Looking forward: Style reset? (Long)

As I mentioned in my year-end review, I'm feeling bored and a bit disenchanted with my wardrobe and my style. Time to shake things up! 


A lot of my clothes are quite old. I edit regularly twice per year, but with a moderately large wardrobe and careful laundering/ drying, most things last for a long time — except footwear, jeans, underwear and some gear. This is even more true during COVID, when I barely wore my jackets for an entire year.

I still like a lot of these older items. Some are “icons” in Brooklyn’s sense. (Love that term and her new shopping strategy!) The silk blouse with the pattern that harmonizes perfectly with eyes and hair (See pic 10), the silk blouse with the Siamese cat print, the long gilet. With my casual lifestyle, I rarely wear these items at the best of times, and even less during the pandemic. But I’m loathe to let them go.

Some are essentials that have not worn out. They are serviceable. It seems wasteful to get rid of them simply because I’m tired of looking at them! Plus, I wear them. But some of them are probably less than a 10 in terms of fit or condition.

Then there are the items that I don’t let go because I don’t have adequate replacements. My black watch suit (pic 5). (I love a pantsuit I can casualize). Some of my jeans. (Don’t love them any more but it’s a need, so…). Most of these aren’t true “essentials” (well, jeans are, but…). You get the idea. 

Onwards to goals:

  1. A thorough closet edit. I already edit regularly but this time I need to be more selective than usual and say goodbye to some old favourites that just are not cutting it any more, either due to fit, function, or disfavour.
  2. Attempt a style reset. Periodically I make claims that I want to add some avant-garde “edge” to my style…and then fail to follow through. Often, this is because such pieces tend to be made in black, and I rarely wear black. And anyway, in the few instances when I have managed to source something that seems to fall into this category, I rarely wear it because it feels inauthentic or too difficult to style. (Probably I lack the complements I would need.) I know COS could be a potential source…but I have not had luck there so far with fit or even in finding the items in store that I might like to try.
  3. It looks like I will be teaching online in January and possibly for the rest of the term. So I want to come up with WFH outfits that comfortable and practical but also satisfying to wear.

I'll get to the more aspirational part of the analysis later -- (word and colour of the year). This is already long enough. 

For now, some so-called "outfits" from last year -- not favourites, note -- just times when I put actual clothes on! :)  Most were taken in the fall when I was working outside the home for a change and had some public facing engagements. 


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Style reflections 2020 oops 2021

Well, friends, I’m due for a style renewal, and I hope I can get some suggestions from you wise people. But more on that in a looking forward post.

As for looking back — it seems I didn’t even set a goal last year! No wonder I feel the need of some focus on my closet. I was just too depleted and uncertain of what the future might hold to set goals.

My purchases mainly fell into the essentials replacement category. I did buy a few statement items, however, and those were my “happy” pieces.  I bought 30 items (apart from socks.) (Purchases in Finds). I retired about the same number. 

My MVPs from this bunch were the patterned linen shirt from M&S, the taffeta skirt, the hibiscus sneakers and sandals, the V-neck leopard print merino bought on super sale, and the pewter RM backpack, which unfortunately is already looking awfully worn out. Sigh. 

My fails were the pink Gap shirt (seriously, when will I learn that however flattering a pale or mid-pink is, I'll only wear it in a pattern and much prefer a vivid fuchsia?). The cream wrap top from Gap. Too "dirty" for my colouring. The balloon jeans, which look great and are lovely and Mr. Suz loves, but they just didn't cut it for me (and did cut into my waist when I sat...). And the BR jeans, which turned out to be such a pain in length and I don't like the whiskering. That was desperation buying. Never mind. Onwards!! 

My happy fashion season was the autumn when I was teaching outside the home and on campus three days a week. Out came the jackets, the wool trousers, the silk blouses, and varied footwear options. I also got to wear my new taffeta skirt a bunch, and that was fun

Other than that, this was a “treading water” kind of fashion year for me — wearing things that had gone unworn in a while due to the pandemic and not really thinking about my style much at all. 

