2 piece dress for winter -- instant workhorse

Happy New Year, everyone! 

As we've discussed, it can be difficult to predict our workhorses. But now and again, we get lucky and can identify our winners ahead of time. Here's my latest -- a two piece dress.

Purchased with a gift card and on substantial sale, it's from Canadian company Comrags, known for their timeless and original styles and their excellent working conditions for employees. 

I could predict this would be a workhorse for a couple of reasons:

First, a two piece dress! My summer two piece Liberty print dress from J. Crew gets constant wear in the season. I love that I can mix and match the items. Here is one with long sleeves (yay!!) and a midi length skirt (yay again). 

Second, it's blue on blue (ink on navy) and navy is my core neutral, so it works seamlessly into the closet. 

Third, it is easy to wear yet has some interesting design details. Made of a tech fabric, it won't wrinkle and will pack like a dream. The skirt is gored so that it flips out a bit, trumpet style. The top has a keyhole neckline that can be worn open or shut in a variety of ways. It is not binding or constrictive in any way -- as comfy as pajamas! 

Fourth, I own a few more items from Comrags and they never go out of style and rarely wear out -- even with frequent wear. 

Showing it with the new earrings as well. I'm going to wear it out to dinner with friends and theatre. 

Trying it with my longer navy blazer, a moto, a shorter tartan blazer (subtle pattern mix) and grey sweater. Just playing around with what is in the closet. 

Yesterday I wore the skirt more casually, with a turtleneck and opaque tights. It was snowing then raining like mad so I needed coverage. Anyway, it gives an idea of other options. 

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Double breasted and cutaway

Sorry to be a forum hog today. 

While I was impulse shopping for silver boots,  I decided to go whole hog and try on some coats while I was at it. As I mentioned in the blog yesterday, I adore and have always adored double breasted coats and jackets and military styling in general. 

I have also been searching for "my" long (midi length) coat for ages. It's been a lot more difficult to find than I expected. 

Somehow, without fully intending to, today I found myself trying on the pricey-for-me Mackage Elodie. 

Ooops!!! 

No, Fab Friends, I did not purchase it. It's very maxi length on me and doesn't look at all the way it does in the stock photos.

I don't know if it overwhelms me in scale. It was hard for me to judge because I was so in love with it. ;)

Quality, and fit (apart from length) surprisingly great, and I don't even mind the length, TBH. It's very tailored, nipped at the waist, and cutaway with a back vent, so when you sit, it's not all uncomfortable, unlike many long coats. It is navy, by the way, not black. 

I am wearing it here over jeans, the forum fave sweater (BR ribbed merino) and a not-too-thick blazer. 

I couldn't get perfect photos and I didn't try it with the doubled over collar (as pictured in the stock photo) but did try the collar in a Revere style and also pushed up at the neck (a common thing I do). 

I don't know if this coat will go on sale at all. Hard to say. Temperature wise, it wouldn't really work in Montreal -- too open in the front. But for Vancouver/ Victoria/ Seattle and even Toronto/ New York -- it's good with the right outfit. 

Thoughts? 

I can probably justify it financially if I take on another contract. AND if it is the kind of thing I'll keep in the closet for years. 

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Sock it to me: 1177 Review

(Sorry, bad pun). 

Janet recently started a great thread about socks.

Her timing was brilliant for me because I had just been fretting about my paucity of knee highs. As many of us have noted, these are a new necessity with the wider leg trousers if you live in a cold or even cool climate.

My favourite gear and more-than-gear store (Altitude) always has a Black Friday week sale, so I decided to try out a new-to-me brand of trouser socks. The sale was substantial so I ordered a bunch. They arrived today and I put one pair through its paces (ha ha again...my 10,000 steps in disgusting weather).  I have to say I am very impressed!!

The brand is 1177.

https://www.1177.store/en/

I'm usually an Icebreaker or Smartwool wearer but their knee high selection leaves a lot to be desired, at least in the thinner trouser sock department.

I was skeptical about these, because they are not wool but some man-made fabric.

