Cherry and burgundy. Or is that merlot?

Just a quickie. I got this dark cherry TNA ultralight down puffer with a store credit at Aritzia and it has already proved its worth. Here I am trying it on with a wine patterned scarf. The colours don’t show too well in the store lights, alas. Also another mix— true red with burgundy.

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Outfit Lab: Help me style my Wild Card

I broke the cardinal rule of shopping. I bought something with no real idea of how I might wear it. 

After saying no to the earth tone trend...it is an earth tone. Albeit a cooler toned "earth." But earthier than anything else in my cool toned closet. 

How it happened: I ended up in another consignment shop. (This seems to be my late Friday afternoon entertainment.) The jacket is by Pink Tartan -- it is a taupe wool herringbone with an overlaid textural pattern in a sort of old-rose-pink. It has gently belled sleeves (another no no for me as a rule -- but I love these ones!) and the fit is superb. It cost me all of $40, tax included. Originally probably over $500. It was one of those items that everyone in the store started ooohing over when I put it on. So, yeah. It came home with me. 

To me it reads sort of like a femme hacking jacket. 

First showing in the cold fluorescent light of the store. Ugh! But even so, it seemed to have some potential. Weirdly, it looks more "yellowish" in these shots than IRL. 

(By the way, those are high rise button fly Gap straight crops from the summer.) 

The overall effect of the thing is a sort of pinkish taupe. It seems to look good with burgundies and pinks. But maybe the original owner passed it on because she couldn't find anything to wear with it! 

It's a good thing I have a high tolerance for pattern mixing because I have almost no plain items that could even conceivably work with it. So here I'm trying it out with whatever I could pull from my closet that might work. I like some of these better than others. 

5-7 J. Crew patterned blouse in burgundy/ berry and burgundy jeans. 

8-11  Vince dress worn untucked and tucked like a blouse. Why not? 

12.  blush leopard?

13. floral surprise? 

14-15. with basic white

16 - 17 How about true red? I thought the style might work with culottes and high waisted wide leg crops. I think so? 

18 -- more pattern mixing...

19-20. -- extreme pattern mixing! 

So. I have two problems. 

1. I think it needs a berry-toned top of some kind. I don't want to spend a ton of money -- any suggestions? Coolish berry tones are great with my complexion and would make an excellent addition to my closet since they'd work well with all my blues and greys. Plus, I really enjoy them. Plum tones could also work really well. I just don't happen to have any. A lightweight knit top would probably make sense. This is a warm jacket, being 95% wool, a genuine high quality tweed. 

2. I don't really have the right footwear for it. I think I need some taupe or some burgundy booties. I'm willing to buy a relatively inexpensive pair to make it work since either could be useful overall. Suggestions welcome! 

I could also see layering it over a skirt or dress in a berry or plum tone. Again, suggestions welcome! 

ETA: forgot my old J. Crew berry cashmere T -- it will work with that in winter. 

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Phoenix and Grand Canyon, early November: What to wear?

I'll be in Phoenix for work purposes for a few days in early November. I have to give two panel presentations there and will also be visiting a friend of Mr. Suz. 

Then we're taking a few days to visit the Grand Canyon. 

I have been checking weather and it looks like we might face a range of temps. and conditions. 

Any advice as to wardrobe? I have never been to that part of the world before. 

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Another mini-capsule.

I'm off on a sad errand, to see my aunt before I leave for the west. She's just been diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer and is in palliative care. 

My travel capsule below....plus my white Wittner sandals. 

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WIMW: Skirts with flats

I had lots of fun in my closet trying to create versions of today's blog outfits. It wasn't easy because especially in summer, I'm a low-heel woman all the way. Low vamp flats or flats without straps won't stay on my feet (or I haven't found the pair that will); shoes without a bit of "lift" or heel elevation are horrible for my plantar fasciitis, and even loafers are a no-luck shoe for me. I love the new mules and slides and have tried on multiple pairs, but the only version that my feet could keep on/ tolerate had low heels.

