Crave Report: Taos, that is.

Yay for Annagybe

She found me a new pair of boots to help ban winter boredom. 

The Taos Crave arrived. I apologize for the light; you can't really tell too much about how they look here, but I can tell you a little more to fill in the details. 

First, they are a true ink blue or dark navy, with silver hardware, and IRL they do not look black. This is a huge plus for me. I love many of the other colours also. But wasn't as sure I'd wear them regularly. 

I prefer a more refined style (which is how I get into trouble, since my lifestyle and climate are far from refined!). But for a rounded toe boot, once they're on the foot, I don't think they look too clunky. They have a lug sole, but it is surprisingly lightweight. Comfortable right out of the box, even on the calf, because the top is suede. 

I'm usually an EU 37 and that is what I ordered. They fit perfectly in length. They are too wide in the heels, but that is normal for me; I'll put a plantar fasciitis insert in there and that should hold me more stable. The fronts are also roomy, but not too wide on my foot. There's room for a thicker sock if I wish. The laces are long (for me -- when I adjust these for my leg without pants tucked, the top eyelet holes almost meet) -- but I used Angie's trick of tucking the laces in so I don't have to have a floppy bow, and it's nice to have that adjustability. For a woman with a thicker calf, there would be plenty of room. Plus, you can get the laces sorted and leave them if you want, because the boots zip on and off. 

I can tuck skinnies or slim pants into them or wear them out (one leg is showing one, one the other, not that you can really tell) and they also work (I think?) with a casual skirt. I didn't style them up -- just showed with what I'd been wearing and then threw on what was to hand. 

I've sprayed them with waterproofing -- they are not completely weatherproof, but given the sole, they should do me pretty well as long as we don't have true snow going on. And while they'r not my typical style, they will offer me a terrific change. I really like the stable, 2 inch heel -- it's my perfect heel height and makes a big difference to comfort. 

Thank you, Anna! 

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The Annual Get Real with Myself Footwear Rant

It's a YLF tradition!! I do it every year! And I am still struggling to learn the obvious! 

What what what is wrong with me? 

I know what is wrong with me. Constitutionally, I am a shoe lady. Mr. Suz refers to me as Imelda. I want all the pretty shoes! 

But here, my friends, for my own accountability and your amusement, is my reality...and -- should any be needed -- further evidence that for all my sensible talk of practicality, on some level I am still insisting on buying for my fantasy life and refusing to face facts! 

Here is the pattern of my days this year: 

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 to 6 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.

3 to 4 days a week: walk to gym. Coat / boots go in locker during gym. 

Every day: spend several hours to most of day working at home. 

Once every 6 weeks or so: Go to big city for day trip or overnight(s). Tend to dress less casually but footwear will need to be walkable. 

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) the weather is wet, icy, snowy, slushy, and often very cold:

I need functional but somewhat attractive, flat or block heeled waterproof insulated boots, with lug or at least rubber/ grippy soles. 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.
How many of the right kind of boots do I currently own? 

  • 1 short pair
  • 2 knee high pair (one with a block heel, one flat). 

ALL BLACK (not a dominant neutral for me). So that is 3 pairs of footwear for approximately 112 days or almost 1/3 of the year. 

How many slippers? 

1 frustrating pair (because inside lining always gets bunched up.) 

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.

How many booties and sneakers of this type do I own? 

2 (blue snakeskin, grey Aquatalia).
2 sneakers. 
1 dressier pump. 

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.
How many sandals of this type do I own? 

(Currently) 4, though 2 are on their way out due to wear/ comfort issues. 
2 sneakers. 
2 dressier pumps. 

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 without insulation.
  • (occasionally) a dressy closed pump.
How many of this type do I own? 

2 booties (see above)
0 flat casual boots without insulation.
1 dressier pump (see above). 

This adds up to about 14 pair of truly practical and usable shoes for all seasons, all 52 weeks --- not counting gear. 

How many other fancier, more delicate, dressier booties and shoes -- that is, virtually unwearable footwear -- do I own? 

  • At least 10. Probably more. I don't even want to look right now. 

Argh. More and more I think I need to buy stock in La Canadienne and Aquatalia. And just refuse to look at anything else. 

It's true that my summer season (sandal) is almost as long as my winter season. The "shoulder" seasons are (together) approximately the same length. But because they are rainy, even though in theory they would allow more delicate booties, in fact, with my lifestyle, those booties are rarely worn. 

Well, that's my observation for the day. Thanks for reading if you got this far. 

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WIW (and outfit lab): Vince dress!

So, we had warmer than usual weather today and I decided to wear the Vince dress to work. I teach, and walk about 2 miles to get to the site, and then walk back. . 

Guess what? It was very comfortable and pleasant to wear this way with tights or skinnies, a cashmere cardigan, and scarf. (And a puffer for outside, obviously!) Who knew? 

