Ensembling it

I just loved Angie's blog post today. For me, 2014 was the year of the working wardrobe -- the first time in my life when I actually had enough clothes in my closet and enough options to wear more than just a couple of variations of the same outfits again and again. So the almost-weekly ensemble posts were a revelation and a much-needed opportunity to play. I tried versions of almost all of them. Even if I was travelling! Unless I simply did not have anything in my closet that came close to the inspiration, I gave it a shot. I started really looking forward to Fridays. 

Here are my versions of the most popular ones. 

1. Ink, brown, grey & black

2. Grey and lilac. This is actually a new version. I can't find last year's on my computer but here were my outfits. 

3. Light blue, dark red, white -- copied from Parsley! 

4/ 5. This is one I hadn't actually tried yet, so I am wearing today. Tomato is underrepresented in my closet. My toffee is closer to taupe or tan So...the bracelet has tomato red in it. My socks are also tomato red. I'm actually wearing #5 today.  Sorry for the photo quality -- light is wonky. 

6. Winter white out -- most recent iteration, worn yesterday! 

7. Dark red, bright pink, and orange. Magic scarf to the rescue again! 

8. Modern classics

9. One of my personal favourites -- sparkly sweater dressed up or down. 

But honestly, I have so many favourites -- MOTG statement sweater (11), relaxed pencil skirt with pullover (12), denim skirt refresher (10), lilac, toffee & white (13), cropped sweater over longer top (14), MOTG cardigan, jeans, booties (15), urban equestrian (16)  ...and that is just from this autumn!

As LisaP mentioned the other day, it's also fun to go way back in the archives for more ideas -- most of those outfits look as fresh today as they did a year or two ago, and if not, a few tweaks is all it takes to bring them up to 2015. 

Thanks to Angie for providing us with endless inspiration. 


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Reflections on your 2014 style

Well, on the evidence of her favourite outfits, I'd say Angie fulfilled all her 2014 style goals—and then some! :)

How about you? Can you remember your goals? You might find a recap here, or here

I have to confess that I jumped ahead of myself with mine. I thought I was ready to refine or distill my style. But I think I really needed to continue building my wardrobe. Luckily, I did just that. 

Here's what I said, and how it worked (or didn't): 

1. Examine what my top happiness quotient outfits have in common. 

Did this, although I have yet to distill the meaning from this. 

2. Continue to purchase more streamlined high quality items where cut or or very simple built in details (e.g. colour blocking or leather trim) do the work that accessories might do for someone else. I think of these as essentials that also make a quiet statement.

Check. My purchases mostly reflect this goal. 

3. Consider simplifying my colour palette a bit more — although I’m not fixated on that, because colour does give me a psychological lift.

Am still in the consideration phase...my palette is already pretty simple. 

4. Aim for more of a “uniform” for my at-home wear. Simplify — perhaps even duplicate — rather than multiply. 

Did something like the opposite! 

5. Upgrade knitwear, workout gear capsule, PJs. 


6. Inject an avant garde element into my mostly modern classic style.

So far, a bit of a fail. I am not sure avant garde is what I really mean anyway. I think I just like asymmetry, LOL! 

So. Over to you. Did you reach your 2014 goals? Or did you change them? What did you learn? 


Black boots and blonde: For Sarah (and other fair haired Fabbers)

On my recent WIW thread, Sarah asked: 

"Do you ever feel limited/frustrated by those black quilted booties? I've admired them from afar, but I do hesitate to purchase black footwear, because I feel limited in what I can wear with it because of the bookending issue. (I just answered Thistle's thread, which made me think of asking your this question). You are similarly blonde on top, which makes me wonder whether you've struggled with the bookending issue with those booties."

Confession time. 

Before YLF, I pretty much ONLY wore black footwear. Well, except for the rare pair of red shoes or sandals. 

I know. It's shocking, right? 

But I was brought up to believe that I needed to be "practical." And in my cold, slushy, snowy, wintery climate, black is most practical most of the year. Actually, grey would be lots better, but is not always available. 

