Statements I'm Not Wearing: For Angie

On Helena's thread about breaking a bad editing cycle, I mentioned that I haven't been wearing a number of statement items I purchased last year. Actually, I've barely worn the ones I purchased this year, either. Angie kindly asked to see them so here are some of my Finds with explanations. 

1. Halogen red pants. Only managed to wear twice, at home, not on the street. They feel too...bold. Also, it turns out that I don't really like this kick crop style on me, even in black. I *do* still wear my black pair, though. In fact, I wore them last night. The fabric is the perfect winter weight. And they are good for travel. So even though I prefer a tapered pant to one with this little bottom-of-calf flare on my own legs, and even though I prefer navy or grey to black, I wear those black Halogen crops. But red? What was I thinking? 

2. Sequinned culotte. Okay, so this is special occasion wear and the occasion has not arisen. I will give myself a pass on that. These cost me all of  $25 and I adore them. I think they have closet longevity. Next! 

3. Vince dress. Purchased several years ago. Arguably not a statement but came with a statement price tag, even on sale. It really only works for me in early autumn, and again, I didn't have an occasion. It's also "special occasion wear" for me. If I liked it over trousers or jeans it might be easier, but I still can't get used to that look (on me) and whenever I try it, I end up peeling it off and putting on something that feels more "me." It was a lot of money for something I wear so seldom. I like it a lot. But it makes me feel guilty to see it unworn in the closet. 

4. J. Crew jacket. I *did* wear this several times in the autumn as a matter of fact, and I will probably wear it again in early spring. But "several times" does not feel like enough for an item this pricey. Yes, I still need to change out the gold buttons. Haven't found any I like yet. I'm sure that affects number of wears. It's just so much easier for me to wear my navy blazer or my new plaid one. (And I *do* wear those -- but they are not statements!) 

5. BR stand collar jacket. I've only had this a few months and I *have* in fact worn it (outside the house, too!) 3 times. It's a great little jacket...but it feels a bit "costumey" in a way my blue knit military jacket does not. Of course, this is precisely what might make it work for public appearances and such. And that is the reason I bought it. But is it *too* costumey? I think it might be. I think I want to get my drama in other ways. (See gilet, below). 

6. Moto. This is arguably not a "statement" and not a new purchase either, but I barely wore it last spring. And didn't wear at all last fall. What is going on? 

7. Blue cropped sweater. I love this. Why am I not wearing it? I need high waisted pants for it, like the J. Crew culottes. But I haven't worn the culottes. Just not feeling them and plus, we have so much snow here! Yes, I have underlayers for them but I hate the bunching. 

8. Bell sleeve top. It feels boring. And I don't like the sleeves. They get in the way of everything. 

9. J. Crew Culottes: see above. Love the drape of these but sometimes feel a bit "plump" in them, probably because I have to layer so darn much to make them work! 

10. Gilet. Well, what can I say? I'm still not sorry I bought this. This is the thing that represents my aspirational style in as complete a way as possible. I adore this. Adore it!! It makes me feel like a million dollars. I just never find a place or time to wear it! Partly because of the coat issue. I don't have a coat that works over top and I need it in my climate. 

11. Leopard corduroy skinny. Again, I've worn these about 4 or 5 times since purchasing in November. They're not as comfy as I had hoped at the waistline, which is part of it. But also, the pattern...the pattern...sometimes it just feels like too much! 

12. All. The. Pretty. Booties. We all know why I am not wearing these. If more explanation is needed, see attached photos of what is happening in my world today. 

This is really interesting. I am not sure what to take from it, though. Suggestions welcome! 

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.


  • Helena replied 6 years ago

    Suz, these are all beautiful pieces, and I've seen you in a few of them, and of course they looked fantastic! That said, I can relate to loving and seeing myself in pieces in theory, and then not actually wearing them. 

    Can you identify any common themes that maybe are putting you off these? For example, there are a few statements pants here; maybe they aren't your thing? And some quite saturated colors compared to your navies, raspberries, and grays?

    I can relate to the booties issue lol!!! Ref: our summer patio set on the deck hahah.

  • Toban replied 6 years ago

    These are lovely statement pieces. They are very dramatic, except maybe the Moto jacket. How does drama fit in your style moniker? It sounds like there might be a lifestyle vs. aspirational conflict, or at least as a ratio of opportunities for wearing these pieces? 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Thanks, Helena. 

    Weirdly, I *do* like "statement pants or at least I have liked them in the past -- plaid, patterns, etc. And white jeans, which are a bit of a statement in themselves. I just don't like these particular ones. 

    And I love my bright reds/ fuchsias. Just not in these items. Here are some of the other things I have been wearing regularly in those colours. 

  • The Cat replied 6 years ago

    Very nice items, Suz! Thank you for sharing.

    Just a few thoughts:
    - Will you be able to wear your pretty booties in spring and autumn?
    - Could your gilet be worn under a knee-length trenchcoat in spring and autumn?
    - Could your cropped red pants be dressed down with long boots, a simple top (and maybe a simple topper, too) plus a scarf containing at least a little red? The top and topper could be blue and grey.

  • Toban replied 6 years ago

    The ones you've been wearing have a 'softness' in the drape/cut that softens the drama. The ones you're not wearing tend more angular and more severe on a continuum. Maybe drama in both color and cut is too much? Just a thought.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Yes, it's as a ratio of opportunities, Toban. Also, my lifestyle includes wildly varied roles. I work from home in a casual city -- and wear mainly jeans and knits (in winter) for that role. When I teach, I can dress similarly with the addition of a topper for authority and pizzaz, but it usually needs to be a comfortable one and not too much of a statement in itself since I want my students to pay attention to what I'm teaching, not to my clothing.

     But I'm also a writer and in that role, I often have to give public appearances or readings in a wide variety of settings.

    I think maybe these items are "bold enough" but not "funky" enough or are dramatic in the wrong ways for the appearances capsule. Drama or dynamism is definitely part of the style persona, but I'm small in stature (verging on petite) so it has to take a different form than it might on a taller woman. And I think maybe I need a bit more "edge" to my style than I am getting from these, which are "fun" and "happy" but perhaps not "sharp" enough. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Toban, that is a great insight. Thank you. Actually, I'm wearing but not always enjoying the "softness" of the CM turtleneck pullover -- it is a little "too" soft for me. (Weird, right?) But I do wear and it will get enough use to justify its purchase, though I may retire it at the end of the year. 

    The cardigan allows me to layer something crisper or sharper underneath. 

    The Cat -- theoretically I could wear my booties in the spring and fall but realistically, our weather (and sidewalks) will not allow it for more than a couple of weeks. If I had an indoor office job I would carry them to work or keep them there and wear them indoors. As it is, I wear slippers. Sigh. 

    The gilet is midi-length on me -- below the knee -- and none of my coats cover it. I don't like the look of it peeking out. I can layer it over a denim jacket or a leather moto -- but we seldom get the weather where that works. 

    Theoretically I could do this with the cropped red pants. And believe me, I've tried. I just don't like the result! My red thighs glare at me in all their enormousness....  ;) 

  • karen13 replied 6 years ago

    Very interesting analysis. I need to do some of this work. Do you think that some funkier or edgier accessories might help?

    The problem may be that you have so many wonderful, perfect-for-your style pieces that you don't have to settle for even pretty darned good :). I  look forward to having that problem as my closet evolves.

