2017 Style goals...and a wrinkle

Grab a cuppa if you have time for another reflective post! Herewith, some further reflections on my style in 2016 and goals for the year ahead. 

What did I do well?

  • Got a hair update that adds instant drama.
  • Purchased a few key statement items (gilet, bag, watch, ring) that will have wardrobe longevity.
  • Kept footwear up to date. I spend a big proportion of my budget on footwear and it’s worth it…at least in my mind. (More on that later.)
  • Edited assertively and replenished where needed. A third of my wardrobe was refreshed this year. Purchased and retired/ donated/ gifted approximately 50 items.

What did I wear that made me feel great?

  • Skirts and dresses in warm months.
  • Cropped jeans and trousers in temperate months.
  • New denim silhouette (culottes) and new dress trouser silhouette (culottes).
  • Brighter and/or more saturated colour.
  • Black, ink, silver, white, grey, and patterns incorporating black and white or silver and white. Slam dunk with my new hair.

5 Adjectives to describe my aspirational style:

  • Modern
  • Precise
  • Playful
  • Bright
  • Bold

Goals for 2017

  1. Purchase mindfully. I want to continue to have fun with fashion but want to do it in a way that does not cause suffering for others or our planet. Each of us makes our own accommodations in this regard, but I want to purchase more locally made, more ethically made fashion. Also, I'd like to reduce my purchasing while at the same time honouring my deep pleasure in embracing trends. This is not an easy balance to strike but it is one I want to work towards.
  2. Add more colour (especially red). Brighter or more intense versions of my old favourites seem to be best now. Clearer colours are better than muddier. This will be an ongoing process.
  3. Aim for drama. I need to think about a variety of ways to incorporate this. Cut, style, colour, scale. 
  4. Wear the heck out of my dresses, skirts, crops, culottes etc. in warmer weather when I can. 
  5. Continue to dress practically for my climate and lifestyle but to push the edge towards “dressier” where and when I can. 

Goal 5 is the problematic one.  I already tend to wear wool coats vs. puffers when I can, jackets vs. cardigans when I can, silk shirt vs. t-shirt, when I can (and so on) but, of necessity, I also dress from the ground up. So, practically, "getting dressier" means wearing my dressier footwear vs. my more rugged and practical footwear. Angie suggested I just do it and accept that the footwear will become worn out faster. 

This is a great idea in theory, but people -- see below!! These are my sidewalks on a good day in winter! I cannot bring myself to wear a selection of my precious booties out there (see Finds).  Instead, I'm wearing clumpy snow boots, or at best, weather proof darker boots or motos, which in turn means a more casual outfit overall. And I feel a whole lot less fab. Ugh. :(  If I worked in an office, I would simply take my shoes to the office and wear my boots outdoors. But I work from home, so I wear slippers. Lately I have been wearing some of my booties occasionally indoors, just so they get worn at all. Oh, and I bought another pair of snow boots with good ice grips. Because I need them. Grrrr.....


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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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Share Your Thoroughbreds

Yes...the ideal may be to have a closet full of workhorses. But all work and no fun makes for a dull closet. 

Which items do you own that are NOT workhorses but more than make up for it in their Joy per Wear, or the "Happiness Factor"? 

A few of mine: 

  • Nicole Miller linen sheath dress -- special occasion. 
  • CM silk dress -- special occasion
  • Halogen striped skirt.
  • Long and Lean flared jeans. (Weather prevents frequent wear).
  • Imelda cream pointy toed booties bought in Israel with Shevia. (Again -- a weather issue, plus, the heel is a bit low for me.) 
  • Elie Tahari suit bought at the YLF meetup in Boston. (I wear the jacket a lot, but as a suit far less often). 
A few newer items that will probably (but not necessarily)  join their ranks: 

  • R&B gilet
  • BR sequinned culottes
In all cases, these items are dressier than my regular lifestyle allows -- and yet I do have occasions to wear them, and therefore, there was a need. I also make occasions to wear them, even at home -- often Mr. Suz and I will have Saturday supper on our own at home (sans kids), and I try to "dress up" for those evenings instead of just wearing my casual daytime clothes. (After cooking, that is!) 


Using girl math to expand your closet

Today it rained for the first time in months. (Seriously). So I stayed inside and did wardrobe maintenance. Yippee! 

I cleaned out and edited the Fall/ winter and spring/ summer closet. I set out boots for repair, jackets for cleaning, and pants for hemming. I went through the undies drawer, the sock basket, the scarf drawer, even the jewellery box!! It was impressive. 

And then I did a count. This time, I focussed only on counting F/W items. The fact is, like most people who live in an extreme four season climate and who don't live and work in an air conditioned environment, my wardrobe needs are almost completely different summer and winter. Meanwhile, apart from colours, spring and fall could be a single capsule of mid-weight items that are rarely worn in summer or winter!  