Needless to say, in those pre-YLF days, I wasn't always fashionable. I had no idea how to make black look intentional. 

Now that I have learned the power of bookending from YLF, I am always on the lookout for lighter taupe or grey boots. Actually, for my hair, tan or a chestnut could also work well (though it works less well with my mostly cool-toned wardrobe). Leopard print will also bookend for me. 

But it's awfully difficult to find weather proof boots in those tones. 

Meanwhile, my coats are still mostly on the dark side. Charcoal, grey with black, navy with black, and cranberry red. 

And I also wear a lot of denim and/or darker pants in winter. 

Plus, in colder weather I usually wear a hair-covering hat. And that hat is usually darker than my hair. 

And I typically carry a dark bag in winter, too -- much as I would like to "lighten up" here, it's not all that easy to do, as I have discovered. 

So in fact, the black boots are simple to wear. They extend the leg line if I am wearing dark pants or tights, and they work well with my coats. At minimum, they harmonize with my bag. And sometimes I am also wearing a darker sweater or jacket, should my coat be open. 

These particular boots are definitely outdoor footwear only for me. I don't wear them inside at all -- not like a bootie. These are my rainy day or mild winter weather boots. Good for urban walking. 

Does that help, Sarah? 


5 weeks, 5 silhouettes

Or, the week of daytime/ night time sparkle! I need to get a picture with my fab red scarf (a YLF Secret Santa gift from a few years back) but have yet to do it.

My silhouettes and occasions: 

1. Fluid over slouchy for work at home. 

2. Oversized over skinny for work at home & errands.

3. Fluid tunic over tube skirt for work at home. 

4. Asymmetrical tunic over skinnies w. boots for lunch with friend. 

5. Glam girls' night!!! So much fun. 

6. Fluid sparkly sweatshirt over flares. Loved wearing this. 

7. Cocktail party. I ended up wearing this instead of a dressier option I had planned. I just felt like it was the right thing at the last minute and I was right. 

8/9.  Formerly fluid (now shrunken) over skinny. With my red coat because I love it. 

Reflections: I am veering more into favourite fallback territory. Also re-wearing favourites -- I love a little sparkle and shine during this season so tend to pull out the shiny things as often as I can! 

Fun moment: Walking down the street in the Pliner booties on my way to cocktail party. Solemn looking woman across the street as we both wait for the light to change. We pass each other midway. She says (in crisp British accent): "Those are AMAZING boots." 


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5 silhouettes week 4

I can't believe I've been doing this challenge for a month! It's been the best thing to pep up my winter dressing yet. And I'm making some really useful discoveries. 

Welcome to "statement sweaters" week -- after Saturday, I added that little twist. ;)

And good thing, since I think I'm sort of pushing it to call some of these variations on a silhouette. 

1. Fluid over slouchy skinnies. Like Sveta, I don't really like these jeans with black footwear but since my perfect taupe or grey booties have not appeared, this is it for now. (I also wear with my cranberry booties and my ink ones -- but these are also on the dark side.)  I also wore my little tux jacket for extra warmth but neglected to snap the photo of that. 

2. Tailored over slouchier. For an at-home Sunday. This sweater used to be more fluid. Alas, it seems to have shrunk a bit. I will have to try blocking it. 

3. You've seen this one  -- fluid over slim skirt. 

4/5. Fluid over fluid. Haven't worn this DVF sweater much this year. This was for a visit to our financial guy. Took the opportunity to wear a jacket. Topped it with my red coat which easily accommodates a leather jacket beneath. Also wearing my noir pants...love these so much but don't wear them enough. They are just a touch too dressy for my at home life so I really only wear them when I am going out of the house. 

6. Long cardi over skinny. The snow boots went on later. We had a big storm. 

7. Tailored sweater over boxy shirt with skinnies. Tons of snow meant another skinnies day. The sweater used to be my daughter's and used to be fluid -- until she tossed it into the regular wash! Now it is way too small for her and almost too small for me. But still fun to wear this year.

