Another handbag/ backpack question -- gear knowledge welcome

As I've mentioned on a few recent threads, the past few months have seen me devolve to carrying my Patagonia backpack all the time. 

Apart from rare forays to the grocery store and post office, when I go out, I am typically hiking in the woods and/or on suburban paths. I'm carrying keys, water bottle, jacket/ hoodie/ windbreaker, phone, mask, sanitizer, earphones, wallet, card case (sometimes alternating), sunglasses, sunscreen/ lipgloss etc, tissues. 

But then other times -- evening walks --  it's just phone, earphones, card case, keys. So the backpack really feels like too much then. 

A dressy purse -- even my leather backpack -- just feels like too much in these environs. (A few pics below). Leather's also heavy. 

The Patagonia is actually a bit too large for my needs but it is nylon and lightweight. 

So. I am thinking of what might work instead. 

I've considered a nylon Minkoff Julian and might get one if I could find in a colour I liked -- but right now the options at the Bay or Nordstrom's Canada don't make me smile. (I'd go for red or silver, but not black.)

But what I really think I need is, essentially, good looking gear. The kind of stuff that works like gear but won't completely clash with an outfit if we are ever released from our isolation and can move around out in the world a bit more. 

I could also very much use something that I can pop into my bicycle panniers easily that holds all my essentials!!! 

Two options I'm considering -- a Bellroy backpack and a Bellroy mini-sling. I own a few Bellroy products and LOVE them. I got them on Jenn's recommendation. 

I own a folio wallet (smallest sleekest wallet of this type I've ever owned and fits my phone if I want to put it inside...); mini-pocket (card pocket); a classic pouch, a pencil case (I use it as my makeup bag), a A4 tech folio (for my ipad mini and notebook). I truly love the product line -- they are brilliantly designed. 

Does anyone know anything about the backpack or mini-sling? Thoughts on something else that might work for me as well? Or better? 

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22 comments

Nordstom.ca is here

Hi, all -- 

I'm admiring all the work-from-home wardrobes and work-arounds! Confession: my own style has devolved very much into a lower level than usual. I'm in workout gear a lot of the day. Partly because I crave comfort, partly because I don't have very many clothes in the new house. (The family is in Victoria but most of our clothing remains in Vancouver until whenever we can get it.) And I'm not posting outfits because I don't have a full length mirror yet, and I guess it will be some time before I get one! 

But —Canadians—it looks as if Nordstrom.ca is open for business. The selection is of course considerably smaller than the American version, but we do have some options, along with free delivery and returns. I doubt if I will be placing orders for the next little while, but it's fun to browse and think about something other than the pandemic from time to time. 

Hang in there, everybody! 

18 comments

Colour trend: Blue (and new hair)

Spring blues, Fab Friends. Ironically, after posting my winter photos I had just decided I needed more red and white and who-knows-what else -- something light and bright and not blue in my closet. But these blues are so tempting, I just know I am going to going for some. You can't fight your signature colour, I guess. :) 

1-3: Veronica Beard. Blues from denim to soft powder...
4-7: Vince. Soft sky blues, dusty periwinkle blues. 
8-9: Eileen Fisher: Royal blues, teals, a few dusty periwinkles.
10: Helmut Lang!! (Yes -- even Helmut Lang is doing blue this year!!) Robin's egg, royal, and other things in between.

I went "window" shopping after my haircut. No purchasing, just scouting. You can't really tell but the style is a bit different -- longer front fringe and a very short back on nape but a bit of volume higher up. Will try to get better pics later. I can wear it sideswept or straight down or tousled or maybe flat ironed (didn't try). Colour is growing out...I'm also in blue, by the way, although it looks black. 

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27 comments

Another comfy casual boot...and some winter footwear observations

Nobody would accuse me of having too few shoes...

My first puchase this year was yet another pair. I saw these Sorels on a fitness classmate and fell in love. They were on sale. And wow, what a terrific little boot! Waterproof, lightweight, warm! Good for a medium volume foot or a narrower foot (I suspect) -- won't work on a very wide or super high volume foot. I do have narrow heels -- one boot shifts a bit (this, however, is story of my life!) but I don't think I'll get a blister; the other foot is fine (a near-miracle). 

