My 3 style adjectives -- and new moniker?

Long and navel-gazey. Feel free to skip to the photos and questions. 

I've been thinking about this question since Sal's post. And maybe even before that, because for a while now I've been feeling that my style has been stagnating. Maybe the pandemic's to blame. I've hardly needed to wear real clothes at all for the past 2.5 years.  Consequently, I haven't bought much new, apart from some replacement essentials. Whatever the reason, my style's feeling stale, even stagnant --  and I could use some inspiration and direction. 

The 3 adjectives I've been using for a few years (modern, classic, playful) just aren't resonating for me. Not because my style is no longer modern, classic, or playful. It is modern, classic, and playful -- and always will be! Maybe that's the problem --- these adjectives are too obvious and possibly too general -- they don't give me any feeling of guidance or direction and they don't help me evolve.

I've always gravitated to a moniker more than adjectives, but my old moniker (urban prince) similarly feels off for my new lifestyle -- suburban/ outside a small city that I rarely spend time in/ mostly work from home. What's "urban" about this? And how can you be a "prince" when you are mostly hiking the trails or digging in the dirt? :) 

Anyway...here's what I'm trying out now, based on favourite outfits over the past few years and some of the aspects of my current and aspirational style that give me enduring joy. 

Laid-back luminous garconne. 

Laid-back: this encapsulates the casual, pragmatic aspect of my style. I live in a suburb, my main modes of transportation are foot, bicycle, and public transit, I love to spend time outdoors hiking, and I mostly work from home, where my cat sheds fur all over me and could put holes in any hose I tried to wear. Meanwhile, and at any random moment in the day I might get up from my desk to tend to something in the garden or on the stove. 

By now it should be clear that my every day outfits can’t be too uptight, too "buttoned up," or too precious. Nor even as polished or structured as (in an ideal world) I might wish. 

No wonder denim plays a starring role in my closet (sometimes slightly  distressed but never ripped). Breathable knits (esp. in winter) or cotton/ linen shirts (in summer) are also key. I mostly choose washable fabrics (the only things I really dry clean are wool coats) and I prefer tailored clothes that have some ease. I also like fluid fits, and some oversized items. But I have to be judicious with the oversized clothing because I'm verging on petite and easily overwhelmed by too much volume and drape. Oversize plus structure is a winning combination. 

Footwear includes sneakers, boots, simple sandals, low heels. 

It’s easy to have “laid back” style when working from home — what’s much, much more difficult is incorporating the other two elements to create the juxtaposition I’m after. This is where I could use some inspiration or help. :)  It's a perennial problem, really -- but I feel it more acutely since I've moved to a suburb and social life often centres around hikes or walks. 

Luminous: since my hair turned grey in 2016, I’ve tried to make my silver pixie a feature, rather than a bug, of my style. I play up the colour with silver jewellery, silver hardware on bags, etc. silver footwear, and some silver clothing. I love the way silver contrasts with distressed denim and dark navy (key neutrals). (Some of my silver and sparkly items, in this collection.) 

But I need to remember that silver isn’t the only route to luminosity — shine (e.g. patent) can work, and so can white items, or even white incorporated into patterns. And my flattering colours (blue reds and berries) make my skin more luminous. 

Going forward, every outfit should include some element of “luminosity” as I’m defining it. Again, this is easy when I’m dressing up — much less easy when I’m working from home. 

Garconne: the garconne style hearkens back to the 1920s, one of my favourite fashion eras, and for me, it suggests so much of what I enjoy in my favourite outfits, and what I aspire to, both in my “out on the town” and more ordinary, every day style. In a way, garconne style as developed by Coco Chanel is the original "modern classic" style -- so many of the items and combinations that we now consider "classic" and even iconic originate in this era and get tweaked and reinterpreted for each generation. 

Words I associate with this style include androgyny — Suits, button down shirts, trousers, oxfords or loafers. But also dresses with movement, especially but not exclusively dropped waist styles, mostly just below the knee. These styles exude cheekiness and energy. 

Simplicity — but not exactly minimalism. Neutrals and solids or faux solids dominate but colour does appear and “gamine” patterns like stripes and tartans also play a role. Organic patterns (florals, paisley) in moderation, especially in dresses and evening clothes. 

There’s restrained drama in the tailoring, the fit of the structured pieces, the contrasts (either in colour or in texture) and simply in the juxtaposition between a female body and clothing items traditionally deemed "masculine." 

I'm probably forgetting something here. But this gives you the idea. 

What think you of "laid-back luminous garconne" for my adjectives and moniker? 

It’s easy for me to put together outfits that encompass these three adjectives when I’m in an urban environment, or when I’m out and about on the town. (Some examples below).

