A few J. Crew reviews

I've picked up a few J. Crew items in the past few weeks and since most are still available I thought I'd offer some reviews. 

The perfect shirt I already posted and CrazyOne has also reviewed it. Lightweight cotton in gorgeous colours -- it is brighter lighter than pictured and flattering to different skin tones as it works for C1 and for me. 

The long downtown field jacket: I was in need of a very casual yet not "gear" coat for warmer weather. This is unlined waxed cotton that is good for light rain but not a complete downpour. It fits TTS; I have the XS and can layer under it. Lots of great pockets. The zipper is a bit hard to work (even with graphite applied) simply due to its being a two-way -- you know how those can be tricky to get going? Anyway, I'm getting better at it with practice. The green is gorgeous but I didn't want the gold hardware so went for the navy. The corduroy collar is really nice. 

The striped cashmere tee. I'm a big fan of these J. Crew tees; I own a Collection version in a pink from several years ago (pictured also but sadly no longer available) which is slightly softer, but even the regular ones are pretty good with a cami underneath. This is my version of a tee shirt in winter since it layers nicely under a jacket or coat and can be topped with a scarf. The grey stripe is fun. I loved the green/ blue, too but decided the grey would be easier for me to pattern mix. 

I'm also keeping the jacket, by the way. I think I can make it work and now I am on the hunt for buttons to replace the gold. If anyone has a good source (Etsy?) please let me know! 


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WIW on our first snowy day

So, the temperature is 16C today -- and rain -- but two days ago it was insanely cold and snowy. I took a tip from Angie and wore the leopard statement ensemble. With my fantastic, fantastic, FANTASTIC Aquatalia Taylors (how do I love those? Let me count the ways), an old BB no-iron shirt, CoH crops, an old BR grey sweater, a BR bag, and my Danier coat. 


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Think Pink? J. Crew jacket

Check the second thread -- sorry -- found a way to get the pics bigger. 


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Minimally maximal

Last week it was still so unbelievably warm. I had a long day of walking so wanted to wear the sneakers and this was my minimally maximal outfit. 

The only maximalism, really, is the pattern mix. :)  I wanted to wear my culottes but had a laundry bottleneck. 

On CrazyOne's recommendation I picked up this J. Crew perfect shirt. It's not, in fact, "perfect" for me as it is for her. In my regular size the shoulders just barely fit, and while the bust darts are in the right place and miraculously, I fill things out there, there's still a bit of extra fabric in front and back -- in other words, this shirt is *perfect* for a curvier, less elliptical figure than mine. But I adore the colours, the soft cotton makes it collapse into the body in a forgiving way, and the price was right. JPE (just perfect enough).  ;) 

The sweater is part of a LE twinset I gave to my mother a few years ago and kept after she died. Sentimental. 

Sorry the light is poor here. I need to set up the DSLR -- I'm having some problems with pics on the iphone. 


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Aquatalias come through!

I bought the Aquatalia Taylor bootie at the NAS and after an incident the other night, I am doubly, triply, quadruply glad I did. I don't know if these are still available anywhere, but if they are and you live in a rainy climate and do a fair bit of walking, I would HIGHLY recommend them. 

I was en route home from a rural New Brunswick retreat with a writing friend. I flew into Montreal and trained from Montreal to Kingston. The weather in Montreal was glorious -- warm and sunny. By the time we got to Kingston I noticed a bit of rain, and thought I was very clever to switch out my leather jacket for my rain slicker before disembarking. :) 

What I couldn't know what that this was the worst storm I'd ever seen! Lashings of rain (not to mention lightning, thunder, and high winds) and the rain coming down so fast that drainage systems could not handle it and the puddles were at least six inches deep. Even with 2 inch heels, I was walking in water up to my ankle bone and there was simply no way around it. You had to go through. And I did. 

I couldn't sit in the station and wait before going to the car because just as I was getting on the train I'd had a text from my DD and a call from the school -- she was in a bit of an emergency situation -- and I needed to get home to her ASAP. (Things worked out okay; it was not a health related concern but an emotionally draining situation for her.) 