But...wonder of wonders...what they claim on that website is totally true! Your feet don't sweat or get cold. Or at least mine did not. (These styles would not be warm enough for -20C but that is not what I am talking about.) It was a cold and extremely rainy 6 or 7C in Vancouver today -- felt much colder, to me -- and I wore these with my waterproof Cons. Those shoes have Goretex lining so they sometimes become uncomfortably warm indoors, even with breathable wool socks. Today, though, I felt perfectly comfortable inside and out.

Meanwhile, the fit of these socks is spectacular! There is a right and a left foot! The heel is constructed so that it stays on your own heel (even if narrow, like mine -- and you know, I have SERIOUS sock slippage with most brands). The leg portion does not slip down but it does not feel in the least constricting and it doesn't leave a big red mark on my leg where the top elastic is. The sock is thin enough for dress shoes. And it comes in a ton of patterns and a few plains.

Of course I can't vouch for how well or how long they will wear, but I am extremely pleased so far and would recommend them. I ordered size small for my 6.5 / 37/ 7 foot.

ETA: Thanks for other recommendations, all. A little update -- they are not completely perspiration free -- I guess you can't have a synthetic sock that doesn't sometimes create that problem. And they are not the warmest. But they do fit, stay up, and are washing well. And comfort level higher than some other synthetics I have tried, for sure.

16 comments

PSA Canadians the Blondo snake report (plus chocolate!)

Guess what I saw today at Nordstrom's in Vancouver?? 

After they told me they wouldn't be selling those boots in Canada? 

HARUMPH!!!!!

Also, though -- they come in chocolate brown!!!  The photo may look black but it is not. They do also come in black, of course. 

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BR Crop High Rise denim -- thanks to Lisa P -- and questions!

Hi, everyone! I haven't been posting or even responding much to posts these days due to an insane work schedule, major family shifts and changes (including a move, and another move to come), and a recent bout of flu that has laid me awfully low and put me even more behind on the work. But I'm starting to get better now and need some fashion assistance! 

First, big shout out to Lisa P, who alerted us to these BR high rise jeans on her own thread. 

THESE ARE BRILLIANT!!! OMG. 

A few things to note. First off, there is the vanity sizing. Size down. I'm in my former BR/Gap/J. Crew size here and it feels generous...normally I am wearing a size or two up from that, these days. The good news: they have a bit of stretch but don't feel too stretchy...I think they will accommodate slight shifts in weight in either direction quite well. 

Also -- miracle -- they came in a SHORT (not petite) length, so I ordered them! I also ordered the regular length to compare. The short is almost NEVER available in Canada. 

Short is so much better for me than petite because I tend to need the length in the rise. These are super comfy there, no pinching. 

My question -- are the shorts short enough to look intentional, or do they need a chop? (Pics 1-10). They are probably just a hair over an inch above my ankle bone? Maybe between an inch and two inches. I am showing them here with several different footwear options so you can see the variation. Flat sneakers, Eliza booties, flat Aquatalias, Paul Greens, dressier heeled Aquatalias. 

I also tried the regular. (Pics 12, 13, 14). They are too short to work as full-length jeans. But do they work as that weird new trendy length? Or is that what the shorts are on me? ;)

Honestly, I like these jeans enough that I would keep two pair and if I take the regulars back, I am likely to order a second pair of the shorts! They are that good. I don't even mind the little self-belt, although I can also change it for other belts of course. 

Also up -- the BR sweater. (Pic 9/10) I tried a regular in the store (pic 11) a while back but felt it swamped me a bit. This is petite. I've been looking for a replacement for my horribly pilly Plenty sweater for ages. This is not a true duster length, so might not be "the one" - or maybe I should go back to the regular size? 

Final question: Do those BR cropped trousers that Angie showed fit like these jeans? Does anyone know? Has anyone compared? If so, if they are the same cut...I am ordering a pair in several colours because they are just fantastic!! 

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The Long Long of It

As Angie says, long blazers are EVERYWHERE. 

Gryffin, this is your year! Go for it! I even saw a very 80s version of long over lean at Aritzia -- long blazer with mini skirt. Not up to your quality standards, but I am betting there is a version somewhere for you! 

There is no store without racks and racks of (usually menswear check) long jackets, mostly double breasted (but not all), some screaming fun fun FUN and some more business sober.  

