Patterned summer brights

I'll try to get an actual outfit photo a little later if the sun comes round the corner, but for now, I thought it would be fun to show my versions of the look. 

1. Patterned dress. 
2. "Jacket" -- a new kimono. It looks darker in the photo -- it's actually a near-royal blue with pattern of white, grey, pink etc. 
3. Skirt. It also serves as "dress" with the matching top. 

I don't have a patterned bright suit for summer unless you count the 2 piece dress. :) But I do have several other items in bright patterns. A pattern in summer can keep the interest level up when you are confined to one piece or two piece dressing, unable to layer due to heat. 

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My Brooklyn Summer Bust

From the moment Brooklyn began posting about her last year's summer formula of skirt with (special) tee or other top, I decided this was going to be my summer formula, moving forward, as well. If she could manage it with her active dog-walking lifestyle, so could I. Casual, breezy, comfortable, yet dressier and more grown-up than shorts. It really is the perfect solution! If you get the right style of skirt, it will even work on a bike. 

Well, guess what. My Brooklyn-inspired summer is a total bust. 

1. There is no summer. 
2. I cannot find the right skirts. 

Whereas last year we were roasting under a heat dome, this has been the coldest, cloudiest, and wettest spring on record in my part of the world. We haven't even finished setting up our deck furniture and I haven't got all my planters filled. I had to wear a puffer jacket to go on a walk the other night. 

As for the skirts, I am out of luck. 

Exhibit A is a skirt I tried from Zara. A terrific cotton/ linen blend -- it looks fine (at least I think so) but it was a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen -- there was absolutely not enough fabric to prevent it from blowing open at the first breeze. 

As for Exhibit B, the Madewell skirt, it was cut more generously but the fabric felt flimsy and cheap and I did not like it against the skin. 

I really prefer a natural fabric, especially a linen cotton blend of some kind, because most polyesters feel sticky and uncomfortable to me in the heat. I'm also trying to avoid ditsy florals (although I would go ditsy-adjacent) and too much black. So that ruled out a lot of potential options. I really, really, really love Brooklyn's asymmetrical skirts the best—they create such a gorgeous line—so that is what I would prefer. But a simple A-line or a gored skirt would be fine if I could get one that works well. 

At this point, I have pretty much given up the search. I own a couple of older skirts that will fill the need this summer, given how few days of warm sunshine we are likely to get, so I think I will stick with those, plus shorts. 

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Travel Capsule

Here's my tentative travel capsule. Weather is all over the place -- it might be 30C and humid, might be 18 and raining, or 23 and breezy. 

I'll be 4 days in the Toronto area visiting my brother and a friend there -- so some city stuff -- meals out -- but mostly just walking and talking. 

The rest of the time (8 days) in the Kingston area, visiting friends, again, mostly casual. I also have to attend a memorial service while I am there. I don't really have the right footwear for that, but what I have will have to do. 

I will add an umbrella, PJs, rain jacket, more jewellery to this. I *think* it's enough (esp. considering I can layer many of these items), but hope I'm not missing anything crucial. 

I got a new pair of the Eileen Fisher sport sandals. I wore my old ones to bits and did not have a pair last year. I would have tried something different this year – I was particularly interested in a fisherman's sandal – but was not able to find anything of that type, in the end, and knew that these sandals in silver are quite versatile and bookending to my hair, so I went ahead and re-purchased. They are versatile, if not the most current, and maybe the little platform makes them a bit more current anyway. 

The paint splash sleeveless top is new from Sandwich. I ordered a few items from them on sale and was quite pleased, especially with this little summer top. 

OMG I need a haircut. Coming tomorrow!! 

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...or shorter ones

Today's post was relevant to me because on Thursday, I head to Ontario for the first time since Covid restrictions came into effect. I'm still working on the travel capsule, but I think I have my flight outfit organized. I don't run quite as cold as Angie so I don't need as many layers, but I do follow the same principles, albeit in a more casual, slightly less polished key -- practical footwear, pants with ease or stretch, layered knit tops, toppers that are easy to stash. 

Here's my planned outfit, minus watch and earrings and mask, of course! 

The sweater is a replacement for my old Halogen red duster, which after four (or five?) years was pilled and faded. This one is of similar (low-ish) quality and low price point. The fabric is actually nicer than the Halogen, and the pockets are slash-style (more usable than the Halogen's patch pockets), but it has dropped shoulders, which are not as good on me. However, it's fire engine red and it's the right length, so it will do. 

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Navel grazing (and no, it's not a midriff baring top!)

I've been on a hunt for some new jeans.  I definitely needed white to replace old white skinnies, and I also retired my wide leg blue jeans because I wasn't reaching for them.

While I always love to have at least one trendier jean in my collection to update my look, the jeans I consistently wear the most are slim boyfriend style or what I'd call boyfriend adjacent jeans, i.e. jeans with some but not too much  looseness in the thigh area (whether they taper or are more straight on the calves). Ideally, the rise should be what I'd call medium-high, which for me is around the belly-button. And they should have a bit of "slouch" to them. 

This is both for comfort and for flattery. While in theory, a higher rise ought to be best for me (I'm relatively short legged), and even more so, because I have a long rise, in practice, a super high rise won't work, because I'm also short waisted, and just plain short. So some high rise styles cut off my breath and others give me a wedgie. Can't win! 

Anyway. Baggy is the thing these days, right? But reined in baggy with a bit of structure is less overwhelming on me. So I decided to try these Old Navy slouchy straights in white. I love them! They are generously sized, loose and comfy, not at all see-through, and very easy to wear. I might spring for a pair in a different wash as well. 