What’s harder — much, much harder!! — is to figure out how to do this at home. Curling up on the couch with my kitty, I just won’t wear structured pieces (apart from denim). And denim plus shirt or sweater often feels dull dull dull or (at best) preppy and too boyish/ masculine. 

Hiking in my suburban neighbourhood, I need practical clothes — gear, basically! — and while that is definitely a bit boyish, it’s less urban-influenced than I might wish. Sometimes it veers too preppy. (I like a certain amount of prep but it can also feel too juvenile on me at times or too twee.) Meanwhile, if I amp up the ease or femininity (soft cardigans, drape) that feels cozy but completely inauthentic on some level — almost costumed. 

Like Jenn, I’ve long dreamed of a work from home “uniform.” But I have yet to discover what it is. I’m curious to try a jumpsuit (or, more practically) a two piece jumpsuit lookalike. I wonder if that would give me what I want in my at home wear?

Ideas for how I can incorporate more "luminous" and "garconne" into my work from home (or hiking) outfits more than welcome!

The pics below are all "leaving the house" outfits....the question is how to find "at home" outfits that create the same feeling? 

Thanks for reading if you got this far, and thoughts or brand suggestions or suggestions of specific items to seek out most welcome. If your own style is cognate, tell me about your own winners! 

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This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

38 Comments

  • rachylou replied 3 months ago

    Garçonne à la Chanel gets my attention. It’s boyish in a way that only a girl can be. I can really see you gold medal running with this.

    If I can go out on a limb, I feel many of your outfits during the pandemic have been superbly preppy. I love preppy. You know it’s my family-of-origin style… and I will never look as good in it as you do… Oh, already I digress…

    Anyways, I’m thinking, while preppy is androgynous, it can lack femininity… sometimes the men and women wear the same blue blazer and women just put a bow on it. Preppy and garçonne diverge at some point as classic styles… a very different feel. The feminity is more integral to garçonne. Now how one does this in modern life without just buying a lot of drop-waist dresses, I don’t know. Although that said, I now point directly at 4, 5, 11 and 12, lol. I have to work on naming what they hinge on…

  • Sal replied 3 months ago

    I like your words. Especially garconne and luminous - and I think laid back reflects your real life and where things are at.

    In terms of at home wear a couple of things that “might” work.
    - a more structured cardigan. Buttons, boiled wool. A bit Chanel esque- eg with a trim on the cardigan.
    - collared knitwear - I have seen the return of sweaters with a small collar. It just adds a bit more interest.
    - a vest over a plaid shirt?
    - the right house shoes - I added some slippers last year that I really like and they make me feel much more put together.

    These may be off the mark.

  • rachylou replied 3 months ago

    … Also, I feel like 11 could be the basis for an at home outfit in different materials…

  • Jenni NZ replied 3 months ago

    I can’t really help, but just to say that I relate to the first part which reminds me of when I changed my style persona from “eclectic matriarch” in 2019 to “sassy Shoemaker’s elf”. And you helped me then. Your comment was that matriarch sounded so serious. And although “playful” is not serious, I think you are right that those words are too general for you therefore not inspirational. The outfit pics show you are already doing a good job on the 3 new words, which are great I think!

  • Bijou replied 3 months ago

    Suz, it is always a treat to read your musings!

    I love this style description for you, which I would shorten to 'Luminous Garconne' because laid-back is imposed by your lifestyle rather than style preferences and it keeps it short and sharp.

    Another way to think about things is also having different style personas within your 'Luminous Garconne' style, for example:
    - Chanel Boy - sporty and out hiking with style
    - Literary Lennox - literary and librarian style with Annie Lennox edge
    - Preppy Punk - preppy and tartan mix
    - Snow Queen - I would like to see you play up the Snow Queen style, especially as you have snow!
    I am sure you will come up with way better and targeted descriptors, but actually thinking about the different elements fall within the LG style, broaden it whilst still staying targeted.

    In terms of how to wear your style on a day-to-day basis, it really is about adding everyday practical luxe. My velour dressing gown is a great piece that hits my glam and pretty style goals whilst also being wash and wear practical.

  • Gaylene replied 3 months ago

    I’m getting a Balmoral Modern vibe from your outfits much like Virginie Viard‘s vision in her Fall 22 Chanel collection. https://www.vogue.com/fashion-.....ear/chanel

    I obviously don’t have a Chanel budget, but the overall theme of tweed, fleece, slouchy pants and sweaters, boots, multi-pocketed jackets and vests, ribbed tights, and crossbody bags/backpacks seemed quite doable even at a lower price point. It inspired me to play in my closet and, with a couple of additions, re-work some old favorites into a fresh look which works for my life. 