Guess what? I was wearing the Taylors -- and they kept my feet completely dry!!! 

I would not recommend that treatment, of course, but they seemed to recover just fine and were great yesterday in yet another downpour. Here's how they looked even though I was carrying an umbrella. 


The cashmere wrap

I could not agree more with Angie's recommendation of a cashmere wrap (for those of us who live in cooler climates.) I broke down and bought one at NAS and now wish I got two. Wearing one as I type on retreat now! 

Comments were still closed on the blog when I peeked -- :)


Style icon challenge Annie Lennox Part 3: Diva

"Annie Lennox" may be a catchphrase for androgynous style, but on stage and in other kinds of performance, Annie can be chameleon, adopting whatever persona fits the song (or the occasion). Unlike many celebrities, she's always been in charge of her own costumes, both in videos and on stage. Deciding what to wear, what role to play, is a fundamental part of her artistic process. It's the difference between real singing and lip-synching. Annie has genuine style as well as an amazing voice. No wonder she’s an icon! 

You can see her awareness at work in the video for the song "Why" where she starts bare-faced and then step by careful step applies the makeup and costume of the Diva. Born to the working class and still practical to the core, in real life she has never been a “diva” as we typically use the term (i.e. a temperamental woman who's hard to please). But what is a diva, she seems to ask...and who gets to throw that label around at whom, and after all, don't we all feel operatic emotions at times and need to express them? These are all the years we've spent/ this is what they represent....do you know what I feel?

She is, after all, a rock star. :)   But a lot less hard edged than that term seems to imply, at least most of the time. Photo 1 is the most RATE she ever really gets. In #2, I tried to recreate it, and felt….uh…ridiculous! 

 And yet...with just a few tiny tweaks (no midriff exposure; maybe a different tank) this outfit would feel downright great, even at my advanced age. Put me (or Annie) in the right pair of jeans and we come home to ourselves. It's as simple as that. 

Annie may like to dress with a boyish flair, but she’s always a consummate lady. Consider her choice for receiving the OBE. (Photo 3) A reporter asked her why she didn’t wear her HIV Positive t-shirt to the event. After all, the whole reason she was getting this award was for her charitable work on behalf of AIDs.

 But as Annie pointed out, wearing a short sleeved casual tee would not have been respectful to the Queen. Instead, she purposely chose an outfit that she hoped would please Her Majesty. Right down to the paste pearls! (Talk about adjusting your outfit to suit your audience!)

In the end, I think she looks a bit like a bridesmaid. But not just any bridesmaid. One who got to choose a flattering colour. ;) 

 In trying to recreate the look I discovered that I am sorely lacking in the right components. For example, I’m quite sure that black is utterly unacceptable for an afternoon reception with Her Majesty, and I doubt if it's ok to go sleeveless either. Also, I don’t own a fascinator. Fortunately, like Annie, I do have some thrift store bling. And at least I know how to curtsey.  (Pics 4/5) 

Speaking frankly, I’d feel very awkward in this outfit in real life so I’m glad I don’t have to wear it. I prefer a more streamlined look, both on myself and on Annie.

 As a consummate performer, Annie always has plenty in her closet for those last minute awards presentations. :) Take, for instance. her classic black gown in Pic 6.  Doesn’t she look amazing? Impossible for me to recreate since I don’t have a full length evening gown. But my blue linen cocktail sheath in Pic 7 (and a copy of Angie's turquoise dress) captures something of the same simple drama, I hope, and did me very well for receiving a National Magazine Award. 

Then there is the fabulous 30s inspired cold shoulder dress she wore to receive her Oscar.  (Pics 8/9). I have nothing remotely like this in my closet. But I do have a 20s inspired silk that makes me feel super feminine. 

(Note to self: Must purchase a fabulous white silky satin gown for the Giller presentations...)

As beautiful as Annie looked at those two events, who will ever forget her amazing performance at the 2015 Grammies? Listen if you haven’t yet — she’ll put a spell on you. She mesmerized the audience and critics alike. Age, she showed us all, brings power, depth, resonance, and fire. 

