Boden Order: 3 keeps, 2 maybes.

My Boden order arrived much more expeditiously than the M&S one. I will also have to pay for returns for this order, but took a chance anyway because I really love the quality of their knits and several that I was interested in went on substantial sale. 

My 3 keeps: 

Pics 1-3 Striped oversized merino sweater. I had to order the smallest size here and it is still very oversized, but not in the shoulder area or sleeves, which is key. It is a thick, substantial knit but because it is merino, it drapes. I can semi-tuck it, which makes the proportion better with the baggier jeans. This is a kind of no-brainer item for me -- I will likely wear it for years in different ways and even once the oversized trend is over, I will enjoy it at home. The quality is superb. 

Pic 4: Cropped sweatshirt: Such a soft cotton and a fun paisley pattern in colours that brighten my winter days. Is this an illustration of Kibbe's theory that "no amount of detail" is too much for a gamine type? Maybe, though he'd recommend geometric patterns over organic swirls. But I like paisley, so there! 

I'm also keeping a plain white tee with a nice neckline. This is for layering. I did not have one, and this one is substantial and a nice cut. 

My maybes: Pics 5-7 -- a knit dress for summer. This was on substantial discount, so the price was very reasonable. On (wise) reviewers' advice, I sized down. But I'm not sure. This is a type of dress I desperately want/ need. Easy wash/ wear, throw on and go. You may recall my forays this past summer with one from Barbour that unfortunately had a logo splashed above the boob. Anyway...this one needs a racerback bra style (fine with me). It's too long, but could be shortened (I have shown it in the last pic roughly paperclipped up in front.) However, I feel the gathering at the waistline area is just a bit too much. I am getting a mutton dressed as lamb vibe. So I'm unsure. 

Crepe pleated skirt, Pics 8-15.  Pros: I love the pattern on this. I don't own such a skirt. It is basically all season in my climate, with tights beneath and boots in winter and bare legged in warmer weather. 

Cons: the colours are mostly warm. The background is navy (not black) and there is a lot of white in it. But the pinks are warmer than described in some of the reviews (one reviewer claimed there was lilac in the pattern -- I would call it salmon pink). And the red is really a rust..

So the question is, do I have anything to wear it with besides navy or white? I am trying it here with various options -- a fire engine red jacket, darker red sweater, red sweater, the lilac M&S sweater I'm returning, a pink cashmere sweater, and a magenta sweater. It is surprisingly chameleon, at least in the photos, but I'm just not sure. Quality is lovely. It is a bit loose on me -- I ordered up because people complained about the snug waist and I can't stand that. I think I'd have been fine in my usual size but this gives an added measure of insurance in case of layering and it doesn't twist around. 

Another potential "con" is simply the question of whether I'd wear it at all. Sometimes I still buy for my imaginary lifestyle. Am I imagining occasions to wear this? I don't know. 

I hope these reviews may help someone else and I would appreciate any thoughts on the "maybe" items. Thank you! 


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A few reviews...and probable returns

Hi, all --

Over a month ago I placed an order with M&S. Yesterday that order finally arrived. I can't really blame the merchant. It came from the UK. They have had strikes there. And we have had outrageous weather events all over the country. But this was actually stuck in Burlington, Ontario, for weeks before the bad weather. So I do blame the carrier, and I do think M&S could make it more clear how to contact the carrier in case of trouble. (There was no phone number or email/ text option on the carrier's tracking page and when I contacted M&S, their first response was "contact the carrier." To their credit, they eventually contacted them and got back to me.) 

Is it frustration about the delay that is making me want to send it all back? I'm not sure. 

First up: checked drawstring wide legs. These were intended as "work from home" pants in a silhouette new to me -- wide leg, at the new full length. 

The positives: they are a cozy, substantial knit, quite warm. They have a nice drape. The quality is high for the price. (Esp. the sale price.) Would be a winter pant here. They fit well. 

The negatives (for me). I think perhaps they are just a bit too short. I wouldn't want them dragging, but at this length (I ordered the short) they seem just shy of where they should be and that definitely contributes to their widening effect. Having said that, in order ever to go outside in these, where I live, I could not actually wear them any longer. There's too much muck on the ground in winter here -- it's just not possible to wear dragging pants. Would I go outside in them, though? OTOH, do I want to have to change just to dash out? Hmmm. If I consider them as lounge pants, fine (and they'd work as such -- basically sweat pants). But I was hoping for a bit of crossover, I guess. 