    Lately I’ve found more inspiration in a designer’s collection or look book than in trying to figure out how to fit into a style moniker. I have no idea how to translate Virginie Viard‘s vision into a single word, but that collection put a smile on my face and gave me a strong sense of where I want to go with my style in the next few months. 

  • Sally replied 3 months ago

    I admire your determination to develop a work from home style because I know during the pandemic I was often teaching on line in my running shorts.
    I can see the garçonne in your outfits especially 1,2 and 4. They also look good for working from home and laid back. I like Bijou’s idea of different personas for different needs. I also find it useful to get ideas from Pinterest/google if I type in the words and the situation. I tried hiking garconne and funnily enough got Japanese hiking style which is Garconne I guess.

  • suntiger replied 3 months ago

    I think laid back luminous garconne is perfect for your style! Re: wfh with kitties, my solution was to stay in gear/ loungewear and keep the nice stuff for out of the house :/

  • merwoman replied 3 months ago

    I love these adjectives for you Suz! I particularly love the luminous, you have such a beautiful radiance.

  • gryffin replied 3 months ago

    Suz - I think everyone experienced some kind of 'sea change' thank you pandemic.  Too many impact points.  I like your new moniker.  I'm at work and can't post photos, but I was thinking, because there is crossover in our styles, that there are two ways to amp up the tension that I use.  First I know you've worn belts and something unusual or, of course, jewelry can do that too.  A long pendant or heavy ethnic necklace.  On the knits, did you think about a sweater blazer/swacket?  You can get more polish and structure while dropping the formality somewhat and adding to the comfort.  Also, a la chanel, it's all about architecture.  I like to look a Nili Lotan.  Most of her stuff is out of my price point but her pants are amazing.  I have a full length pair of military pants and the cropped version in carbon and the detail and construction really elevates a look.  Same with gear, I bought the Sweaty betty fast track quilted running jacket which looks like a quilted fencing jacket, very unusual but totally functional but wow, ups the game.  Same with picking a gear uniform which is elevated as per the pieces without sacrificing performance or function.  Just some thoughts.  I can add some photos later but you look great as always, it's just finding out what your current great feels like to get you to your happy place!!

  • Janet replied 3 months ago

    Suz, this all makes sense to me! 

    I have to admit, on days when I'm not leaving the house, I mostly don't worry about hitting my style notes. But we have two large boisterous dogs, I hike in the woods where it's quite rugged and gear is necessary, I take pilates/yoga a couple of times a week, and we are currently living in a construction zone, so... I'm taking a bit of a pass on those days and happily wear gear or my most rugged casual pieces, while planning a real outfit for the next day I'll be out and about! 

    I immediately thought of fabric like velour (Bijou was thinking the same way) -- washable but with some sheen, for a touch of that lumious thing. It's not super easy to find velour these days, but I did see a velour hoodie recently that almost tempted me to buy it. I have a lot of hoodies already! I also think that quasi patterns like ombre or tie-dye can have some of that visual quality as well -- the gradations in hue can highlight the bright tones of your hair and provide a bit of luminosity as well. 

    It occurs to me that I don't see you a lot in winter white, or am I just not remembering well? I know that I struggle with keeping white and pale colors pristine, but I bet you could really work those tones in the cooler months. Your winter palette seems quite dark (like mine!) and I wonder if adding more light tones to it would also contribute to the luminosity thing. I feel like I've used metallics in the recent past to accomplish this, but somehow these days I'm not as drawn to metallics as I used to be. Maybe because my hair now provides a bit more of that factor and I changed eyeglass frames to a bolder style, I find myself wanting to tone down some other elements.

    Just musing and rambling here!

  • Helena replied 3 months ago

    Suz, always love to read your thoughtful musings! I resonate a lot with this ... I've always said my classic-polished style tendence fits better with old corporate job at Bay and Wellington NOT my current job as a WAHM in the 'burbs whose primary outings involve Ubering two teenagers around!

    FWIW, I think photo 7 looks like an excellent template for a uniform, because it's a really simple and versatile look that I can envision lots of easy "one piece sub" options to change the level of dress easily:

    - swap jeans for leggings to lounge
    - swap loafers for sneakers or boots and you're ready for a walk
    - swap sweater for blouse and you've gone dressier
    - add a scarf when you're in a colourful mood
    ... etc.

    Love the moniker and looking forward to seeing how you play with it going forward!

  • Angie replied 3 months ago

    Like Gryffin mentioned, everyone has experienced changes in their style over the last 2.5 years that have stuck - big or small. It's VERY good to integrate these changes permanently when they work well for you. 

    Suz, as a professional writer, you've explained this so clearly and eloquently. A joy to read! 