My eye has adjusted, and even though it can be a tough look for me to wear due to my own proportions—and I cringe when I look back at my 80s photos in those really oversized jackets with the big shoulder pads— I'm ready to give the contemporary version a whirl. Trendy classic is not my moniker for nothing. 

Yesterday between my dentist and hair appointments, I had some time for sleuthing. First stop, a local consignment shop where last year I got my Pink Tartan herringbone jacket. 

First try on, a Sandro double breasted jacket in a sort of taupe/grey plaid. Colours don't reproduce all that well here -- sorry. It was a size 40, which is probably a size or even 2 sizes big for me, but then again, the Paul Smith is a 40, so you just never know. It did feel a bit more than oversized (long sleeves, shoulders just on the edge of being too big) but it wasn't horrible. 

Then, a Smythe jacket. I think the previous owner stretched it out in weird ways...it felt permanently rumpled or something. I wouldn't buy it but it was fun to try it. 

Finally, post-haircut, another Sandro, this season's. This one is size 36 and seemed to fit perfectly, so who knows. I have to confess, I have MAJOR SUGAR EYE for houndstooth. In the 80s I owned a houndstooth jacket that basically defined the last few years of that decade for me. I adored it. I think I've even posted a photo of it on the forum in the archives somewhere. Will hunt it out. In the meantime, here's today's updated version. Thoughts? 

No styling of these since I just threw them on top of my shorts. 

Of course, this jacket is more than 3 times the price of the consignment jacket. So there is that. And I don't actually *need* another jacket, either. But that is a separate discussion, right? :) 

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Consignment Light Blue: Bonus Photobomb by Max

Well, look what happened on the way home from breakfast with a friend. I stopped into the consignment store, where I happened upon this PAUL SMITH summer jacket in...light blue check! 

It is half linen, half summer weight wool. Unlined (apart from the sleeves and top area) but beautifully finished seams (of course!) It has bracelet sleeves with many working buttons and a slight flare to them. And it can be worn traditionally, or buttoned up higher for a sort of Nehru effect. It is hard to show in a selfie but it actually works. 

Not styled or anything really -- just thrown on to show.

Best of all, got it for a pittance. 

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The Return Cycle. Plus a couple of keeps.

The good news: I only added 2 new items to my wardrobe vs. a possible 8. Mr. Suz can take back his words about "more clothes???" and my bank account will leave me more for the NAS. 

The bad news...now I have to take it all back and I don't have the PJs I sorely need

Showing try on photos and some reviews: 

The shimmering plaid midi is a lot of fun and a really nice skirt. The pleats stay flat, unlike many of these skirts, so I thought it was worth a try. The colours are a blend of some cools and dominant warm tones  out of my usual range, so I thought it might make a fun semi-wild card. Fit is great. Comfort level high. It needs a steaming out of the bag, but I get the sense it would travel very well and dress up or down. 

But...I just don't love it enough to keep. I have my new cropped wide leg pants and culottes, plus last year's Liberty skirt, and possibly a few new dresses (if those work out). So I think it's going back, along with the tee. 

I love the white sleeveless shirt but it's a size too small. This type of shirt used to be my go-to in the 90s and I would love an update! But I think it's all gone in my size now. Oh well. 

I'm keeping the funny little denim shell. It's trapeze style with a tie at the back -- those kinds of things usually feel too fussy for me, but this one seems okay. It's super cool (temperature-wise) due to the cut and can be worn tucked or untucked. I think it will be a useful casual item. 

Also keeping the Collection silk shirt -- 3 of my best colours in one silk shirt, on substantial sale = no brainer. 

The PJs -- this was a case where reviews were right. The fit is just plain odd! Too bad, because the quality is nice and I need these!

The jeans. Well...I'm not crazy about them on me. They're good quality. The seamed wide legs are nice thick denim. Fit is pretty good -- maybe a tad snug. They'd need to be hemmed (no surprise.) But I'm just not crazy about them.

As for the straights, I feel the same. Fit is fine, quality fine, and the side stripe is really fun. But I don't want the distressing.