Also, I don't care for the ties in front. I know you can remove them, but then you have two holes on the waistband. I really don't understand why they left these here because the waist is nicely finished. 

Wearing them first with a crossover gear top (1/4 zip Smartwool) which is how I'd honestly wear them at home, then with an old red BR military style jacket I can't seem to let go of despite some waffling, then with my other bright blue sweater, then trying volume on volume with the white top. 

In short, I am undecided about these and welcome thoughts. Thanks! 

Next: lilac merino crewneck. I am on a lilac hunt because the grey in the Liverpool suit pants (yes, they still have tags on...not yet shortened...) has a slight lilac cast that I want to play up. M&S merino is thin (as I already knew). And this sweater is definitely a size large for me. However, because it is thin, it drapes and possibly looks intentionally oversized?  Verdict: undecided.

Third: sparkly top.  An Angie top pick. First, this is a lovely top. The sparkly knit does not itch (as sometimes happens) I like the diagonal stripe, I had wanted to try a gentle puff sleeve (I don't have any) and I  like the long cuff detail on the bottom here -- like a modified mutton leg sleeve. And I wanted to try the welted front. The fit is excellent.

However, what I should have realized before ordering is that this top really needs a flat fronted bottom to work. I do not like it with a bottom that has a front zip. (Pic 9)  It's not short enough to be cropped on me and ends in an awkward spot. It works with a skirt but I don't have one that matches. It could work with a flat front pant but I only have one of those, an older near-skinny from Kit & Ace.

Anyway, here I am, trying it a few ways....first with the Liverpool pant, next with Kit&Ace. Note how differently the outfit comes across with silver boots and pants worn longer. Far less contemporary, to my eye -- I wouldn't wear it this way, though it's definitely leg lengthening. 

I can return any or all of these items. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that I will pay $22.95 CAD for the privilege of doing so, so at what point does that become worthwhile? If I plan to return them all, it's worth it. If I plan to return only one sweater, maybe not so much. Hmmm. 

Anyway, I welcome your thoughts and observations! 


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2022 Review Part 2: Mistakes and Workhorses

In Part 2 of my review, I want to look more closely at retirements and purchases. Including my mistakes. 

Here are the items I've retired so far this year. 

Retired footwear, whatever its age, was all worn out. This is typical for me. I wear my shoes hard. Footwear will always be one of my largest expenses and that’s okay. 

25 retired clothing items were more than 5 years old and each had many, many wears. All but the “occasion” dresses were worn out. Those are not worn out but are shorter than I now prefer.

1 retired item was a jacket bought at consignment that lived 4 happy seasons in my closet and can now find love from someone new.


5 items were recent purchases that I would classify as “mistakes” — and two were near-mistakes— which is a fairly high number for me. What went wrong? 

Kit and Ace top — great colour for me but too loosey goosey. Did not enjoy wearing even as loungewear. I did, however, wear it quite a lot in the year I had it, gritting my teeth every time.

Red cardigan— meant to replace an older worn-out one. I wore it, but didn’t enjoy wearing it. The shoulder fit felt off, the pockets were not well placed, it just did not hang the way I wanted. Off it goes. I will need a similar item in spring, though. I really love a bright red, lightweight topper. 

Kimono — loosey-goosey (do you detect a theme here?). The colours are nice, it should, theoretically, have fit into the closet. But I did not wear it. I bought this with store credit and was really quite desperately searching for something I could tolerate there — alas. Someone else will love it, I’m sure.

BR Jeans — not a good fit and didn’t like the whiskering. Desperation purchase.

Linen shirt — scratchy and weird fit to it. I wore it a number of times but did not like it.

Pink shirt — I did wear this in my garden over two seasons (so it wasn't a total flop) but as flattering as this mid-pink is on me, I detest wearing it. I do not feel like myself in it. 

Balloon jeans -- I really love the fabric of these jeans. I have worn them for two seasons, though not a lot. Mainly because of the colour. I wanted to branch out into greens but this is too yellow an olive to work well with my closet. I don't have stuff to wear with them, and don't want to purchase. So...onwards. 

