The Shoe Review

The weather here looks like it is finally going to change and I might be able to get out of boots and into shoes and (gasp!) even sandals within a week or so! Yay!

As most of you know, I'm on an editing and buying spree this spring, the biggest in a decade or more. But my footwear review happens every single season, and every single season I have to discard shoes due to extreme wear. I am hard on my shoes!

Once in a very long while I donate footwear -- but apart from dressy shoes, that's rare, because most get too broken down, despite the fact that I keep a reasonably large collection. I do take my boots and shoes to cobblers for re-heeling. I polish and care for my footwear. And I try to rotate wears as much as I can. But I walk a lot in all conditions. 3 pairs of sneakers, 3 sandals, and one flat (spring/ summer) are out this spring. That leaves me with some gaps.

I wanted a new white and a new silver sneaker. I'm a long time fan of Ecco 7 Softs and have worn them for years. Having said that, I can't wear them without insoles, and they're not the best all-day shoe for me, even with insoles. (I'm better with more padding/ lift in the heel due to plantar fasciitis risk.) My current white pair, with some cleaning, is still decent, and I will keep and wear it, but for my full length jeans I need a shoe with a slightly higher lift.

I thought I wanted the Vagabond Judy sneaker. Alas, it was too short and too wide for me. I then tried a few more that I can't even remember, the fit was so bad. My "almost" was a pretty and fun sneaker called Vince with a "frilly" tongue from Canadian company L'Atelier! These are lovely soft shoes, very lightweight, and I was tempted. (They come in other colours, too!) But they were a bit wide in the heel area and quite slippery on the bottom (at least on the engineered wood floor of the store). So I passed. I do think this company makes some great looking shoes, though, and if these go on sale at end of season I might give them a go.

I settled in the end on the EOS Minimal. Fit is great and comfort is good out of the box. I'll need to use a prophylactic bandaid on my left heel to avoid blisters, but that's my life -- I almost never find a shoe that doesn't give me blisters if I don't watch out for it. Reviewers state that this style fits more narrow than most EOS shoes. I can put in my own insole if I prefer it, but for now the regular one feels pretty good.

For my silver, I'm going to try the Naturalizer Morrison 2. They have not arrived yet, so I can't comment on fit and comfort. 

I also tried a pair of Banks slingbacks. Slingbacks almost never work on me and these ones might not, either, but I haven't had a remotely dressy or even slightly refined summer shoe in years, and Carla's posts and Angie's recommendation made me want to give this pretty low heel a go. In the smaller of my two sizes, I think it is just barely too short. But it stays on!! Miracle!!! I fear in the larger of my two sizes, it will fall off. But I ordered to find out.

I also ordered a dressy sandal to try. Again, it hasn't arrived. It has been so long since I had such a thing, or had a need for such a thing, for that matter. But this year, I may in fact have a few occasions. And this is on sale currently and looks to me like a style that won't date, with a medium low stable heel and an ankle strap to keep things secure. 

Last but not least, I'm trying the Cole Haan oxford. It's really a faux oxford -- more like a sneaker, I think! But it's pretty and lightweight and might just fill a white summer shoe hole for me. Won't work with full length jeans (because the lift is not high enough) but will work with everything else.


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Zara: dresses and skirts up for review

Thanks for your help with the Zara jackets. Now it's time to review a few dresses and a skirt/ top outfit, plus a Massimo Dutti skirt that, uh, had some issues. 

First up, the cotton dress Angie got. Blue and white. It's a beautiful lightweight breezy cut with coverage. I intend to keep unless you see any issues. 

The rest is probably going back, but I'll show and review for those who might be interested. 

First, another cotton dress. I knew the colours would likely be too warm but I do sometimes tire of my endless blue and white palette in summer and wanted to try it. The fabric is very much like the previous dress. It comes with a silly self belt that can be tied in an okay way by doubling it, but I think it would also work with a cognac belt really well. And it can be worn beltless for a loose, waist surrendering look. 

Mr. Suz says it makes me look very pale in person, though I don't think it's too bad in the photos here. All the green in the background maybe amps up the contrast and cools it down a bit in the pic. In any case, I trust him. So back it goes, but it might work for someone else. 

Then, a blue and white shirt dress. This is just like a dress I had in the late 80s! But the self belt is an awful vinyl -- feels so cheap, and while I think it looks quite nice in these photos, in person I was not happy with the slit up the front, or the quality. 