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    I’m no help. Will see what others advise.
    I have several “ shadow styles” and if course imaginary lifestyle styles so sometimes am trying something on I will think, oh this is so cool and so ME, and then..Live your Vince dress and while me new dressy skirts aren’t nearly the same style, it may turn out I don’t cook up enough occasions for them. Like sequined crops.
    I HAVE learned that if I risk body- confidence too much ( not wishing that on others, but it’s just there) , I may bail at the moment of truth, whereas if something fits great and also flatters and I don’t feel too “ exposed” I’ll charge ahead. Doesn’t mean “ hiding” in a mu-my, but makes me intolerant of something getting a little too tight or body con or bad rear view. So it also means being more careful of sales goggles to get something unusual unless it ticks all the boxes.
    I got the EF long boiled wool vest on a whim but I think it’s because it’s kind of a “ basic statement” — rather plain as statements go so has been easy to wear. Yet it’s also kind of cautionary because the fabric reads “ cozy” and isn’t really 4- season, therefore # of wears and CPW may be not good. Still, I’m going to try some outfit creation to see if I can wear it differently through cold spring weather.
    I like your red jacket and pink blazer. Maybe keep your support act very Suz, denim, navy and see if there is enough appeal.

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    Suz, I understand each and every one of these explanations!

    Re: the red pants. I have the same kind of feeling about kick crop styles on myself. And I’m annoyed with myself for having three pairs of this kind of cut! I am thinking about cutting one pair (jeans) off into clamdigger length shorts for summer, and having another pair tapered a bit so it’s just a narrower crop (they’re black so otherwise pretty wearable for me). Any chance that having those pants tapered at the hem would make them more wearable, or is that just throwing good money after bad? Is the color alone reason to not wear them? Oh, actually, I just read your last line in your last response, and it sounds like something I would say, so I think I have the answer!

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    Oh, and I hear you on the cropped length sweater. I bought a slightly cropped length sweater on sale at Anthro recently, and the length, combined with a tricky neckline, are the reason I’m going to return it. I don’t know why it seemed to work in the store and then not work once I got it home, but that’s why I keep tags on until I commit to wearing something!

    I’m sad about your poor neglected booties! But I would not get rid of them.

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    I love your red jacket! I’m sorry you’re not wearing it. Hmmm...costumey. Maybe color or design, but not both?

    I used to wear lots of color. Then I decided I would narrow my color scheme because it was easier, especially when travelling. Later, if I put on a bright color I thought, “oh wow, too much!” But that’s probably just me.

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    Those are some lovely pieces! I hope you get chances to wear some, and you could always sell others if they don't feel right.

    Seems like this is my constant struggle, too. I bought a lovely, expensive vest / gilet (after stalking it down to a price I could just barely justify) and I've only worn it once. Same with a wool cape-sleeve bomber that I paid extra to get tailored.

    And shoes... I've learned that anything with a heel just will not get worn. And yet I keep buying them.

    But I have a list on my to-do app of things I want to wear more, so at least there's some hope that I'll work them into the rotation eventually.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Okay, I think I am identifying something here, thanks to your helpful comments and more cogitation. 

    I do love colour. It makes me happy. 

    But some of the statements I'm not wearing read (in part because of their colours) as closer to "cute" than "sophisticated" or "edgy." 

    Now, this is tricky. Being small and a little androgynous, on the gamine side for sure, full out classic "sophisticated" tends to make me look dowdy or dead. I can use a shot of "cute" to amp up the dynamism. But it's as if a couple of these pieces go too far in that direction. 

    Hmmm. More thinking necessary. Because I can't do "edgy" if that means "hard edge." 

    I keep thinking I want to develop a navy and ink version of Greyscale's style, with just a bit more colour and pattern to suit my own particular needs. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Ha, Greyscale, we cross posted! 

    For me, those heels are fine -- block heel, stable, etc. But the leather / suede is too delicate for my climate and so...

    And I've just said I want to steal your wardrobe! 

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 years ago

    I'd have to look at your WIWs again, but do you actually wear statement bottoms? And your thighs are not enormous at all, but I laugh at your and Janet's thoughts on that. It's what Unfrumped says about body confidence I think. I did say on someone's thread not long ago that "I've decided to just own my hips", but I do vacillate between that and some despair when buying trousers like I did yesterday. I don't own any bright or patterned trousers, even though I get drawn to some when shopping.

  • jussie replied 6 years ago

    Oh I do love those sequined culottes :). All of your explanations do make sense, so don’t give yourself too much of a hard time about it. The most common theme I think is weather- so my only suggestion is in future being a little more strict not to overstock fall/spring items....
    personally I can’t wear red at all lol it gives me a headache .
    Perhaps you could try the bell sleeve top under the gilet? It may be a nice combo for your teaching days? The other option is to try the blue cropped sweater under the gilet with a navy pant- almost a monochrome look. Of
    Course- you would need to invest in some kind of long coat to cover it outdoors; but if you really love it it may be worth the investment- plus in your weather you could probably use another long coat! Uniqlo has cheap stylish coats....
    If the red military jacket feels too intense you could just try it with a column of black underneath?
    Just some musings....
    Good luck

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Janet, it's interesting we feel the same about that style of pant. You look so amazing in full length boot legs. (I don't, not so much, anyway). It must have to do with our perception of our thighs in this style -- and for me, even if I keep the footwear toned to the pant, it definitely shortens an already short legline. Weirdly, the ones in denim that I have from BR work better -- they are a bit longer on me, more like ankle length kick crops. So they shorten me a bit less. (Longer on me than on the model, of course). And maybe the flare is a different width or something. 

    JAileen, I love the red, so I don't think it is that...I do wear the red in other styles. Something about the style combined with the colour, perhaps...

    Unfrumped, thank you. -- and yes, I do keep the support act very minimal with those jackets most of the time (though I also like a patterned top under both) -- yet something, something...I don't know...

    Karen, it's possible that accessories might help, though with the red jacket in particular you can't really add a lot. All that detail is a lot for me (buttons, epaulets, etc.) 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Huh. Very interesting.  I had that same Vince dress, and finally put it in the donate bag last fall. Paid way too much for it, and theoretically liked it, but like you experienced, it felt too delicate for everyday wear, and too plain for dressy.  I also realized that I don't like this colour, and that made me feel better about donating it. Lesson learned.  I tried it once over leather leggings, but, no.    I also have the red military jacket, and guess what?  Haven't had it on once. Now, in my defence, I bought it expecting it to be a spring piece anyways , so...  One way I had hoped to wear it (and maybe this will work for you) came about by accident. It was hanging on my rolling rack with a slate grey cami underneath ,and a fake fur scarf/collar thing  tossed over the hanger. It looks great like that, and I kept thinking if I had a place to go where I could use the scarf as my outdoor protection and then drape it over a chair etc....but that never happened.  I still hope to wear it in spring - and styled with a pale blue/white pinstriped tunic/shirt , (or a white t)  jeans, and sandals .  Very casual. I remember you wearing yours quite formally, with tartan pants and a plaid shirt, and maybe you could try working it in the opposite direction .  

    The long R&B sleeveless coat ? I agree that our climate (and how it needs an coat of equal or almost equal length) is a barrier to wearing it.  Or the 4 days every fall where the weather cooperates for it to be worn as an outdoor piece ;)  I have three of these (although I spent a lot less on mine, so am thinking about getting rid of them) and never , ever wear them. I put them on, then take them off.  I feel too Maude-ish in them.  I understand your feelings about the dusty burg flare sleeve top, (doesn't strike me as "you" )  and agree with the red pant issue.  Although if anyone can wear red pants, it would be you.  The footwear needs no explanation to me - I totally agree and get it.

    As for finding a commonality, I agree with the others who see a structured , dynamic look that maybe isn't yours. Also - I see some trendy pieces here that may not have the staying power you like (culottes, cropped flares, white or metallic boots,  bell sleeved tops) or may not have been the right trends to embrace.  But that's a crap shoot for anyone, isn't it?

  • replied 6 years ago

    oh - and ....BR had our red jacket styled with very casual jeans (cuffed, frayed etc ) and a pale, pale oatmeal-ish grey fine-gauge merino wool hoodie underneath.  Looked fantastic.  I don't buy my jackets big enough to layer much of anything under them, because I prefer to wear them quite fitted, but if I did, this would be a look I'd go for.  Super cute.  