This is more shopping mistakes than I've made for many a year. Have I learned what I need to learn from these errors? Well...what I seem to have discovered is that I tend to make the most mistakes in seasons when I am flailing around, aiming for a style reset but not really knowing how or where to begin. I also make errors when trying to expand my colour range, but I think that's fairly common and forgiveable, particularly since we've been confined so much to online shopping. 

As LJP noted on another thread and others have also commented, this year, the major changes in silhouette that have been underway for a number of seasons finally seemed to coalesce and become real and vital to deal with, in some way. Maybe these were the cuts available at retail across more price points and regions, maybe it was because more of us were venturing out more often and found we needed replacement items...I really don't know for sure. 

Onto my successful purchases: 

Successful spring/ summer purchases that became workhorses include a summer sleeveless top and a linen jacket with stretch sleeves. White shorts to replace worn out ones. Also, casual gear-crossover sandals and sneakers. (Duh)

My surprise workhorse NAS purchase was the loafers. I love these so much as my at home shoes! Game changers.

Other F/W workhorse purchases include my new, baggier all-cotton jeans, Blundstones, and new white booties! 

I have to admit that I probably needed to make these purchases in order to freshen up. There’s a bit of guilt here because my wardrobe has expanded over the years and despite my recent retirements, I have a closet full of “perfectly good” clothes, all of which I genuinely love, and some of which I don’t wear as often as I might like. So what the heck am I buying new stuff for? Right?

But it does make a difference. The slight changes in silhouette, the greater ease, and the pure fun of playing with a new-to-me shape or colour does invigorate me. I don’t want to be unmindful of the effects the fashion industry has on our environment, but at the same time, I want to continue to have some fun with my clothes. It's tricky! 

Thanks for reading this far, if you have, and I hope this may be useful to some. 


2022 Style Review, Part 1

I'm going to review my year in parts. 

First -- did I meet my goals? 

My aims for the year were a thorough closet edit and a style reset. As part of that I hoped to find some more current-feeling and comfortable WFH outfits.

I did do a closet edit, although I am not sure how “thorough” it was. So far, I retired 37 items, which is definitely on the high side for me. More typical would be somewhere between 20-30 retirements and 20-30 purchases). I think I could stand to let go of even more. About half my wardrobe consists of items that are older than 5 years, some of which I wear regularly and still love, and some of which I keep but rarely wear. Time to reflect on that. 

I was slow to get started with the style reset or the new WFH options. Partly that’s because I ended up working mostly outside the home until the end of April. And then it was summer.

Despite my slow start, I purchased 30 items, not including undies, jewellery, or gear (though some of the shoes are crossover). (Most are in Finds; more info to come.) That’s a bit higher than my typical range. I have a few more things on order, but they haven’t arrived yet and won’t be here until the new year.

I’m feeling really happy with my new “laid-back luminous garcon” style moniker; the minute I hit on it, a few things came together for me (at least in my head, LOL) and I’ve started making some edits and purchases with this persona in mind.

 I know some of you felt I didn’t really need all three words— but for me, the adjectives create a bit of productive tension. Too much “laid back” and I feel too masculine, too classic, too preppy, or too dull; not enough “laid -back”, and my clothing won’t be practical enough for my very casual work-from-home existence. Too much “luminous” and I will feel overdone and impractical for my real world; not enough and the energy won’t be high enough. The “garcon” is self-explanatory, and not really much of a shift for me — I’ve always had a slightly androgynous gamine style. Regardless, this moniker seems useful for my decision-making. I feel less stymied and better able to freshen up my style in an authentic way.

Angie also kindly suggested "graceful gamine." 

I had trouble getting good photos; nevertheless, a few of my favourite outfits.  Almost all from recent months because I have felt in a real style rut until a few weeks ago! 

Thanks for looking, and I’ll be back with a review of workhorses and mistakes!


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Style Personality Match or Mismatch

We've been talking about about how different fabric textures or styles can be a match or mismatch for our style personality. LisaP made some interesting comments on my tulle skirt thread. 

Not to send anyone down the Kibbe rabbit hole again, because honestly, the man is impossible to understand -- he may as well be writing in some other language -- but his emphasis on line and energy is important, I think, and gets at something that some of the other systems out there neglect. 