    I LOVE Laid Back Luminous Garconne as your moniker and descriptive words! I equate luminous with the radiance you exude too. Your pixie takes care of Garconne completely. Sorted :)

    Some concrete suggestions for the WFH look:

    • At home only loafers, since they are slip-on and work with getting on and off the couch with Max
    • Wide on trend pants that finish at the vamp of the foot 
    • Dressy joggers
    • Fluidly structured knitted tops and knitwear
    • Adorn with interesting necklines
    • More pattern - at the bottom and on top 
    • On trend cardigans and shackets 
    • Knitted blazers
    • Corduroy bottoms
    • Barrel leg and paper bag waist bottoms
    • A-line dresses with cute cardigans

    Some visuals. I have more visuals to share, and will be back! 

  • cat2 replied 3 months ago

    Madewell has some washable stretch waist pants that look like wool but aren’t. They were my favorite last winter for feeling like I had style while WFH. Mine from last year are cropped in a houndstooth. I just added another pair in plaid that have a similar cut. Something like that may feed the need for structure while still being comfortable.

  • LJP replied 3 months ago

    Right away, corduroy came to mind .  Thick , chunky luxurious corduroy . I saw the most STUNNING Super Puff wide wale- cord jacket at Aritizia yesterday and I still haven't recovered. What about a pair of luxe wide leg cords? There can be luminosity in that fabric when done well.  I also wonder about how a pair of interesting glasses would be on you - I know you've had lassie surgery (right?) so don't need to wear them, but I'm thinking of how they could add  that garconne vibe to your silver hair and petite face.  Anyways, I'm spitballing here. I don't really see "laid back" in your style, I have to admit. You are always very polished and buttoned up - literally and figuratively - wearing button front shirts always reads that way to me.  

    Back to the bigger picture :  I nodded along with everything Gryffin said , and Janet and Angie too, about this life/dressing  change being common for many of us. I made a comment yesterday about not wearing jeans often enough to justify premium pricing. Not wearing jeans often?? How weird is that?  But it's true?  I only wear them on weekends when I'm going out somewhere.  But back to you.....I can sense your need for a change, and am not sure I know the real answer. I go through this " what do I wear at home that's interesting and true to my style" every year, but never figure it out.  

  • LJP replied 3 months ago

    I also love gryffin's suggestion of a Nili Lotan cargo or loose fit jean.  Those with a blue cashmere sweater, some fun multi colour New Balance sneakers, and chunky jewellery - and *chef's kiss*. I think I'm projecting. lol.

  • Joy replied 3 months ago

    If things feel stale. I add a new color or do a challenge.  Right now my new color fits into fall.  I have a very small capsule of bronze which I often wear with gold metallic, although silver also works.  I add metallics to casual outfits with accessories like gold loafers and bags. The hardest thing I have done is having it give up jeans as almost a uniform.  They are so easy and can be washed.   Stick to your jeans and denim.  You can vary styles and colors. You can add more structure  on top with tops and toppers. Utility jackets would fit your life style if not too oversized.  I have thrifted some leather blazers in black and med. brown that seem dressy but rugged enough for hiking and wearing out-of-doors for warmth.  

    You might work on more winter color and white out or Snow Queen for winter.  Your climate is pretty mild if I remember correctly.  I remember seeing tropical plants near Victoria but that was a few years ago.  Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you do with your new moniker.  Like you I am borderline petite and easily overwhelmed and live a causal lifestyle most of the time.  

  • Jenn replied 3 months ago

    I agree with Bijou that you might not even need the "laid-back" portion of your moniker. Your everyday style is laid-back by necessity and that's not a bad thing, but maybe you won't want to be quite so relaxed if you're dressing for a formal or professional event. ˆLuminoius garçonne" can carry you through it all.

    Totally hear you on the moniker feeling more resonant than the adjectives. I have been using "edgy, easy, elegant" this year, but I find I consult those words less often than I do the vision in my head, which basically involves clothing made from the curtains in whatever decrepit manor they rent to do Anthropologie photo shoots.

    Interestingly, I have fallen away from the work uniform idea over the past few years, as the nature of my work has changed. I used to spend a lot of time with paint, pastels, and glue and needed something sturdy, washable, and unfussy for my daily tasks.  Now, I spend more time on the computer or handling camera equipment and have found myself gravitating more towards basic formulas than a uniform. When I don't want to think about dressing, I know I can grab jeans and a black top or a black dress, whilst still having more interesting things in my closet for the days when I have more creativity to spare. The simple pieces can still act as a base for more interesting layers.

    When I think of at-home vs, out-in-the-world style, I often think of Mr. Rogers coming in at the beginning of each episode and swapping his jacket for a cardigan and his dress shoes for sneakers. What's your equivalent of that? My first thought was swapping your top for something a bit more oversized, but still structured. and (as Angie suggested) swapping in some elegant home loafers (pic is Birdies). 