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Thanks, Suz. 

    FWIW, my 2 cents:

    • I think a lot of these items are climate related orphans. You'd wear them more on the West Coast. (WHEN ARE YOU COMING OVER!!!)
    • You are VERY particular with how you want to wear red (and patterns for that matter) - you learned something about yourself. GOOD. 
    • You never really liked the bell sleeve trend :)
    • Dress is great over skinnies - but you don't like the feeling (bad layering memories from childhood). Pass it on. 
    • Don't see the cutesy thing here like others do. You prefer angular drape and structure - which I see. But you're wearing soft drapey cadigans more often because of your work at home lifestyle. 
    • The gold buttons on the pink jacket put you off, understandably. 
    • 2017 was a very hard year for you. You gravitated to your comfort zones: blues, white, greys, silver, a smattering of fire engine. sleek silhouettes, and simple dressing with scarves and jewellery Makes sense. 

    As for moto jackets, for me personally, it's a leather thing. I am trying to NOT purchase and wear leather unless I have to. For you, I think it's a jacket - climate thing.  

    Lisa p, I'll look at your essentials in the next few days. 

  • Runcarla replied 6 years ago

    Could you layer the gilet over the red kick flares? Do the red booties work under the kick flares - to lengthen the leg line?

  • Sal replied 6 years ago

    I think the gilet, the red and pink jacket, the sequin culottes, the ankle boots, the J Crew culottes and maybe the blue cropped sweater will come into play once it warms up a bit....  And you love them...

    The jackets are both so gorgeous - just with dark denim and a navy or navy and white striped thin layer underneath. I

    would happily steal either of them except they would not fit at all.

    I wonder about the red pants - I like them, but know the feeling of having attention drawn to parts of my body that I don't want....  I do think they would work with heels well eg out for dinner - but you may have other things you would always choose in this situation.

    Same with the Vince dress - I remember when you bought this - and it is a lovely dress.  I have one not dissimilar (but with spots and of a less delicate fabric) that I wear with tall boots or camel boots and fishnets or nude hose - for dinners out for for work.  But I know the weather does not oblige for this look for you.  

    I have some statements that I don't wear much and I am finding that the transition from mid-rise to high rise and from longer tops to more cropped means that some combinations just don't work.  I have a yellow floral tee that I love and bought thinking it would work with my denim shorts - no - the mid rise means as soon as I move my tummy and lower back are on display.  So I only really like it with my high rise jeans - I don't have a topper to wear over it - and jeans and a tee with no topper is not a terribly versatile look weather wise for me.  Too hot currently to wear jeans and in a month I would usually want a jacket or cardigan with me.  

  • UmmLila (Lisa) replied 6 years ago

    The things I like best, wardrobe wise, are shoes/ boots and jackets. And as Angie pointed out for you, Suz, yours aren't worn as much as you like, not because you don't like them, but because of climate. That's me all over. (See attached real life recent WIW). 

    I bought that merlot Vince dress and returned it before NAS was over. One of my few early recognitions that something wasn't going to work. I think you could let go of the culottes, too, if you're not wearing them. I love you in the red / fuchsia jackets and please don't let them go.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Angie, I think you and Jussie and LisaP explain it the best -- it's related to climate. (When is it not related to climate, for me? Try as I do to buy for the life I actually lead...)

    As for buying less for spring/ fall -- as Jussie wisely suggests -- that is so difficult! For two reasons -- first, these are my favourite seasons for fashion!! And, secondly, when you stop to think of it, it's surprising how much clothing is actually designed specifically for those seasons. In winter you're expected to layer over or under said clothing, and in summer they imagine you work in an air conditioned office (which I don't) so you can continue to wear that...or the flimsy, light, and far-too-casual pieces that are made for summer weekend wear. 

    Angie, I am not sure we are coming to the west now after all. That's a long story, for another time. At minimum, our arrival will be delayed due to family developments.  :( I am very sad!! And even sadder when I look at all the pretty booties. But on the positive side, my new parka will earn its CPW. 

    It is true, I have learned something about how I like to wear red, and possibly patterns. Although -- to Jenni's point -- I do like patterned pants, but with these, I think it was the fit. Weird how it seemed great in the store. Oh well. 

    Hmmm. More thinking is in order, though, because I do feel as if there's a battle raging between my aspirational style for statements and the ones I actually wear and the bulk of what I buy...and maybe I have bought into too many trends that I should have left well enough alone! 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Carla -- all of that would look great - in theory. But I never have the weather for it. Still...I can try....

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    I forgot to post these. 1 is in my neighbor’s front yard. 2 is in my backyard.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Lisa, yup, CLIMATE. 

    I LOVE that photo of you!! You look adorable. 

    How come we live in these climates where we can't wear the things we love most???? 

    Sal, thank you for your thoughts. I am nodding along with what you say about proportion. I'm having this trouble, too, with a few items. 

    OK, I am not getting rid of the jackets...I will keep enjoying them a couple of times a year and call it good.....

  • tulle replied 6 years ago

    I would go a bit farther and say that the problem may not even be climate, exactly, but plain old Bad Weather!  Some Winters are worse than others, and this one has been a trial in the Northeast since November: colder, icier, drearier than usual. It makes perfect sense to me that you are shying away from more structured, revealing and/or demanding clothes in favor of softer, warmer things that will comfort and protect you. I have been hiding out indoors, wearing roomy old jeans or cashmere sweatpants, super-thick woolen socks, and oversized cashmere sweaters with a very soft pashmina scarf around my neck.  Every day. ( Angie would be appalled.)  Anyway, that's just to say that you might want to hold off on any decisions until the world outside looks a little less like Narnia without Aslan:  "always Winter, but never Christmas". You may feel more like making a statement after the snow melts!

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Tulle, I have worn loungewear almost every single day indoors and it sounds like yours! You're SOOO right. 

    And JAileen -- argh!!!!!!! No FAIR!! 

  • jussie replied 6 years ago

    Yes: there are SO MANY clothes out there that are just not practical! But so gorgeous looking. Who can blame us for getting tempted by them all?

  • replied 6 years ago

    Sigh, thank you for posting this. It really does help to see what worked and what didn’t work in other people’s closets. It is nice to “keep it real” and makes me feel less guilty about my own issues with buying statements :-)

    And I’m laughing at your comment about creating a navy version of greyscale’s style because I often think about this too. I know I feel more daring with cuts and embellishments when the item is in navy.

  • replied 6 years ago

    I think I'll join in on the Greyscale -lite group, if I may.

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Suz, great post! I’m on my phone so will respond in detail once Home and on my laptop.

    In the meantime, maybe you need my sequinned top for your sequinned culottes!!

    Just quickly, have you tried wearing the sequinned culottes with that gorgeous gilet? I have been quite inspired by Trinny’s use of sequins for day wear xxx

  • Vix replied 6 years ago

    Hi Suz --

    Couple of thoughts with my FWIW "Rx"...

    -- bright red pants do not equal patterned pants or white pants (which are everywhere in warm weather).  Rx: donate and stop buying bright pants 

    -- bright red military jacket carries a marching band reference -- picture it in navy or white or grey or even your particular bright pink and ask yourself if you'd wear it regardless of the weather etc. Rx: if you secretly want it in another color, donate

    -- bell sleeves top is a great color for you. Would you wear it at 3/4 sleeve length? Rx: If yes, tailor sleeves and make it a boring workhorse.

    -- sequin culottes: Rx: wear out the door as soon as possible. make your pals or husband dress up and just be the festive ones at a casual restaurant / event

    -- floaty dress: Rx: forget about it being a "dress up dress" given it hasn't served that role in years. dress down with one of your knit tube skirts when it warms up a bit. add boots and more substantial jewelry to balance, and then when warm enough for sandals you can do something delicate. ALT: chop off sleeves and use it as a 3rd layer -- you can probably fit sweaters underneath this way. ALT2: donate

    Also, I know monitors vary but a lot of your "colored pieces I'm not wearing" appear much brighter and warmer than your usual shades. [bell sleeves look "Suz"]

    Get honest about that -- pull out what you have in similar shades, look at all the reds [then blues, then pinks] and see if anything jumps out as an outlier. When you've been wearing your most flattering colors for a while -- which you have -- it's really hard to settle for less.

    ps  you have a lot of pants -- I'd say 5 wears of leopard skinny pants since November is a pretty good showing!