Oh, and by the way -- I have officially given in. I am now wearing my supposedly "outdoor" booties as indoor footwear. They are completely clean on the bottoms because they almost never go outside, so why the heck not? This way I don't have to look at them longingly all winter...

8. Oversize over skinnies. 

Lots of grey this week; I also wore my grey puffer and my grey Danier mixed media coat a lot, with E's grey beanie! 


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WIW: Red & Dark Brown

I don't have a lot of dark brown in my wardrobe. These bleulab reversible legging jeans are pretty much it -- they're blue on one side and a sort of reddish brown on the other. They're also a bit past their prime, but I like them in winter because they are extra warm. 

So glad for this inspirational ensemble today! Thanks, Angie. It's cozy for a snowy day. 


Does your approach to food mirror your approach to wardrobe building?

Over on Astrid's fascinating thread about minimalism (well worth a read), thimbelina made a point that really resonated for me: 

I think a lot of the current small 'capsule' wardrobe blogs & systems mimic North American food neuroses around purity, shame and, ironically, asceticism via consumerism. 

And it made me wonder, do our attitudes towards clothing and our wardrobes  more generally mirror our attitudes towards eating and nutrition? 

I think in my own case, it might be true. 

For example: 

  • I don't like counting calories; I prefer to estimate portion sizes. 
  • I don't really want to aim for a specific set number of items; I prefer to "guesstimate" my wardrobe size, based on my storage capacity (which is relatively small). 
  • I don't really like tracking what I eat, but I have done it for short periods in order to learn something specific about my habits and needs. 
  • I don't really enjoy counting my clothing or tracking CPW, but I am doing it now in order to learn something specific about my habits and needs. 
  • I like variety with some consistency, i.e. I love to eat lots of different veggies but I often eat them in the same or similar combinations and don't mind some repeats; I have FFB meals. 
  • Same is true in my wardrobe. 
  • I will spend extra for quality and even luxury if it is within my budget. 
  • Ditto for clothes. 
  • I tend to focus on nutritional "essentials" and don't pay much attention to trends.  
  • I tend to focus on wardrobe essentials. (Although I hope YLF helps me pay more attention to trends here.) 
  • I don't like "diets" that make me feel deprived. So ruling out foods is no good for me. I will only eat more of them. 
  • I don't like "shopping bans." They make me feel rebellious. And tempt me to shop more. 
  • I don't like an overflowing or stuffed fridge or pantry. I like to shop often for smaller amounts and use up a lot of what I have before going shopping again. 
  • I don't like an overflowing closet and prefer to edit out what I'm not wearing. 
  • I sometimes feel guilty if I have to discard spoiled food. I hate to feel wasteful. 
  • I sometimes feel guilty about passing along "spoiled" (i.e. unloved or infrequently worn) clothing. 
  • I want to enjoy and take pleasure in what I am eating every day. I don't want to "save up" for a special occasion and eat dry toast in the interim. 
  • I want to enjoy and wear my beloved clothes as often as I can. I don't want to save them for special occasions. 
  • I prefer to eat fresh, homemade food, but I'm not above eating leftovers and often prepare a big meal with the understanding that we'll eat it again later in the week, perhaps with something else to update it. 
  • I definitely show a preference for my "fresh" brand new items, but I'm not above wearing them with my old things. What's more, I'll even wear somebody else's "leftovers" on occasion. 
  • I don't really read food blogs or the like except if I am looking for recipes (often how to use a specific ingredient). 
  • I don't really read fashion blogs (apart from this one) unless I need specific inspiration for a new item. 

I am sure I could come up with other parallels, but that is a start. It actually surprised me to see these overlaps! 

How about you? Do your attitudes to your clothes and wardrobe reflect your attitudes towards food, eating, cooking, nutritional habits in general? 


WIW: Staying warm

It's pretty cold here today (0C or 32F) -- not the worst it gets, by any means, but hardly pleasant. 

Yet I am JWE (just warm enough) in my dress with booties. I'm using Angie's tip of layering a pullover over the dress. 