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Thank you, Fab Friends! These are fabulous ideas and suggestions. I'm rushing now for a work thing so can't reply to each in turn, but I will be back to do so. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying your thoughts and ideas and can definitely see myself taking up a number of them ASAP. I notice lots of suggestions that involve texture like velour or corduroy -- love this. Also adding a bit more white for winter -- love. Love the idea of indoor loafers now that I have found at least one style that more or less stays on my feet. Will be looking for more. Love the idea of the pant that looks like wool but isn't, or the pant with interesting styling details that makes it a bit special. 

    More soon! 

  • Roberta replied 3 months ago

    Oh, I love luminous for you! I would consider adding silver or pearly grey in footwear and accessories - like a classic Rennie Mackintosh brooch for blazers or to pin a scarf. I have silver loafers and wear them a LOT. I also like "black" pearls, distressed silver, hematite, etc. 

    Garconne is also excellent because it draws such a clear picture. And can easily become tomboy if you make the cuts a bit looser, the fabrics a bit chunkier (wide cable knits, cuffed pants, corduroy instead of velvet).

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 3 months ago

    Your musings are so eloquent, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, Suz. And your style has always been an inspiration to me. I love luminous garçonne, and the way you explain it all. The Chanel reference is particularly eye-opening to me. Like Angie, I find the LG descriptor imminently organic to your look.
    When I read Bijou's comment, I found myself questioning "laid-back" as a style word, also. I was thinking laid-back may really be what I'm after when I think of casual as one of my style descriptors. But in your case, I don't think of laid-back as describing how you dress. Specifically, I think you have a lot of polish, even in your casual outfits. And you wear more fluid fits rather than slouchy. Droopy, off-shoulder, unstructured looks are not you. Then again, puffers, pea coats, and denim do strike me as laid-back.
    Like Helena, I homed in on outfit 7 as an example of what you are aiming for. It looks like an outfit you could be comfortable wearing at home (sans coat indoors). In my book, that pullover has the components that make for a stylish look that is comfortable and practical for hanging around the house. The neckline and fabric elevate it from ordinary sweatshirt, and the color is definitely luminous on you. It needs no embellishment; you look stunning in it as it is.

  • Angie replied 3 months ago

    Here's more visual inspiration for WFM. The Brooks Brothers suit is KNITTED: 

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Oooh, so many interesting ideas! Angie, a knit suit?? Seriously? I wonder if it would feel structured enough? I'm going to see if I can check out Brooks Brothers in person in Vancouver next time I'm there (if they have a store...off to look that up.)  I will check out some wide leg pants or maybe balloon leg. Remember that beautiful purplish tweed suit from J. Crew that Roxanna bought a few. years back? I wonder if I might find that on Poshmark. It was too pricey for me then, but might be a good bet at a second hand price. I loved the silhouette. 

    Thank you again, everyone. This is super helpful. Going backwards...Sharan, Bijou -- I absolutely hear what you are both saying about "laid-back" perhaps being more a matter of my lived reality vs. my style aspirations, and anyway, doesn't garconne implly a bit of casual ease? Besides, the phrase mmight have different connotations to some than it has to me (looser, less structured clothing so it could just confuse the issue). Nevertheless, i think I'm going to include it as one of my adjectives, precisely because if I don't, my tendency is to buy for my fantasy urban life. The outfits I showed are all "out and about" outfits and I need outfits that work for at home and on the trails or the bike as much as (or more than!) I need outfits that work out on the town. I have clothes for that -- less so for my at home life. 

    Roberta -- what a great idea to get a classic MacIntosh brooch! I love his designs! That would be brilliant. Thank you! 

    Jenn, so interesting that your style adjectives aren't doing it so much for you any more either, and that you've moved away from uniform. I guess I think of a swappable outfit as also a kind of uniform. I just need to identify the key parts. Denim or pants definitely figure here. I like the at home loafer idea, too -- more structured than slippers. (Now that I think of it, my dad had at-home loafers, LOL!) And maybe oversize shirts or sweaters -- I can see that. 

    Joy, our climate is quite mild, although increasingly we get some frigid days and snow in mid-winter. I like the idea of keeping my denim and adding some white or colour in winter especially -- thank you! 

    Lisa, thank you -- that's a great idea to add some texture -- corduroy sounds fun. I might check out that puffer. 

    Ooops -- got to run -- more soon! 

  • Dee replied 3 months ago

    A very interesting and well articulated post Suz, a delight to read.