  • Bonnie replied 6 years ago

    This was a really interesting read. I made a few of those kinds of purchases this year, too. For example, a black and white chevron stripe dress with a short skater skirt and fly away sleeve, and purple and black striped leggings. I am definitely letting go of those purchases.

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    Suz, it’s not as great as you think. We appear to be entering into another drought.

  • Runcarla replied 6 years ago

    Vix is brilliant!

  • The Cat replied 6 years ago

    I DO see your points, Suz. Like you and others, I have been "guilty" in sometimes buying great statement pieces which seldom get worn. I try to learn from my mistakes, so when shopping for clothes and footwear, I now focus on items that will be usable in an ordinary week in my life. :-)

    Of course, I also allow myself to buy items for special occasions, but I try to imagine if they can be styled in several ways and be used at at least two different kinds of occasions--and if not, well then I know that they probably won't be worth the money.

    Besides, as spring and autumn are rather short seasons where I live, I try to avoid buying items that will be usable in one of these seasons only.

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    Aww, I'm flattered! My outfits have been sort of blah the past few months. I chased a few trends that were not the best for me - like high waist vintage jeans that just don't flatter me - and I feel like I lost my way a bit. So it was interesting to re-read my essentials post from a year ago when I was much happier with my day-to-day clothes, and everyone's contributions this month.

  • Brooklyn replied 6 years ago

    Suz, I don’t have much to add here. But one thought: can you remove the epaulettes from the military jacket? It might be that the combo of red, epaulettes, military collar and buttons etc is just a bit too much. That would be the easiest way to take it back a notch. (I am thinking about doing the same with one of my jackets.)

  • Lynn replied 6 years ago

    Very interesting thread Suz. I have learned a lot from your post and the responses.

    It does seem like weather is a huge issue for you.

    You said that the gilet is your aspirational style and that you feel great when you can wear it. Perhaps it would help to try to identify exactly what your happiness factor is in the gilet vs how you feel wearing the other items you posted. You can tell I am still into focusing on my feeling in my clothes:) 

    It also might be worthwhile to think about whether repurposing  some of these items would make them more wearable for you such as Brooklyn's suggestions for the red jacket and Vix's suggestion to adapt the blouse to a 3/4 sleeve. Re: the Vince dress- would you wear it more if it was shortened to be a tunic length top? 

  • Jenn replied 6 years ago

    I definitely see the weather commonality here. Almost all of these items seem intended for the shoulder seasons that are fleetingly short in your climate.

    It's funny, because I'm having the opposite problem. We're in the midst of the warmest winter in Colorado history, and I'm so TIRED of my transitional pieces. I'd love to find some seldom-worn statements in my closet.

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Hi Suz,  Really interesting looking at what you are not wearing.

    No real suggestions, just my thoughts:)

    It sounds like you generally feel more comfortable or more you in neutrals?  I love the look of the red crop flares and I know they would be too bold for me too.  But I wonder if you have tried styling them with nice solid neutrals?  I know you are not so into black at the moment but what about navy?  However if you know you are not going to wear them, find them a new home :)

    The sequinned culottes are gorgeous.  Clearly they re not an everyday piece but it would be fun to play and see how you might style them for day time?  I think the gilet could work beautifully with them with may be a crisp white button down and a black ankle boot.

    I loved the Vince dress when I first saw it here and as a result purchased something similar from an Aussie retailer.  I passed it on ages ago.  Mine was navy and for some reason it just never felt or looked right to me.  Tried it on it's own as a dress, layered it as a tunic but nothing made me want to wear it.  Can you trying dressing it down so you don't view it as just special occasion wear?  

    I love the Pink Jacket and I would imagine that would look amazing on you.  I think you need to find the right buttons and maybe just accept that this is something you will infrequently.  The style looks quite classic so I cannot imagine it dating quickly.  The colour makes quite a statement and it may be a bit of mood piece in that you have to feel like wearing the strong pink.  I think that's ok.  

    The stand collar jacket does have a hint of 'costume' about it but it's really stunning.  A great jacket as you say for speaking engagements/public appearances etc.  I would keep it with those events in mind, as long as you think you will wear it.

    With your Moto do you think you are just having a break?  I find some seasons mine doesn't get a look in then the following one I am wearing it all the time.

    The sweater is lovely but hard to comment as I don't wear this type of sweater and it's a look I don't quite relate to.

    Bell sleeve tops have been so popular but so over rated lol.  I agree the sleeves are so annoying and certainly not a practical design.  Love the look of them but I have resisted to far for that very reason.

    J Crew Culottes... I would love to see them with the Gilet!!

    The Gilet, I love this.  Do you need to purchase a coat just for the Gilet?  lol  I would.

    Leopard pants are really cute but like you I don't reach for these sorts of patterned items so I just don't buy them anymore.  I also have such a love tolerance now of clothing that isn't comfortable.

    Hope you get to wear your beautiful boots when the snow clears.

    These days I am very quick to move things on that are not working for me.  I have struggled with the guilt of money spent on some things but the guilt only exists while the item is still hanging in my wardrobe.  Once I have donated or passed it on to a new home, its lifts and I am ready for the next mistake lol.

  • Jaime replied 6 years ago

    I have not read the responses, because I want to do so when I am a bit more awake as I find this thread extremely interesting. I will offer two reactions to your initial post that jumped out at me - sorry if they are repeats of comments above.
    1. I also have the Vince dress. It had its day at my son's Bar Mitvah (2.5 years ago), and I did wear it a bit but I am about to sell it. Why? I believe it is about our angularity descriptor (well yours that I stole). I am realizing as my face gets contrarily gets rounder I really don't like round collars.
    2. Red kick flares. Only with red boots. I think my eyes are over the novelty of the proportion daring cropped trouser with contrast and maybe yours are too?

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Ok. You ‘need’ an ankle length puffy for the gilet, because the gilet is so stunning. It needs to come out to play ;)

    Anyhoo, you know, I don’t feel I have many statements in my closet and I don’t feel I wear statements often. Which may be why, altho I have some loud Kooky clothes, and stuff with interesting details, I feel pretty normcore and boring most of the time. And I can’t say I want to be all Wow more than a few times a year. It’s not part of my strategy to rule the world, lol, because I like doing that in secret. I mean, when was the last time the Queen even saw her crown? I think it must have been when they did the special on the Crown Jewels and she gave it a thump.

    Anyways, I’m feeling a need to take a long think about the role of statements. I’m not sure of their place in the scheme of things. ‘Merely interesting’ non-essentials seem like they may have a greater place for me... And all that about me to wonder, Suz, if you might feel somewhat the same?

  • Jane replied 6 years ago

    Haha Rachylou. And the crown is heavy!

    Interesting thread. I loved the Rag and Bone gilet and tried to get one, but couldn’t. In the end I think it would have been an orphan for me for the coat issue. I also have the white bootees, which I like but wear them only very occasionally when I’m feeling very brave / confident!

    Wow, pretty snow but I can imagine that is limiting.

    I think your comments regarding ‘costumey’ apply to me too.

  • LaPed replied 6 years ago

    Gah, this is such a great topic! You've gotten so much great advice already. I'm nodding along with those who have pointed out that many of these items present seasonal/weather-related challenges, and come the (ever so fleeting) spring, you might feel differently. I'm always looking at items that won't really work in deep winter or high summer, and asking myself if it's worth having an item I'll only bring out a few weeks each year. 

