Outfit Lab: Help me style my Wild Card

I broke the cardinal rule of shopping. I bought something with no real idea of how I might wear it. 

After saying no to the earth tone trend...it is an earth tone. Albeit a cooler toned "earth." But earthier than anything else in my cool toned closet. 

How it happened: I ended up in another consignment shop. (This seems to be my late Friday afternoon entertainment.) The jacket is by Pink Tartan -- it is a taupe wool herringbone with an overlaid textural pattern in a sort of old-rose-pink. It has gently belled sleeves (another no no for me as a rule -- but I love these ones!) and the fit is superb. It cost me all of $40, tax included. Originally probably over $500. It was one of those items that everyone in the store started ooohing over when I put it on. So, yeah. It came home with me. 

To me it reads sort of like a femme hacking jacket. 

First showing in the cold fluorescent light of the store. Ugh! But even so, it seemed to have some potential. Weirdly, it looks more "yellowish" in these shots than IRL. 

(By the way, those are high rise button fly Gap straight crops from the summer.) 

The overall effect of the thing is a sort of pinkish taupe. It seems to look good with burgundies and pinks. But maybe the original owner passed it on because she couldn't find anything to wear with it! 

It's a good thing I have a high tolerance for pattern mixing because I have almost no plain items that could even conceivably work with it. So here I'm trying it out with whatever I could pull from my closet that might work. I like some of these better than others. 

5-7 J. Crew patterned blouse in burgundy/ berry and burgundy jeans. 

8-11  Vince dress worn untucked and tucked like a blouse. Why not? 

12.  blush leopard?

13. floral surprise? 

14-15. with basic white

16 - 17 How about true red? I thought the style might work with culottes and high waisted wide leg crops. I think so? 

18 -- more pattern mixing...

19-20. -- extreme pattern mixing! 

So. I have two problems. 

1. I think it needs a berry-toned top of some kind. I don't want to spend a ton of money -- any suggestions? Coolish berry tones are great with my complexion and would make an excellent addition to my closet since they'd work well with all my blues and greys. Plus, I really enjoy them. Plum tones could also work really well. I just don't happen to have any. A lightweight knit top would probably make sense. This is a warm jacket, being 95% wool, a genuine high quality tweed. 

2. I don't really have the right footwear for it. I think I need some taupe or some burgundy booties. I'm willing to buy a relatively inexpensive pair to make it work since either could be useful overall. Suggestions welcome! 

I could also see layering it over a skirt or dress in a berry or plum tone. Again, suggestions welcome! 

ETA: forgot my old J. Crew berry cashmere T -- it will work with that in winter. 

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.


  • The Cat replied 2 years ago

    You have a lot of great styling ideas yourself! :-) My favourites are 5-7 and 10-11. Styling the jacket with items in burgundy / purple / berry tones looks beautiful.

  • lisa p replied 2 years ago

    Woah - what  jacket. I'd have bought it in a heartbeat too. And $40?? Sheesh .  Anyhoo - it really comes alive in the photos with the berry jeans.  Red doesn't quite work to my eye ....a little too strong I think.  The white t, jeans and white boots look is VERY cool, and really a great understated look. I'd probably wear it this way myself.  There's also something intriguing about it worn over the ML dress.....can't quite decide about that one though.  I wouldn't think you'd need to buy new footwear - what you have here seems to work really well.  I like the denim shirt you tried it on with - how about jacket, denim shirt plus denim jeans, and silver boots?  I'll take this jacket off your hands any day you decide you don't want it ;)  

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    YOU DON'T NEED ANY HELP STYLING THIS! You did that beautifully on your own, sweet and clever Susan

    The pink in the pattern effectively cools down the warmer earth tone. FUN FIND. 

    Like I mentioned in your previous thread: 

    "......with an already well curated and fully functional wardrobe like yours - such spontaneous and unpremeditated purchases can work really well. THAT'S the key. You're adding that next layer of trendy fabness, excitement and lustre to a strong foundation, and it works with everything you have so seamlessly. You put in the planning and thinking upfront - for years - and now you can TRULY have fun with fashion and reap the reward".

    #5, 9, 10, 15, 16, 18 and 19 are my KILLER FAVES. 

    Not sure how to advise you on the berry toned tops. Not much of that around at the moment. How about a blush? Maybe the Canadian Fabbers can advise you.

    As for booties. Would these work? 

  • DonnaF replied 2 years ago

    You have done a great job! Have you ever considered replacing the buttons with cool toned ones? Not sure if pewter would work, and the cost of three front buttons plus all the sleeve ones could easily exceed what you paid for the jacket. But I am just speculating that warm with a bit of cool might be easier to work with than all warm.

