Outfit lab: Failed skinny experiment

So, in light of Angie's post this morning, I hereby put up for your (I hope, sympathetic) amusement my outfit fail from Saturday. 

The forecast was for snow. A friend and I were going out for a belated birthday lunch and a play. 

So I chose to try one of Angie's recommendations: 

  • Wear high-waisted skinny jeans with roomy cropped or tucked tops.
The jeans are higher waisted DL1961 skinnies. I tried them with a cropped sweater and roomy untucked shirt. The higher waist means you don't have to belt; the jeans won't pull down even tucked into boots. Win! 

But. I didn't like this outfit at all. The jeans felt too snug. (They are a bit snug after 3 months of no exercise, but mostly it's the fabrication -- a high amount of "structured stretch" for want of a better term.) And I really didn't feel like this flattered me. I felt blocky, thunder-thighed, and not at all fashionable. 

I much preferred an earlier attempt with wide leg trousers -- more fluid and easy. 

But. You know. Snow.

Which explains why I will never stop wearing skinnies and they're a true modern classic.  :) 

On reflection, I think I might have liked this a tiny bit better if I had used this recommendation also: 

  • Tuck them into mid-calf boots.
Instead I went for knee highs and these ones may be too fitted, which contributes to a stuffed sausage look.

Oh well. Next time, right? 


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WIW: Relaxed leopard print plus pencil skirt & mixed media layers

As it happens, I noticed Inge's post JUST as I was about to go out the door with Mr. Suz for a belated birthday supper/ movie night. And look what I was wearing! No leopard pencil skirt --- but it's uncanny how many of the elements of our outfits overlapped. 

Bitter cold night here. We are not getting the snow that I think may be falling in Boston, but we do have the winds and very cold temps. So I am much layered.

I seem to have cut off my feet, alas. But you get the idea. I was cozy in my sweater tights. 


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Butt-vest, Size S: Taken!

In a winter fashion rut? 

This magical article of clothing has the power to completely transform your closet. Made in the sweatshops of Shenzhen, it’s warm enough for a Winnipeg winter. With its soft fabrication, faux-lether panel, and gold zipper, it can make you look cute, juvenile, edgy, fierce, relaxed, sporty, sloppy, slouchy, or sk8ter gurl — take your pick! From a “little girl wearing pants under her skirt” to a seasoned professional of the night, ready to walk the streets (just add heels) — it’s your choice!  

So, whether you’re aiming for a look that is “unlike yourself” or utterly “you” — it’s all in the styling and your inherent qualities. In fact, this item magically transforms itself from “extra layer” to “micro mini skirt” depending on the person wearing it — completely irrespective of styling! 

It’s not just a piece of clothing — it’s a rock-solid, research-based INNER STYLE DETECTOR. 

The best part about this butt vest is that it is guaranteed to start a firestorm of discussion and debate on our favourite fashion forum! Wear it, and join your friends in a happy analysis of whether it works for you. Or not. 

Unworn, tags still on, only tried on. 
Originally $65 US (which means $80 CAN) — any price will be considered! 


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WIW: Short. Soft. So...is it "me"? And if so, why?

Subtitle: NOT A BUTT VEST. 

But, it's short. It's soft. 

Is it "me"? If so, why? What are the defining differences between that and the skirted legging? I am genuinely curious, and open to your thoughts. I am trying to formulate some questions about how we recognize one another's personal style and how we evolve our style. 

Thank you for humouring me!

By the way, I wore this to give a presentation at the university this afternoon. There were three presenters. One, a young prof, was dressed in a very similar outfit. Above the knee-length dress, tights, and boots. The other, an older prof, was wearing slim pants with a tunic and flats. So I felt perfectly appropriate to the setting. 


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Skirted leggings lemming: Dare I wear them? (Do I want to?)

Many of you know about my troubles with leggings. I do wear legging jeans in winter, tucked into boots. But I've never found a pair of actual leggings that I can tolerate. They tend to slide down on me, and I also feel like I am wearing pajamas. Not enough structure to them. 

Yet, I've been intrigued by this talk of the skirted legging from the start. It sounded as if it might be a great solution to my silhouette boredom in winter. I really love the mock version I concocted with the BR modal dress and tights, and I wear it quite a lot. So I was eager to experiment with the real deal.