    It also strikes me that several of these items fall into your "event" capsule -- and I know you're a strong proponent of not sweating too much over cost-per-wear on special event clothing. But maybe even if wear-tracking in a traditional sense doesn't work for a dressy capsule, perhaps there needs to be some system for joy-tracking? It sounds like the Vince dress has served its purpose and doesn't make you happy when you wear it anymore. It actually stands out, among this group of items, as a piece from an earlier style era of yours. It feels out of sync with your more recent additions. The newer "event" items (the gilet, the sequined culottes) -- I would keep them and play with them. Perhaps try wearing them dressed down for casual days, even, just to break their spell. Agree that perhaps the gilet needs its own coat if you want to wear it properly, because that seems like a prime winter topper to me. I don't have any, but if I find the right wool vest or gilet, I will add it in a heartbeat, as it could solve some of my dislike for toppers/third pieces this time of year. Of course, this could just be a case of theory vs practice on my part. This winter layering business -- who knew it was so complicated?

    I can commiserate with you on red pants. I've just had to accept that I'm happier not drawing attention to my legs. I've found that prints are totally okay (Im up to four, FOUR! pairs of patterned pants), as long as they are dark, neutral, and fairly low contrast. And a great fit, of course. But *bright* pants? Ugh. The last time I had red pants, they felt by turns like PJs or a Santa Claus costume. It was completely psychological, because they were sturdy woven pants with pockets and a fly, but I just couldn't get over how weird I felt in them. Red Pants Syndrome, I guess. 

    And the boots -- I feel you on this one, because I do the exact opposite. I look at all the pretty boots, then patiently talk myself out of buying them, because the winter will destroy them -- and when the weather is nice enough, will I really want to wear boots? Probably not. And then when a winter event rolls around I have nothing to wear. I know you have a good collection of more refined boots that *are* weather-worthy, so it's hard to judge how much utility these more delicate options will have for you. I'd say there's nothing wrong with having some indoor-only options, as long as you feel the styles have some longevity so you can bring them out once or twice a year for several more years to come.

    I do like the idea of chopping the sleeves on the bell sleeve top. The bell sleeves were an experiment, they failed, why not turn the top into a new experiment on the effectiveness of modifying sleeves? Or... make a point of wearing the bell sleeves with the gilet once or twice this spring, when it's warm enough for the gilet to be your outer layer. And if you like the combo, maybe you give both pieces a new lease on life. 

    I do hope you find some good silver buttons for the pink blazer -- I was so, so tempted by that piece last year, but the gold was off-putting, and I have enough chores without adding "change out buttons on brand new jacket" to the list. So I'd like to live vicariously through you on that one, please. :)

  • cindysmith replied 6 years ago

    I would rock the heck out of that stand collar jacket if it were in the pink blazer color

  • Cardiff girl replied 6 years ago

    First if all can I say I hope that we are the same size because if you ever want to get rid of any of these pieces I ll have them!I haven’t read all the comments above yet but I do agree about not being too hasty in getting rid of stuff that you haven’t worn because the weather is a huge in a country that can never decide what season its in on a day to day basis I know that some times stuff goes unworn because the weather hasn’t been right for it.
    The wine coloured dress lovely but very short,is this the problem.
    Moto jackets-Ha! I have one ,I’ve never worn it either.Why?I wish some one could answer this question.
    Bell sleeves -could have warned you about them.Lovely to look at,great at dangling in your dinner,washing up etc.Bicycle clips on your arms or shorten the sleeves is the only reasonable thing to do.
    Everything else is totally fabulous and I would wear it in a heartbeat.Courage ,dear lady ,courage.You have fantastic style don’t be afraid to wear the lovely things that you have picked ,you will look fantastic .

  • SarahD8 replied 6 years ago

    So many great observations here. As I was reading through your initial post Suz I also noticed the constraints posed by weather. Maybe going forward, a good strategy would be to look for statement pieces that can be worn in different ways across multiple seasons? Or perhaps having another go at thinking up ways to do this with your existing pieces.

    Could the gilet be shortened enough to fit under one of your existing coats without totally losing its drama? (Maybe slightly toning down its drama would even be a plus?)

    The Vince dress sticks out to me as not your color — too brown and muted a red. I vote pass it on.

    Reading your post was comforting to me in realizing that others also struggle to wear items that they like in theory. I was thinking about that lavender crochet vest I have been trying to work into my wardrobe. It’s a really cool piece but it’s just not warm enough for my climate and my physiology. I keep trying to make it work but I’m also thinking: I just want to own things that are easy to wear!

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    I like Brooklyn’s suggestion for the red jacket — I feel like it has a lot going on with the color, the bold buttons, and the epaulettes. I wonder if switching out the buttons for something more subtle and/or removing the epaulettes would make this piece more versatile and wearable. In the spirit of bossing our clothes around! :-)

    Ditto to Rachylou about needing a good long puffer over the gilet. I cannot overemphasize how great of a purchase my long black puffer has been! It’s light enough but warm enough that it helps any outfit with a long topper work for pretty much any winter day.

    I remember trying on that Vince dress because I loved how it looked on so many of you. It’s really not quite right for me, but I’m surprised at how it turned out not to be the best purchase for others too. I suspect that these pieces that don’t fall neatly into “casual” or “dressy” categories tend to become orphans for a lot of us.

  • kkards replied 6 years ago

    hmmmmm.....i've been thinking about this a while, as i also have a couple of statement pieces that i havent worn.....
    weather? maybe or but i think its really just a small part of the puzzle...if you really wanted to wear them, you'd find a way...
    i think its really 2 things...
    1st..the statement pieces you aren't wearing are really sweaters stand out, but as statements go, they aren't really out there...RED PANTS on the other hand are does the R&B Gilet...the vince dress etc..maybe you just aren't wanting to scream....
    2nd...i think its a ratio thing...if you have limited times that you are dressing for the outside world, you need less statements, unless you wish to make a different statement each time...
    anyway, that's my take...YMMV

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Wow, thank you all so much for these thoughtful comments! So much wisdom here! I really value your input and think I am coming away with some possible solutions. 

    Kkards -- you are onto something for sure re ratios. I need a special occasion capsule but maybe I allowed myself to overbuy for it. And maybe too many of my statement items are of the special occasion variety. So that I lack statements workable for my real life (apart from a few sweaters.) Interesting thought. The next step would be to work out, what statements work in my regular days?

    (Ditto for the weather issue. I need a few statement items for temperate weather, but I also need some that work for winter and high summer). Can I work out the proportion of statement-to-essential that would be optimal? 

    Janet and Rachylou, I think you are onto something about that puffer! Next year, or even now, if I can find one on sale -- a lightweight long puffer. I'd have worn that gilet a lot more if I had it and it wouldn't be a bad purchase for me anyway -- making its own statement on shortish me! I'm on the hunt! 

    Brooklyn, you are spot on about the epaulettes!! Face-palm!! I almost always want to remove them from everything, so why not this? I am going to investigate. The style is really excellent on me (I have a navy version that's a workhorse -- no epaulets on that one, ha!). And I actually wanted the colour. So...

    Vince dress -- I think SarahDB, you are dead right -- that burgundy is too brown and that is a huge part of why I don't wear it. It's "okay" on me...not bad...but not my best. And it is also a bit short (not as short as on the model but it shows my knees...and, well...time to pass it along. Next! 

    Sarah, I could also consider shortening the gilet by a few inches -- it would be a bit more wearable thus. And why not, right? I'd want to keep it midi but it is a very long midi length on me currently. 

    Cardiff Girl, you are so right about weather. Some years just don't present us with the opportunities for specific items and other years do...I will hang onto some. Re the moto- I can't answer. I did wear it a lot when I first purchased it, may come back into favour. 

    Cindy, you'd look great in the pink! I love both colours, actually...