There is very little overlap, and what overlap there is, overlaps only partially. So, for instance, I do wear spring-weight cotton sweaters in early fall -- but by November retire them and bring out the cashmere on an almost one-for-one basis. The same is true for sleeveless tops vs. sleeved tops. I wear the former in summer and the latter in winter, and while the numbers are not exact, if you add in knit tops or tees (in both seasons) it's quite close. 

Which means that I have roughly the same amount to wear all year round, if that makes sense. And for F/W my total, including footwear, coats, dresses, skirts, trousers, toppers, denim, leggings and similar, culottes, shirts, blouses, and light knit tops, and pullovers but not including bags, scarves, undies, gear is...86 items?!?!?!??!?! ! 

Granted, I just edited out a few rarely worn pieces. But this list also includes some overlaps that aren't realistic, e.g. I am including all my coats, rain and puffer and wool, even though I would not wear my trench in the same months I wear the puffer, etc. 

How can this be??? I thought my wardrobe was so much bigger. 
Or is this just a bizarre species of girl math meant to help me add to my closet?  :)

In other news, I have a problem with tops. I have a lot of them but don't love a lot of them.Also, I lack colour!! I want to add more reds, plums, berries, and purples to my life.

1). My side of the closet. This is the spring/ summer stuff plus a few F/W items from NAS just added to the mix. Scarves and tights are in the boxes on the shelf. 

2). The footwear. Ditto above -- you can see new additions with the sandals. 

3). The gear/ sock/ undie section and denim. 

4)  The knit tops/ sweaters shelves, still a bit messy from my moving and counting. 


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Grey transition update

It was six weeks since my first "get rid of the dye" cut, so I went back yesterday for a trim and some much-needed thinning. We decided to keep it short for now, including the bangs, but my stylist left the sides a bit softer. Our thinking was that we'd get rid of as much blonde as possible this way, while preserving drama. Super short works for me for summer in particular. In the fall we can reconsider length and specifics of the style. Although I have to admit, I am really enjoying the ultra pixie, especially now in its softer form. 

These photos are awful Photobooth quickies but they do have the advantage of having been taken in the same spot. Pic 4 shows the first cut. 

Pics 1, 2, and 3 show the current look. My stylist said that all the blonde dye is gone now! So this is the colour I'll be living with for the next while. I am happy with it.   


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Hair, and there. Comparison photos.

The grey pixie is two weeks old now and I couldn't be more thrilled to have gone this route. Do I think the cut itself is perfect? Of course not, but I knew it wouldn't be. The instructions were simply: "Get rid of as much dye as possible," not "Give me the most flattering haircut I've ever had." Having said that, I actually love having a shorter pixie again. This one is a bit extreme for me, but I do feel like myself in this general type of cut. I'll be growing the bangs a bit and tweaking it to eliminate a cowlick, but I think I'll keep a dramatically short cut going forward for the next little while. I like where it seems to be taking me. 

Do I love the colour? Yes -- or I will, as soon as all this darned brass gets cut out of it. I'm feeling impatient for my pure natural colour. 

Do I feel older? NO. I guess superficially it might make people think I'm older but I think it is more flattering to my skin tone and therefore "youthening." 

But it is a change, and I'm learning that I need to make a few adaptations to my wardrobe. Not a huge overhaul but definitely some tweaks. Some things work now that would not work before -- and some things that were slam dunks before just look or feel "off." Drama is part of it, yes, but there are also other factors at play. I'll go into some more detail about that in future posts I hope. 

Reactions on the whole have been very positive apart from that one group of women I mentioned. 

I haven't managed to get a ton of photos, but I thought it might be fun to compare a few FFBO that I've worn now both with blonde hair and with grey(er) hair. These are a few of my "out to dinner" outfits from my weekend in Montreal, and also what I wore to teach on Saturday. It was a super hot weekend but the teaching room had AC so I needed my jacket for part of the day. 

I actually think all of these work perhaps even better with grey than with the blonde. You might or might not agree. 

Anyway, I hope this is helpful to anyone who might be thinking of making this transition to grey. I've been so inspired myself by several here on this forum including Shannon, Claire, Joy, Elizabeth P, Lantana, Caro, Sharan, Staysfit, DonnaF, Donna, and more (thank you!!!) that I figured I'd like to put myself on that illustrious list. :) 


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More thoughts on the new "do" and WIW: J. Crew silk skirt

I have lots to say about this change already and no doubt will have plenty more once I'm able to experiment a bit with a camera. DD still has ours at school and with no full length mirror at home, I am limited in what I can see, let alone what I can say with any authority! 

However, I did go shopping today simply to try different items on and compare, and I also photographed what I'm wearing. 

So far reactions to my hair have ranged from positive to...hmmm...not sure what to call it? Polite shock?

Mr. Suz, my daughter, my step-son, step daughter-in-law, and her daughter have given cut and colour a big thumbs up. This past weekend, I was working in Montreal and visiting family there. My stepson loyally said that I fit right in with the high fashion crowd of the city. Sure enough, on our first evening out, I saw two others in our restaurant wearing super short pixies! 