TBH, my glory days of denim were the slouchy skinny or slim BF. That's the denim silhouette I still love best, and feel I look my best in -- though I'd like it in a higher rise than of yore. Will be keeping my eyes open for that holy grail and sending these ones back. If anyone has suggestions or ideas for a slim BF with a higher rise -- I'm all ears. 

Onwards! 

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Oops! Someone went shopping...

Well well well. Just a few fine weeks ago, I wrote a review post.  I listed the (few) items I'd purchased (apart from gear) and reviewed successes and failures.

Then--ooops! I went shopping! Frustration at my summer dress situation and closet boredom hit -- and the results represent a distinct interference with at least one of my stated start-of-year goals, below. (Hangs head in embarrassment..)

In my defence, I haven't even received most of this stuff yet, so I may be making a lot of returns. But really. Right before NAS, too. What was I thinking?

Even if I keep all of this, I'm not over budget (because most of this was on significant sale) and I retired 16 items due to wear, fit, or other issues, but did I really need more stuff? Debatable.

Anyway. In Finds I show what's still on order for consideration, excepting a couple of much needed pairs of summer PJs.

Now let's look at my stated goals.

1. Continue to wear outfits that are: Modern, Classic, Vivid, Practical, and Playful.

I think I'm doing quite well with this. Some of my summer outfits feel softer (with the addition of olive and pale lilac wide crops) but the silver footwear and jewellery amps those up.

2. Spend time reflecting on how I can reconcile my “trendy” style persona with my ethical aspirations. Shopping for statement items (and even some essentials) via consignment is one way; patronizing local and/or ethically conscious designers for essentials is another. But what about wardrobe churn? I plan to set aside a weekend just to research, and another weekend to reflect on it and make some plans.

Ummmm. Not yet. Need to set aside that time.


In the meantime, I will continue my more-or-less intuitive style of shopping — editing out what’s worn or doesn’t fit or doesn’t please me and adding as I see fit, just observing my patterns without judgement.

Have been doing the intuitive shopping thing (obviously!) but need to think about how and whether it is working.

3. Revisit the idea of a work-from-home “uniform” that does not include jeans-- given my recent worn out pair! Looking at these Everlane pants (in Finds) - anyone know them?

Still shopping for and buying jeans. ;)  

4. Revamp/upgrade my gear. I got out of the habit of regular workouts for most of the year and want to inspire myself to get. back into them.

I did this in January during sales. Very helpful.

6. Have fun with fashion!! Continue to check out Vancouver's fab consignment stores. Play with colour (esp. RED) and generally have a good time.

My luck at consignment this season was nil. I did frequent the stores but found nothing I wanted or needed. I do keep my eye out for red everywhere, and I have been having some fun. :)

29 comments

A few (not blue!) purchases w. question re pants length

My family sent me on a returns errand the other day and of course I couldn't resist some actual shopping while I was downtown. 

After pulling on my ancient tube skirts day after day and saying I was fine with them (while secretly feeling bored) and after looking and looking and then despairing of finding dresses to replace the Boden dresses I fell in love with last year, I felt suddenly overcome with the need to switch up my silhouettes. Oops! 

So. I bought a few items, below. Plus one that I will show you later on. 

In Zara, I picked up these linen high waisted trousers. I love them! They remind me of a pair of raw silk gaucho pants I used to own in the 90s. The tie is supposed to be worn in front, I think, as in the dressing room photo, but I often find them fussy that way, so I've made it into a wee knot at the back. I admit they could use a steaming but when it comes to linen, I'm at peace with some crease. And they are a sagey-khaki green. I love this tone, but so rarely wear it! (Bonus, it works with blue.) 

Can I wear at this length? It reminds me of what KM wrote about Japanese trouser length in her recent post. They feel quite okay to me, even with the sneakers? (Last photo from dressing room.) 

I also bought a V neck top -- the one that Jacquie and LisaP recommended. Am I nuts? Ordinarily a V, much as I love it, isn't my best look. But I've gained a bit of weight, which typically makes a V neck work a bit better on me, and this one seems quite structured. I hope it passes muster because I cut the tags. The fabric drapes nicely. 

I also bought a little linen camp shirt at Zara for a more casual look. 

Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks! 

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