is, I got to wear my beloved Stuart Weitzman black booties. Happy sigh. 

These pants (GAP Real Skinny -- on their 4th season now) are very stretchy and not at all uncomfortable, but they feel "too tight."  Have I expanded? (Quite possible -- I have not weighed or measured myself in a while). Or have I simply got used to a slouchier, looser, more fluid fit overall? Or maybe both? 

Anyway, I thought I would risk rolling them at the ankle for a slightly more current look. I've never purchased a pair of ankle pants, despite the craze for them, so the only way I expose ankle is by rolling. With my short legs it is hardly the most flattering look but I hope it's JFE for a meeting at DD's school.



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