Next, a skirt and top combo. As you can see, the top is too tight. This is one time when I should have listened to the warnings about its fitting small -- the size up is not available any more. What you can't really see too well is that there is a silver metallic thread running through this. It's knit, and the skirt is lined. 

Although this pale grey/ silver can be good for me, I think as an entire outfit it washes me out (despite the metallic glitter in real life). It would be better in a more medium grey with metallic -- pewter, maybe? I also think my cat's claws would make a mess of it really fast. Which is too bad, because the skirt could potentially be a really comfy work-from-home to casual at home glam piece. And quite cross-seasonal. 

You can also see the cute silver ankle strap shoes here. I think I am sending these back as well. They are not leather and while not bad in terms of comfort, considering -- I think I can do better. 

Oh -- and the Massimo Dutti skirt that they mistakenly sent in XL!!!  Nice enough, but not fab, even if it were my size. NEXT

I value any thoughts you may have on all this and I hope the reviews may be helpful to others. 


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Style renewal vs. style refresh

It seems I'm posting non-stop these days! The reason? A large scale closet refresh. In posing the question Janet raised the other day: Do I want to wear this? I found myself giving the side eye to a lot of items in my closet. That is something that has not happened for a decade. Which is the last time I did a style renewal. Then, it was as a result of significant weight change and new roles. Now, I've had a smaller weight change, I live in a different city with a different climate, and a few (but not all) of my roles have changed. 

Despite those factors, I don't think I'm undergoing a style renewal in the sense that Angie describes here or here.   My core style persona remains consistent with the one I identified back in 2012 or 2013. 

But the kind of refresher I seem to be undertaking -- while organic -- is much larger than any I've undertaken for a long while.

For a long time, I've maintained my wardrobe and evolved my style by buying somewhere between 20-30 items a year (more or less) and retiring an equal number (more or less). That includes footwear, a high wear- high buy category for me -- I never get away with fewer than six new pairs of shoes/ boots a year and it's usually more.  This year, I have already retired 35 items and purchased 20! 

And I'm far from done, fab friends! 

So, I'm curious about you. How often do you do a major refresh of your style? Or have you ever done one? Have you ever done a style renewal, in Angie's sense? Is there some other term that covers what I'm doing now? Is there some reason for it? Are others going through a similar shift? I am guessing, from Dee's recent post, that I'm not alone. 


Silver jeans follow up -- sending back and thanks!

So, uncharacteristically, I'm still undecided on the silver jeans. I did a try on session. I have a million things I could, theoretically, wear them with. But I'm not sure these are "the ones." 

It's hard to photograph them accurately. They are very shiny -- no question -- but IRL you don't see every single crease and buckle in the same way. The lighting in my room is far from natural -- I have all kinds of lights rigged up to try to balance the light from behind, but the effect is to highlight shine and shadow in weird ways, despite what I try to do in photo editing. 

Anyway -- that said...I think what I might be reacting against is a feeling that the outfits or the jeans themselves are dated!  Ironic, since this is a trendy item! 

It could be the footwear. (But I don't want to buy a whole new wardrobe of shoes for one pair of jeans.)  It could be the shape of the jean (I'm now such a convert to wide legs, a straight jean feels like a skinny). 

On the plus side, I really do think these are great quality for the money (esp. at the sale price I paid!). 

Anyway....what think you? I did not try them on with winter items because, well, the cashmere is in storage. But I've pictured some of my items that do or could work with the jeans below, for reference. 

It could be that these are simply not "the ones." Or it could be that so much silver just feels a bit excessive, out of my comfort zone. I'm not entirely sure and welcome your thoughts. I am happy to push my comfort zone for the right wildcard. I am not happy to spend on something I won't wear. 

I do have occasions -- potentially. But I'll only wear them if I want to wear them, as per Janet's recent post. And at this point, I'm conflicted. When I first pulled them on, I wanted to wear them! When I look at the photos, I think, hmmm, maybe not? 


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Denim on denim, the faded version

You've seen a few of these items, mentioned in today's blog post, already, but for fun, I wanted to show you the piece de resistance! The Scotch and Soda denim jacket. 

This was pricey for me but a felt like a smart splurge, if that makes sense. When I first joined YLF in 2011 (I think?) one of my first purchases (on sale, from the Bay) was a lightly distressed mid-blue cropped denim jacket that I still wear all the time. You've seen it in countless outfits. Later that year I bought a white denim jacket in the kids' department at Old Navy. 