    To me, I see outfit # 8 as a great jumping off point for the more casual side of your new style moniker. I agree with others who have suggested perhaps adding a relaxed fit cargo or corduroy pant into your mix or maybe a fun coloured corduroy button down shirt, left open over your striped or patterned tee’s or turtle necks. Perhaps a cozy, oversized shaker knit sweater or a more dressier sweat shirt/ hoodie in a pretty colour or pattern for wearing out in the garden or trails.

    Looking forward to seeing how your WFH wardrobe adapts to your new moniker.

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Dee, thank you. Love that berry coloured shirt! Yummy! And I think the loose jeans are definitely a feature of the new casual style. 

    Cat2, do you remember the name of those trousers at Madewell? Have you worn them in a WIW? They sound promising. 

    Angie, thank you for the visuals and the specific suggestions. I'm definitely on board with more non-denim trousers, preferably a few with pattern. I'd love a new casual suit, too -- the black watch one in photo 1 is no more, alas -- wore the pants to death. I still have the jacket because I can't bear to let it go and it's looking better than the pants did. But it's time ot upgrade. My taupe suit is beautiful but a bit dressy for my purpose here. 

    Helena, you are right that #7 is a way to go for at home...one issue I have is that my sweaters and tops don't have interesting enough cuts. I tend to go for classic (or even preppy) which is good, as far as it goes, but it does not add the je ne sais quoi that I crave. 

    Janet, I know you get it -- your at home life (or ranch life, in the past, and to some extent your travelling life -- depending on the trip) require really functional clothing that tends not to express your fantastic personal style to the degree you might wish -- this is one reason why we both felt really blue at the start of the pandemic, I think. So many cancelled events that allowed us to dress as ourselves, LOL! But your suggestions are excellent. Funnily, I had been thinking of velour....also more white or winter white. 

    Gryffin, thank you -- I'm definitely in need of a new belt or two. That's been a want for several years but I have not purchased and why is that, I wonder? Silly me. I like the idea of the pants you suggest as well, and maybe I can source something similar on Poshmark or a site like that. Thank you! I also think you are onto something with the upgraded gear suggestion. If I'm going to spend time in it, does it have to be simple and basic? Not necessarily...

    Merwoman -- thank you -- that is very sweet of you to say. 

    Suntiger, that's kind of my solution, too, but I end up feeling like I'm slumming it a bit at home. Maybe I need cooler gear! 

    Sally, that is so funny about your googling! I googled the same thing and different stuff came up, which I suspect may have to do with where in the world we are located -- you are closer to Japan. I'd love to see what those outfits look like!

    Gaylene - thank you! Loved the colours in that collection and the over the knee (and over the top) rain boots. Fun. It's definitely Chanel for a new generation. It's a bit more fussy and feminine that what I'm going for but I see the point -- it's possible to interpret these ideas in a slightly different way and I can definitely take something from that collection. Also, it is a good reminder to look at the runway shows again, to take an interest in fashion so fashion takes an interest in me! :) 

    Bijou, what a thoughtful response and so many ideas here! I love your idea of maybe breaking it down a bit into a few different sub-personae -- especially love the Chanel Boy and Literary Lennox sub-personae because they incorporate a bit of tension in themselves and remind me to focus on the opposite of what I'm dressing for, whatever it is, i.e. if I'm hiking, or doing anything practical,  I still want a bit of cheeky fashion somehow in my outfit. And if I'm doing a literary engagement, I want a bit of androgynous edge in my look -- it can't be too prim or ladylike. Brilliant! I also love your idea of amping up the at home wear with sumptuous fabrics or items that express my style aspirations more clearly. That is going to be a long term goal because sourcing them can be so difficult, as you know. Your anorak this past year was such a brilliant purchase that does the thing I'm wanting to do with my own style. 

    Jenni, thank you. It seems that monikers are a little easier for some of us us to imagine ourselves into than the 3 adjectives. I wonder if you will change your own moniker soon? Your life has changed a lot in the past few years....

    Sal, I think you're right about a new vest, better house shoes, and a collared knit wear. Great suggestions -- thank you! 

    Rachy, you totally understand both the appeal of preppy and why on its own its not quite right or not what I want, and I so easily veer into it, left to my own devices. Or left to my unthinking choices, at least. The trick is to be boyish without being too masculine....and to be androgynous without being too preppy, LOL. 

    Thank you ALL for taking the time to think this through with me -- I'm coming up with a list of things to buy (or at least look for), a list of things to avoid (or try to avoid), and a bit of a plan. 

     

  • SarahD8 replied 3 months ago

    Suz, what an excellent, thoughtful post and a great discussion it has sparked!

    I think you and I have very similar lifestyles and similar wardrobing conundrums. The pull of creating narrative through clothing, against the push of reality with the cat on your lap in your writing chair. (Ok, fine, at the moment the cat is *next* to me as I sit typing this in my writing chair...but you get the picture.)