I had the most fun yet recreating my version of that outfit. BR sequin culottes, Trouve jacket, BR necklace. I actually wore a slightly more casual version (with denim jacket instead of tux jacket) just last week and I know I will wear this version at some point, too. Sequins and star power. What could be better?

Stay tuned for the final instalment of this series: Shining Light. 


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Mini-Meetup: Sveta & Suz

Finally, after almost two years of failed attempts!!! It's a miracle. I got to see and visit with the beautiful Sveta and her lovely mother as they stopped by our home on their way back from a holiday. Such a treat! We don't see Sveta as much on the forum these days but she is as stylish and fabulous as ever and we had so much news to catch up on. 


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Silhouette or Colour...or both? How do you get your variety?

Over on Elizabeth P's beautiful travel capsule thread I mentioned that I suspect she gets her sense of variety more from changing up her silhouette than her colours. Traci chimed in saying she has narrowed her colours as she has expanded her range of silhouettes. 

I don't think it is an either/ or proposition. Many people (Angie, Aida, and Tanya being three who pop instantly to mind) get a sense of variety from switching up both colour and silhouette -- and why not? :)

For myself, I adore colour. I do stick to cool tones within a fairly tight range of what flatters, but that still leaves me with plenty of options, and colour is a huge, huge mood booster for me! So I will never eliminate it. (Having said that, I do tend toward mostly neutral outfits with one or two blocks of vivid colour or white and my favourite places for colour are scarves, coats, and jackets. Oh, and bags and shoes).   ;)

But even though I love colour, switching my colour palette alone does not give me a sense of true variety. To feel I've worn something truly "different" I have to vary the silhouette. 

Sticking with one silhouette takes away the fashion fun.

That's why I'll never be a true wardrobe minimalist, and why I do like to incorporate trends, especially the big ones like the major silhouette shift we are undergoing now towards wider bottoms.

It's also why I love summer dressing. In my climate and with my lifestyle, it's super hard to vary the winter silhouette. In summer I have far more choice. 

This is inconvenient in some ways; it does lead to greater expense. And it sometimes means my closet lacks full mix-and-matchability. Even though the colours all work together really well, the proportions don't.

Often, I end up with a few favourite outfits (vs a whole range) that incorporate the new silhouette in some way -- and possibly not many other options for tops, say, to go with that cool new bottom. But, oddly, I don't care. I am happy if I have one or two great outfits in the new silhouette -- that will get me through an entire season. (Until I gear up for the next silhouette adjustment). 

I suppose some people get their dose of variety via texture or pattern, as well. 

How about you? What gives you the sense of variety you crave? Or are you just as happy without any variety? 


First gilet outing!

I hear you now. WHAT? you are saying? Haven't we seen her wearing that darned thing a dozen times? 

Well, yes, but so far you were the only ones who had because I had not worn it out of the house.  ;) 

Tonight I did, to introduce a friend at her book launch. Got lots of compliments and enjoyed wearing it immensely.

It was still a bit warm here for perfect comfort, to be honest. (Temps were only about 16C -- but it felt much warmer due to high humidity.)  So I felt a bit itchy around my collar/ chest area at times (despite layering the gilet over a silk shirt.) But I'm looking forward to creating more outfits with it in the next few weeks as the humidity continues to moderate. 

Angie, if you read this -- I have a question. I tried it on with various booties and the cropped jeans tonight, and honestly I did not like any as well as I liked my Okalas, sandal booties, or these silver pumps. What's the reason, do you think, and what is a possible deep fall/ winter solution?

Am I just wanting more structure because of the length of the gilet on me, perhaps?  I liked it reasonably well with the new J. Crew culottes and snug fitting knee high boots...but in general I really seem to want to see a hint of skin somewhere with this -- either in the arms (i.e. a sleeveless top or at minimum scrunched or short sleeves), at the neckline (like a shirt collar top), and preferably also at the ankle. 

Sigh...I so miss those hints of visible skin -- somehow for me they seem to balance and create coherence in every single outfit, and when I have to do without , I feel sad... :( 


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