  • kkards replied 2 years ago

    great jacket...  it looks like completetly different colors in picture #1-4 vs the rest....my personal fav is #15, because i think the simple white tee and blue jeans let the jacket be the star....i'd also do a column of color with white tee, jeans and shoes...again to let the jacket be the star...i'd also try it with navy....

  • jussie replied 2 years ago

    Hmm I like outfits 10, 15 and 18 best. Enjoy playing with your new wild card.

  • rachylou replied 2 years ago

    All these outfits are great. What a really interesting, artistic jacket. I feel you are becoming ever more individualistic in your style, within the modern classic framework. May have said this before...

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Ooh, those Hispanitas are so great, Angie -- thank you!. But at over $400 CAD, I think I will hold off. ;)  I had something a little less expensive in mind. Maybe like the below. Wishing they had something at the Bay (BayDays) but nothing appears to be on sale that works. 

    Thank you for your votes on the outfits and ideas. I always like it when there are varied opinions. That usually means it's a matter of personal taste and comfort level with various options. I am not sure I'd be comfortable wearing some of these in public, so it's good to hear others' thoughts and to experiment at home! 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Rachy, thank you. That's a sweet thing to say. I think I'm getting a bit more confident now that I have a decent core wardrobe, and I also have more in-person shopping opportunities which allows me to pick and choose a bit and to experiment. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 2 years ago

    Great find!looks fab with that pink cashmere t and the scarf you ve styled it with.

  • Marilyn replied 2 years ago

    Love #15.   The simplicity of the white tee, the tie in between the tee and boots, the anything goes with blue denim factor.  I'd wear that in a heartbeat. 

    Great score, by the way.

    Give l'intervalle a look for boots.  I love their footwear....I always have a massive wish list. :)

  • Jenni NZ replied 2 years ago

    Faves 5-7, 10-11, and 21.
    8-9 look like a tunic which you claim to hate, and I think there are too many horizontal lines: bottom of jacket, bottom of dress, bottom of pants. Love Angie's boot choice but I wouldn't pay that either. My top price ever for boots was $359. One day I suppose I may exceed that, but it will not be this day x

  • Jules replied 2 years ago

    Shout out to #12 - I like the pattern mix and cooler tones. Great jacket, enjoy!

  • replied 2 years ago

    16 really speaks to me.

  • Chris987 replied 2 years ago

    Awesome jacket! Wow, you found better weather and an incredible consignment shop in your new location, doesn't get much better than that!

    I agree about the berry/burgundy tones being good with it, and denim/white/cream is a no brainer.  I also think it works well with the reds...after all the pink on the jacket is very subtle and your reds are cool rather than warm. I would think a Navy top with similar or lighter navy jeans would work too...not sure why I think that but give it a try.

  • Joyce B replied 2 years ago

    I love 6-7 on you. The red picks up the detail of the beautiful jacket. 1-2 I think wash you out a bit, I think red or purple makes a good outfit color as your picts show.

  • SarahD8 replied 2 years ago

    What a fantastic piece! I can see myself breaking my “no brown” rule for something like that.

    I especially like it with the cashmere tee, the white top, and the first patterned top.

    Some of the other pattern mixes, and the white boots, seem too stark to my eye. I would look for lower-contrast patterns — a heathered look rather than a graphic look seems more harmonious with this piece. But, I do bat for Team Heathered so that might just be me.

    Do you have cognac footwear? I think that would be SO super yummy.

  • Brooklyn replied 2 years ago

    Great find and great stylings! I love it with the berry tones and with the neutrals in 15. I am not so keen on it with the black and white dress.

    YOOX sell a brand called rossopuro that make nice shortish, high neck knit tops. I have one in a berry tone. You could check them out.

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Oh no! Suz, you will never beleive this... I bought almost the exact same jacket in a Victoria or Seattle consignement shop a few years ago! Mine's tweed was a tad more golden, with pink flowers embroided all over it just like yours. Mine didn't feature the bell-sleeve detail. 

    Well, sadly, depsite high excitement when purchasing, I almost never wore it. After many automns on the benches in my closet, I finally gave it away last year. 

    This isn't to say that the same fate is awaiting yours! It suits you so well, and how you have styled it is absolutely lovely. I think you struggle with the warmer undertones, and that's why you cleverly bookended your hair with silver footwear. And wore a white bottom. But really, what Angie says is right, the pink cools the whole thing.

    Pairing with plum: genius! 
    I am completely falling for denim and tomatoe with this jacket!

    You know, it looks like the type of jacket that as a prof, you can keep hanging on your coat peg in your office, as a back up that goes with virtually everything. 

