Consignment fun

A few weeks ago I took a short trip to Vancouver for some meetings and appointments and visits with friends. While there I popped into my favourite consignment shop. I walked away with two unexpected purchases -- unworn, still with their original tags, cheap as chips. 

The Club Monaco lace pencil skirt is a bit of a fashion throwback -- definitely not on trend! (Though I think I've seen more pencil skirts sneaking back in...). Anyway -- I've wanted a lace skirt for ages. It's not something I can wear much around the house because of my cat, but overall, I've been aiming to add more texture to my closet and this fits the bill. 

I'd like this better if it were midi-length, but this at-the-knee length is good with sneakers and flats, and maybe it counts as my version of a mini, ha! It has a slightly stretchy liner and a back vent so it is comfortable. The zipper is in the back and is in pewter, which juxtaposes nicely with the lace. The fit is great. And the lace is substantial. I figure it will work for me dressed down with denim. And maybe dressed up sometime, too -- who knows. 

The sweater is a Diane von Furstenburg animal print in my trusty blue and white -- a silk blend. Years ago I got a DVF blush sweater in a similar print and fabric at the wonderful NAS I travelled to with Svetlana. I almost never wear this style of classic cardigan,  but I can wear it buttoned up as a top. And it will work with jeans, of course. Or as a topper for my navy shirtdress. 

I'm sure I'll wear the sweater enough to justify the price. The skirt, I'm not as certain of—but I thought it was worth a try. 

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Navel grazing (and no, it's not a midriff baring top!)

I've been on a hunt for some new jeans.  I definitely needed white to replace old white skinnies, and I also retired my wide leg blue jeans because I wasn't reaching for them.

While I always love to have at least one trendier jean in my collection to update my look, the jeans I consistently wear the most are slim boyfriend style or what I'd call boyfriend adjacent jeans, i.e. jeans with some but not too much  looseness in the thigh area (whether they taper or are more straight on the calves). Ideally, the rise should be what I'd call medium-high, which for me is around the belly-button. And they should have a bit of "slouch" to them. 

This is both for comfort and for flattery. While in theory, a higher rise ought to be best for me (I'm relatively short legged), and even more so, because I have a long rise, in practice, a super high rise won't work, because I'm also short waisted, and just plain short. So some high rise styles cut off my breath and others give me a wedgie. Can't win! 

Anyway. Baggy is the thing these days, right? But reined in baggy with a bit of structure is less overwhelming on me. So I decided to try these Old Navy slouchy straights in white. I love them! They are generously sized, loose and comfy, not at all see-through, and very easy to wear. I might spring for a pair in a different wash as well. 

Meanwhile, Holt's had a big sale so I took the opportunity to pick up a pair of darker wash Citizens of Humanity Emerson's in my size. I already own one pair, a size up, bought when my weight was up a bit -- I still love them and wear them, but they are super baggy. This pair is more of a true slim BF style, giving me options. Trying to decided if I want to shorten them. 

Citizens are the best fitting brand for me, and one reason is that their front and back rises are scaled in a way that works for my body. I can wear their low rise style (when most low rise styles would be indecent on me); I can wear their mid-rise styles; I can even wear (some) of their high rise styles if I get the sizing right. 

Both these jeans have a rise that comes more or less to my belly button, which on me is considerably below my natural waist. Where on your body do you like your jeans to sit and what type of a rise works best to get the fit and feel you like? 

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WIMW -- thanks to Gaylene. Bonus hair and hat pics.

Over on this thread, I discussed my need for a lightweight puffer and/or a warm but rain-worthy white  walking coat. 

I picked up the lightweight puffer from Aritzia and it has already proved its worth. It's not useful in true rain but can handle showers. It is warm enough for most of our cold, with the right layers beneath, and for true cold I own two warmer parkas. 

Gaylene suggested that maybe I don't need a puffer coat for walking (true) and mentioned that she owns a Helly Hansen raincoat that does the job for her. (We live in the same city). 

So, unhappy with the options I'd canvassed so far, I ordered the Helly Hansen Aden Insulated raincoat in white. (I tried to find one in person but struck out in Vancouver -- nothing in stock). 

Here it is—and I think it is a keeper! 