I do own two pair of fashion sneakers, and regularly put together outfits with those -- but today's challenge was to try (mostly) dressier flats, and of those, I have a single closed pair of oxfords, and a pair of silver flatform sandals. 

Here's what I came up with: 

1. Dressy blazer and oxfords (no loafers). I tried several versions of this one. Tube skirts substitute for pencil, since that's what I have. Version 1: Mixed kitty prints with Mr. Suz's porkpie hat, tuxedo jacket, and binocular bag; Version 2: with a longer blazer as in the inspiration photo and another print in the mix. Version 3: Black and white and charcoal. Version 4: Black and white and red all over. 

2. Casual denim (no khaki), stripes, and sandals. Without and then with sun cloche. 

3. Moody shine and sandals (no slides) My much worn navy tube skirt and a J. Crew dressy jaquard shell. 

4. Fit and flare with flatforms. Halogen skirt, denim shirt. 

This was super fun -- I'd actually wear these, I think -- and I'd never have thought of some of these combos without the inspiration. Thanks, Angie

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Need a wardrobe reset!

I would love some assistance and thoughts and I'm going to pack two problems into one post. 

First, I've just done my spring closet edit. I'd actually have liked to have removed more than I did, but I began to worry that I was getting rid of things I might need. This isn't my entire spring wardrobe -- I have a few items that should be in custom finds but are not. I have a faded denim jacket, a navy tube skirt, a casual navy sleeveless knit shift dress, a Kamalikulture jersey sheath, a few more tops, and a bag or two. But this is pretty much it. 

Some of these items are spring only (so I will use for the next month or so) and some are summer only. Right now, I'm feeling as if I have a hodge-podge of stuff that makes very few interesting outfits.  https://youlookfab.com/finds/c.....ction=5782

I do have some crossover items which are in the main wardrobe as well:

I need a wardrobe refresh/ reset, but I am not sure where to begin! (Apart from footwear, which is a definite need -- I had to let go of 5 pairs of worn out summer shoes, so need to replace at least a few of these.) I feel as if I need a conceptual direction or something to guide my shopping and thinking. 

Meanwhile, this weekend I have to co-facilitate a conference in the city. I am moderating a panel and need to look professional. My fallback is always my navy blazer so I will wear that, no doubt. But I can't wear it for the whole weekend. :)  And I need to partner it with something. 

And, just to complicate matters, I go directly from this conference to Vancouver for several weeks. So I will need to pack, and I don't know what I should bring! I will be mostly casual on that part of the trip but I will have a few "date night" events -- nice restaurants, probably. 

The good news is that I will have lots of time for big-city shopping while I am there. I intend to bring my larger suitcase and shop. :) 

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Business Casual - WSIW?

That's "What Should I Wear?" 

The Occasion: A reception celebrating exceptional graduate students and post-docs. (That's me, apparently.) 

Time: Cocktail hour (nibbles and drinks served)

Dress Code: Business casual

Situation: I will likely be walking (so what else is new?) and coming directly from my tutoring meeting about a mile away from the location. 

Weather: About 7 C, unseasonably warm, sun with possibility of showers. (Does this mean BOOTIES vs. BOOTS?? )   Whoooooooot!! :) :) :) 

Other notes: I am obviously one of the older grad students being honoured in this way and am likely to be confused with a professor (which is fine with me, since I'm that, too, but I don't want to discomfit any other grad students). I'm also one of the only (maybe the only) student honoured this way for a highly interdisciplinary arts-based project, so I feel the need to wave the flag for arts-based research in some visible way. In fact, this is the only reason I am going -- I want people to understand that artistic practice can be based in important research, and more, can itself represent significant research. 

So my question....what should I wear? I know, not denim. But what would be a good looking, not too stuffy, a bit creative looking....help appreciated! 

