Puffer in the bag: San Francisco, here I come. . .

Well, I was supposed to make this trip in June, but then I got hit by a car. I'm finally taking off for my first ever visit to San Francisco tomorrow at the crack of dawn. 

Complicating my packing: We're in the midst of a major heat wave, here in the Pacific Northwest. The idea that I might actually feel cold is a bit hard to imagine at this moment. But the forecast is for temps at least 10 degrees C  lower than here (or 20 degrees F lower). 

I'll be there for 6 days. Weather with highs in the low 20s (70s F) and lows in the high teens C. Sun and cloud. No rain. 

My bag is carry on size for international but I am checking it anyway, and I feel like I am taking WAY TOO MUCH. But I'm likely to be making decisions on the fly and needing to carry weather appropriate and day-to-night outfits in my backpack, because we are staying off the beaten track and won't always get back to our place to change after a day of galleries and hikes, for dinner. 

Activities: Hikes, galleries, restaurants, some shopping (maybe). General sightseeing, since I have never been to SF. 

What I am thinking of taking (in Finds). A lot of it is about layering. 

Note: the Vince "dress" is actually a blouse -- I had it shortened. It is nice with the Dries van Noten pants. 

If weather is warm (ish), I have;

 Dries van Noten cotton/ linen pants
Sarong shorts
Boden skirt
Sleeveless/short sleeved tops
Silk blouses (for evening) 
Paul Smith jacket (lightweight wool/ linen)
Denim jacket

If the weather is cool (ish), I have: 

Wide leg full length jeans
BR lightweight wool pants
Skirt (in a pinch -- if in Uber/ taxi) 
Silk blouses (layered under knits/ jackets for eve)
Foil sweater (for evening) 
Other toppers, with knits underneath

Footwear is all comfortable for walking at least short distances -- the slingbacks are not for actual hike, obviously, but evenings. 

Some possible combos I tried this morning -- please excuse no makeup, messy hair, etc. These are decidedly not fully styled -- I didn't add belts, jewellery, or anything like that. Rushing to get ready! 

The last two pics are my travel outfit -- wide legs, sneakers, sleeveless Sandwich top, Paul Smith jacket, scarf if needed. 

If you can see anything I can cut out, let me know, and if you know what the weather is really going to feel like, let me know that, also! 

Thanks for bearing with me here! 


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In the navy now...and not nearing retirement.

I'd be seriously remiss if I didn't report to duty for today's post. In fact, I'd probably get demoted. ;)

Like Angie, navy is my dark neutral and my closet is packed full of it for all seasons. Unlike her, I also wear sprinklings of charcoal and occasionally a bit of black -- but black for me is a colour or an accent, not a neutral, and truth be told, I will likely get rid of it all within the next 3 years or so, as things wear out. 

I was fascinated to read about the specifics of Angie's choices, though—the way she picks and chooses what items she prefers in navy. The pattern that emerges for me -- in relation to her own style -- is that she avoids navy or navy combos (like a strict navy suit) that might seem "corporate," "uniform-like," "stuffy," or that would drag the playfulness of her overall ensemble down. Given her other preferences, the items and combinations she mentions as "not her" might do that to her outfits. Whereas they might work fine, for another person. Even one with a playful style. For example -- I'm the delighted inheritor of a navy bag she passed along!  :)  

Interestingly, though — I tend to wear that bag with my lilac coat. Not navy. 

When it comes to solids, I tend to look my best in a bright, lighter navy, like the J. Crew cotton rollneck sweater  and the Bernardo coat, below. In prints (especially with white) any navy works well. But I wear them all, from darkest ink right on through. I wear navy in patterns (especially stripes with white or off-white) and in plains. In fact, it is a challenge to find a wardrobe item I do *not* own in navy. I even have navy undies! 

While sometimes, for presentations, I have created a navy "suit" with my blue tuxedo blazer and a slightly different navy trouser, it's rare for me to do this, because it feels a bit too strict for my style unless I can lighten it up with a playful, fun top. I'd be much more inclined to wear a navy patterned suit. I do wear navy pea coats, and raincoats, and overcoats. Navy footwear, accessories, and bags (when I can find them). 

The challenge, for me, over the past few years, in fact, has been to find wardrobe items in colours other than navy. That's because with earth tones trending for so long, navy was often the only cooler colour on offer or the only one that had any hope of suiting me. I'm still working on building up a red/cranberry/ burgundy capsule, and a lilac/lavendar capsule; I've been at this for years and never seem to get very far because no sooner do I find one good upgrade/ update than I have to retire two older items that have worn out or no longer work for me. 

That doesn't mean I'm done with navy, though! Always on the lookout for great pieces in my favourite dark neutral. 

Also, I will say -- if you build a closet primarily around a dark neutral, whether that be navy, black, charcoal, brown -- it becomes very easy to mix and match. Within a given season, almost anything in the closet has the potential to work with almost anything else. Jenn's closet is a great example of that, using black. 


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Another packing post

In the keeping it real tradition.... WIW for the last two weeks. 