Note the rave reviews: https://www.hellyhansen.com/en.....AiAh_GNBhA

I've just thrown it on over my exercise clothes (leggings and a hoodie and tee). So, not exactly "styled." But truthfully, this is how I would wear it most of the time, because this coat is mainly for walking in my suburban neighbourhood, especially at night. More a gear purchase with (I hope) some fashion crossover potential. I.e. I might wear it to work on a miserable day. 

Apologies for the lighting -- it is what it is, right? December in the PNW. 

PROS: 

1. Extremely well-made. SNAPS at the cuffs instead of yucky velcro, which I loathe and which is on almost all coats of this type. 
2. Waterproof/ windproof, with a hood and sealed seams, a snap closure over a two-way zip. Hood is non-removable but adjustable. 
3. Two soft-lined slash pockets for hands and an inner top phone pocket. 
4. Lined in a soft grey quilted insulation. There is room in shoulders for me to layer more sweaters/ layers if I want/ need. 
5. A cooler, brighter white than the North Face Gardenia, so more flattering to me (I think). It's hard to tell in the yellow artificial light, but there's a definite difference. 
6. Highly visible in the dark wet weather. 

CONS: 

Can you think of any? 

It's wrinkled from the bag, but I think it's a keeper. I'll wrap it up for myself and put it under the tree from Santa. :) 

Bonus -- new hair. You can't really tell from these shots but it's a bit of a punk cut. I went back to my Vancouver stylist and she likes to give me one of these cuts every now and again -- longer fringe but very short on back, top, and sides, to show the shape of my head, which she likes a lot. A bit of femininity in the wisps at the ears, back, and fringe. I think she might have been influenced by those plaid pants I was wearing because she's never gone quite this short before, but I don't mind it. 

Hat photos, because with hair this short, I need one!!  :) 

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Puffer replacements

Besides shopping for jeans, I've been on the hunt for puffers to replace my old (second hand) Thermoball which was showing its age and the fabric of which I had never liked much. (It was a bit shiny in a weird way, like a plastic bag.) 

I ended up with a long packable Aritzia "little puff" in navy (on sale). It's not as fitted as the old coat, much more "sleeping bag" style -- but that feels a bit more current. As a down coat, it is lighter weight, and it's good for walking in cool (but not frigid) weather, as long as it is not raining. While the fabric is water resistant, and I wouldn't get soaked through except in a true downpour, I don't enjoy wearing down coats the best in wet conditions. 

I cut the tags on this one. I like a lot about it (esp. the double zip, the length, and the length of the sleeves) but don't like that it does not have an upper or inside pocket for phone. Oh well. 

Also trying the North Face Tamurello Parka.This was also on sale.  I have not decided about this. It is a jacket, more than a coat. It is not down, and. also not for frigid temps. (I'm covered for true cold, which isn't really frequent here). It's an off white. Maybe a bit too warm for me -- I'm not sure. I've been wanting a white or light or vivid coloured puffer for a long time. This one, being polyester, is more rain-worthy than the Aritzia. It has a double zip and zip pockets (good) but also no phone pocket. 

Both these coats are good for my climate / needs and I'm definitely keeping the first. It's just a question of whether the second will fill the function I want -- basically walks on slightly wetter days. Casual wear only. 

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Never Say Never: Denim Discovery

I have been on a mission all fall, off and on, to replace my old COH Olivia slim straight leg jeans, which I ruined late this summer on an evening walk where I took a tumble and ripped the knee—and not in a good or reparable way. (Luckily my knee was fine; it was the fabric that was a loss!) 

I tried and ruled out so many jeans! 

The Frame Le High straight, which in retrospect might have worked in a size down. but anyway, that size was gone. 

I tried several Levis styles: Wedgie straight, wedgie icon (neither of which look anything like they look on the models...) . I tried a Mango style (couldn't even get them on!), and several supposed "sure bet" Madewell styles (e.g. perfect vintage crop, tapered mom jean, straight mom jean)  that also failed to flatter (though at least they fit). I tried, and bought, the BR crop jeans, but now wish I hadn't, because the length is so annoying . They end at just the wrong spot and get caught on my boots no matter which pair I wear. I bought them on considerable sale and they may work with summer footwear, in which case they aren't a complete loss -- but I'm frustrated with myself for failing the PPP test. That was a fashion fail for sure! 

