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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Mid-year Review

Dear YLF, 

My wardrobe is in a pretty good place, so apart from replenishing my gear capsule in the winter, I haven't made many "fashion" purchases at all so far. And everything I've bought was (uncharacteristically for me) on sale. 

Below are the things I've bought. The colour on the EF shirt is so good for me that I bought it even though it wasn't really on my list of needed items. I love wearing silk shirts -- they tend to live in my closet for a long time and never fail to spark joy. 

The BR tops are staple items, replacing a few worn tees and tops. It's already too warm for me to wear them, alas, at least the sleeved ones, but I know they will get years of use, as this type of top always serves me extremely well. 

Both J. Crew pants will work well for me in the casual summer wear department. 

The Ecco sneakers (actually darker than shown) are replacements for my beloved silver Ecco 8s. I don't love them quite as much as the others, but there is no silver anywhere in my size, so. Also, they seem wider on the heel than my previous ones so the fit is not so good for me. I am experimenting with various insoles. 

The Fitflop sneakers are a FLOP. I'd hoped they'd work like the Eccos but the fit is too wide no matter what. I think this counts as my shopping mistake this year. About to let them go to a happier home. 

The Earth sandals were a complete surprise. They were priced at less than $40 CAD and I couldn't resist. Very very comfy. Not a true wild card because after all, they are a classic sandal in "my" colours. But certainly an impulse purchase and I think, a good one. 

So, here I am in my circa 2013 tube skirt. The denim jacket, which I bought in my first year at YLF. The top is also on its 3rd or 4th season. Only the bag and shoes are recent. Once again, an outfit that isn't particularly current, yet it makes me happy. 

On a sadder note, 2 of my Boden dresses from last year are fitting poorly. Partly it is me -- I gained a few pounds.  :(.  But mostly it is them -- after many many wears and washes, they've simply shrunk a bit. I always wash in cool and air dry, but eventually shrinkage will occur, I guess, no matter what. And these dresses did see a lot of wear last year and even early this year. Each was worn about twice per week through the warm months -- so well over 30 wears apiece. So I'm on the lookout for great summer dresses, along with several others of you. Haven't found my dream dresses yet but open to suggestions. 

24 comments

CC Fail but Colours for Angie

I said I'd play, but...yesterday I was so busy shovelling, I didn't get out of my gear. 

Snow still coming down like mad today and I thought I had an eye appointment downtown. Needed tall waterproof boots for slush situation. Got there only to realize I'd messed up on my calendar! It's a month from now. Ooops! 

So I went to browse the shops and look what I saw! Eileen Fisher is doing teals and turquoises this year -- not that it does you much good, Angie, since you're pretty much sized out, but it's pretty! And Scotch and Soda has a big selection of Dutch oranges. 

I did at least manage light neutral trousers. I hope that counts for something! 

Bonus snow views. I'm travelling the rest of the week and can't promise no dark neutrals because, major snow and slush all over. I will cheer you all from the sidelines! 

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32 comments

Fair Isle: J. Crew finally comes through. Sweater reviews.

The order I placed on Black Friday finally arrived tonight. That is some kind of record. 

The good news is that I'm keeping both sweaters. 

The cashmere mock neck is very nice quality for the (sale) price. I have been wanting a lighter coloured patterned cashmere sweater and this fits the bill. As reviewers note, it is not fitted (as described) but oversized. I took my regular J. Crew size and at the moment, I'm about at my highest weight/ size; if I were any smaller I'd have wanted to size down. 

I sized up on Sweater 2. I am glad I did -- the shoulder would not have fit me if I hadn't. IRL it is more pale grey than cream on the bottom portion, and the top portion is NAVY, not black. Wearing it in a few combinations in the pics. I loved it with the Black Watch as styled on the web site and since I have a Black Watch suit, I figured i could do the same. It is not too cropped for me at all (some reviewers complained of this). It is also nice and soft. 

I'd have liked a colourful Fair Isle this year and may still pick one up, but these neutrals will easily work with my wardrobe and should have staying power even when the trend is over. 

ETA: Photos are not great but we are in deep darkness now plus major rain. C'est la vie! 

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42 comments

Sweater dress found

I've been looking and looking for "my" sweater dress for a couple of months and tried several on. I struggled with most of the issues Angie mentioned -- price too high, colour wrong for me, length too short (or long), fabrication itchy, etc. etc. Or it sold out in my size before I could pull the trigger! 

I think I've settled on this one from trusty BR. It's soft, easy, and casual. Some reviews noted that it is "huge" but for me it was TTS for BR. It's meant to be a loose shift fit. It probably wouldn't work on those with a sloping shoulder line because of the cut. It's a bit shorter than I'd hoped for (on the knee vs. midi) but will work with flat tall boots and I'm planning to wear tights anyway. 