I'm just back from a 10 day working retreat at a friend's oceanside cabin. Preceded by two days in Vancouver visiting friends. Activities included sitting on my bum writing or trying to write. reading, hiking in the woods, and swimming. Visits with friends included at-home suppers, watching butoh dancers on the beach, listening to the tail end of the folk fest. And more hiking and swimming. 

In other words, this was super-casual. 

No outfit pics because no mirrors. But I will say, I wore every item I brought (most more than once), I did hand laundry for undies and a stained top. It rained for a day and a half, so I did need the raincoat. I also had sun hat and sunnies, of course! 

I wish I had photos of the hummingbird on the branches of the old apple tree, the eagle snatching a fish from the waves, and the flicker who came up on the porch with me and initiated quite a conversation from less than a foot away. 


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Extra? Dries consignment find

Thank you all for your kind commiserations on my crash. The pain has been worse the last few days but I'm also getting treatment (physio and massage) and my follow up x-ray is good, so I think I am on the mend. 

I've been waiting for weeks to show you something I found while in Vancouver for Mr. Suz's surgery in late May. I visited one of my favourite consignment shops and came away with these Dries van Noten cotton-linen pleated wide leg joggers in plaid. Is that "extra", or what? I mean, all in themselves. 

I say they are Dries van Noten and that is what the tag says, but I can't find a similar version online from any collection. So maybe they are a fake. I doubt it though -- the shop is reputable and they are very nicely made. 

I apologize for the poor lighting. I did not have the energy to set things up today for anything better, but I think you still get the idea. They are navy, off-white, burgundy, black. They are SUPER comfy.  I think they'll be really useful on those early fall days when it is still hot, but also throughout spring and summer with white and lilac. 

I must say, I feel very "garçonne" especially with the wingtips. It's a 20s golfing outfit! 


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WIW to crash

On Wednesday afternoon, I was on my way to meet JenniNZ when an SUV collided with me on my bike. 

Actually, that makes it sound like it was the driver's fault. It wasn't, or not entirely. If there was a fault, it was on both our parts, but honestly, I think it was down to road design more than anything. The street I was turning onto is extremely narrow— one lane—shared by vehicles going both ways and parked as well as bikes and pedestrians, and has low visibility due to a hill, lots of vegetation, and curves. 

I won't show the photo I took immediately after the accident lest I traumatize anyone, but I am not exaggerating when I say there were tire tracks (his) all the way up my arm and on my face.  It was that close. Or, rather, I guess I should say -- I got hit -- but luckily neither of us was going fast on such a quiet residential street and  he had braked and so had I, so the force of impact was as low as it could be, considering he was driving a massive vehicle. 

I fell hard on one arm and have some nerve damage in my right hand. On my left side, where his car hit me, I have a punctured lung but it is healing. I have some ugly bruises. And I bit hard on my mouth so I had to have stitches there. I have a fat lip and some light scrapes that will not scar. 

No broken bones, no concussion (I didn't hit my head), no internal injuries (beyond the lung), and -- believe it or not! -- my bike is actually ok! Not only that -- so are my clothes! My shoes got two very tiny marks that I washed off. My shorts didn't even get dirty when I fell. (How?? White shorts!!)  My top probably had some marks on it, but they didn't really show on the navy and they washed right out. 

The driver stayed at the scene and made sure I was okay. He even came to my home to check on me the next day. The doctors at the hospital could not have been kinder or more thorough. 

I was sad to miss Jenni but I am very grateful to be alive. I even managed a walk this evening.  :) 


Surprise set?

I am not sure if this qualifies as a "cute colour combo" but it reminded me a bit of the last outfit in that series that uses the same pattern for suit and top, except in different colours. Although here, I'm not playing with colour, the idea is related. I'm picking up part of the (rather busy, colourful, and already very mixed) pattern and repeating. 

This is an unmatched, surprise set. I was putting away this just-laundered Sandwich top when I noticed that it essentially echoes the white-teardrops-on-navy portion of the pattern that appears in my Boden pleated skirt. Could it create a kind of "matched" set? Bingo! 

An irony -- I bought this very-much-on-sale top as a way of getting free delivery when I ordered a skirt and another top from Sandwich earlier this year. Unlike the skirt (which I haven't even worn yet!) it has already proved itself a workhorse, just as its similar, sister top did last year. (Same general style, except the other top has a straight, not bloused hem, and is a different fabric -- woven vs. knit.) 

As usual, my apologies for the lighting...I do my best. 


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Enough with the silver jeans, already

Ok, this is in the interests of leaving no retail stone unturned. Another Canadian fabber kindly pointed out that the Bay was selling a silver jean by a company unknown to me, called Own. They were on sale, so I ordered them to try, just in case I might prefer them to the Zara jeans I showed last week.

They arrived and here is my review  These are a nice quality jean. The silver finish is a mid cool tone and feels soft to the touch. These are raw hem and available in multiple lengths. I got the short ones, obviously. ;) They are TTS. They are billed as "mid rise" but much like the Zara jens, they are in fact high rise on me. They are a slim straight verging on skinny -- very similar to the Madewell Stovepipe jean, for those familiar with that cut and style.  Also like that jean, they are made of a very stretchy fabric. 

