Stripes&Chambray, for Lisa: K/R

Lisa asked me if my striped VC skirt would work with chambray or denim. It just so happened that I recently received the J. Crew chambray shirt to try, so let's take a look. 

I own a dark denim shirt from Banana Republic. (Pic 1) While I love the colour and the buttons of that shirt, I am not crazy about the shape (or lack thereof) and the lack of draping. The fabric feels stiff and bulky. Wearing the shirt is a bit like having a bad hair day that you keep hoping is in your imagination but turns out not to be. So I've been looking to replace it for a while. 

This chambray is a contender. It's much lighter in colour and the fabric is also lighter weight. Although the fit is more oversized and boxy, it is easier to tuck, semi-tuck, and drape. 

Pros: fabric is nice, collar behaves well, seems more easy to style in some ways than the denim one. 

Cons: not sure I like the colour as well, feel ambivalent about the ivory buttons -- they don't work with everything equally well. 

On to the striped skirt! As I told Lisa, I think to work with a soft blue like faded denim (or even darker denim) or chambray, this striped skirt requires some careful styling. Here I have bookended the black with my glasses and a cami and my sandals. I'm essentially wearing it as the shirt as if it were a jacket. 

To my eye, it doesn't look as good on its own with the skirt (even with my glasses). If I had dark hair I don't think this would be an issue. My hair would bookend. But Lisa, you are on the fairer side as well. So I would consider this. Having said that, I would LOVE to see you in a skirt, any skirt, so if you are considering, please don't hold back!

Back to the shirt: what do we think? Is it a keep or a return? I am truly ambivalent on this. I suspect I would wear it enough to earn keep. But it doesn't feel like "the one." (Note: I did buy it on significant sale, so cost is not a big issue.) 

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25 Comments

  • ramya replied 7 years ago

    It does look nice Suz. But then if it doesn't feel like the 1 off it goes.i don't think you need to settle for the second best now. Do you see the need for second best rule?

  • donnat replied 7 years ago

    First, I loved the way you described your dark denim shirt, like a bad hair day you are hoping is in your imagination. Such a vivid description, yet made me laugh.
    I like the chambray with the skirt in 3 and4, it has kind of a rate casualness feel to it. I do like the shirt, but,if you are not feeling it, it's not a keeper.

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    OK, here is my ruthless self: if you are ambivalent it means you don't love it. I suggest playing in your closet with it to see if you can get at least 3 outfits with this shirt which will set your heart aflutter. If not then I would return: our closets are too small to keep less that stellar things.
    <climbing down from my soapbox> 

  • Kyle replied 7 years ago

    I do like the darker denim a bit more in terms of color. But of course if you don't love wearing it, that trumps everything.  I don't think the chambray is quite as fab as some of the other things you've been wearing. It feels a little big for petite you. And then, as you say, something about the color. I also have a love-hate relationship with this color of chambray and wish I knew why. Like you, I enjoy and wear blues well -- but this shade is vexing. It generally tends to feel a bit blah, and that's my sense here, too.

  • Kyle replied 7 years ago

    Suz, case in point: Look at the blue button down you are wearing in the photos you posted on Shannon's bootie thread. It has a richness in tone that is positively stunning on you!

  • ManidipaM replied 7 years ago

    I, um, am not sure about this colour for you, Suz. You wear taupe so well, yet the greyed wash of this doesn't seem to make your eyes sparkle like a chambray or denim ought. The darker wash does that, whatever it's fit and feel issues. Please consider more of a true-blue wash, even if faded? Especially if it is to serve as a transitional piece?

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Okay! The wise forum has spoken! I have other returns to make in this batch as well, so it is no big deal. Back it goes, for PPP! 

    I think you are right about this colour, by the way. There is something a bit "off" about it. A true faded denim would be better. 

  • pastrygirl replied 7 years ago

    I struggle with chambray, too. In theory, I like it, but when I try to find something, the color is always drab. I agree that this color looks a bit washed out for you.

  • Day Vies replied 7 years ago

    I am really loving this blue black and white kick of yours. I adore #1 and the texture the printed scarf adds. I also love the striped skirt and the sandals! I need a flat pair in black and brown (you YLF ladies inspire me endlessly) I also adore #2 it's such a lovely manifestation of your personal style. I am not sure if I'd be convincing if I copied it exactly but I do adore this look.
    #4 -- you know I prefer a waist and the shirt w/o the tie doesn't have enough shape so it's not my favorite but I still love the color palette.

  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago

    I adore denim and chambray shirts in theory but not so much in practice. Personally, I think they either are a BIG "oh, yes!" at first sight, or they hang around in the closet because, as you so aptly put it, they are the "bad hair day" clothing equivalent.

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    I agree what you say about the shirt on its own the skirt. I think that could be addressed with something like tan booties, which would bookend with your hair and also make the outfit unequivocally RATE, and thus give a little more leeway.