    You have gotten a lot of good advice here -- a couple more ideas that occurred to me:
    -knitwear with a bit of lurex for shine? Yes, on a regular old Tuesday!
    -*structured* knits. I know just what you mean about the unworkability of floppy, bathrobe-like knits. But I think there must be a knit version of your gilet out there that has a firm hand that would give the necessary structure but is a little more relaxed for at home....
    -Maybe textured knits, too? Takes some careful choosing in order to avoid the feeling of casual bulkiness. But I wonder if that might give a little more of the coziness you are craving as compared to your flat, fine-gauge merino pieces?
    -Mens' velvet slippers with a little tassel on them for at-home wear??? (I actually think jeans, velvet slippers, textured knit could be a really cool juxtaposition. Ok, now *I'm* projecting.)
    -I really enjoy wearing my great-grandpa's signet ring and I wonder if a similar masculine/men's jewelry piece might provide some garconne shine for you? A luminous moonstone signet ring? It might be fun to choose one really high-quality or vintage piece that could kind of be your signature for at-home days. I really enjoy rings as they are so visible when I am writing/typing (I don't find that they get in the way like bracelets do but ymmv).
    -love the idea of elevated or even avant-garde gear that was mentioned upthread! 
    -Velvet or corduroy joggers? Maybe even cropped ones, like knickerbockers??? (Ok, maybe not so practical in terms of lower leg warmth for at-home wear...just tossing ideas around here.)
    -a faux fur vest? What fun that could be for your Snow Queen, she could wear it around the house and maybe also on urban rambles on mild days.

    Your initial post about needing a moniker that is more in line with your current lifestyle, and the subsequent discussion about whether "laid-back" was necessary, have given me a lot of food for thought. My own "Girl on the Moors" moniker is not oriented around my urban, work-from-home lifestyle to say the least! I have been thinking about whether that mismatch is part of the cause of my frustration in trying to put together my wardrobe/outfits...or whether the tension might actually challenge me to find ways to dress in a way that is authentic to me despite my lifestyle. I don't have an answer to that but it's definitely given me a lot to think about.

  • Zaeobi replied 3 months ago

    Lots of good stuff here, Suz. I agree Luminous works for you - was thinking 'Snow Garçonne' could capture your colour scheme too.

    I'll admit Laid-back has slightly sloppier connotations to me than your level of dressiness I see (but then again, those aren't WFH looks) - maybe Ease or Fluidity could better capture the 'smart' leaning of your 'smart casual' looks instead? I agree you need something there though, because otherwise it might come across as more on the Stiff end of the Dandy spectrum.

    Also nodding along with the suggestions of a 'soft' blazer (has shoulder seams but in a stretchy fabric) & also smoking slippers. It seems you tend to add structure with your shoes & a patent finish, so it makes sense that you feel a little lost when it comes to WFH you don't have a slipper version of your usual shoes.

    The other thing I'm noticing is your earrings - could maybe a silver cuff work as a more practical WFH version? I keep a tortoiseshell watch & big stud earrings by my computer, which I pop on to signify 'work mode' at home. I also have what I like to call a 'WFH teaching uniform' (long cardigan, high-rise soft trousers, a tucked in top & possibly a scarf). This is a softer (& therefore more comfy) version of my 'real' teaching looks.

    Could you maybe build your WFH wardrobe in a similar way (a comfy version of your 'real' outdoor looks, rather than completely different)? I'm thinking plaid infinity scarves could work as more practical alternatives at home for you, for example.

  • Jaime replied 3 months ago

    Long and navel gazey? I'm here for it! I have totally enjoyed this post and the responses. Anyway, when thinking about luminous I immediately jumped to your radiant quality, and I see Angie mentioned this too. In short an excellent adjective - I see it beautifully throughout and #4 especially. I also like Angie's idea of full length wide trousers, and everyone's idea for luxe fabrications like velvet, cordoroy etc. The shiney loafers are perfect for this too. Leaning into interesting silver jewelry, not too much for around the house, but no reason not to enjoy seeing a ring on your finger as you type. I like slip on shoes for in the house and I see some ideas along those lines above. To me garconne is already laid back, perhaps by laid back you me country garconne as opposed to city garconne? Gardening garconne? Just rambling here. Clearly :) .

  • Eliza replied 3 months ago

    Such a thoughtful post, Suz. Yes to a fresh look at descriptors. Timely for many of us.

    Others have covered a lot of ground with ideas to consider. Here are a couple of random additional thoughts:
    - luminosity can come from within or without. I find that with my newly white hair, my skin having some subtle illumination helps. I use a facial oil and moisturizer morning and night, yet often find adding a dab of nuanced illuminator makes for a glow. You have it in your photos, so that’s a good start on your goals.
    Also, I love your berry outfits. You wear them beautifully and adding that color to comfortable at home pieces may add spark to your days.
    As always, you have me thinking and it is appreciated.