  • Cee replied 2 years ago

    You did well, kid :)

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Blast, Suz. Not the right price is it :( - the ones you chose look great. 

    Forgot to say that #19 is VERY 2018. The patterns harmonize to my eye. 

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thanks, everyone! I'm really interested in the varied opinions. The versions I felt "easiest" in and would dare to wear out onto the street today were 5-7 and 15 (though maybe with a different jean). 

    The versions that surprised me and seemed better than I'd expected were 12, 18, and 19. I didn't expect any of those to work but they sort of did, to my eye. The trick is making it seem intentional. 

    I also liked the red more than I expected. 

    Brooklyn, that's exactly the kind of top I need in a berry or burgundy tone. Thank you! 

    Anyone remember my fuchsia suit? Wishing I still had the pants and top to that...

  • Sheryl replied 2 years ago

    Maybe this sweater? I bought the crewneck and the turtleneck. They are a lovely berry color and decent quality - slightly sheer depending on how tailored/bodycon they are worn. 
    Beautiful blazer!  Care to come to Summerland to help me style a few of mine?  You are great at it.

  • Sal replied 2 years ago

    Great jacket and stylings!! I like it with the plum jeans and blue denim the best. Would it also work with your black jeans and boots - maybe with leopard top? Or black boots, leopard top and white or blue jeans?

    Definitely it is worth playing around to see what feels best when you see a steal like that!!

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Suz, I LOVE the pattern mixing here. I have a sugar eye for it - especially for 2018 and 2019. Try stripes! And red works with everything - blush is close behind. 

  • replied 2 years ago

    I like 8-9 (berry tunic) and 15 (jeans and cream top).
    Love the tonal berry/burgundy with the oatmeal colour in the tweed. Gorgeous.
    I think I like the tunic because you can see the berry more. The colour ratios seem better to my eye.

    The tweed blazer is such a find! Wow! It look tailored, sophisticated and fun!

  • lisaflex replied 2 years ago

    #12 is absolutely my fave! great coat

  • lisa p replied 2 years ago

    Wow - those Hispanitas are so chic. Wish I shopped at that level ;)

  • Dianna replied 2 years ago

    That's a gorgeous jacket and you have styled it beautifully.  My favorites are 5, 10, 14, 15, 18, and 19.  Look for the Hispanitas booties in Vancouver, they might be cheaper.  I usually get my Hispanitas and Pikolinos in Mexico at half the price of Nordstrom, and many times even less than half the price.  Maybe you could find a Canadian retailer that sells them in Vancouver.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Oooh, Sheryl, that GAP sweater looks great. I will check it out. Thank you. 

    Sal, I can try it with black...and with navy. Maybe a column underneath, as KKards suggested. 

    Smittie, I just ordered a berry dress to try with it. We'll see. I am thinking of consigning the Vince dress/ tunic because I find it so difficult to wear; this would be more practical in my daily life than a sheer silk diaphonous mini! 

    Dianna, good tip. I will look. Canada is usually about twice again as expensive as US for most things, but I might get lucky. 

    Marilyn, I'll check out those shoes - thanks for the reminder. 

    Krish -- that is amazing you had a similar jacket! It would look lovely with your colouring I think! But it does seem a bit tricky to style well. Maybe if I had brown hair it would be easier. Hmmm. 

    Jenni, so true, I dislike tunics! Although this is a bit easier for me to imagine because it's so long and the pants are toned in to it. But I still probably wouldn't enjoy wearing it! 

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Just saw these:

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thanks, Angie! Do you think taupe or burgundy are a better bet? I suspect I would wear either. 

  • shevia replied 2 years ago

    You really don't need any help styling this great jacket and you know I love everything about this post. Consignment shopping, surprise powerhouse, testing warm colors with new hair color! This is my jam as they say. I like it especially with the burgundy top as in 5. Yay Vancouver fun options!
    p.s. I like the idea of taupe shoes to go with your new mini-warm colored capsule.

  • Joy replied 2 years ago

    I could see the right shade of blush with this lovely jacket. My favorites from your stylings are the leopard, the berry top, white, and the print dress.

  • Mirjana replied 2 years ago

    Wow, I am speechless, all are amazing , you styled them extraordinary. The blazer is fantastic, so versatile. I especially love #5 , #8 and #18.

  • Bijou replied 2 years ago

    So great to see your style lab for this great jacket. It looks so much better when you got the jacket home and paired with the right support acts.

  • Style Fan replied 2 years ago

    Great jacket Suz.  I like the burgundy and berry colours best with it.  I think the rich colours show off the jacket.  You have such a great wardrobe to work with the jacket.

