Seasonal workhorses (and their opposite)

We're coming to the end of summer n the northern hemisphere and I'm guessing winter is on its way out for those of you on the opposite side. 

Time to evaluate how things went. 

My workhorses included the following: 

1. Cole Haan knit Original Grand oxford. New. Wow, what a comfortable shoe! And washable! It was an MVP all summer long. This was a new brand to me. I worried about the purchase at first because even on sale they were pricey, but they more than paid for themselves and made up for the lack of a white sneaker (see below).I promptly ordered more styles from this company when they went on sale to have them to use in the fall and on reserve for next summer. I bought a platform version, a similar shoe in grey, and a loafer for strictly indoor wear. 

2. Zara asymmetric skirt. New. Wore it several times a week except in the hottest days of summer. Loved it! 

3. Dries van Noten cotten linen plaid pant. New to me (but from the 2013 season! thanks to Jaime  and LJP and others for finding their provenance -- bought on consignment). Best summer travel pant ever. Dresses up and down, looks fun and interesting. Got compliments on them in San Francisco and elsewhere. 

4. Gap crop wide leg. New. Easy summer jean in fun silhouette and wash. 

5. J. Crew two piece dress. Old. Always in frequent use but this summer saw even more wear because I let the skirt down by as much as I could and I prefer it at the longer midi length. 

My duds were: 

1. The white EOS sneakers which promised so much -- KILLED my feet no matter what I did to mitigate. I have to get rid of them. 

2. Sandwich knit top -- not truly a dud, but a workhorse that worked so hard it fell apart! After our San Francisco trip I found it had multiple holes, presumably from the delicate wash! I am not sure it is reparable, though I will try, because I wore it multiple times a week all summer and adored it. 

Lessons:  try new brands, shoes can feel great in the store and awful in the wild, keep being trendy on the bottom, and expect a bit of wear and tear. 

How about you? 

What were your seasonal workhorses? Were they new items or older? Any surprises? Any lessons to be derived from your successes (or failures)?


Trip report: ETA I wore the puffer after all

My plane's delayed so while I wait, I'll offer up the trip report. 

My packing proved excellent, so thank you for the advice! There were only a few items in Finds that I did not wear: the puffer (totally unnecessary), the blue and white silk blouse, and the DVF cardigan. I wore everything else, multiple times in most cases, and it all worked in different combinations well. 

Big winners included my Cole Haan oxfords -- more comfortable than either pair of sneakers even for a substantial hike in the Presidio and a walk down to Marshall's beach! (I washed them out afterwards, too, and now they are sparkling white again). 

The silver slingbacks worked! No slipping off and the comfort is great! They also pack well because they have such a low profile and they are lightweight. I only wore them twice, but was really glad to have them. 

The Dries van Noten pants were fantastic additions to this capsule. I got compliments on them and found them the perfect weight for the temperature several of the days and evenings. Wore them 3 times. 

The wool pants were too warm for most days but I did wear them once on a day that began cooler and foggy. I was really glad to have my Zara sarong shorts with me -- I wore those 3 times, too, because it was warmer than we'd anticipated most days. 

Denim jacket and sweaters were useful in the evenings and for sporadic layering in daytime. 

Judging from our short visit, San Francisco's climate is unlike any I've ever known and it might take some getting used to! Layers are key, as everyone advised. But I'm used to dressing in layers. This was a bit different because the changes can be so swift and also so temporary! If I lived here I'd definitely need a wardrobe of backpacks to carry around all my stuff all day! 

We had a terrific time checking out different neighbourhoods. We figured out the transit system and enjoyed getting around by MUNI and BART. We happened upon a gallery opening in Chinatown -- an African-American artist who does amazing work with resins and masks (https://jessicasilvermangaller.....lhouettes/) and got to mingle with the invited guests, which was fun. We stumbled on some lovely little community gardens. We explored lots of different neighbourhoods and did most of the typical tourist stuff as well. And we ate a lot of good food!

People were unfailingly helpful and kind. 

ETA: I wore the puffer after all. When our flight out of SF was delayed by about 4 hours, we missed our connection to Vancouver Island and it was the last flght. No hotel rooms to be found, so we ended up sitting in the airport all night. The puffer came in handy around 3 am in that pre-dawn chill! 


Puffer in the bag: San Francisco, here I come. . .

Well, I was supposed to make this trip in June, but then I got hit by a car. I'm finally taking off for my first ever visit to San Francisco tomorrow at the crack of dawn. 

Complicating my packing: We're in the midst of a major heat wave, here in the Pacific Northwest. The idea that I might actually feel cold is a bit hard to imagine at this moment. But the forecast is for temps at least 10 degrees C  lower than here (or 20 degrees F lower). 