A personal example: I always used to wonder why or how I can wear high contrast stripes. I'm not a high contrast person, never have been. If you went by my colouring alone, I "should" avoid high contrast at all cost. I should stick to mid-tones or maybe even pastels. But in real life, pastels with few exception look horrible on me. Mid tones are indeed flattering, but also somehow lacking somehow, on their own. And stripes -- not in black and white but in blue and white -- are some of my best friends! 

Meanwhile, if I were dressing to disguise my shorter stature, I "should" wear monochrome outfits. Make myself look taller! But most monochrome outfits look rather dull and flat on me unless there is something else there to spice it up (e.g. a patterned scarf and footwear). I tend to look better in separates with shorter jackets and slightly shorter (ankle baring) pants. I can wear high contrast between top and bottom well. I can colour block well. I look great in high contrast piping or collar/ cuffs — that sort of thing. 

And I look good in vibrant colour. Not as saturated as what a true "winter" would wear, but much more saturated than you might expect. When I had my colours "done" the woman kept pulling the brights from a few neighbouring colour types and giving me those, while subtracting many of the softer tones from my original wallet. I do wear grey and heathered tones quite well, but I definitely need something else to lend emphasis if I am wearing those softer tones. 

If you recognize that my style essence or personality or body type (or whatever you want to call it) is some kind of gamine, all of that makes sense. I need a certain amount of dynamism in my outfits, irrespective of my colouring. And while I'm not tall, dressing to look taller does me no favours. 

There are certain styles that I adore, but that look really terrible on me. I love the look of a long jacket-- for example -- on other people -- but really don't look great in long jackets, unless they are more "coat" like and fitted. This makes only a minor amount of sense from a "body type" perspective; yes, my legs are maybe a tiny bit on the short side, but we're not talking a major disproportion here -- nothing a little heel wouldn't adjust for. Lots of people with my body shape look great in long jackets. So it's not about that. 

Also, I have to be really, really careful with oversized items -- if they collapse against my body, show the structure of my arms, and the shoulder fit is not too exaggeratedly large, they can the Zella top or my new bat wing sweater. But if they just hang all over or drape too much, they look and feel completely "off" on me. Especially if they lack pattern or textural interest. Alas, I love drapey looks on others and repeatedly make mistakes about this in my shopping. Almost all my shopping errors this past year involve such mistakes. I will have more to say about that in my year end review. 

How about you? Whether or not you follow Kibbe, have you ever noticed that some of the more traditional style rules don't seem to apply to you, and do you wonder why? Have you found an explanation that connects to your style personality? 


Tulle skirt and Fab shawl

Olive Green mentioned she'd love a place to wear my tulle skirt. Well, we dined at a friend's tonight and since we don't have lots going on over the holidays, I decided my friend's house was the place! It was very casual -- just Mr. Suz and me and my friend and her partner and their dog and cat. But it was fun to get dressed up for a change. 

Tulle skirt: Over on Synne's thread there's an interesting discussion about textures and which ones are wearable to different Kibbe types. I don't know if as some kind of gamine I am technically "supposed" to be able to wear tulle but it feels natural to me as long as I juxtapose it with some less floaty elements. Colour is as relevant as texture, I'd suggest. I would not feel comfortable in a pale pink version of this skirt, no way, no how. And then there is the cut and line of the piece -- the asymmetry of this piece helps me feel "at home" in it. 

Thrifted cashmere sweater with portrait and tie up neckline. I've had this now for at least 15 years and who knows how long the previous owner had it. No pilling at all. They don't make it like they used to, folks! 

La Canadienne knee high boots. I haven't worn these in a couple of years and no sooner did I put them on then I thought: why the heck not? They are SO comfortable. Nobody makes a last that works better on my foot than La Canadienne. Alas, it takes a king's ransom to buy footwear from this company and I'm not earning as much now as I did when I bought these. So I doubt I will be adding too many new pairs to the closet. :( 

Sparkly dark red shawl -- a "secret Santa" gift from a Fabber! It's been in my closet about a decade and is still going strong. My friend keeps her house really cold so I ended up wearing throughout the evening. You can't really see the sparkles in the photos, though I tried. I like them because IRL they are subtle but evident, if that makes sense. 

Massimo Dutti Leather jacket -- we were driving, so this was all the outerwear I needed. 

BR earrings. 

Thanks for looking, and I'd love to hear your thoughts, feelings, and theories about tulle. Who can wear it, and why? 