These are admittedly on the "athleisure side" but I intend them for coming back and forth to fitness class and running errands; maybe also for daily walks, depending where I'm walking. They come in 3 colourways. 

I just threw them on coming home from gym, which is basically how I will wear them, so....excuse the mess! :) 

Some further winter footwear observations.

1. Like Angie, I bought the Converse flatform, and like her, I can tolerate it...but barely. It is a bit too heavy for long wear. And it's also a bit too flat for me, but not roomy enough for my PF inserts. Which means I don't feel fully supported in it. I have two pairs (mustard and red) and I do wear them a lot (it's a perfect option for my climate) but I've also learned that I do not care for this chunky style with my BF or slim jeans. I only like it with wide legs or flares. It just feels too "boyish" on me. I prefer my BF jeans with a pointed toe or almond toe -- something more refined. Interesting info for future reference. 

2. The Paul Greens are total workhorses. I did have an awful few days of break-in with them due to my narrow heel. But once they softened up -- pure bliss. Lightweight and fabulous. Not waterproof, though, so I baby them a bit. Also, the heel is going to wear down really quickly. I know from experience that I can get a lift put on this type of sole...but then the boot will be considerably heavier. I did it with my La Canadiennes last year and while I've worn those for another season, they are not as comfortable any more. I am really hard on footwear. A shoe I wear regularly is likely to wear out in a season. ;( 

3. For a heel, the EF pump is shockingly comfy. I ended up walking a mile and a half the other night in these when the bus didn't come, and wow -- they were great! This makes me think I really should consider EF shoes more often. They are very pricey but the quality is fab! I forgot to mention these in my comment on the "black footwear" post. I'd love these even better in blue, but am very glad to have them at all. I only own a couple of truly dressy shoes. How lovely when they're actually wearable! :) 

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32 comments

Question for SYC participants

Hi, everyone! I have a question for those of you who joined the SYC challenge. 

How is it different from usual for you? 

Do you typically buy an item or two every month? Or does "looking"(i.e. online or in-store browsing without purchasing) also count as shopping, and you want to reduce that behaviour, as well? (And if so, why?)  

I'm curious because as a seasonal shopper, I regularly go months at a time without purchasing, just as a matter of course. I do continue to look at things online (mainly in the Finds here) but generally I do so in a mood of pleasant abstraction, without any strong desire to buy the things... even if I like them a lot. I sometimes file away ideas to my list of items I might want later in the year. 

My main shopping months, it seems, are May-June (for spring/ summer). This is late in the season -- I know Angie shops in February/ March -- but so far, I have found I don't really know my needs for spring/ summer things until closer to the time when temps really rise.  I shop again in July (NAS, which for me includes Basics) and September-October for fall/winter. I sometimes refresh knits or gear in January at the post-holiday sales. And that's pretty much it, except if I have a gift card or I need to travel to a place where my existing clothing won't really work. 

I might go into a store and try things on...and if I find a HEWI I might make a purchase between seasons. But it's relatively rare. Even if I do find something I've been longing for, I tend to wait on it if I find it outside my usual shopping window. For example, although I really want a long military style navy coat and loved the Mackage I tried on in November or December (not sure the timing any more) -- I didn't buy it. I might still buy it next year. Wait and see. 

Please know, this is not meant in any way to judge any one or to suggest that seasonal shopping is the only way to go. For one thing, if you're primarily a thrifter, it's important to hit the stores frequently, and in most cases, if you find something great at thrift, you're not going to want to hit "pause."  (My pattern of seasonal shopping might explain why I only have limited success at thrift and consignment, in fact!)

Also, my typical pattern means I tend to buy a lot in a short period of time. (Because, ahem, as you know, I don't exactly have a minimalist wardrobe!) For some, that might feel overwhelming or be impossible to manage financially.

And then there are the people who experience a lifestyle change or significant weight change between seasons and need to get clothing to work in their new environment or for the body they have. 

I've enjoyed reading the posts of all who participated and I see some interesting benefits (depending on reasons for joining in.) Some people took a really good stock of what they had, some figured out new ways to use what they had, some felt good about the financial savings or reduced environmental impact, etc. All of that seems great. 

Anyway, would love to hear from you about your usual shopping habits and how it is different to SYC. 

48 comments

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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40 comments

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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59 comments

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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31 comments

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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41 comments