Time to switch that up!  I think I'm due for a major edit and a style re-think. Onwards! 

Happy holidays to all and stay safe out there! 


WIMW -- thanks to Gaylene. Bonus hair and hat pics.

Over on this thread, I discussed my need for a lightweight puffer and/or a warm but rain-worthy white  walking coat. 

I picked up the lightweight puffer from Aritzia and it has already proved its worth. It's not useful in true rain but can handle showers. It is warm enough for most of our cold, with the right layers beneath, and for true cold I own two warmer parkas. 

Gaylene suggested that maybe I don't need a puffer coat for walking (true) and mentioned that she owns a Helly Hansen raincoat that does the job for her. (We live in the same city). 

So, unhappy with the options I'd canvassed so far, I ordered the Helly Hansen Aden Insulated raincoat in white. (I tried to find one in person but struck out in Vancouver -- nothing in stock). 

Here it is—and I think it is a keeper! 

Note the rave reviews: https://www.hellyhansen.com/en.....AiAh_GNBhA

I've just thrown it on over my exercise clothes (leggings and a hoodie and tee). So, not exactly "styled." But truthfully, this is how I would wear it most of the time, because this coat is mainly for walking in my suburban neighbourhood, especially at night. More a gear purchase with (I hope) some fashion crossover potential. I.e. I might wear it to work on a miserable day. 

Apologies for the lighting -- it is what it is, right? December in the PNW. 


1. Extremely well-made. SNAPS at the cuffs instead of yucky velcro, which I loathe and which is on almost all coats of this type. 
2. Waterproof/ windproof, with a hood and sealed seams, a snap closure over a two-way zip. Hood is non-removable but adjustable. 
3. Two soft-lined slash pockets for hands and an inner top phone pocket. 
4. Lined in a soft grey quilted insulation. There is room in shoulders for me to layer more sweaters/ layers if I want/ need. 
5. A cooler, brighter white than the North Face Gardenia, so more flattering to me (I think). It's hard to tell in the yellow artificial light, but there's a definite difference. 
6. Highly visible in the dark wet weather. 


Can you think of any? 

It's wrinkled from the bag, but I think it's a keeper. I'll wrap it up for myself and put it under the tree from Santa. :) 

Bonus -- new hair. You can't really tell from these shots but it's a bit of a punk cut. I went back to my Vancouver stylist and she likes to give me one of these cuts every now and again -- longer fringe but very short on back, top, and sides, to show the shape of my head, which she likes a lot. A bit of femininity in the wisps at the ears, back, and fringe. I think she might have been influenced by those plaid pants I was wearing because she's never gone quite this short before, but I don't mind it. 

Hat photos, because with hair this short, I need one!!  :) 


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Plaid pants & YLF gift & Blundstones

Every now and again, J. Crew does a brilliant wool pant. I have their culotte from maybe 5 years ago? And last year they made these red plaid pants -- lined, and so warm. I don't wear them a ton, but in December and January, they are a slam dunk. 

I'm off on the ferry to Vancouver today for a few days of appointments and meetings and maybe some shopping. It's bitter cold and colder on the boat so I have heattech under my cotton turtleneck. But the pants will keep me warm!

Bonus -- the red sparkly scarf (you probably can't see the sparkles) is a gift from a lovely YLF secret santa some years back. I still love it! 

And the Blundstones will be my footwear for the trip -- waterproof, versatile, comfortable, and stable. 


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Puffer replacements

Besides shopping for jeans, I've been on the hunt for puffers to replace my old (second hand) Thermoball which was showing its age and the fabric of which I had never liked much. (It was a bit shiny in a weird way, like a plastic bag.) 