Despite wearing these two items constantly, I had not updated/ upgraded to anything a little fancier. Both are looking a bit tired, TBH. They fit fine, and I really do prefer the cropped lengths to the longer oversized fits of recent years. But the one from Old Navy has some stains on the collar. (So if you see a great, cropped white denim jacket with silver hardwear, let me know, LOL! Or a blue one, for that matter!) 

Anyway, in the meantime I tried this lighter wash with the blousy cut and dropped shoulder, and it is a a really fun change. It seems to work best so far with wider trousers (denim or otherwise). It is so generous that it will fit over a big cotton sweater, which makes it versatile. 

But it's the details that really make it fun and special. See photos. 

Just trying it here with the ON wide legs (perfect match!) and the GAP wide leg crops -- for fun. These weren't real outfits. But I will probably wear it like this if it ever warms up!  

I haven't worn this light a fade since 199-what? 


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Zara try-ons part 1: Jackets

Anchie and I are on the same wavelength, it seems. I made a huge Zara order and have some items up for review and discussion. I have no intention of keeping everything I've ordered and only want the most needed/ best. (Which hopefully overlap -- we'll see!) 

I tried two jackets, one of which Anchie also tried. Note, these are not exactly styled into outfits, but I did try with a few bottoms to show and experiment with proportions. 

FIrst, a navy and white tweed double breasted jacket. Not the best made item in the world (i.e. some of the threads are shedding where it is intentionally frayed) but certainly, the quality is more than acceptable and it is super comfortable. I have a great affinity for cropped boxy jackets like this. The buttons are kind of fun because they are mixed metal. I suspect I may be between sizes -- the shoulder seam does extend a bit past my actual shoulder. OTOH, that is the style -- shoulder is meant to be emphasized and there are pads in there. 

So my question here is what do we think of the fit, and does it look like something I might also wear in autumn (to extend wearing season beyond spring.) I think I could wear with navy and/or burgundy, but would it always read "spring"? 

Next up, a lilac and white cropped jacket. This one is higher quality, I would say -- very nicely made for the price. To me, it reads as an exclusively spring item. It is mostly cotton, but also lined so probably too warm for true summer except in AC. At Zara it is part of a set, but alas, its skirt is a mini -- not for me. I imagine I might be able to find bottoms other than jeans that would work but for now, that's what I've got. And the ladylike colour and nature of the piece mean -- given my casual lifestyle -- I'm more likely to wear it with denim than anything else. 

Again, I may be between sizes. The sleeves are a little long on this one, but they are very nicely constructed with a slight narrowing toward the bottom so it doesn't bother me as much as it sometimes does...I could potentially have them altered, as well (showing a bit shorter in photos 6 and 7). 

You can see how this jacket really wants to be matched with a very high waist and an A shape on bottom. The white jeans are high waisted but not quite as high and of course they are a different shape. I don't think it works with them. It doesn't work as well with the cropped wide legs, either, because the waist is about half an inch lower than on the full length pants. Half an inch!! Fascinating to see, right? 

It is more vibrant in person -- not as faded out. Hard to photograph. 

My questions here are does the fit look okay, and would you alter the sleeve? 

Thank you! 

ETA: Added some close ups to try to show colours more. A bit hard with the light today and the reflected greens outside. 


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Tinfoil jeans?

When I saw these Gap cheeky straight jeans in silver faux leather, I could not resist. I have never owned a faux leather garment, But silver jeans? 

Well, they went on sale and I ordered them. I sized up one size and am glad because, silver. And there is a seam on the front above the knee that is snug on my definitely not-skinny thighs. I see some reviewers are saying TTS and some are saying they fit small; I've always thought with metallics it's better to go loose than overly tight, but everybody's different. 

I ordered the short, which is exactly ankle length on me. The fit, I think, is good.  They feel surprisingly nice on. NOT like tinfoil. I disagree with the reviewer who said they make noise. They are soft, and too warm for summer, but would be good in other seasons. 

I am used to a wide leg now so the shape and maybe shine seems to emphasize my short legs (to me), but if I figured out how to style them I don't think that would bother me. They are fundamentally a jean, after all, so not that difficult to work with. 

The questions are:

  • Do I dare to wear them? Or is this a shiny object too far, LOL? 
  • Where and when would I wear them?
  • How to style them? 

Thanks for your thoughts! 


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NZ Fabbers: Bresley footwear?

What can you tell me about these shoes? I saw samples of the brand for the first time yesterday and am curious. I did not have time to try on. 

This shop in a small town just north of where I live had a small selection. They are shoes with personality.