Friends have been less enthusiastic. I saw some for a birthday event yesterday and they ignored it at first and when I mentioned it, they politely said it looks good. 

I do think it's a little shorter than ideal, but it will grow, and of course I needed it that short to cut out as much of blonde as I could on the first go. There is still some "champagne" at the top. Sides and back are much bluer grey with more charcoal and silvery white. I think I'll love the colour when it fully comes in. 

Meanwhile, to compensate for the shortness of the cut, I suspect it will be important to dress in a more feminine way for a while. Today's outfit incorporates a silk skirt from J. Crew. I have fully tucked the top. I know I'm a bit short waisted, last year when I tucked into a full skirt that I was trying a full skirt from Club Monaco several forum members pointed out that tucking wasn't my best look.  I hope it works in this case. The skirt goes to my true waist -- haven't had one of those for a while! 

These pics give some idea of my overall look now...I tried to adjust the colour to make up for the horrid store lights.


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First thoughts on new hair and a question

Thank you all again for the supportive comments about the new hair. It's liberating and feels right to have done this. I was ready for a big change. 

True, I am feeling a tiny bit over-shorn, but I know in two weeks it will feel fine, and if I get two more trims back to this length over the summer (a good time to wear it super short!) then all the remaining bits of gold will be gone and I can adjust the length to whatever is most flattering or fun.

So far, it appears to be charcoal at the roots, full of silvery highlights, and there are a few bright white patches. The overall impression is light, bright -- almost white. There is more value contrast between my eyes and my hair now. But I have less colour going on, overall. 

Onwards. I have been playing in my closet. No photos, alas, because DD still has the camera, but I'll try to get her to bring it home from school one day next week. 

In the meantime, suffice it to say that I'm going to have to let a few things go (no longer flattering) and I will also need to do a bit of shopping to fill some resulting wardrobe holes.  :)

I'll go into that in more detail when I'm able to post a few pics (because visuals are so helpful!). In the meantime, I do have a specific question. I will be in Montreal this weekend for a combined work/ mini-holiday and Mr. Suz and I are going out for a few nice meals -- which means I get to dress up. Yay! 

However, there is the issue of footwear. My dressiest shoes are probably my champagne Okalas. They are almost a nude on me, with a tiny bit of shine. You can see how well they worked with the old hair. 

But...um...with the new hair? Not so much. They are not dreadful but they're not the best, either. (Unlike my gold-toned jewellery, which used to work but which looks hideous on me now, sob...). 

Options are the silver Jolenes (more cohesive but somehow not as flattering with the hem length of this particular dress, or as dressy). I also have the pony hair (black and white) Okalas but those are a bit too much pattern with Dress #1. 

I may end up taking two different dresses (pics 2 and 3) which work with the pony Okalas, but just in case, do you think the champagne shoe will work okay with my new silvery head? 


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The long awaited Zara culottes: Thank Shevia

Remember I wanted to add some culottes to my wardrobe this summer? I tried on a few but none seemed just right. Finally I ordered a fun blue and white pair from Zara, but they never arrived. Some mess up with the UPS. 

I did (eventually) get my money back but by then, they were sold out of my size. And with my busy and emotionally draining summer I didn't really have time for any  more shopping until NAS. 

Imagine my surprise when I came home from my trip to visit my mother's remaining family members to find a package all the way from Israel!! Inside (courtesy the lovely and thoughtful Shevia) were the Zara culottes! 

These are a size up from my normal Zara size and they are a bit large in the waist. I think I could wear them like this (sort of on the high hip) but if I am correct they are meant to be higher waist. In the second photo I'm sort of hitching them up a bit. 

I haven't really tried to style them (I'm not sure quite how to style them, to tell you the truth) -- I just threw them on with something that wouldn't clash. 

Do you think I should adjust the waist and keep? And what about the length. Nipping the waist makes them a tiny bit shorter. 

And isn't Shevia the best???   :) :) :) 


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Kingston Mini-Meet: Lady Slippers

Mona and I managed to get together today! The weather was beautiful this morning, so we went for a lovely walk. And it is obvious that we are on the same style wavelength. Check this out: We are both wearing white bottoms and pastel tops. In fact, she was going to wear the very same J. Crew sweater, but changed her mind at the last minute.

No matter -- we are style twins anyway. 

Months ago, before her trip to India, I'd told her that I had a pair of shoes for her if she wanted them. These are the ill-fated Roz Hammerson slipper flats that several of you warned me I should not keep when I bought them and wasn't sure they would stay on my feet. Of course in my over-hopefulness, I kept them anyway. Well, I wore them a couple of times around the house, but they kept slipping off. Too late to return.


My only consolation is that Mona and I take a similar size and she has enjoyed a couple of other shoes that didn't quite work for me. 

Imagine my surprise when she came to the door wearing almost the exact same shoes!!! Hers are Steve Madden, and almost worn out. So mine are arriving at just the perfect moment!


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