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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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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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

K/R new jeans, CoH reviews

I've had a big credit note at Aritzia for ages but have found it difficult to use. On the weekend they had a sale so I am trying a few items (in Finds). 

One, the off-white sweater, is a straight return. Didn't take pics. Too small in shoulders. (Their fits are often off for me). 

Other items are the CoH Olivia black slim jean, the Babaton cropped sweater, and the CoH Charlotte. 

Olivia is a 99% cotton, 1% stretch as per usual CoH jeans. It's billed as "slim" not a true skinny and I would say that's accurate. It skims the calf rather than gripping it. The fabric feels a lot like the Rag and Bone burgundy Dres from 2 years ago NAS -- soft but not too soft. It's a true dark black with just the tiniest bit of fading on the thighs. It's billed as an ankle jean. Of course on me it is full length, but easily rolled to show a bit of ankle. It has a button fly. The waist is a true high rise -- comes right up to my navel. I ordered in my usual size and the fit feels good. I could go up a size, perhaps, but I suspect they'd then bag out more than I would like. I think these are keepers, no?

The little top is a great colour and...stripes! :) It's also a nice layering weight. But it is very cropped. You can see a bit of skin on the side view. I'd probably only wear with a cami underneath and a topper. But still...not sure I feel okay with it. 

The Charlotte jeans are straight legs. High waisted, also with button fly. 100% cotton. I sized up because there's no stretch, and these fit well. They are very long on me and at full length almost look like baby boot cuts. I would have to have the hems altered. I am not sure I know of anyone who can do it so the detailing remains and of course that would be an extra cost. So I'm not sure these are "the ones."

I really want a pair of high waisted, 100% cotton slim jeans -- either straight or slightly tapered. I am kicking myself now for not getting the Drees, in the spring, which were more of a "mom" jean than a straight, which tends to look better on me -- a little looser in the thigh and a bit tapered toward the bottom. (All gone now, alas). However, these are a really good fit (apart from length) and do feel good. CoH jeans tend to fit me better and have greater closet longevity than any other brand apart from Rag and Bone, and I'm pretty loyal to them as a result. So...I'm open to discussion. ;) 

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26 comments

Responsive Boden service

Many of you may recall that I ordered a lot of Boden dresses this summer and then sent half of them back. By the time I got around to making the return it was early July. I expected several weeks for delivery and processing -- possibly up to 2 months. But when I checked my Visa bill this month and realized I still hadn't received credit for those items I got a bit concerned. Canada Post had told me I did not need tracking because air to UK is so very reliable, and I'd taken them at their word because we pay for returns from Canada, and it would have cost me about $50 more to send with tracking. But that meant I had no record. 

I wrote to Boden on Friday with my order numbers and the items -- and woke up this morning to find my account has been fully credited. They didn't explain what the mix-up was, but dealt with it instantly and efficiently. 

I will definitely be shopping with them some more. In Canada, we don't have the convenience and ease of free returns, so it feels a bit risky. But we do get extremely fast delivery from the UK (a matter of days, seriously!), and all duty, taxes etc. are rolled into the price in CAD so that there are no surprises in the purchase. 

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Cool toned leopard topper?

It's October, and I'm in fall shopping mode! :) 

I'll report next week on some purchases. In the meantime, here's something I tried but didn't buy. What do we think of this faux fur cool toned leopard topper by Jones New York? Too over-the-top (ha ha) or just right? 

The price is reasonable, especially if I buy this weekend on sale. An item like this is not on my shopping list. But I couldn't resist trying it on. 

ETA, it may be *slightly* large but does not come in a smaller size. It's a duster shape and meant to be loose but the shoulder fit is just off my own shoulder. Sleeves surprisingly okay however. 

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Milking it. 2 piece "dress" and other stylings.

I neglected to tell you all yesterday my real reason for ordering from J. Crew: this Liberty Print skirt came back into stock in my size and on sale. I've now worn the matching top several times and absolutely adore the print and the fabric -- it's incredibly light and cool, a lovely quality of cotton. So when the skirt popped into my bag, I couldn't resist giving it a try. 

This is a definite keeper. Fully lined. With pockets!! The waist is a bit large for me in my usual size but wearable now -- if I lose weight it would be an easy alteration. 

I can wear both pieces together as a "dress." I can also wear the skirt with almost all the tops in my closet, and most of the footwear. Various versions displayed -- of course I like some more than others. Very easy to dress up or down. Can be worn day or night. To the beach or out to dinner. I don't know if it is a style departure or not -- it is indeed a bit more feminine than my usual -- but it feels very natural to me and easy to wear. I hope you approve! 

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60 comments

More dresses: Return and K/R

I ordered a couple more dresses to try from J. Crew. The first is going back. It's the cotton poplin version of a viscose dress I already returned (also in Finds). It's fine -- nice enough fabric, and it would be cool -- but I'm not in love with it and don't need it since my gingham Boden Eleanor will serve a similar purpose. 

The second is a dress I think from last year's line that popped up in my size on the site - it's silk, drop waist but with a tie that allows you to create a waisted effect if you want (an unusual feature) and tiered. A different style than I'd typically choose. In the mirror I liked the silky tiers and the sort of "flapper" effect but did not care for the ruffled shoulder detail. In the photos the shoulder detail doesn't bother me so much. It could possibly be removed to make a simple sleeveless look. 

I got it for a really good price so I'm debating this one. What think you?

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48 comments