  • Staysfit replied 2 years ago

    Suz, I don’t have much to add about the blazer. It’s lovely, and you have done a wonderful job with styling.

    As an outside observer, this move has seemed so positive for you. Your new haircut looks great. You have attended what seems like relevant professional conferences and hopefully you made contacts and are developing a network of friends. You have been adding lovely pieces to your wardrobe, and it’s clear that you have more shopping options in Vancouver than you had around here. (I say that because we really weren’t that far from each other). Moving is very stressful, and you seem to be handling it with grace.

    I have the Blondo Boots you added as a possibility. They run big, and are probably best for a high volume foot. I need to wear them with a thick sock. I almost returned them but they are a nice pinky taupe color, which plays well with my wardrobe, and they have that nice fleece lining that keeps Blondo boots warm and toasty when it’s cold outside.

  • unfrumped replied 2 years ago

    I agree it works with a lot of things!

    Even so, your combinations with burgundies and plums really stand out. For some reason that brings both the jacket and your hair color into great focus. Another advantage is that it does work with denim.

  • krishnidoux replied 2 years ago

    Suz, I see what you mean about the hair and jacket. It does look wonderful on you. You do have many matching pieces in the plum shades and done such an excellent job for the jacket. It should hire you as its stylist. It's lucky to have found you in this consignment store. 

    But it seems to me that right now, you, Suz, are somewhere else in your style journey. You want to rock your grey hair, make the most of it, and this jacket forces you to get distracted from that goal. Am I wrong? If that is the case, I would put it aside a little and revisit later. Because it does suit you so well. It could also look very funky (like a quirky side of the ultra-traditional blazer) with oranges or soft sage. 

    Here is something interesting I discovered studying your pics: I find the taupe-pink shade suddenly takes on a totally different vibe when paired with light denim (compare14 and 15). Suddenly, the jacket is not center stage anymore, but rather supporting act. 

    I have some items I value a lot but that specifically look good with denim and nothing else. This might be the direction you would take with this piece. In this case try to match your footwear to it (or a light taupe), and make the jeans central to the outfit. Or try the jacket with a denim shirt and a pale blue scarf. Or try a taupey or lighter cognac colot belt over it. Or under. 

  • LaPed replied 2 years ago

    Chiming in to say I love 5-7 and 15-16. It looks great with plum and bright red, which makes me think you could put most shades of burgundy under it as well. And tan and light wash denim is so pretty. Perfect springtime combo! I like the idea of burgundy boots for you -- build a compliment with that gorgeous burgundy hobo bag. ;)

  • Janet replied 2 years ago

    Great deal! I really like it on you. I prefer it with the berry and burgundy tones the best. The red seems a little strong and I’m not as keen on the pattern mixes with the dress because I’d prefer to see a lower contrast in the accompanying pattern (ie without the black). But YMMV, I’m not a big pattern mixer! It looks fab.

  • Kyle replied 2 years ago

    15 and 16 are gorg! Do you need taupe booties to make it work? I love it with both the burgundy and the white. Don’t you have some metallic footwear as well that might work? You have such a great eye and sense of style. Everything you choose reads as totally authentic to you. Love that.

  • lyn67 replied 2 years ago

    Is it the same jacket nr 1-4 and from 5 on???? OMG what a diff lighting makes! Anyway  I loved it both ways-but second  color in from nr 5-is perfect on your cool self and palette. The  unusual pattern & texture makes it a fab maximal item on it's own- but love all your stylings here.. The white jeans are also fab! 

  • karen13 replied 2 years ago

    What a score. You look great in all versions. I love 5 and 10 most - column of burgundy. How would it look with a column of navy?

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Thanks again, all. I'm going to try it with soft denim, as Krish suggests, and also with a column of navy as several of you mentioned. (That one's easy-peasy for me). The trick will be tying the jacket in to my overall look. As Krish astutely mentioned, I'm very much about focussing attention on the silver hair and usually everything I wear these days works to that end. This jacket is the kind of piece I would have worn very easily as a blonde, when taupe was one of my key neutrals (with taupe booties to bookend the look with hair) but it definitely takes a bit more work right now, given what's in my closet. I do think it's worth playing around with, though (at this quality and price!). That's precisely what a wild card is for -- to stretch one's style -- and I will make sure that whatever I buy is workable with the rest of my wardrobe. I could easily incorporate taupe and/or burgundy booties if I buy practical weather proof ones. And any additional item I buy in berry or plum tones or mauve will work really easily into my overall palette of ink, navy, denim blues, white, grey, so it won't be "wasted" on the jacket alone. It's basically a process of creating a small complement for the jacket, while ensuring that it also works with other items in my closet. 