However, I tend to like more structure in my jeans and so I prefer the 100% cotton of the Zara version, For that reason, I'm sending these back. 

Forgive the lack of styling -- just threw them on to try. 

Hope this may be useful to someone. And now I am done with silver jeans for now! 


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Drape and flow lite

I wore a version of #4 in today's blog post yesterday; and I'm wearing another version today (no pic, but skirt with cropped BR top).

The top in yesterday's outfit (very old, J.Crew) does not have the same degree of volume as in the example but I have left it untucked and loose in back and blousoned in front. Wore this for a Zoom presentation. 

Earlier this week, I wore yet another version with high-volume cropped  jacket for a lunch date. 

And yep, you read that right -- I've already worn the navy asymmetrical skirt THREE TIMES.  In one week. Yes, this fully illustrates my love for my newer items. But also --  this is the workhorse I did not know I needed. It's like an updated tube skirt. Casual (or dressy, as needs be!), easy, can curl up in it, has that little extra because of its shape. 


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The Shoe Review, Part 2: Mistakes were Made

Ok, so that sounds a bit more portentous than it should. 

It was only one mistake. 

You may recall I recently did a big footwear edit and summer shoe renewal. 

I bought: 

  • EOS white sneakers
  • Naturalizer silver sneakers
  • Cole Haan knit oxfords
  • Naturalizer heeled sandals
  • Naturalizer slingbacks 

The good news, moving backwards: 

1. I managed to nab a sale pair of the Banks slingbacks in the size up from the size I showed in the earlier post. This size fits better in the length and (so far) does not fall off my heel! Score!  I predict a long future for these in the closet since they are such a fun, classic, retro style and easy to wear. 

2. The Vera heeled sandals also seem like a win. Admittedly, I have only worn them around the house, but they feel flexible, stable, and they do not rub. 

3. The Cole Haan oxfords get rave reviews all over, and I can understand why. Admittedly, I haven't worn them out of the house yet. But I am wearing today and I am impressed. Very lightweight. Unusually supportive for a flat shoe, which may have to do with the slight lift at the back and the fact that they are not too wide. (I do not have a narrow foot overall -- my forefoot is medium width. But my mid foot and heel are apparently narrow or lower volume -- more on that in a moment). In any case, I really like these and imagine they will be good travelling shoes. They look good with dresses or pants because they are quite refined. 

4. The Naturalizer sneakers are a huge win! I have worn them now on a 4.5 km walk, a 3 km. walk, shorter jaunts, and around the house (at first) and I got no blisters! Also, they are supportive enough for me so far without a special insole (which I usually need to add to sneakers to make them wearable.) Very cushy and comfy! 

5. The MISTAKE. The EOS sneaker, which was so comfy out of the box and in the house, gave me a massive heel blister on my first real outdoor outing. Even with socks on. I gave the shoes a rest for a day or two, loaded up on blister bandages, and substituted my Superfeet insole. No luck -- it was still too sloppy for my foot and I got blisters on my toes this time! UGH. 

I can't return, obviously, but I'm hopeful the situation can be remedied. I'm going to try next time with double insoles -- the manufacturer's, plus one of my slim Superfeet insoles -- and see how that goes. It feels more secure on try-on. 

It just goes to show that footwear purchases don't always go the way we think they will go -- even when we take special care. 


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More Zara: the silver knit top upsized & more

So, while ordering silver jeans to try, I also tried a larger size in that knit top outfit (skirt was the right size) and threw in more things to try as well.

I'm not decided on any of it and would value your thoughts and opinions. Thanks in advance!

First, the knit top/ skirt outfit. I like the top much better in this size. Worn as a dress and then the skirt dressed down. This is inexpensive and might be quite versatile because I could wear the items as separates. I wouldn't wear the skirt in high summer (it is lined, so would be too warm then) but I can see wearing it the rest of the year.

Next, a silvery cardigan. I thought it might be the same material as the skirt set, but it's not exactly the same. Very similar, though. Subtle sparkle. I can see wearing this all year but especially as a topper in summer. I didn't really style it intentionally here -- just threw it on over what I was wearing (old blouse and GAP jeans I was trying on as well).  

Then, an asymmetrical navy skirt. It is a fairly substantial knit. I somehow wasn't expecting it to be knit (didn't read the description carefully, I guess) and at first I thought I'd send it straight back. But trying it on with a few items, I'm not so sure...it looks like it could be pretty useful. Very easy and casual. Incidentally, in a couple of photos I am wearing it with a boxy blouson T-shirt I got from Zara years ago. Some of their stuff has real staying power in my closet, say what you like about fast fashion. 

Finally, the cotton dress Christina got for Morocco. I love love love the Marimekko-like pattern on this and the beautiful fabric. It's lovely cotton that barely even wrinkles! Alas, it truly overwhelms me, as you can see. I might be able to size down (worth a thought?) And/or I could potentially alter. Changes I might make include fixing the neckline so it is not such a low V and hemming a few inches. Or, I could just forget about it, LOL. 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts! 


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