Oxymoron? Festive greys

I haven't exactly been looking a lot like Christmas these days, but I have been enjoying my share of festive indulgences including: 

1. Lunch with Mr. Suz at a place featuring locally grown organic food. Wearing grey glen plaid culottes. It really is remarkable to me how wearing one's personal colours (blue and grey, for me -- blue eyed and grey haired) brings instant cohesion! Got a compliment from the waiter on my 3 year old, still going strong trousers as very cool and chic. :) 

2. Shopping and lunch in the new Fair Isle. (Which got compliments from the young servers.) Pea coat and sparkly red YLF scarf. 

3. Dinner at a hip downtown eatery with friends. Outfit -- blues and bling. Coat -- Snow Queen. 

Thanks for looking and happy holidays, everyone! Wishing you good food, good friends, and great fashion. 

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Fair Isle: J. Crew finally comes through. Sweater reviews.

The order I placed on Black Friday finally arrived tonight. That is some kind of record. 

The good news is that I'm keeping both sweaters. 

The cashmere mock neck is very nice quality for the (sale) price. I have been wanting a lighter coloured patterned cashmere sweater and this fits the bill. As reviewers note, it is not fitted (as described) but oversized. I took my regular J. Crew size and at the moment, I'm about at my highest weight/ size; if I were any smaller I'd have wanted to size down. 

I sized up on Sweater 2. I am glad I did -- the shoulder would not have fit me if I hadn't. IRL it is more pale grey than cream on the bottom portion, and the top portion is NAVY, not black. Wearing it in a few combinations in the pics. I loved it with the Black Watch as styled on the web site and since I have a Black Watch suit, I figured i could do the same. It is not too cropped for me at all (some reviewers complained of this). It is also nice and soft. 

I'd have liked a colourful Fair Isle this year and may still pick one up, but these neutrals will easily work with my wardrobe and should have staying power even when the trend is over. 

ETA: Photos are not great but we are in deep darkness now plus major rain. C'est la vie! 

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Festive Challenge Week 2

So, this week was an even bigger fail when it comes to festive dressing. Not only did I dress in a fairly ordinary way (most days) but I also forgot to take photos! 

I did manage two pics. One, the sweater dress outfit, which wasn't exactly "festive" but which felt very nice for going out for lunch with Mr. Suz. I wore it another time with a red scarf for a bit more of a holiday feel when we went to a holiday concert. The dress is performing really well so far. Just what I wanted. Cozy and lightweight. No bagging yet. 

The other outfit was for a small supper party I hosted. I actually wore my indoor silver booties that night -- but forgot to take a photo. Luckily, I wore the same outfit a few nights later to take my teen to Beauty and the Beast. It was pouring that night, though, so I chose my waterproof Blondos to wear to the theatre. I like this shiny foil sweater for casual holiday events. 

The Olivia CoH jeans are great, by the way -- I've really been enjoying them. They are kind of like a high waisted slim boyfriend, if that makes sense. 

Photos are not that great. We are well and truly into the rainy season here and it is dark most of the day! 

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Sweater dress found

I've been looking and looking for "my" sweater dress for a couple of months and tried several on. I struggled with most of the issues Angie mentioned -- price too high, colour wrong for me, length too short (or long), fabrication itchy, etc. etc. Or it sold out in my size before I could pull the trigger! 

I think I've settled on this one from trusty BR. It's soft, easy, and casual. Some reviews noted that it is "huge" but for me it was TTS for BR. It's meant to be a loose shift fit. It probably wouldn't work on those with a sloping shoulder line because of the cut. It's a bit shorter than I'd hoped for (on the knee vs. midi) but will work with flat tall boots and I'm planning to wear tights anyway. 

Note - this silvery grey would seem to be a slam dunk for me, right? Well...it is, sort of. The thing is, I feel "washed out" in it without darker and brighter accents. This is a very neutral outfit -- I just put it on because I only had charcoal tights on hand and I wanted to coordinate. In future I will probably wear blue tights and boots and red and blue accents to liven this up. Or nude hose and silver jewellery and boots or similar. 