Meanwhile, Holt's had a big sale so I took the opportunity to pick up a pair of darker wash Citizens of Humanity Emerson's in my size. I already own one pair, a size up, bought when my weight was up a bit -- I still love them and wear them, but they are super baggy. This pair is more of a true slim BF style, giving me options. Trying to decided if I want to shorten them. 

Citizens are the best fitting brand for me, and one reason is that their front and back rises are scaled in a way that works for my body. I can wear their low rise style (when most low rise styles would be indecent on me); I can wear their mid-rise styles; I can even wear (some) of their high rise styles if I get the sizing right. 

Both these jeans have a rise that comes more or less to my belly button, which on me is considerably below my natural waist. Where on your body do you like your jeans to sit and what type of a rise works best to get the fit and feel you like? 

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Team Navy, Reporting for Duty (with a Side of Cobalt)

Carla's thread about her navy purchases this year got me thinking about how dominant navy is in my wardrobe. I posted Finds on her thread and then realized I'd missed a bunch of items. This is just my navy/ ink or navy predominant items, mind you. I also have a lot of items with a white or grey dominant background and smatterings of navy in the pattern. And I've left my dark denim out of this collection, too, even though it more or less counts. I just edited out a few navy items, also, or this collection would have been even larger! 

The first six items were purchased this year -- the rest go back to 2014. Navy has longevity in my closet and I often look for a replacement item before the current navy essential wears out. 

I'm also a huge royal or cobalt fan, too, but it's more an accent. 

Navy's my dark neutral and almost all my essentials are in navy (and denim). I have almost no black in my closet apart from footwear and a couple of tops and coats. 

Who else has navy as their dark neutral? 

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K/R summer dress Barbour vs. Babar -- update: returning after all.

Like Janet and a few others, I've been on the hunt for an easy summer dress to replace a couple I've retired due to wear. What I want is an easy, casual dress to wear around the house (or out, if the spirit moves) and it can't be short or overly bare. 

Today I got this dress from Barbour. 

Pros:

  • Gorgeous cotton jersey, nice hand and weight -- 1000 times nicer than most dresses of this kind. 
  • Navy stripe reads as faux solid grey -- works easily for me due to my colouring. 
  • Easy fit. 
  • Pockets.
  • Nice length. Can wear with sneakers, sandals, stompy boots in early fall. 
  • Works with my denim jackets. 
  • Affordable (I got it on sale). 

Cons:

  • Why oh why did they embroider Barbour on the boob??????? (Note -- this is not visible in the product photo — artfully disguised by the model's hair. Nor is it mentioned in a single review!!!) 

I'm frustrated. I think this little nameplate is a deal breaker for me and it's so unfortunate because the dress is otherwise great. Admittedly, the gathering initially made me wonder if it reads as too young or twee for me, but I could overlook that for the sheer comfort factor, TBH. 

Would love your thoughts, though. Maybe I can accept this for mostly at-home wear...

ETA: Possible solution downthread, thanks to NancyW

So....on reflection, I've decided to return this dress after all. I love a lot about it, but even though at a sale price, it's more than I want to spend on something that's going to bug me whenever I wear it. Now, on the lookout for a similar thing. Sigh....

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(Highly modified) shorts suit

Before the trend was even a whisper, way back in 2019, I had some fun playing with versions of this look. For "shorts" I used my knee length sarong shorts, which look like a skirt from the front. For jacket, I wore my thrifted Paul Smith linen blazer, a much beloved summer item. 

The day I wore this outfit I also tried on (in various stores -- I do not own jacket 2 and 3) what were then the new longer jackets so you can see how it looked with those. The proportions are not great for me and would have been even harder to manage with a completely flat shoe -- these sandals have a 2 inch heel. Even so, I didn't mind either look. 

I will definitely wear the first version again this year. 

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Blazer with tulle skirt

I was inspired by Angie's tulle skirt/ blazer looks to try a couple of my own. Tonight we went out for dinner to celebrate my child's successful semester (and year) -- straight As! 

When I got the tulle skirt in the fall, I thought of casualizing it with with denim jacket, graphic tee and sneakers (no photo, but I wore it this way in the early fall, and here's a version with stompy boots that I also wore, pic 5) and semi-casualizing it with a knit military jacket, sequin cami, and booties (wore it this way, too, pic 4.) 

Tried it today with 2 blazers -- shocking pink J. Crew and red Hobbs. 

There is hot pink in the plaid but it works well enough with red, I think. I ended up wearing the red jacket version with the stompy boots (pic 1)  because rain was in the forecast and it was cooling down a bit when we headed out. Plus I think the proportion of the shorter jacket is a bit easier to work with. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Angie! I'm going to try it with other blazers, too!! 

Edited to add -- my dressed up version also included a blazer -- I'd forgotten! I did take the jacket off for most of the evening but the photo shows it. 

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...and autumn tones in spring

A friend of mine gifted me this merino dress the other day. She is trying to make room in her closet for a new partner's belongings and had a duplicate of this item in another colour that worked much better on her. It wasn't until I tried it on that I realized it is essentially an upscale sweatshirt dress -- and I had been wanting to get in on that trend -- just had not found my perfect dress!  Win-win!  I prefer midi lengths, but for work-from home this might be better, in fact. And with toned-in tights, I think it works. 

It's from a company called Ibex. They don't seem to make dresses any more but I see some on Poshmark. 

I don't wear earth tones but I do wear burgundy and cranberry a lot in the fall, so here I am in autumn colours my way, in spring. Got compliments on this outfit right out of the gate. 

Showing it as is, with a scarf, and with my cranberry cardigan and bag. We are having a gorgeous day so I was able to go out without an additional topper! 

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