Onwards. I ordered two more styles. In the "never say never" department, Madewell's stovepipe jean. Why the "never"? Well, as some of you know, I typically prefer a slightly rigid denim with only 1% stretch. And these include a lot of Tencel and are much more stretchy than my usual. But guess what? I love them! They are so comfortable! The waist is high but not ridiculous (up to my navel). The length does not get hung up on my boots and if I want to cuff them I can. I had to size down, though -- in my regular size they were a mess. These I'm keeping for sure. 

Then I thought I'd try the Levis ribcage. These are like a narrow wide leg on me. I am not sure about them. Thoughts? They are a little longer on me than on most of the models  (no surprise there). And they are black (which I'm not entirely sure I want -- but this is returnable and I can get a different wash elsewhere). They are quite comfortable. Not as "ribcage" as advertised; 

Sorry about the light. It is what it is -- December on the wet coast! 

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BR jeans, BR flannel shirt, new merino sweater.

Hi, all! As I contemplate yet another rainy day, I decide not to wear my Paige bootcuts; even though they are the new full length, not floor sweeping, they still would get wet! So here I have some ankle straights by BR up for review. 

The question: Are they okay, or do they just look like flood pants?. I mean, it's true, I need flood pants. But, you know...

TBH, I don't think a straight silhouette works as well on me as a tapered one. But I want to try. I've been canvassing lots of different jeans and have been on an order and return cycle all fall. More on that in another post when I get a chance. 

My review of these: nice "denim-y" denim, not too much stretch. Felt snug when I first put them on in my normal size but seem to be adjusting (tags still on, just in case). True ankle length on me (I got the short ankle). High but not too high rise -- to my bellybutton (so probably about 10.5 inches). A slim straight style.

Meanwhile, I also got the lovely flannel shirt that Angie modelled in a berry shade. That colour is not available in Canada, so I went for the white, which I really like. It's a lovely, soft shirt with nice details like a placket to hide the buttons and a deep cuff. 

The sweater is part of my ongoing merino search. The Bay still had a couple of old Lord and Taylor things hanging around, so I picked up two for a mere $22 each. This leopard print V-neck has already become a workhorse. I love a patterned sweater! 

Worn also with the new Bloomie's cardigan. 

Thanks for looking and for your thoughts! 

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A few updates and a tale of 4 grey cardigans

Hi, all --

Life continues busy busy busy with three days of on-campus work (and all kinds of prep and grading and meetings from home). But I've continued to shop for replacements for worn-out essentials. A few reviews and observations: 

As some will remember, I've been on the hunt for simple merino sweaters, particularly in navy and grey. I ordered from (and returned) items from Marks & Spencer and Club Monaco (via the Bay), and considered but ruled out a few more. 

Met with success at last when J. Crew restocked some of their Margot crewnecks. This sweater is like the Tippi of yore, except long sleeved and a little more fluid in fit. I already own two (in true red and a paisley print) so I purchased two more in navy and "frosty berry" (shown) which IRL is more or less my lip colour and is a colour I'm always happy to add to my closet. 

 The grey looks too warm in tone, so I didn't bother with that and am still on the hunt for a grey crewneck merino. But will live without it just fine. 

On my feet, Ecco's Modtray Chelsea boot. I was in need of a waterproof easy-on/ easy-off boot for suburban winter walks that might involve the odd patch on the trails. A lot of the lug-soled boots I canvassed were simply too chunky for my frame and for my needs— more fashion boot than actual walking boot. I tried Blundstone's, which I love, but as usual, the fit was off for me. (I own and love the women's heeled boot, which works great, and I've worn the chisel toe successfully in the past-- but neither of those has a rugged enough sole for this purpose, and the Blundstone styles that do have the right sole just don't fit my foot.) Anyway—black is a bit boring, but that's okay -- it's also undemanding. Very comfortable, a bit higher shaft than some, room for an insole (for me), very easy on and off. An excellent boot if you have similar needs and feet! 