Note - this silvery grey would seem to be a slam dunk for me, right? Well...it is, sort of. The thing is, I feel "washed out" in it without darker and brighter accents. This is a very neutral outfit -- I just put it on because I only had charcoal tights on hand and I wanted to coordinate. In future I will probably wear blue tights and boots and red and blue accents to liven this up. Or nude hose and silver jewellery and boots or similar. 

Anyway, SUPER happy to have this. 

39 comments

Tame Wild Card

I have been looking for a longer pea coat for 3 years ...ever since my trusty VC mixed media military jacket started showing severe wear on the cuffs and hem. By the time I finally retired it last winter, it was worn bald in places. I wore that coat so much!!! And wow, did I miss it last winter. Thanks to YLF, I hardly lack for outerwear and I'm never going to go cold. Yet without a piece like this in my wardrobe I feel bereft! There is something about this quasi-military style that makes my heart soar. Anyway, I tried on lots of alternatives, and considered buying many, including J. Crew's pea coats and several at the NAS-- but there was always something off or extra or missing in every version I put on. 

At the consignment store about a month ago I found this Judith and Charles boiled wool navy blue coat. It can be worn Revere-style or buttoned all the way up. I immediately tried it on and liked it, but I left it in the store that day because it was still quite pricey for a consignment piece and I was in a bit of a rush and didn't want to make a rash decision. Lucky me. In the interim, they put it in the window and no one bothered to try it on. So today when I arrived at the store it was on its final markdown and more than reasonably priced for a 100% wool garment. 

Judith and Charles is a nice quality Canadian line. This piece is beautifully made, barely worn, and will be a great layering coat for Vancouver winters over a blazer or sweater. As wild card purchases go, it's pretty tame. But it's completely me. 

Here I am at the store trying it on in various ways. 

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46 comments

A few reviews: Blondo and BR silk-cashmere

Hi, all --

My computer is finally working again! (And yay for warranty -- they had to replace everything except the motherboard. Would have cost me $1500 but instead was free.)

I have been popping in here as able but hoping to catch up with you all soon. 

In the meantime, a couple of reviews/recommendations. 

First, the Blondo Elvina. I bought this "western light" boot in black about six weeks ago and have already worn it 30 times or more. So when it came time to look for a taupe bootie to work with my new consignment Pink Tartan jacket (and other things) I was delighted to learn that Elvira comes in dark taupe. 

For me, this is almost an ur-bootie. It has the perfect 2 inch heel height and slope in the footbed for personal comfort. (It actually feels lower than 2 inches to me so those who like a 1.5 inch might try it in case.) The heel is exceptionally stable. The width in the front is perfect for my foot shape. The shoe has a grippy bottom to prevent slips. It is waterproof. (Take that, PNW rain!) It is also lined in warm fabric. (This unfortunately means it would likely be too warm for a very hot climate but of course it is perfect for mine.) I love the pointed toe. It doesn't show in the stock photos well but you can see it in my own pictures. I can walk 20,000 city steps in these with no discomfort. 

Some reviewers say that the ankle is too snug. As you can see, it is actually quite loose on me. But no "flower pot" effect because the loose areas are front and back rather than side to side. This also means no rubbing on that part of my calf. Instant comfort. It also looks quite nice with a skirt or dress with toned hose -- the pointed toe makes it work. If you are in the market for a stylish but not extremely trendy, practical, smart-casual, waterproof bootie, I would highly recommend. 

Next up, the BR silk-cashmere pullover. This is also part of my "Pink Tartan" complement. It is a lightweight knit, tailored at the shoulders and sleeves and bust in my regular size but very fluid below. However, since it's thin, it can be tucked easily or semi-tucked. It's quite long on the body but again, not bulky. It comes in a wide range of colours and makes a terrific simple "base layer" under a blazer because it is not bulky yet it is warm. 

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"Max Mara" coat, or, a funny thing happened while I was waiting for the bus...

The bus was late. There was a consignment store by the stop and I nipped in. 

There I found this frankly fake, dressy "Max Mara" coat. It has nothing in common with a real Max Mara. More like "Zax Zara" in terms of quality: although the composition is good and the lining is nice and the sewing isn't too bad, the buttons are cheap. Anyway, I put it on. And it was one of those moments when reason flies out the window.

This is a crazy wild card purchase, completely impractical for my Ontario existence but possibly wearable here on the coast. Lightweight wool, poly, with bracelet length sleeves and real, removable fur cuffs. 

I have thrown it on over a few things here -- a slightly dressy outfit, and irregular outfit juxtaposition. It works well with the red boots, of course. 

So...foolish or crazy like a fox? 

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65 comments