And yes, I'll do some playing and experimenting with ensembles. :) 

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Edit/ review/ refresh

I've identified a wardrobe hole. 

I need a couple of sleeveless tops, maybe lace, maybe patterned, something that is okay on its own but is also going to look great layered under a blazer or other jacket in transitional weather. Similar to what Viva wore in her recent presentation, but that's just one example of a style that might work. 

Three times in the past few weeks I reached in vain for such a thing. Why have I never noticed how much I needed it? Probably because we have so little transitional weather and maybe because I wasn't wearing my blazers quite as often for a few years?  Also, I had to retire a cream silk shell that used to serve this purpose due to staining. 

I have a couple of Everlane silk summer shells that theoretically could serve this purpose but the colours aren't quite right, I guess. 

I have this structured peplum knit from J. Crew and it is useful at times but the peplum falls in the wrong way for some jackets, plus the cream is not my best colour. 

Anyone have any suggestions? Best if I can order online in Canada since I'm unlikely to be able to shop in store any time soon. Unfortunately, that rules out WHBM because I don't think they deliver here. Otherwise the top below might work -- not that I know how this brand fits....

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Statements I'm Not Wearing: For Angie

On Helena's thread about breaking a bad editing cycle, I mentioned that I haven't been wearing a number of statement items I purchased last year. Actually, I've barely worn the ones I purchased this year, either. Angie kindly asked to see them so here are some of my Finds with explanations. 

1. Halogen red pants. Only managed to wear twice, at home, not on the street. They feel too...bold. Also, it turns out that I don't really like this kick crop style on me, even in black. I *do* still wear my black pair, though. In fact, I wore them last night. The fabric is the perfect winter weight. And they are good for travel. So even though I prefer a tapered pant to one with this little bottom-of-calf flare on my own legs, and even though I prefer navy or grey to black, I wear those black Halogen crops. But red? What was I thinking? 

2. Sequinned culotte. Okay, so this is special occasion wear and the occasion has not arisen. I will give myself a pass on that. These cost me all of  $25 and I adore them. I think they have closet longevity. Next! 

3. Vince dress. Purchased several years ago. Arguably not a statement but came with a statement price tag, even on sale. It really only works for me in early autumn, and again, I didn't have an occasion. It's also "special occasion wear" for me. If I liked it over trousers or jeans it might be easier, but I still can't get used to that look (on me) and whenever I try it, I end up peeling it off and putting on something that feels more "me." It was a lot of money for something I wear so seldom. I like it a lot. But it makes me feel guilty to see it unworn in the closet. 

4. J. Crew jacket. I *did* wear this several times in the autumn as a matter of fact, and I will probably wear it again in early spring. But "several times" does not feel like enough for an item this pricey. Yes, I still need to change out the gold buttons. Haven't found any I like yet. I'm sure that affects number of wears. It's just so much easier for me to wear my navy blazer or my new plaid one. (And I *do* wear those -- but they are not statements!) 

5. BR stand collar jacket. I've only had this a few months and I *have* in fact worn it (outside the house, too!) 3 times. It's a great little jacket...but it feels a bit "costumey" in a way my blue knit military jacket does not. Of course, this is precisely what might make it work for public appearances and such. And that is the reason I bought it. But is it *too* costumey? I think it might be. I think I want to get my drama in other ways. (See gilet, below). 

6. Moto. This is arguably not a "statement" and not a new purchase either, but I barely wore it last spring. And didn't wear at all last fall. What is going on? 

7. Blue cropped sweater. I love this. Why am I not wearing it? I need high waisted pants for it, like the J. Crew culottes. But I haven't worn the culottes. Just not feeling them and plus, we have so much snow here! Yes, I have underlayers for them but I hate the bunching. 

8. Bell sleeve top. It feels boring. And I don't like the sleeves. They get in the way of everything. 

9. J. Crew Culottes: see above. Love the drape of these but sometimes feel a bit "plump" in them, probably because I have to layer so darn much to make them work! 