Finally, a tale of 4 sweaters. As many of you know, a grey duster cardigan is pretty much essential to my style. I'd worn through a couple over the past four years. I wanted to upgrade to a more luxe version than my old, pilled up BR duster (pic 7), and tried Club Monaco's cashmere cardigan (Finds), but it was both ridiculously thin and ridiculously large on me and shorter than I wanted. Then I found (on sale) an exact replica of one I'd worn through a few years ago (pic 8). But I wasn't thrilled because I knew it would pill quickly, too, and the fabrication did not give me joy. Anyway, before I cut the tags, Mr. Suz suggested one on sale at Bloomingdale's in cashmere, so I ordered that one to try, as well. The Bloomie's sweater is the winner (pics 4-6) -- I have returned the other one. 

If you are in the market, I'd recommend the Bloomingdale's cashmere. The quality feels quite good, although I can't vouch for whether it will pill easily, of course. This particular sweater has a raglan sleeve (making it easy to layer) and a nice rolled cuff. Deep slits in sides and pockets, and not too long for short me. 

I can't wear cashmere as a pullover in my current climate -- I find it too hot, and it makes me itchy with the humidity out here. (Hence my search for merino pullovers, which I do find wearable here.) But I can and do wear cashmere as a cardigan and I adore the luxe feel of it. 

No high fashion here, just a regular work from home day! 

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Returns updates: Good customer service at Kit & Ace

Hi, all -- I've been scarce here due to heavier than usual workload. But I wanted to update you on a nice returns moment. 

Remember the Kit & Ace returns I needed to make? One was final sale. I knew I had no recourse, but decided to take it with me for in-store returns, just in case I could wheedle an exchange. Ooops! The store is GONE. No more Victoria Kit & Ace. 

I had a bit of a hassle organizing a mail return, as their website returns process was broken. But I reached out and got a label and sealed the package -- only to remember that the final sale trousers were still inside! Oh well, I figured. At least they'd be able to resell them. 

To my immense surprise, they returned my money for the regular priced items and sent a gift card for those trousers! Must have been someone's kind deed for the day. 

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More returns: Altitude

Okay, when you shop at a gear store for fashion, you ought to keep your expectations minimal. And I did come away with a few surprises!

Keeping: 

  • Smartwool socks! Yay for toasty feet.
  • Two Armor Luxe tees. 

These aren't the true replacements I'd hoped for my aged LL Bean Mariners; those are heavier weight, somewhere between a sweater and a top, while these are (high quality, very soft, comfortable, and nicely cut) tees. But the LL Beans will probably last another season while I keep looking for their true replacements and in the meantime, experience with striped items tells me I will also wear these tops a lot. 

Returning: 

The Columbia puffer. Too coral a red for me and the zip does not work well; feels cheap. I'm seriously on the hunt for a lightweight and water resistant replacement for my old Thermoball, but that's for another thread, coming soon! 

The North Face fleece. Too warm for what I wanted, no double zip, and no substitute for the merino I really wanted. Colour is great, but next! 

The Frame Le High Straight jean. Nice quality. Fit is fine, but stretched out within an hour -- that's too much stretch for me. Also, the length was awkward. Supposed to be cropped but on me, it hit the ankle bone, which was fine with boots but did not work with sneakers, where the bottoms kept bumping into the laces. Rolling didn't work since they would flop down (not tapered or rigid enough to stay put in a roll.) So....next!! 

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The spree that went splat...Kit & Ace

So, I ordered up a storm from all kinds of places this week. The good news? It came in record time. 

The good news for my wallet, bad news for my wardrobe? Most of it is going back. I seem to have lost some of my online shopping karma. 

First up, the Kit & Ace order. These (non-returnable final sale --oops! -- Navigator pants fit fine but the colour is more brownish than I'd imagined, and I don't like the fabric at all. I think I have to take the loss, but I'll bring them along to the store when I return the other stuff, just in case.  

The dress is deliciously soft and comfy and would be a great work from home item. But as Carol noted in her thread today, in winter, we Canadians need tights with dresses. A try on session revealed that tights stick to it, not matter what, so it's going back. 

I'm keeping the oversized T-neck though, to beef up my loungewear capsule. I'll wear it with leggings at home. The fabric is the same terry as the dress and it is so soft and comfy. 

The other pants feel like my mother's double knits. If you are a person who likes knit pants, you might like these. They are really nice quality. Just not for me. 

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