    I like the combo.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    I love the outfits with the specs, skirt and the chambray - and see no challenges at all. I just adore these simple looks. Wear your specs more often.

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    First, thanks for posting this!  You are so sweet.

    #1 is a fab look, I like high contrast looks so of course I like the darker denim against the bright white jeans.  For me, the chambray is not working because the black and white are very bold and the chambray here is too soft.  I am finding these "denim/chambray" shirts a real challenge myself.  There are a lot of them out there on the market, but they are tricky to select which one works best on oneself.  Sometimes they are a....I'm not sure how to describe the blue color, but it's not a true blue color, more a mix of other shades, this shirt here looks like one.  I have purchased and returned a shirt of this shade myself already this season.  It just wasn't mixing with my stronger color wardrobe.  I don't wear muted shades very often.  A shirt this color probably works well with greys and pastels.  I do like the idea of the denim shirt against this skirt though.

    I love the idea to bookend with the dark specs, they are lovely on you!

  • Ingunn replied 7 years ago

    I have been interested in this particular shirt, too, and it is tremendously helpful to see it on you. I actually like it quite a lot, in particular the way you've styled it in #2. But you need to feel it yourself, of course!

  • Nicola replied 7 years ago

    You've probably made up your mind by now, but I think you look just fine. If you hadn't mentioned your reservations I would not have even thought of them.

  • Karie replied 7 years ago

    I know I'm a little late to the party, but here goes:


    I really like the dark denim BR shirt in #1!  It doesn't look like the clothing equivalent of a bad hair day at all. The lighter shirt looks OK, but not as good as the darker on you. I do agree that if it's not "the one" then back it goes.

  • Lyn D. replied 7 years ago

    Late too!
    Just wanted to admire the colour of the darker shirt on you Suz.
    Love the skirt.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thank you all for your wise counsel! 

    Angie, I wear my specs for a good portion of every day. I just don't wear them outdoors very much because I do not own prescription sunnies, and wearing specs in the sun is impossible for me. I will sometimes wear them on overcast days outdoors. But I wouldn't have bought a second pair if specs-wearing wasn't a daily event for me. 

    Karie, the denim shirt may look good, but if feels not good. Sveta has the same shirt and she agrees. The fabric is simply wrong. 

    Ingunn, thanks -- I am glad if it helped! I agree the styling possibilities are fun with the shirt. It is more soft and you can do more with it than the denim one. So what I really need is one that combines the best of both (and none of the worst). 

    Lisa, it is interesting you have had a similar experience. I would call most of your wardrobe "mid-tone" and that is what mine is, as well. Not truly bold (though there are a few bold pieces) but not soft and pastel, either.This makes sense with our natural colouring. 

    Rachy, that's a great idea to try tan booties. I have a taupe pair that are okay in warmer weather and those might do it. 

    Gaylene, I hear you. I feel the same way. I am sending this one back and holding out for PPP. 

    Thank you all! 

  • cobaltblue replied 7 years ago

    I think the chambray/striped skirt combination will be perfect when you find the ideal shirt. Let us know if you find it!

  • texstyle replied 7 years ago

    It looks so nice -- I'm having a hard time not loving it Suz. But if it doesn't feel right, it's probably not right.  You look amazing in that skirt and those specs!

  • replied 7 years ago

    Suz! It's like you're reading my denim/chambray shirt mail! I agree with you that the paler shade of blue is not quite as flattering as the deep one on you (as I am much the same way). I keep trying these shirts and feel like I'm looking for something that doesn't exist. IKWYM about looking for a bit a drape. My most recent acquisition is stiff and utilitarian and when a gust of wind comes along, I'm worried that I might be carried off. There is no option of tucking or semi tucking this this shirt, but I love the color, cut and styling so I settled (it was thrifted) because I really, really wanted to have something in this category to wear now while I continue the search. Please, please, please send up flares into the sky when you find the right one for you, because it very well may work for me, too!

    Also, you have me rolling on the floor when you described how the one shirt makes you feel like you're having a bad hair day. I can SO relate to that. Bummer that it looks good in a still pic, but doesn't behave well IRL. Bad shirt!

  • Ainsley replied 7 years ago

    Just chiming in to say that while I love the outfit in the second picture, I do also prefer the darker tone of the BR chambray shirt.  Have you tried J.Crew's Keeper chambray shirt in the dark rinse?  I saw it briefly in store last week, it had a nice soft handfeel and I loved the dark wash.  (It also just went on promo today for 25% off.)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Ooh! Thanks, Ainsley - I will give it a look! 

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    I find this shade of chambray hard to style. It looks fab on you as does everything, but I'm not quite seeing it as the one.

    I am really just here to tell you that Jodie Foster has your haircut in Elysium! Her posture and regal bearing (though she is the villain) totally reminded me of you!

  • Marley replied 7 years ago

    Because I love chambray - I'm ooohing and ahhing over these outfits!  And, did you notice that your glasses and your black sandals give off the same vibe?  Very cool!

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