10. Gilet. Well, what can I say? I'm still not sorry I bought this. This is the thing that represents my aspirational style in as complete a way as possible. I adore this. Adore it!! It makes me feel like a million dollars. I just never find a place or time to wear it! Partly because of the coat issue. I don't have a coat that works over top and I need it in my climate. 

11. Leopard corduroy skinny. Again, I've worn these about 4 or 5 times since purchasing in November. They're not as comfy as I had hoped at the waistline, which is part of it. But also, the pattern...the pattern...sometimes it just feels like too much! 

12. All. The. Pretty. Booties. We all know why I am not wearing these. If more explanation is needed, see attached photos of what is happening in my world today. 

This is really interesting. I am not sure what to take from it, though. Suggestions welcome! 

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Essentially speaking...

I love the annual essentials review. Maybe that's because, like EmilyK and a few others here, a large proportion of my wardrobe is comprised of essentials! And left to my own foolish ways, I might never buy anything else. (This is why YLF is good for me. Breaks me out of my rut.)

Like Angie, I'm going to break mine down into categories and compare to past preferences.

Jeans: I've been trying to wear jeans less often and I'm wearing trousers and even skirts and dresses much more this year, which has been a lovely change. But jeans are an absolute staple of my style and I don't know what I would do without them. White and denim blues are essential in a skinny/ slim and slim BF type style. Others, like burgundy BFs, are workhorses but probably not an absolute essential.

Navy blazer: I love jackets of all kinds and have a number of statement items. But a fantastic navy jacket is absolutely crucial for my style. If I find the *right* houndstooth jacket it will join the navy in my pantheon of rock solid dependable loves. Even though it will straddle the line between essential and statement. :)

Navy knitwear for all seasons. Unlike Angie and a few others, I do wear t-shirts and quite like them if I can get the neckline and sleeves right for my frame. Graphic tees are brilliant when I'm aiming for outfit juxtaposition. But as a calm base layer for a column of colour (with denim), nothing beats navy knitwear with a crew neck, jewel neck, slash or envelope neck, or turtleneck (depending on temperatures.) I like to have tops like the J. Crew Jackie in light cotton or the linen 3/4 length sleeve tee for summer, and merino and cashmere "tee" like sweaters and turtlenecks for layering over in cold weather.

Stripes: This is hands down my favourite pattern and favourite pattern to pattern mix with! I wear stripes more often in spring and summer but I'm thrilled with my stripey winter items too. Mostly knits.

L(Blue)Dress: I have a number of these in different levels of formality for different seasons. I wear the casual versions much more often, of course, but the dressy versions make me feel like a million trillion dollars and it's so great to know you have something to wear when an occasion arises!

Silver and grey footwear: This bookends with my silvery hair and blends well with denim yet gives a kick (especially metallic). I will continue to collect silver, pewter, and grey footwear. I also love white and navy/ ink for footwear. Navy could become an essential if I found the right pieces.

Silver watch, earrings, bracelet, and statement ring. I don't have Finds yet for all of these but they are signature style items and I always wear them.

Belts: I really should invest a few dollars in belts because I love them. I'm still wearing an old Canadian Tire leopard belt (no Find). I need to prioritize purchase of these this year.

A beautiful and capacious bag. Can't be tiny. I love structured bags but they often overwhelm me if big enough for my needs, so I tend to carry a soft hobo nowadays.

Denim shirt and navy woven tops. I wear denim shirts often with white jeans or with black or navy trousers or with pretty dressy skirts. It dresses down these items just enough for me. I wear the woven tops less often in winter but really all year. 

Navy coat for various seasons and levels of formality. (My puffer is similar but not the same brand. No Find.) Still in search of my perfect pea/ military coat. And my perfect navy trench. 

I would like to add "patterned silky blouse or shirt" and "bright knit top" but that would take me over into statement territory, I think? What say you, Angie? Have I identified essentials correctly?  This is my "uniform" I would say. 

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