I'll be there for 6 days. Weather with highs in the low 20s (70s F) and lows in the high teens C. Sun and cloud. No rain. 

My bag is carry on size for international but I am checking it anyway, and I feel like I am taking WAY TOO MUCH. But I'm likely to be making decisions on the fly and needing to carry weather appropriate and day-to-night outfits in my backpack, because we are staying off the beaten track and won't always get back to our place to change after a day of galleries and hikes, for dinner. 

Activities: Hikes, galleries, restaurants, some shopping (maybe). General sightseeing, since I have never been to SF. 

What I am thinking of taking (in Finds). A lot of it is about layering. 

Note: the Vince "dress" is actually a blouse -- I had it shortened. It is nice with the Dries van Noten pants. 

If weather is warm (ish), I have;

 Dries van Noten cotton/ linen pants
Sarong shorts
Boden skirt
Sleeveless/short sleeved tops
Silk blouses (for evening) 
Paul Smith jacket (lightweight wool/ linen)
Denim jacket

If the weather is cool (ish), I have: 

Wide leg full length jeans
BR lightweight wool pants
Skirt (in a pinch -- if in Uber/ taxi) 
Silk blouses (layered under knits/ jackets for eve)
Foil sweater (for evening) 
Other toppers, with knits underneath

Footwear is all comfortable for walking at least short distances -- the slingbacks are not for actual hike, obviously, but evenings. 

Some possible combos I tried this morning -- please excuse no makeup, messy hair, etc. These are decidedly not fully styled -- I didn't add belts, jewellery, or anything like that. Rushing to get ready! 

The last two pics are my travel outfit -- wide legs, sneakers, sleeveless Sandwich top, Paul Smith jacket, scarf if needed. 

If you can see anything I can cut out, let me know, and if you know what the weather is really going to feel like, let me know that, also! 

Thanks for bearing with me here! 


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In the navy now...and not nearing retirement.

I'd be seriously remiss if I didn't report to duty for today's post. In fact, I'd probably get demoted. ;)

Like Angie, navy is my dark neutral and my closet is packed full of it for all seasons. Unlike her, I also wear sprinklings of charcoal and occasionally a bit of black -- but black for me is a colour or an accent, not a neutral, and truth be told, I will likely get rid of it all within the next 3 years or so, as things wear out. 

I was fascinated to read about the specifics of Angie's choices, though—the way she picks and chooses what items she prefers in navy. The pattern that emerges for me -- in relation to her own style -- is that she avoids navy or navy combos (like a strict navy suit) that might seem "corporate," "uniform-like," "stuffy," or that would drag the playfulness of her overall ensemble down. Given her other preferences, the items and combinations she mentions as "not her" might do that to her outfits. Whereas they might work fine, for another person. Even one with a playful style. For example -- I'm the delighted inheritor of a navy bag she passed along!  :)  

Interestingly, though — I tend to wear that bag with my lilac coat. Not navy. 

When it comes to solids, I tend to look my best in a bright, lighter navy, like the J. Crew cotton rollneck sweater  and the Bernardo coat, below. In prints (especially with white) any navy works well. But I wear them all, from darkest ink right on through. I wear navy in patterns (especially stripes with white or off-white) and in plains. In fact, it is a challenge to find a wardrobe item I do *not* own in navy. I even have navy undies! 

While sometimes, for presentations, I have created a navy "suit" with my blue tuxedo blazer and a slightly different navy trouser, it's rare for me to do this, because it feels a bit too strict for my style unless I can lighten it up with a playful, fun top. I'd be much more inclined to wear a navy patterned suit. I do wear navy pea coats, and raincoats, and overcoats. Navy footwear, accessories, and bags (when I can find them). 

The challenge, for me, over the past few years, in fact, has been to find wardrobe items in colours other than navy. That's because with earth tones trending for so long, navy was often the only cooler colour on offer or the only one that had any hope of suiting me. I'm still working on building up a red/cranberry/ burgundy capsule, and a lilac/lavendar capsule; I've been at this for years and never seem to get very far because no sooner do I find one good upgrade/ update than I have to retire two older items that have worn out or no longer work for me. 

That doesn't mean I'm done with navy, though! Always on the lookout for great pieces in my favourite dark neutral. 

Also, I will say -- if you build a closet primarily around a dark neutral, whether that be navy, black, charcoal, brown -- it becomes very easy to mix and match. Within a given season, almost anything in the closet has the potential to work with almost anything else. Jenn's closet is a great example of that, using black. 


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