    I agree that it becomes less "statement" like with lighter blue denim, Krish. I think that is because the soft tones harmonize. Light blue denim and taupes were made for each other. 

    Lyn, doesn't the lighting make a difference? Huge, I know! I wouldn't have bought it if I thought it was as yellow as in the first photos. :) It must have looked better IRL though because people were remarking on it positively in the store. Partly due to the fit, I am sure. You don't always get such a great fit in a consignment store. 

    Kyle, thank you! What sweet things to say. My metallic footwear is now all silver (to work with my hair) and that is too cool toned (I think). But maybe with some experimentation I can get it to work. We'll see. 

    Janet, I felt like you about the black with the dress...but weirdly, when I had it on, it seemed to work in an intentionally crazy way. IRL the blush tones in the dress harmonize somehow with the pinks and brown. 

    LaPed -- I'm really torn. I think taupe booties would bookend the jacket better but burgundy would indeed build a complement! Hmmm....I don't think I can justify both at this point, but we'll see. 

    Staysfit, thank you for those kind words. The move has been a good one for our family. It is easier than it might be because we didn't move our furniture or things -- we rented a furnished place and rented out our own home with furnishings. :) Also, we have lived in this city before so I already have a circle of friends here. And I do have more professional opportunities in this area also. I miss some friends back in Kingston and my husband and I miss family in Montreal, but apart from that it is all good.

    Thank you for the info on those Blondo boots -- that is SUPER helpful. 

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    Suz, I think taupe - MILK the light footwear while you can on the West Coast. 

    Btw, has it rained all weekend? The sun only JUST came out here. But it will rain again....

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Angie, it rained all day yesterday but Friday was GORGEOUS and I was outside for hours. Sun's out now...supposed to hide again soon. 

    And look what I just ordered! I love the Blondo Elvira bootie so much in black. I discovered it also comes in a taupe suede. So I'm duplicating in that colour. It's the perfect heel height for me, very stable, waterproof, and easy to wear with jeans and with casual skirts/ dresses. I love the pointy toe. I also like the height which is neither tall like my sock booties, nor super short. It works with full length or cuffed or cropped pants. It's hard to judge the exact colour but it looks like a medium toned soft greige, which will work with the jacket and maybe even tie the jacket to my hair. Crossing fingers. 

  • Gigi replied 2 years ago

    What a great find! The jacket is gorgeous.

    I like it best with the denim and the plum tones. My least fave was with the black-and-white dress--the color palettes seemed too different or something?

    I hope the new booties work. If not, maybe wear the jacket to a large shoe store (like a DSW) to try on various colors of shoe, even if you dislike the styles. Then you might get an idea for what color looks best, and you can go from there.

    It's funny how sometimes the color of a particular item can require a whole new color of shoes, etc. But that can make the item extra fun and different.

  • Helena replied 2 years ago

    Suz I was just going to suggest taupe Blondos!! I LOVE my Blondos, and they are spot on for the west coast climate. I have a taupe pair I rarely wear; I wish I could give them to you, what size are you?
    I love the jacket with the denim shirt. The scarf looks great too. These are all gorgeous though.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Helena, that's so sweet. But I just ordered. For future reference...Shoe size 6.5 or 7 -- best is an EU 37. I usually buy a 7 in boots if buying US sizes, just so I can put an insole or thick sock more easily if needed. 

    Gigi, good plan. If these ones don't work, I can go to a store with the jacket on, or in hand. 

    Thanks everyone for help! 

  • Colette replied 2 years ago

    Love that jacket and it looks great on you! You definitely have the styling down. Wondering if you tried an animal print or stripe?

  • RobinF replied 2 years ago

    I am late to this post but love the jacket! So fun to find a great item at a thrift store that fits so beautifully. My favorites are the berry looks and the blue denim. I definitely think taupe booties will expand the possibilities too. 

  • Column replied 2 years ago

    I have also been reining in loose tunics with fitted blazers—you get a waist without the discomfort. Love it over pants. And Sheila also thriftshops successfully on your coast: http://sheilaephemera.blogspot.com/. What a treat!

  • Minah Lynn replied 2 years ago

    I love dresses and florals, so I would go for outfit 18 and 19. However, I think outfit 14 and 15 look best on you. Simplicity is always beauty.

  • texstyle replied 2 years ago

    Suz, I came across this on my pinterest feed so I thought I'd share. I think it's a lovely way to integrate the tan blazer with grey shoes instead of taupe possibly? Just thinking in case you don't need taupe booties. Do you already have grey/silver booties by chance?

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