  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    LaPed, your thoughts on the red pants are really helpful. I also love patterned bottoms but I think you have hit on the issue -- they have to be low-key patterns. The leopard would be fine, sort of, if the fit were better...I will hang onto them for a while and see if I like them better next winter. And solid red is just a different animal, so to speak.  Now I know. Fortunately, these were very inexpensive. I might keep them into spring and see if I can make them work then.

    Jane, it is funny how white footwear can feel conspicuous! But it does! Much more so than silver, for me...

    Shevia, I think you also have hit on something -- for me, with my angular face, the round collar fights with it a bit, making my jaw seem harder and I then feel less feminine or something. I'm all for androgyny but there is something a bit off. On the other hand, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the slit in that neckline. So... 

    Yes to the red boots. In spring, maybe. I'll give it a whirl. 

    Deborah, thank you so much for weighing in with such great suggestions and thoughts! I do feel more comfortable and "me" in navy, ink, white, and grey/ silver (with bits of black) but I also adore colour and all-neutrals makes me sad. So I'm always fighting myself a bit. I do know that coats and toppers are a good place for colour (along with scarves, footwear, and bags). 

    The gilet does work with the sequinned culottes and I have worn it that way once, last year. 

    I might try the Vince dress more casually as you and Vix suggest before passing on. Worth a shot. Maybe with ponte pants and tall boots -- maybe even for work tomorrow! 

    You're dead right about the classic style of the J. Crew jacket. I'll search for the buttons. It won't date much, if at all, and can come out occasionally to play. It's a nice quality fabric. 

    Love what you say here and need to apply this thinking carefully: 

    "These days I am very quick to move things on that are not working for me. I have struggled with the guilt of money spent on some things but the guilt only exists while the item is still hanging in my wardrobe. Once I have donated or passed it on to a new home, its lifts and I am ready for the next mistake lol."

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Jenn-- I have definitely overbought for shoulder seasons. And, in my defence, the shoulder was really unusually short this year, and I have been dealing with some serious family problems so have not had as many special occasions. 

    Lynn, I love what you suggest here: "Perhaps it would help to try to identify exactly what your happiness factor is in the gilet vs how you feel wearing the other items you posted. You can tell I am still into focusing on my feeling in my clothes:)".    

    So...the gilet feels (and makes me feel) dramatic, structured, strong. My style persona used to be "urban prince" and after some waffling about I have more or less come back to this as a descriptor. The gilet (and the sequinned culottes) make me feel "urban prince" and some of the other items feel more "princeling." If that makes sense. 

    Greyscale, I thought you looked good in the high waists? Or is it just some of them you don't like? I still envy your closet. :) And will be examining your Finds for clues.... (hoping that does not sound weird!)

    The Cat, you are a wiser woman than I and clearly I can stand to learn from you! I do so much better on this stuff than I used to do, and do have a decent wardrobe for my typical days -- what I lack, it seems, are wearable statements for those days (beyond scarves) while I have (apparently) too many special occasion statements! Lesson learned, I hope. 

    Vix, thank you so much for stopping in and giving your RX!! I think you're right about those pants -- I'll try them a few ways and let them go without angst if they don't work -- they were not expensive. 

    The bell sleeve top is a good colour but without the sleeves is boring. Also inexpensive and I don't like the feel of the fabric -- so, onwards. 

    Re colour more generally -- with silver hair, I'm actually wearing brighter, clearer versions of my former "best" colours. I'm still a "cool" or "true" summer, I think, but I need more intensity than I used to wear, or I'm washed out. For example, I used to look good in a light chambray blue. Now? Forget it. I need a darker denim hue. The royal blue that used only to look good in summer (with white) now looks good on me all year. Cranberry red is still good, but fire engine red is even better. That pink of the J. Crew is perhaps just slightly on the warm side for ideal, but it is cooler in person than on the monitor and totally lights me up IRL. 

    Example -- remember our leopard stretch silk shirt from AT? It used to be rather "strong" for me, despite being in my general palette. Not now. Now it's perfect. 


  • Vix replied 6 years ago

    Hi again Suz --

    I do remember our blue leopard -- in fact I just dropped mine at the tailor to crop it below the bust so I can layer it under dresses and sweaters. 

    TBH I think your old hair color did throw things off a lot. Your skin looked gorgeous in that top but the hair was tonally off. Then the reverse for the chambray -- looked great with your hair but as you've noted, not strong enough to make you glow.

    So it will be fun to watch you continue to explore shades/palettes as well as contrast. Just beware your love of balanced warm/cool fire engine red tops doesn't morph to include tomato. ;) 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Smittie, yes! Maybe I need to invest in more neutral statement items...and keep my bright colours for supporting non-essentials like knit tops/ shirts/ blouses...

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Vix, that's it. The jacket is true red...vs. fire engine (both sweaters that I *do* wear are fire engine!). So the jacket is on the borderline.  I go no further toward the orange side!  ;) 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Interesting thread. Couple of more thoughts from me:

    1. overbuying for our shoulder seasons - that is such a smart term, too - is a real problem , isn't it? All the great clothes are for spring and fall, yet both you and I live where those seasons can be gone in a flash.  The Vince dress (and yeah, isn't it interesting how so many of us couldn't make that dress work?) is a perfect example. It's too dark and too much for summer, ok for fall, too filmy and staticky for winter under a coat, and too dreary in colour for spring.  I think I wore mine twice.  

    2. shortening the R&B piece is a good idea...might make it more wearable, but would take away a bit of the drama...

    3. I too need a packable/lightweight longer black puffer like Janet's.  

    4. and I too wonder what is the "ideal" mix of statement vs essentials?  I want all statement pieces,lol.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Yeah...I wish I'd snapped up Janet's jacket! It would probably be too long for me, alas. The LLBean version is sportier but comes in petites so might work better for me...  It does come in black, too. 

  • Suzanimal replied 6 years ago

    I have a hard time with statement pieces, too. I've finally settled on handbag, shoes, and coats being my statements. The handbags and coats are easiest for me because they're not on me every second and shoes because they're not right at my face. However, I just can't make ankle boots look right on me. I love them. I think they're adorable. I have 5 pair I've never worn that I'm thinking about letting go of because I just can't make them work. :( 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Suzanimal -- tell me more about why ankle boots don't work for you! What do you wear instead? What do you usually revert to? 

  • Suzanimal replied 6 years ago


    They either don't look right with my pants or I look short and stumpy in them. I'm 5'4", btw.  If I roll my jeans, I look stumpy. If I tuck them my legs look too skinny for the boot. I dunno if that makes sense. 

    Actually, the only boots I don't feel stumpy in are my OTK. I love those but only wear them for dates. I don't even think I own a pair of boots that hit right below the knee.

    I actually wear a large variety of shoes so it's hard to say what style I revert to because it just depends. Right now, I'm loving my gold heeled loafers. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    I'm 5' 4" also with legs on the short side, and proportionately even shorter calves. So booties were a really tough sell for me, too, except I'd always adored chelsea boots so I was highly motivated to figure out ways to make the style work. 

    FWIW -- a few tips to make them work (if you want to). 

    Take pictures
    . And make sure the angle is accurate. When you look at your own legs in a mirror, you are looking down, thereby foreshortening the perspective -- your legs look much shorter than they do to others! 

    Tone booties to bottoms. So if you are wearing black bottoms, wear black or charcoal booties, etc. This will lengthen the leg line and minimize horizontal lines. 

    Aim for booties with a snug shaft -- you want to avoid the "flower pot" effect. Experiment with shaft heights. A "V" shaft will lengthen the leg line somewhat (Munro Find). Taller shafts will work better with the cropped pants both to keep you warm and to "close the gap". (Finds). Mid-shafts can work better with a dress if you have short legs. (Aquatalia Find -- it works on me with a dress and toned hose). 

    Tucking into booties never looks good on me. (Tucking into BOOTS can work -- even mid-calf boots -- but the height is different). It's a question of proportion and each person is different. 