This dress has long sleeves and is surprisingly warm for a modal fabrication -- partly because the skirt is double layered. The sweater is the Equipment Sloane from NAS, on its first outing! And what a lovely sweater it is. 

I am about to go out and will top this with my grey puffer coat. I may change into my knee high boots as well for a little extra warmth. :) 


Holiday outfits: Help me pick!

I don't have a lot of holiday parties or events lined up yet. Apart from our "at home" festivities, there are only two that I know of so far.

Event 1 is a "Glam Girls supper" in the home of a poet friend. Guests are all women, all writers. The idea is to dress up. The other guests tend to be funky dressers. Think rock-chic meets retro. But I don't have to dress as they do; I can be myself. 

Event 2 is a cocktail party, also in the home of a writer friend (different friend -- but the guests may overlap). This one is a bit uncertain -- it might be more casual (in which case I would wear one of my sparkly sweater ensembles.)

Or, then again, the guest list might grow and it might get more dressy. The hostess is a curvy hourglass who looks wonderful in retro 50s looks and will probably glam herself up for the occasion in that way; but most of the other guests (esp. the males) will wear jeans and moto jackets. One other woman guest might dress up. Again, it doesn't really matter what I wear; I don't have to "fit in." As long as I feel comfortable and like myself. 

So, here are a couple of outfit options. 

I was thinking of the first one (1-4) for the Glam Girls supper. I need a proper statement necklace. Here I am just layering a few of my mother's sparkly rhinestones. Does this work okay? Thrifted cashmere sweater, microfishnets, burgundy patent pumps, my mother's silver clutch. 

Another option (for this event or the other one) is a sort of updated "le smoking." I have a couple of potential ways to wear it. The core item is a thrifted brocade shell. 

One is with the Zara jacquard jacket and the J. Crew track pants. (#6)  

By the way, #7 is a back view of the pants for Elizabeth P, who requested that. ;) 

Another option is with the Reiss ink tux jacket. It is darker than the pants, but I don't know if that matters. This is a long jacket. 

I could also go with black. Black 'noir' trousers and the black tux jacket from Trouvé. It is a shorter jacket, shorter still in the back, but still comes to the top of the pants. 

Do you like any of these options? Which one for which event? 

Also, any leads on a statement necklace I could get in time for the 17th appreciated. I am an ignoramus when it comes to bling and do not even know how to begin to shop for it. 

Thank you!! 


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WIW: sparkle dressed down & 5 silhouettes

Alaskagirl's 5 silhouette challenge has been the BEST thing so far this winter for my fashion life! Thank you, Una!! 

My own personal weeks 1 and 2 are here and here

This week I really enjoyed myself; it helps that I am feeling better overall, I guess. Plus I had a few new items to play with, thanks to the Black Friday Zara sale. ;) 

Day 1: Slouchy skinnies (Gap Original Fit selvedge, taken from DD's donate pile), fluid pullover. Easy peasy for work-at-home. 

Day 2: Appointment at school. Wide legs (Theory Emory), cropped sweater (it is navy, BTW, not black), and gingham tux shirt. I liked the proportions here! Score! Also wore my new Danier coat, already a workhorse. 

Day 3: The new Zara skirt, which cost me all of $13. Vince Camuto quality it is not...this is a real tube cut totally straight -- no WAY I am wearing it without a long top, especially considering what a month of enforced bed rest has done to my tummy. I am starting to have apple tendencies!! But the colours are fun, fun, fun, and I'm going to love having this in the closet. DH and stepdaughter loved it. 

Day 4: BF jeans and plaid shirt. Claire, I confess -- I'm a lemming!! My pockets are arguably far more problematic than the ones on Claire's shirt, but being so flat chested it doesn't really bother me to draw attention to that spot; it feels like a bit of whimsy, actually. And the soft white is super flattering. Wearing this with a fitted cashmere hoodie for another silhouette switcheroo. 

Day 5: Sparkly sweater dressed down -- for an at home date night with Mr. Suz, finishing season 3 of Borgen, best TV show ever! 

Thanks for looking and suggestions welcome. 


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