Anyway, SUPER happy to have this. 

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How I Wear Grey

What a gorgeous model in today's blog post! Inspiring to those of us with grey, silver, salt and pepper, and white hair. Thank you, Angie!

I'm extremely cool toned, so cool toned greys from charcoal to slate to pearl grey have always worked well on me, even when my hair was blonde. Now that my hair is grey, I choose grey as a neutral more and more. But, as I mentioned in the blog comments, I would feel dull and washed out in an outfit that was all grey, even the most flattering shade. I need to enliven grey with red or fuchsia or white or silver or blues (or some combination of those) to feel like myself.

And I am wary of buying grey coats. I actually own three (one mixed media with black leather sleeves; one slate grey puffer, one "Snow Queen" dressy coat) but for the same reasons Angie describes, I get very depressed by wearing them too much and have to alternate with other coats and/or wear with bright accessories or I feel miserable! 

A couple of recent outfits featuring greys...

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Festive Challenge Week 1

I seem to have struggled with this in the sense that my "festive" outfits don't look different from my regular outfits. But I did at least think "festive" each day when getting dressed, so that must count for something, right? :)

1. Layering a sweater I wore only on its own last year. 
2. Plaid and dark cranberry. Wore this for a meetup with a YLF friend! Sadly, we did not take a photo. 
3. The scarf is a YLF holiday gift from years ago -- it has subtle sparkle!
4. Red 
5. The outdoor version. 
6/7. Similar, worn with a jacket to take kid to the theatre. 
8. See the sparkly "indoor booties"? On my way to a Hannukah party. I am also wearing my silver velour tee, which was visible at the party because I took off the scarf and jacket. 

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NAS Hits, Maybes, and Misses (?)

I loved Angie's analysis this morning and decided to do one of my own. 

My NAS strategy, if you can call it that, is:

  • Replenish worn out basics. (Hard to find bra size makes this a really smart plan -- NAS always has the Natori Feathers, which works for me, and occasionally something else I can wear.) 
  • Prioritize higher end waterproof footwear that I probably couldn't find/ afford at full price.
  • Look for higher end items such as bags, coats, etc. when needed. (Didn't get anything like that this year.) 
  • Read Angie's recommendations, esp. if she personally recommends something. 
  • Try a wild card. 

I don't always achieve all of these. This year I didn't really get a wild card, for example. 

Below, you can see this year's purchases. As for the results? 

So far, the basics are clear winners. CPW already very low. :) 
The Zella hoodie is another win -- with a caveat. I love wearing this soft and textured item. It even turned into a surprise wild card in the sense that I bought it purposely oversized and as such, it is the first true tunic I've enjoyed wearing! But it is already starting to pill. :( So I don't think it will last too many seasons. 

The Kut ponte pants are another clear winner. I don't usually like stretchy skinnies, but these are so comfy and easy to wear. Great for tucking into tall boots on rainy days. 

I wear the scarf pretty much weekly -- so it is another key player this fall. 

Meanwhile, I have not worn the Carie booties as much as I anticipated. That's partly because I have a wealth of other booties to choose from! But also, the ankle slips down on me/ slouches a bit with movement. So I don't get a nice smooth fit with them. I couldn't have known this on purchase -- they seemed fine at home. They are otherwise comfortable, so we'll see how I do with them as the season progresses. I'm really spoiled with footwear now -- so many choices! It may be these come into play a little later in the season. 

My 3 less worn items, predictably, are the dressier ones. The floral dress I have worn three times. I agree with everything Angie says about it. Super comfy and easy to wear. I just don't wear it for work at home days. For me, it's for dates and special outings. 

The shirt dress: Have not worn yet. I got it too late in the season and then was in the midst of a move. I am sure I'll wear it come spring, so I'm unconcerned. 

The EF pumps. So far, unworn. I'm not sorry I bought them (yet) because at some point I'm going to need a dressy shoe, and I didn't have one in the closet. But I need to make an excuse to put them on! 

The lesson I can draw from this so far is that I need to remember at sale time that my real life is casual, as opposed to my fantasy life. I wear dresses as casual wear all summer, but find it harder to wear them in cool temps when I need to wear tights/ hose (that my cat might put runs in.) 