But the EFs were too pricey for this Canadian (whose $$ has just plummeted.) Plus I got worried about reports of thinner fabric (wouldn't be warm enough for my climate) and I wasn't sure what size to order.

So when Angie showed the BlackFive leggings with faux leather panel and zip and Lisa ordered them and I saw how great they looked on her, I jumped on the bandwagon, along with Una

Now they are here. And...well... I'm not sure. This is way, way, way out of my personal comfort zone. I show them a few ways below. I've got different footwear on in different pics as well. 

The pros: thick warm fabric, as Lisa reported. They fit and I don't think they are going to fall down on me. Nice blue-grey that works with my closet. Faux leather is soft and actually feels nice! 

The cons: Having just had my birthday, I am now firmly in the "upper 50s" age group. And I have never in my LIFE worn a skirt this short. Does this qualify as age-inappropriate? Gaylene has a good test, something about sophistication. But I don't know how these read on me, or how I feel. Mixed, I guess is the best answer. And not sure whether to go out on a limb. Or if this is the limb to go out on. 

Also, they feel like pajamas...very unstructured. I am all for comfort....but I'm not sure I would go out of the house in these! I definitely want to hide my rear with an oversized sweater. Or wear a structured jacket up top. I do have a couple that seem to work with them. 

So. What think you? Do they move my style forward, or back too far to the teeny-bopper days? Are they sophisticated enough? A great casual look or a failed experiment for me? 


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Help me de-orphan these boots...

...or reconcile myself to their status. 

As many of you know, I enjoy wearing skirts and dresses. But I wasn't wearing them in winter for several years. I was convinced -- convinced -- that this was because I had no knee high dressy boots. In my climate, it's simply too cold to wear dresses without boots in winter. 

I am rather hard to fit in knee high boots. My calves are both shorter than average, and a bit slimmer than average. Plus, I wanted to avoid black boots if possible, since I find black is a rather harsh neutral for me in larger doses. And it requires "bookending" with darker items on top since I don't have dark hair. 

Knee high non-black dressy boots were thus a HEWI for me. 

Well, last year, I found a pair. High quality, perfect and I mean perfect fit. Comfortable, dressy, and grey. Needless to say, I snatched them up -- despite their considerable expense -- and had lots of fun imagining all the great outfits I would soon create with them. I tried Angie's 3 outfit test and they passed with flying colours. Does this sound like a no brainer or what? 


Guess what? It turns out I only wore them three times. You can see two of the outfits below. Gee, those look similar, don't they? And, guess what else? I did not feel fab. I felt like a lady who lunches. 

It turns out that my reason for not wearing skirts and dresses had almost nothing to do with my lack of  dressy boots. It was all about needing more casual dresses and skirts. A heeled, dressy boot is hardly going to solve that. DUH. 

So, now I have these gorgeous La Canadienne boots. Warm. Perfectly fitting. Sturdy and well balanced. And I never, ever wear the things. They have not been out of the closet once this year. 

What to do? 

Here I am trying a few options and showing you why these don't work well for me. If you have any bright ideas about how to address this, please let me know. 

#1-4: Last year's outfits. Worn to give a workshop and go to the dentist, I think. Note the plum seamed skirt -- yet another orphan. These were the only times I wore that, too. 

#5: This shows you another problem with the boots. They are slightly warmer toned than many of my other grey items, and in particular, they're warmer toned than all the non-sheer grey hose I am able to find, anywhere. This limits ease of wear. 

#6/7 Okay. Well. On a rare cold but not slushy day, I might be able to wear these with my flares. I kind of like the 70s vibe of this. But how many suitable days will arise? (Hint: fewer than 3).

#8-10 This skirt is not exactly an orphan, but it's not much worn, either. That is okay; I knew I'd mostly use it as a special occasion piece. But I'd been hoping that the boots might allow me to take it on a few more outings. Unfortunately, I think the length is wrong for the height of the boots. Urgh. Trying a few outfit options with them, but not loving any of them. 

#11  I can wear them with a pencil skirt, sure. But. I never wear a pencil skirt. And, this is kind of silly with sheer hose. Not warm enough. 

#12/13  How about a more casual pencil skirt? Well...no. Because I feel too ...how can I say it... tarty ... in heels and a pencil this short. Not to mention all the cutting horizontal lines. 