But comfort is one thing. Flattery's another. I did not feel flattered. I'm not even sure it was JFE. 

For whatever reason I do not feel that tunics look good on me. At all. I keep trying and trying them and then dismiss. Is it because my legs and especially my calves are relatively short? Because my rise is long? Because my legs overall are relatively muscular in comparison to my overall frame? I don't know. All I know is that ordinary tunics never, ever feel flattering. The only kind of tunics I can wear are asymmetrical -- and those, magically and mysteriously, do seem to work, proportionately. Oh-- and sometimes -- a trapeze style sleeveless with a short skirt and flats can work in summer. If proportions are right. 

A short dress is a slightly better look on me, I think, than a tunic -- but only slightly.  This AM I wore the Vince dress with merino tights and flat boots and it felt awfully short -- shorter than it feels with no tights! But I wasn't indecent, and the tights were super comfy and cozy.

This afternoon, I tried it with skinnies. Normally, I don't like wearing pants under dresses due to the bunching at the waist, but this was surprisingly okay. I also have side zip ponte pants that I could wear with it. 

I could also try kick crops. But it has to be a bit warmer for me to wear those. 

Anyway, I still think the proportions are a bit "off". I tried it with booties that have a small heel as well. Not that I could have worn those today, given the slush and ice I was combatting. Mid-calf or moto style boots might be better. But I don't happen to have any right now. 

So...I don't know. I am wondering if I should alter the dress. Make is shorter, or asymmetrical. I'm unlikely to wear it as dress but did enjoy the feel of it as a blouse/ top. And anybody who understands my aversion to regular tunics, help me understand....

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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! 

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Essentially speaking...

I love the annual essentials review. Maybe that's because, like EmilyK and a few others here, a large proportion of my wardrobe is comprised of essentials! And left to my own foolish ways, I might never buy anything else. (This is why YLF is good for me. Breaks me out of my rut.)

Like Angie, I'm going to break mine down into categories and compare to past preferences.

Jeans: I've been trying to wear jeans less often and I'm wearing trousers and even skirts and dresses much more this year, which has been a lovely change. But jeans are an absolute staple of my style and I don't know what I would do without them. White and denim blues are essential in a skinny/ slim and slim BF type style. Others, like burgundy BFs, are workhorses but probably not an absolute essential.

Navy blazer: I love jackets of all kinds and have a number of statement items. But a fantastic navy jacket is absolutely crucial for my style. If I find the *right* houndstooth jacket it will join the navy in my pantheon of rock solid dependable loves. Even though it will straddle the line between essential and statement. :)

Navy knitwear for all seasons. Unlike Angie and a few others, I do wear t-shirts and quite like them if I can get the neckline and sleeves right for my frame. Graphic tees are brilliant when I'm aiming for outfit juxtaposition. But as a calm base layer for a column of colour (with denim), nothing beats navy knitwear with a crew neck, jewel neck, slash or envelope neck, or turtleneck (depending on temperatures.) I like to have tops like the J. Crew Jackie in light cotton or the linen 3/4 length sleeve tee for summer, and merino and cashmere "tee" like sweaters and turtlenecks for layering over in cold weather.

Stripes: This is hands down my favourite pattern and favourite pattern to pattern mix with! I wear stripes more often in spring and summer but I'm thrilled with my stripey winter items too. Mostly knits.

L(Blue)Dress: I have a number of these in different levels of formality for different seasons. I wear the casual versions much more often, of course, but the dressy versions make me feel like a million trillion dollars and it's so great to know you have something to wear when an occasion arises!

Silver and grey footwear: This bookends with my silvery hair and blends well with denim yet gives a kick (especially metallic). I will continue to collect silver, pewter, and grey footwear. I also love white and navy/ ink for footwear. Navy could become an essential if I found the right pieces.

Silver watch, earrings, bracelet, and statement ring. I don't have Finds yet for all of these but they are signature style items and I always wear them.

Belts: I really should invest a few dollars in belts because I love them. I'm still wearing an old Canadian Tire leopard belt (no Find). I need to prioritize purchase of these this year.

A beautiful and capacious bag. Can't be tiny. I love structured bags but they often overwhelm me if big enough for my needs, so I tend to carry a soft hobo nowadays.

Denim shirt and navy woven tops. I wear denim shirts often with white jeans or with black or navy trousers or with pretty dressy skirts. It dresses down these items just enough for me. I wear the woven tops less often in winter but really all year. 

Navy coat for various seasons and levels of formality. (My puffer is similar but not the same brand. No Find.) Still in search of my perfect pea/ military coat. And my perfect navy trench. 

I would like to add "patterned silky blouse or shirt" and "bright knit top" but that would take me over into statement territory, I think? What say you, Angie? Have I identified essentials correctly?  This is my "uniform" I would say. 