    Pointed toes will lengthen the leg line, even in a boot without a heel. 

    Try a small heel if you can. 

  • Ginkgo replied 6 years ago

    Suz, how about a short term fix...pack your suitcase full of booties and come to the west coast for Easter break. You need to get away and wear your lovelies!

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    No West Coast, Suz 


    I haven't read all the comments, so excuse the repetition:

    • Keep your statement pieces in a solid neutral, perhaps? 
    • Don't over analyze the "whys" here too much. At the end of the day, your very emotionally tricky 2017 and the blasted climate are the real reasons for these orphans. Stick it all in a holding zone. Start again. Listen to your current feelings. 

    And much love to you. xo

  • replied 6 years ago

    Thought of you when I saved this photo today .

  • BrieN replied 6 years ago

    It's interesting to read Janet's comment about the Vince dress being neither/nor. I have been very thankful to wear that dress when either I don't know what the dress code is or when I think there will be a big range of "dressy-ness". One event I wore it to last year people wore jeans/sneakers and others cocktail attire and there was at least one ball gown. I was happy in the chameleon dress

  • Suzanimal replied 6 years ago


    Thanks for the tips. :) 

    The flower pot effect. I run into that a lot. I have a pair of sock booties I may try messing with this week and see if I can make one pair wearable. 

    I'm also not sure I have the right pants for them. I mostly wear ankle pants and they look silly with my boots. I have some trousers but they're too dressy for the boots I own. My jeans are either skinnies or cropped flares. The skinnies give me the flower pot look or the sawed off look when rolled up and the cropped flares just look ridiculous, lol. It seems I bought the boots because I loved them without much thought about what I would wear them with or if they would even look good on me. :o 

    I never thought about the angle. I'll have to try taking some photos. 

  • Gigi replied 6 years ago

    This is an interesting thread. This is one of the things I like about the way fashion is addressed here at YLF: there is a lot of analysis that goes into *why* something works or doesn't work. In my own style, I enjoy that analysis, figuring out the nuts and bolts of what creates happiness in my outfits.

    Suz, you have mentioned that you are not afraid of bright colors on the bottom (at least...I think you said that; the thread has gotten long). I am reminded though of a pair of orange-red pants that you bought as a wild card from BR maybe three years ago (?). They were full length, I believe. I remember that those did not work out. I'm just wondering if there is any correlation between the two brightly colored pairs of pants not working out or if it was just coincidence.

    I hear you on feeling boxed in by your climate. I see so many cute booties around but know that I won't have that much time to wear them in the year (my climate is similar to yours). And cute footwear for a serious winter is not easily found. I'm starting to watch Blondo's offerings more and more; same with La Canadienne and Aquatalia. Yes, they're expensive, but when you're stuck wearing the same two or three pairs of boots for four months, they might as well be fashionable ones!

    Janet beat me to a suggestion for the military jacket: change out the buttons. I think that would make it more sophisticated and less "cute." I also am averse to epaulettes and can understand why you would want to get rid of them!

    It is interesting how just minor details can really affect our take on a piece of clothing. I recently ordered a leather jacket from WHBM. I put it on, and it just looked ho-hum. I wanted to figure out why, and I finally realized that it was because the peplum at the back also extended to the sides, which made the jacket have less of a streamlined look, and the tops of the shoulders were slightly puffed, which I HATE! So I took my hand and pushed down the puffy shoulder on one side, and used my other hand to lay the peplum flat, and voila! I loved it. Mystery solved. So this got returned to the store.

  • lyn67 replied 6 years ago

    Dear Suz, I have only 2 things to add:
    1. Try the culottes(no underlayers), the booties, the blue sweater& the 2xbright jackets come Spring!  I'msure they will work fab! 
    2. I have a long gillet simillar to yours and never have found  a long enough  coat to layer on either- so-  I now keep it in  my office and put on when want a bit of drama over an outfit which matches. Problem solved!:-)  


    3. Try wearing the animal cords with a longer black or grey top so to  reducing the amount of the pattern. This will  surely help!

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    It is frustrating to spend good money on things and then not wanting to wear them. I hate that feeling too. You may indeed find yourself wearing them next year though - I know I've done this with many items I bought in one year and thought I'd never wear. For example, this year for us was a pretty darn cold winter (still happening some days) so my long thick cardigan sweater has gotten a lot of wear when last year I didn't even get it out!

    On the other hand my cashmere sweaters never feel right because they are just too warm for indoors with heat (for me) and I don't wear them if I'm going to be outside walking a lot. Not to mention the delicate washing required. I'll keep one or two for "going out" nights in winter.

    What if next year's winter is milder or if you travel to a warmer area during winter - maybe you will be able to make better use of a few of these things?

    I notice there were 4 pair of pants and 4 jackets in your list - as well as 3 pair of booties.  Maybe you can limit yourself going forward to maybe 1 statement pant, 1 statement jacket and 1 statement bootie/shoe per season? I also notice all of the items are fairly "dressy" and I'm not sure how many opportunities you are having to wear dressy things.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Thank you all so much -- these are all excellent observations and points. 

    Texstyle, you are exactly right about the weather. Next year could be completely different from this year and it could be that I purchased with "last winter" in mind. Ditto on the dressier items. I just haven't had the usual occasions to wear them this year, but that could be different next year. So I won't toss anything out just yet unless the fit is really off and I just don't like. 

    Lyn, thank you! The particular blue sweater is heavy merino so not really wearable in spring here, but I can wear the rest of the outfit as you propose and will give it a go. 

    Suzanimal, do take photos and show us if you wish. It might be a question of styling. 

    Gigi, you are so observant and what a good memory. You are dead right about those orange pants -- I passed them on to Ms.Mary. I think you might be onto something. Patterned bottoms = yes, esp. if a fairly subdued pattern. Screaming red or orange bottoms = not so much. Duh! :) 

    I loved your comment about the details. This is, I think, the key to it all. Some of the details on these items just didn't work well for me even if everything else was perfect. Too heavy or not warm enough; too delicate; too long (for a topper in a climate where I need a topper); too "fussy" in some way....fascinating! Luckily, I can easily get rid of the epaulettes on the jacket, so that should save that particular item. 

    And wow, do I ever agree on the boots. My Aquatalias and La Canadiennes are getting a serious workout this year. I also wear the Ugg snow boots but there are times when a person wants to look at least halfway fashionable and also feel comfortable indoors as well as outdoors (which is impossible in a big clumpy snow boot. These higher end boots and booties are saving my life this year.

    BrieN -- So, I found a way to wear the dress today!! More soon. I think you are right that theoretically, it can be a really useful chameleon piece. 

    Lisa, I love the hoodie with jacket (or gilet) look. Now I need a cashmere hoodie! I used to have one that I loved, long gone now....

    Angie -- holding zone is music to my ears (and eyes) for these pieces. Thank you. 

  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    This was a really interesting thread Suz.  I can relate to several of your pieces... I HAVE several of yor pieces!

    1.  Vince dress.  I got this in navy.  Like you, I've hardly worn it, but it has been absolutely perfect for the times I did wear it.  A couple have been special occasion... one was a May funeral, with black cardigan and shoes, and the other was a late Sept wedding, with navy sandal booties. 

    2. the Halogen crops.  I also struggle with these, and that is with the black version!  Not sure you remember, but I almost got hem in navy last year, but didn't.  thank goodness.  I also have those BR crops, and have NO problem wearing those.  I think for me, and our climate, it's the footwear.  Crops and fashion sneakers, or sandals... bring it on.  But with booties, I don't know, the proportions just don't' feel right to me.  Shame, because I do find those pants very comfortable.  I'm hoping my Sorel's will get more life out of them, as at least those boots feel great.  My take away is that crop flares are better for me in denim/casual, or for summer.  I also have red Sloans... and to me, that bright red for pants is more of a spring colour.  I've put them away for the winter.  So maybe you'll feel better about yours once the sun gets higher and brighter? 