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Recent Returns: Some Reviews

I have been making up for lost shopping time in the past few months and have ordered up so many things! I have returned most -- but some of what I returned might work for others and is mostly on sale, so a few capsule reviews: 

Old Navy Sweatsuit: LisaP got me onto this; she has it in a rich brown. It's a terrific quality for the price but fits large; the jacket was too oversized in the bust/ shoulder area for my frame. And the  "greyed" colour, which promised to suit me, alas was a bit too "dirty" to work on me, after all. This could be a fantastic purchase for someone else. 

Nordstrom Signature cashmere V neck: I'm sad to send this back -- it's a gorgeous quality and beautiful and interesting knit,.and the colour is beautiful, but the fit is wrong on me. Sleeves far too long (as you can see even on the model) and the dropped shoulder was too loose on me. Could work great on someone with a true IT frame. 

Modern American Jeans: I wanted burgundy but these are a brown-burgundy, not red. Fit is TTS but I do not like the stretch in the fabric. 

Gap full zip hoodie -- too big and bulky for me.

Gap Velour sweat suit -- loved the colour but not the quality of the velour. 

Gap slim cord jeans -- these felt and looked like skinnies on me, not like slim straights, and that was not the look I wanted. Nice otherwise, though. 

As you can see, I'm trying to build up my burgundy/ lilac/ current capsule. Partly because that colour looks great with the new suit. But also partly because I miss my burgundy jeans, long worn out. 

Oh well -- onwards we go! 


Wear it a new way (and skin sandwich)

The dark dark days are upon us on the PNW and I am craving colour! Alas...examining my closet, I find I simply do not have enough of it. Some of this is understandable; earth tones have been everywhere the past five years. It's been more difficult to source items in my more flattering colours. Also, I've needed to update essentials. So most of my winter purchases during this period have been in my key neutrals of navy and grey.

Meanwhile, I've retired quite a few more colourful items. To survive the dark days of winter, I'm going to have to remedy this -- will be looking to add more colour ASAP. In the meantime, I'm working with what I still have. 

These J. Crew wool culottes have been in the closet since 2016. An Angie recommended item. Gorgeous wool, beautiful drape, interesting style with dropped pleats. Another item that has stood the test of time -- they look and feel as current today as they did when I bought them, unless I'm fooling myself, LOL. They're a grey glen plaid with a bright royal/ cobalt stripe. With them, I bought this thick merino back zip pullover, and often I've tended to pair the two in outfits since the sweater picks up the blue stripe in the pants. 

Today I wondered if I could wear the pullover as a "cardigan." I flipped it backwards and unzipped it. You can't unzip it all the way (the sweater collar prevents that) but that's ok, as I actually want the colour near my face. 

I'm enjoying this! 

With the boots, alas, I have a wee skin sandwich thing going on. I guess I need some cobalt socks or something...not sure what I've got that will close the gap. 


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Holding Zone rescue

Now that I have a better lighting situation set up, I seem to be posting like mad. Please feel free to ignore me! 

I've been shopping like crazy (although so far, much of what I have ordered has gone straight back, which is fine -- all part of the process.)

I've also been editing and reviewing the holding zone. This Club Monaco pullover has been in my closet for 6 years, although honestly it has been in the holding zone for about 3. 

I don't own much from Club Monaco but everything I've ever owned from them has been lovely quality and delightful to wear. They often do interesting design details that stand the test of time. Alas, their clothes are also often in neutrals and/or colours I do not wear well. 

This sweater, though -- it's my perfect red! It's also a gorgeous soft, completely non-itchy merino knit, and a very interesting cut with a dropped (but neatly fitted) shoulder and pleated balloon sleeve and a shorter length with a tiny slit on the side. Which is why I was loathe to let it go, even when I wasn't wearing it. 

I think I've figured it out. While ordinarily I adore a high neckline, this one just wasn't cutting it for me. I actually like it in the photo (3) but IRL it always feels a bit floppy or frilly for me. And maybe just "too much" with the sleeve? <shrug> 

Anyway -- trying it here in the first two pics (indoor, outdoor footwear) with the collar rolled inside so it becomes a crew neck. Do you think it works? 


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Winter whites

I don't have a photo with the coat, but here's what I wore was fun to try whiteout in winter!  Inside I wore it with the loafers, of course. 


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