  • Olive Green replied 3 months ago

    Looks 7 and 11 are just spot on for a uniform, in my book, and taking some notes in that book! 
    Think it is the touches of crisp white and the high contrast that snap it into luminosity, next to your healthy shiny hair. 
    They also look practical, which is very Garconne. 

  • RobinF replied 3 months ago

    I love the new moniker! Fits perfectly with your outfits. Love the all red outfit -so pretty on you. All your looks have just the right accompaniments - coat, shoes, scarves. Well thought out but not stuffy at all.

  • slim cat replied 3 months ago

    Great new moniker - fits well your style directions!
    I like all your outfits with #4,9 and 11 as favorite ( and #10 as irresistible 
    - just so pretty! ).

  • Angie replied 3 months ago

    More visual examples of "Practical Drama" for WFM:

  • unfrumped replied 3 months ago

    I like your words and direction a lot. I’m in the camp of maybe “ laid- back” isn’t necessary or exactly right but I can’t find the right tweak. Maybe it’s just adding too many syllables, when your style is more straightforward. Will ponder further.
    I admirebyour outfits because I think my style aspirations align with a lot of them. Not exact copies but I gravitate to preppy, blazers, military-esque jackets, loafers ( sadly most loafers being rejected by feet now) and mix of sporty with dressy. Though I’m not always hitting my targets. So I’m taking a look to see what give the right blend.
    As I get older I’m finding I need to find ways to add more feminine elements than I at first think are needed, but to do so in ways that are not too twee. This is further hampered by my footwear options, having to avoid tapered toes, too trim or sleek styles, even modest heels . Because those used to juxtapose with blazers or jeans or plaid shirts & so on.
    I think your drapey all- burgundy outfit is an interesting lesson. It’s not too boho flowy yet is a bit ladylike while still “
    active” - looking.
    I had an epiphany , after getting too wool cardigans from Athleta, of all places, that in some cases for me a cardigan adds a feminine detail that I don’t get from a blazer. But is has to fit a certain way. The other thing that is almost a signature for me was adding ruffle- collar shirts - but leave collar unbuttoned- and similar collar in a few pullovers. Also tucking in tops, when I have the right bottoms ( and confidence level!).
    Thanks for being a good inspiration!

  • Jonesy replied 3 months ago

    I love reading about your thoughts and I agree that your new moniker is spot-on. I too struggle with working-from-home clothes--obtaining comfort + warmth (in the long winter months) + style + a sense of being genuine is tricky business indeed! The advice you have received is excellent! I love the idea of luminosity as a guiding principle, and garconne is fab too. Lately, I have been into a French brand, A.P.C., that does that garconne thing really well. You might check them out (lots of previously owned goodies on TheRealReal, for example :)).

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Jonesy, if you struggle with WFH, I don't feel so bad about my occasional lapses into full time gear. Thank you for the suggestion of A.P.C. -- I know their stuff but have never seriously thought of purchasing. Maybe I can source some. 

    Slim cat, olivegreen, Robin, thank you! 

    Thanks to all your advice, I now have a plan: 

    1. A more thorough closet edit/ try on. 
    I edit seasonally but there are some items i've been holding onto because they feel like essentials and there are others that may not suit my current lifestyle or style aspirations -- so why should they take up closet real estate? . Either I need to replace or let those go. At that point, I will assess any wants I don't mention below. 

    2. Shopping List in order of purchase/ importanc

    • Belt
    • Indoor loafers
    • Puffer jacket packable (this is a need if my current one can't be fixed -- needs new zipper)
    • 3 pairs of pants in interesting shapes — wide leg or barrel leg or full length straight
    • Upgraded gear, i.e. gear in interesting shapes
    • Oversized pullover
    • Knit (?) suit or knit jacket
    • Structured bag — crossbody, probably
    • White shirt, slightly oversized or interesting structure
    • Signet ring
    • MacIntosh brooch or pendant

    Thank you all again -- I will keep you updated! 

  • Staysfit replied 3 months ago

    Suz, I’m late to comment, however, I agree that “laid-back” may be superfluous.  When I hear luminous I think of pearls, opals, moonstones, and abalone, in addition to silver and white.  Strangely, some tweedy yarns, when they are mixed with white also seem luminous to my eye, especially tans and greys.  You can get lipgloss that has a silvery/Pearl finish to wear over your berry lip color.


     

  • Angie replied 3 months ago

    NICE list, Suz :)

    I found more options. 

    #1 and #2  = party on top with jeans

    #3 = KNITTED pants that look woven

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