    3.  The gilet.  I got one in plaid, same as Viva's, and have exactly the same struggles with coats.  I can't tell you the number of times I've thought of wearing it but have not been able to as soon as I clued in I'd need a coat too.  When I used to walk back and forth to work, I always had full length wool coats, but now that I drive I tend to have shorter ones.  I have been known to carry it to work and put it on once there, but have to be careful I don't need to go to any outside meetings.  Pita.  But still a fun piece that I'm hanging onto for a while. 

    4.  Change out those buttons!  Settle down with the Olympics and a needle and thread and you'll have it done in no time.

    5.  Booties.... yup, totally relate to that too.  But when spring comes, you'll wear them.  And then you'll get a non-snowy winter (or will you?)(we're having one this year) when all of a sudden there are more outfit options because you have footwear you didn't plan on, to pair with things you usually wear only in deep winter.  And it totally messes up your "deep winter" capsule challenge, but it's still fun to make new outfits

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Elizabeth, A non-snowy winter??? What the heck is that? We've had snow here since November. Sigh...

    But, I hear you. Some of this is situational, for sure. And seasonal. I'll hang onto the red pants for spring and see how I feel. And I am on a SERIOUS hunt for a lightweight, packable, midi length puffer!! 

  • Neelie replied 6 years ago

    Can you turn the floaty wine coloured dress into a top?  Chop off as many inches as you need to to turn it into a blouse or tunic to wear with pants or skinnies?  Easy to have that done at a tailor and maybe you'd get more use out of's such a pretty colour!

  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    Totally ridiculous.  I hate it.  Two of us even have ski passes this year :(

  • krishnidoux replied 6 years ago

    Jumping in late, just to say this thread is fascinating! Suz, what a great idea. Your analysis is full of precious insights. I am very interested since I share some of the same or similar orphins/underused pieces. 

    Some thoughts:

    J-Crew blue sweater: yes, I think it is correct to assess the problem is not the sweater but the bottom and more specifically the bottom's waist type. It might also be due to the fact that you like toppers (jackets...) and this type of sweater bulks underneath narrower armholes. 

    Leopard corduroy skinny: It might be because the waist is too loose on you. If you feel they are tight aroung the thighs, it's because they are not tight enough at the waist and slightly slide down. If that's the case, alter. It's simple and relatively cheap to have it taken in. 

    Vince shirtdress: Again, try alterations: shorten it. 

  • approprio replied 6 years ago

    OK, so I've been out of the loop for a while and I should probably work through the thread before rattling out a drive-by response but...

    1. There are things in here which look very familiar to me, and not just because I've seen you wear them. I also struggle with trophy jackets and less-than weatherproof boots. Probably for exactly the same reasons.
    2. There are other things that may not have found their niche just yet. You might need to work your way towards a pair of sequin culottes rather than expecting them to work straight away. Once you get your head around sequins as daywear...

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    Would the red pants be less bold if they were long shorts? Just a thought. More leg showing = less red. I'm having a *very* hard time finding good shorts these days and have considered just buying pants and having them altered if I can find someone to do it right!

  • replied 6 years ago

    I am so sorry that I am only just now getting to read this thread.  It was a fascinating read, but I can't add anything that has not already been explored.    

  • Karie replied 6 years ago

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I am just adding my two cents in that I hear you on the climate issue. And yet every year (when it is still warm) I always say “This year will be different. I will wear everything I bought for the season.” And then it gets super cold and snowy and I go right back to wearing what is cozy and what is warm.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Karie, right? PJs for the Winter Win!!!!! (Okay, I'm a little better than that, but honestly, I'm in loungewear from about 8 pm on most nights...if not earlier!)

    Sterling, thank you for stopping in! 

    Liz, I'm (sort of?) glad to know I'm not alone. And the sequin culottes are awesome and I will keep them until they don't fit -- they're pretty easy to wear for the right occasion and the right occasion does come up from time to time. I'm more worried about some of the other stuff...

    Krish, you, of anyone, gets the sweater issue! 

    Noelle, I'm going to keep it as a dress for now and if I don't wear it next autumn, maybe I'll alter. 

  • krishnidoux replied 6 years ago

    Suz, thanks for posting these bootie tips.

    You know, I was thinking about this bootie issue today, the fact that with our cold snowy winters they can't be worn outside - and then they're not really your inside cozy footwear either. In my case, I am lucky in that sense because my workplace happens to be this huge semi public space (college) where lots of indoor walking happens and where changing from snowboots to shoes make sense. Still: carrying booties in your tote is not as practical as ballet slippers. Yet, I do own 4-5 pairs of booties. During the years I lived on the West Coast, these would have been workhorses. But here... that's when I remembered what you posted in my other thread about NTW and had an epiphany: in our weather, Suz, we have to recognize and respect the winter. Maybe we should from now on vow to spend more time, energy and money on building a collection of snow boots. No really. These babies are expensive as h... but having more than one pair - more than two even - could change winter dressing completely. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Krishnadoux, this is exactly my conclusion this year. I agree -- if I worked in a big building and had an office or even a locker where I could remove snow boots, I would wear my booties all. the. time. for months!!  

    But my lifestyle is this: 

    Once a week: Walk 2 miles to work. Teach all morning. No office, no locker. No place to leave my coat, even, except the back of my chair. Walk back. Sometimes meet a friend for lunch on my way back. Sometimes go to another meeting on my way back. 

    2 or 3 additional days a week: Walk to library for research. Walk to campus (as student). Either for class or meetings. Again-- no office, no locker. 

    3 or 4 days a week: Go into town for errands or to meet friends, on foot. Walk in and out of stores, banks, restaurants, etc. on slushy, snowy, or wet streets. Coat stays on unless I am out for lunch or supper or a show; footwear stays on. 

    So...this is my reality. 

    From early-to-mid December (in a typical year) to the end of March or even mid-April (approximately 16 weeks): 

    I need functional but somewhat attractive, flat or block heeled waterproof insulated boots. And slippers for indoors. 

    • True snow boots like Uggs are too casual looking and too warm. (Though I own those boots and wear them for my regular walks and outdoor stuff and on truly stormy days.) 
    • Non leather rain boots would make me sweat.
    • Most booties are not warm or protective enough and would get ruined. 

    From April to May (approximately 8 weeks), I need:  

    • Booties.
    • Sneakers. 
    • (very occasionally) a dressier pump.
    Often, waterproof is best, because weather can be wet. A bootie that is weather proof will get the most wear, even if I own and love others. 

    From early-to-mid June until mid-to-late-September (approximately 14 to 16 weeks) I need, primarily:

    • Sandals or open heel or toe styles, or 
    • (occasionally) sneakers, or
    • (even more occasionally) dressier pump style.

    From mid to late September until the mid-to-end of November or early December (approximately 10 weeks), I need: 

    • Booties (mostly weatherproof because it can be rainy). 
    • Flat casual boots. 
    • (occasionally) a dressy closed pump. 
    I am going to make a separate post about this. Honestly. You would think I would get real with this!! 

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    Have you seen these? Not waterproof, but water resistant. I wonder what that means, exactly? The heel might be too high, though.

  • krishnidoux replied 6 years ago

    Suz, fascinating insight. I am reading the rest on your other post! 

  • L'Abeille replied 6 years ago

    Krish I love what you said -- Respect the Winter. I don't want to respect it -- I want to wish it away already -- but that just isn't my life here and now.

    Looking at posts about spring wardrobe planning and new trends just isn't doing it for me right now. I have too many months left to wear my winter wardrobe and I would like to do it joyfully. (I try to hold off on the winter weight items in spring colours at LEAST into March.)

    I'm thinking of starting my own thread where those of us still well stuck in winter weather can share inspirations to get us through. I was glad to see Suz's new thread but it's pretty boot specific.

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