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Tame Wild Card

I have been looking for a longer pea coat for 3 years ...ever since my trusty VC mixed media military jacket started showing severe wear on the cuffs and hem. By the time I finally retired it last winter, it was worn bald in places. I wore that coat so much!!! And wow, did I miss it last winter. Thanks to YLF, I hardly lack for outerwear and I'm never going to go cold. Yet without a piece like this in my wardrobe I feel bereft! There is something about this quasi-military style that makes my heart soar. Anyway, I tried on lots of alternatives, and considered buying many, including J. Crew's pea coats and several at the NAS-- but there was always something off or extra or missing in every version I put on. 

At the consignment store about a month ago I found this Judith and Charles boiled wool navy blue coat. It can be worn Revere-style or buttoned all the way up. I immediately tried it on and liked it, but I left it in the store that day because it was still quite pricey for a consignment piece and I was in a bit of a rush and didn't want to make a rash decision. Lucky me. In the interim, they put it in the window and no one bothered to try it on. So today when I arrived at the store it was on its final markdown and more than reasonably priced for a 100% wool garment. 

Judith and Charles is a nice quality Canadian line. This piece is beautifully made, barely worn, and will be a great layering coat for Vancouver winters over a blazer or sweater. As wild card purchases go, it's pretty tame. But it's completely me. 

Here I am at the store trying it on in various ways. 

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A couple of white boots with a dress outfits and a K/D question

It's pretty easy for me to incorporate white or cream boots, weather permitting, because my hair is light (although more grey than white and cooler toned than my current booties). 

Besides adding a lighter tone in the outfit up top, another simple way to make it work is with pattern that includes white or light tones. 

A couple of fall outfits. 

Question: what do you think of the little jacket in #2? Too dated and "twee", or fun and retro? I could style it with sharper pieces so it is less ladylike I guess -- I just threw it on here to look at it. It's a nice quality TeenFlo jacket that a friend gave to me; it has probably been in her own closet for eons. 

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A few reviews: Blondo and BR silk-cashmere

Hi, all --

My computer is finally working again! (And yay for warranty -- they had to replace everything except the motherboard. Would have cost me $1500 but instead was free.)

I have been popping in here as able but hoping to catch up with you all soon. 

In the meantime, a couple of reviews/recommendations. 

First, the Blondo Elvina. I bought this "western light" boot in black about six weeks ago and have already worn it 30 times or more. So when it came time to look for a taupe bootie to work with my new consignment Pink Tartan jacket (and other things) I was delighted to learn that Elvira comes in dark taupe. 

For me, this is almost an ur-bootie. It has the perfect 2 inch heel height and slope in the footbed for personal comfort. (It actually feels lower than 2 inches to me so those who like a 1.5 inch might try it in case.) The heel is exceptionally stable. The width in the front is perfect for my foot shape. The shoe has a grippy bottom to prevent slips. It is waterproof. (Take that, PNW rain!) It is also lined in warm fabric. (This unfortunately means it would likely be too warm for a very hot climate but of course it is perfect for mine.) I love the pointed toe. It doesn't show in the stock photos well but you can see it in my own pictures. I can walk 20,000 city steps in these with no discomfort. 

Some reviewers say that the ankle is too snug. As you can see, it is actually quite loose on me. But no "flower pot" effect because the loose areas are front and back rather than side to side. This also means no rubbing on that part of my calf. Instant comfort. It also looks quite nice with a skirt or dress with toned hose -- the pointed toe makes it work. If you are in the market for a stylish but not extremely trendy, practical, smart-casual, waterproof bootie, I would highly recommend. 

Next up, the BR silk-cashmere pullover. This is also part of my "Pink Tartan" complement. It is a lightweight knit, tailored at the shoulders and sleeves and bust in my regular size but very fluid below. However, since it's thin, it can be tucked easily or semi-tucked. It's quite long on the body but again, not bulky. It comes in a wide range of colours and makes a terrific simple "base layer" under a blazer because it is not bulky yet it is warm. 

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