In fact, given the choice, I would always wear a flatter boot or a more casual one with this kind of outfit. (14/15)

So, why not tuck skinnies into them. The reviews of the boots all claimed this worked like a charm. Well, not for me. I feel too "bombshell" or tarty in this kind of look. Plus, these skinnies are on the loose side so I can barely get the boots zipped. (16/17) 

The tarty effect is only slightly mitigated by a long sweater. (18/19)

Is there hope for these boots? And if not, what should I do? Gnash my teeth and consign them (for a pittance of their worth); hang onto them and wear them if I get invited to a winter funeral; offer them to a friend -- what? 


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WIW: Just flattering enough version north

You knew I'd have to do this, right? 

Sigh. I wanted to get a picture with my peacoat, not that it is as gorgeous and luxe as Angie's. But the weather gods really did not cooperate. My outfit is for sure an indoor outfit only today -- there's a lot of snow and ice on the ground and it was -22. Too cold even for my wool peacoat and certainly for anything but snow boots and a puffer outdoors. 

And so. This is the indoor version. 

No fab photographer, either, alas. 

My version includes: Equipment Sloane sweater, Zara ink booties (a la Angie). My own premium skinnies, a lighter wash but very similar fit: CoH Racer Patina. LOVE these jeans. And my luxe Reiss jacket. Along with silver cuff and pewter Fossil belt. C'est tout. Mais, c'est formidable, je comprends. 


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WIW: A whole lotta jeans

Since I wear a lot of jeans and have been taking photos most days for the last few weeks, I thought you might enjoy this sampling of premium and non-premium denim for comparison. 

1. Premium CoH Racer Patina (bought on sale)  and J. Crew sweater. 

2. Non-P Banana Republic cream jeans (sale)  and LL Bean flannel shirt.

3. Same BR cream jeans and INC tunic. 

4. Premium Rag&Bone Dre slim BF jeans (sale price) and BR sweatshirt. 

5. Non-P GAP Original Fit selvedge jeans rescued from my daughter's donate bag. These are soft 100% cotton and I love them. With Zara shirt. 

6. Non-P Banana Republic Heritage slouchy skinnies from 2010 and still going strong. Love these jeans. .(Bought on super sale in NYC!) 

7. Non-P BR cream jeans, Zara shirt, J. Crew cropped sweater. 

8. Premium CoH Racer jeans in sand or something like that (ebay purchase), with LLBean shirt and J. Crew sweater. 

9. BR slouchy skinnies With BR shirt and J. Crew Merino V neck. 

10. GAP decidedly Non-P skinnies (on super duper sale). 

11. Kut from the Kloth non-P white skinnies with LLBean top and J. crew sweater. 

Sheesh, look at that. Am I a prepster or what? 

This isn't even the full collection. I seem to have collected a lot of jeans, but since I wear them almost every day spring/ fall/ winter, my CPW for each pair is very low, especially when averaged. 

 I go through cycles of wearing certain ones more than others. Right now the BR cream jeans and my new grey jeans are getting a lot of love. Have worn the grey ones four days straight since I bought them! 

My least worn pairs are my GAP Long and Lean (non-P and low price), and a pair of DL 1961 dark wash skinnies bought on super sale and best worn tucked into boots for a sort of "breeches" look. 

But my all-time faves are the CoH Racers in patina, my Rag and Bone Dres, and my Kut white jeans. With the distressed BR slouchy skinnies coming close. 


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WIW: Grey out 1

and...thanks to gryffin.

I know, I know. I already have more than a dozen pairs of jeans. But I wanted a grey pair. What can I say. 

gryffin mentioned in a few threads that she was really enjoying her GAP Always Skinny skimmer jeans in grey. So when I went on the GAP website to place an order for some new BF jeans for DD, and saw these were on sale for $25, I jumped. They are barely, barely, barely long enough for me, (and maybe not quite that..) but I think I can get away with it. In warmer weather I can cuff them with high shaft booties or heels. And if they are tucked into boots anyway, who cares, right? 

I have been wanting to try a "grey out" -- there will be more than one of these, so prepare yourselves!! This was a simple version for a very snowy day. After the blizzard stopped, the sun came out and it was glorious. 

Thanks, gryffin, for the shopping help! 

And thanks, Angie, for the ensemble inspiration: casual neutrals with snow boots! 

Anyway -- first the snowbound outfit for my long walk, then the snow, then the inside version for this evening. 


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