I ended up with a long packable Aritzia "little puff" in navy (on sale). It's not as fitted as the old coat, much more "sleeping bag" style -- but that feels a bit more current. As a down coat, it is lighter weight, and it's good for walking in cool (but not frigid) weather, as long as it is not raining. While the fabric is water resistant, and I wouldn't get soaked through except in a true downpour, I don't enjoy wearing down coats the best in wet conditions. 

I cut the tags on this one. I like a lot about it (esp. the double zip, the length, and the length of the sleeves) but don't like that it does not have an upper or inside pocket for phone. Oh well. 

Also trying the North Face Tamurello Parka.This was also on sale.  I have not decided about this. It is a jacket, more than a coat. It is not down, and. also not for frigid temps. (I'm covered for true cold, which isn't really frequent here). It's an off white. Maybe a bit too warm for me -- I'm not sure. I've been wanting a white or light or vivid coloured puffer for a long time. This one, being polyester, is more rain-worthy than the Aritzia. It has a double zip and zip pockets (good) but also no phone pocket. 

Both these coats are good for my climate / needs and I'm definitely keeping the first. It's just a question of whether the second will fill the function I want -- basically walks on slightly wetter days. Casual wear only. 


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Never Say Never: Denim Discovery

I have been on a mission all fall, off and on, to replace my old COH Olivia slim straight leg jeans, which I ruined late this summer on an evening walk where I took a tumble and ripped the knee—and not in a good or reparable way. (Luckily my knee was fine; it was the fabric that was a loss!) 

I tried and ruled out so many jeans! 

The Frame Le High straight, which in retrospect might have worked in a size down. but anyway, that size was gone. 

I tried several Levis styles: Wedgie straight, wedgie icon (neither of which look anything like they look on the models...) . I tried a Mango style (couldn't even get them on!), and several supposed "sure bet" Madewell styles (e.g. perfect vintage crop, tapered mom jean, straight mom jean)  that also failed to flatter (though at least they fit). I tried, and bought, the BR crop jeans, but now wish I hadn't, because the length is so annoying . They end at just the wrong spot and get caught on my boots no matter which pair I wear. I bought them on considerable sale and they may work with summer footwear, in which case they aren't a complete loss -- but I'm frustrated with myself for failing the PPP test. That was a fashion fail for sure! 

Onwards. I ordered two more styles. In the "never say never" department, Madewell's stovepipe jean. Why the "never"? Well, as some of you know, I typically prefer a slightly rigid denim with only 1% stretch. And these include a lot of Tencel and are much more stretchy than my usual. But guess what? I love them! They are so comfortable! The waist is high but not ridiculous (up to my navel). The length does not get hung up on my boots and if I want to cuff them I can. I had to size down, though -- in my regular size they were a mess. These I'm keeping for sure. 

Then I thought I'd try the Levis ribcage. These are like a narrow wide leg on me. I am not sure about them. Thoughts? They are a little longer on me than on most of the models  (no surprise there). And they are black (which I'm not entirely sure I want -- but this is returnable and I can get a different wash elsewhere). They are quite comfortable. Not as "ribcage" as advertised; 

Sorry about the light. It is what it is -- December on the wet coast! 


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Wearing the Wild Card

Remember the plaid taffeta skirt? As predicted, it's become an occasion workhorse. I've worn it multiple times since purchasing. 

1. First time, no photo, alas, but with sneakers and a tee and denim jacket -- a live reading with some dancing involved!  Items in Finds. Trust me, it worked! That was early in September, when the weather was still warm enough for such an outfit. 

2. Worn for an onstage performance. Skirt, sequin top, military jacket, pointed toe booties. 

3. To a wedding! Masked in this photo (natch) but I wore with J. Crew brocade top, a black tuxedo jacket, statement necklace, dressy pumps. Loved this. 

4. At home for Chanukah with my friend Lorna, with a thrifted cashmere sweater from years ago. Look at Lorna's awesome plaid culottes and stompy boots! 


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