24 comments

Denim pencil skirt and toile sweatshirt

So, the quilted denim pencil skirt is more casual than Angie's examples...but the toile-patterned sweatshirt (which is actually part of my loungewear capsule) is, arguably, "dressier" than a slogan sweatshirt. Add a plaid scarf for warmth and pattern mix, merino tights for warms, tall flat boots, and here's my version. It was fun to wear this for a change up. The skirt did cling to the tights some, but not to the point of discomfort, and I was toasty warm for teaching and walking to class. 

Please excuse bloodshot exhausted eyes. I've got an allergy to something. 

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2018 Style Goals (Also in blog)

I know Angie wanted comments in the blog but it's also good tp place these here for easier reference and review. Just keeping myself accountable. 

My computer's broken right now so I can't post photos. I'm going to come back to this when I get my machine back and add a few photos of favourite outfits. I'm sad that my photo-taking capacities have been so limited of late and that does affect my perception of past outfits (i.e. makes it harder to judge) but I hope I can remember well enough how I felt in them to do an evaluation. 

Meanwhile...2018 Goals

1. To do a thorough closet review and edit, capsule by capsule. What’s working, what’s not? Why not? (I already do this season by season, but I think I need a slightly more stringent version this year, letting go of some items that I like but just don’t reach for any more and asking myself tough questions about why.) Review essentials and ensure all are in good repair and all bases are covered. Navy/ ink, white (in summer), grey.

2. To wear outfits that are:

Modern
Crisp
Retro
Vivid
Practical

Angie  observed that "retro" is a new descriptor for me. I'm still not sure it's right, even though I do enjoy (have always enjoyed) a retro element in my style. I'm not yet sure it is the best word for what I am after here. I like to hearken to 60s mod and some 70s influences and also the occasional vintage inspired piece. But maybe more to inject a bit of "playfulness" which is the word that I had in this place last year. So...still debating. 


3. To look for statement or luxury items (e.g. jewellery or bags or jackets) from local designers, special vintage shops, etc. I know my taste and needs really well now; if I see an amazing vintage or newly designed jacket or dress, I can be pretty darned sure it will work for me long term and have longevity. Most of my clothes come from the big chain stores. I feel I can inject more individuality into my style without going all “docent lady” by following this path.

4. Continue to increase representation of red in the closet!

5. Continue my search for key HEWIs — a white sandal, for example. A bright sandal. 

23 comments

GREAT customer service at Sandwich

A good news report! Remember my little Sandwich military knit jacket that lost its buttons?

I wrote to them and they sent -- all the way from the Netherlands!! --
a full package of replacement buttons, a sweet card, and as a bonus, a fab nylon shopping bag in fire engine red! How great is that?

All of this arrived yesterday. It ties right in with Angie's tip #8! 

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Hectic pattern, calm colour (and sweater as a 3rd piece)

Apologies as usual for the photo quality. Argh, winter light! 

Casual at-home day for me. I usually wear this sweater on its own or under a jacket because unlike many sweaters, all by itself it makes a statement. But today I threw on a favourite shirt and thought  -- why not wear them together? After all, what's wrong with checks, snake print, and florals combined? :)  

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Dressing for the Life We Lead...Update: Success!

Apologies for double posting today. But on the theme of dressing for the life we really lead...here's my weather forecast today: 

Kingston, ON


That is - 29, people. For those of you who think in Fahrenheit, about -20 F. 

Lucky me. Today is the day I finally found my new parka! After 3 years of ordering and returning, I think I've got a winner to add to my puffer capsule. My trusty Lole has been a winner in every possible way, but face it, I'm tired of this coat after 7 years of very hard wear. It is not truly worn out but it is starting to show its age (a few worn spots on inner collar, a few feathers coming out now and again). I won't retire it, but I will be happy to have a cousin for it in the closet. 

This coat is the Fermont parka by Quartz. I had tried other styles of theirs, and admired the quality, but sadly, I was between sizes. This one is a snugger fit so I could order my larger possible size and it works perfectly. It comes to about an inch above my knee, a length I like for my walks in the cold. I can layer a jacket under it comfortably (as well as knits). The company is Canadian and sources ethically. The coat can be worn in a variety of ways (it has an inner core liner that you can zip or not, show or not and the fur is removable). It is washable and waterproof. The colour is a soft, greyed navy that will work with my charcoal mitts and boots and will also look great with red accessories if I can find some. DH really likes it. I got it for 25% off the regular price. 

Guess what? I think I will keep it! 

Sorry the colour of the photos is off -- it's due to my lighting, alas. But I assure you, it's a nice soft yet dark navy. 

ETA: selfies in the wild! Wore it outdoors for 75 minute walk. Total success. No frozen parts. ;) 

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