I call this look Middle-Aged Lady Works All Morning Then Runs Errands & Goes To The Outlet Village. Because that’s what I did today. Totally phoning it in, and because the weather looked as if it could go either way when I left the house, I played it safe, and made sure I wouldn’t freeze if it all went to hell.
Naturally, it was gorgeous, and I could’ve got away with something more springlike. Ah, well. At least I’m NOT wearing grey or black, right?
Suede blazer: Lakeland, thrifted, remixed. This is a great weight for this kind of weather, as it is capable of keeping a biting wind at bay, but isn’t too hot in somewhat warmer weather. There’s a reason I have so many leather/suede jackets. (I mean, aside from just loving them.)
Scarf: All Saints, remixed.
Long-sleeved tee: Gap, remixed. This is a waffle-weave Henley.
Belt: Errr, some German company whose name I can’t recall, but they make good belts. Remixed.
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind, remixed. Still very pleased with these.
Shoes: I have no idea, but they’re kind of brogue-like, with a buckle on the side, and kind of cowboy boot-style heels. I bought these so long ago I can’t recall where I got them, and then they languished, because I thought they’d hurt my feet. I was wrong; they’re super comfortable, and I’m only not pissed off at myself for letting them sit so long because now they’re basically still brand new, and not already wearing out! (Will get a better photo of them next time.)
This outfit is incredibly similar to the one I wore on the 6th, and normally, I probably wouldn’t bother blogging it, just because, yawn, nothing new, but I wanted to post these flawless jeans. At long last, I have found a pair of skinny jeans that fit perfectly in the ass, hips, and thighs, and I am so happy about it. I like the H&M and Gap skinnies I’ve been wearing for a couple of years now, but the Gap ones really fit more like straight legs, and the H&M ones quickly bag out in the butt and hips, and are a bit too loose in the waist besides. These? Perfect fit all over. And but for thrifting, I never in a million years would’ve found them, because they’re originally from a shop I’d never even think of entering, Abercrombie and Fitch.
Anyway, perfect jeans, still looked and fit great after wearing all day, so that’s £2.49 well spent, yes?
Have a great weekend, everybody!
Jumper: Zara, remixed. I love this thing so much, and I’m now totally sold on high/low shirt hems. I find the easy belt exposure delightful, since I am hopeless at the half-tuck thing.
Tank: M&S. This is actually a silky viscose camisole, intended to be an undergarment, but it’s opaque enough to work as a regular tank.
Pendant: Thrifted. I am very fond of heart-shaped objects.
Leather cuffs: Thrifted and Oasis. I’ve gone a bit nuts for this kind of wristgear lately. I’m considering knitting and felting something similar.
Two other recent-ish additions to the grey and (sometimes) drapey capsule today. This is my first experiment with actually creating a clothing capsule, and I’m already kind of sold on the concept, which I probably would NEVER have heard of, were it not for style blogging. So, my fellow style bloggers, THANK YOU. I may yet get my wardrobe in shape, and spend far less time agonising over what to wear, and feeling helpless because I can’t make up my mind. I don’t do that every day, by any means, but it happens often enough to be frustrating, and worse, it seems to happen in streaks, where I will end up with a bad couple of weeks before I get my mojo back.
This is why I want capsules; so I can just go ahead and autopilot it, with nothing more to decide, on those indecisive days, than what colour/silhouette to wear, and what is most appropriate for my day. I’m not sure what I’ll move onto after I finish with grey and (sometimes) drapey, but it may be black and white, because I’ll be able to switch out components of each capsule into the other once I get them both more or less done.
Anyway, here’s to grey and drapey!
Necklace: Julien MacDonald for Debenhams, remixed. I love this a lot. Great length for a lot of my open-necked tops.
Jumper: Zara, recent clearance. This has a high/low hemline, a look I’ve approached with extreme caution since it first started appearing. This jumper has great potential to work with a lot of my fitted skirts as well as with skinny bottoms, and I especially like how the hem leaves my belt visible up front. I basically always need a belt, and I don’t always feel like tucking in my shirt, but it can look weird with a top pulled down over the sort of belts I generally favour, so this hemline is a pleasant revelation of sorts to me.
Tank: Uh, I think Primark? Remixed.
Belt: Roma, remixed. Made in England, hurrah!
Skinny jeans: Gap. Clearance rack score; I’ve wanted a pair of printed jeans, but I’ve also not wanted to invest a lot in them, in case I didn’t like them. These were the last pair on the rack, and fortunately, they’re my usual size, and the fit in the thighs and hips isn’t bad at all. Also, I love the stars very much. Close-up of my thigh, just to show the print.
Boot socks: I think these are M&S, they are remixed, and great on cold days like today.
Boots: Duo, remixed. Not tired of these yet, not even close.
So the snow arrived, and it was all very nasty, but we seem to have, so far, avoided total chaos. Nonetheless, I needed warm clothes and wellies to trudge my way through it all, and this is what I wore during the storm, such as it was.
Beret: I got this at TK Maxx, not sure of the brand. Flowers!
Shirt: Gap. I’m a lumberjack, and I’m OK!
Brooch: Vintage, thrifted, remixed. This is a look recycled from my college years, when I very frequently wore extremely oversized shirts with the collar pinned closed with a brooch. We shall not mention the shoulderpads. This shirt is only moderately oversized on me, and 100% shoulderpad free.
Jumper: Gap Outlet, remixed. This is on its last legs as a public garment; some of the cables are starting to unravel a bit. I would very much like to replace this with something similar, because it’s been a very good basic.
Skinny jeans: H&M, remixed.
Wellie socks: I think these are Gap as well? Really nice and thick and wooly over-the-knee socks scrunched down for these boots.
Wellies: No clue, but these are as indestructibly shiny and unblemished as the day I bought them, which was at least a couple of years ago.
Still diseased. Ugh. Once again, a scarf comes to my rescue, when I’m just not feeling it style-wise. Usually I enjoy figuring out what to wear, but when I’m under the weather, or just not otherwise up to it, I revert to something very like this, and then throw on a cool scarf and pile on the bracelets and tell myself that eventually, I’ll be back to a full appreciation of my wardrobe, and meanwhile, just go ahead and get through the day as comfortably as possible. This is also a not-infrequent weekend look.
Scarf: Liberty, remixed. (I think it’s remixed, anyway.)
Ribbed tee: H&M, remixed. I may well pick up a few more of these in this season’s colours. I am finding I really prefer ribbed tees because they tend to have better fit for me, particularly in the hips.
Jeans: 7 for All Mankind, remixed. Still loving these a lot!
Dressed to walk a lot, and get stuff done. My chignon looks a little squirrely in this shot, but it stayed up and looked fine all day. My hair is very fine and somewhat temperamental, and definitely prone to flyaways, so updos on me are always going to be of the somewhat unstructured sort. I’ve always been a big fan of updos, and have been wearing them, on and off, for about 30 years, but in all that time, never have I known them to be as generally popular as they are now. I eschew the sock bun, but it does seem to be conquering the world, or at least my little part of it.
Hope the holiday weekend is passing pleasantly for my friends back in the US!
Scarf: Zara, remixed. This is very lightweight patchwork fabric, and about the size of a single bedspread. It compresses into something wearable very nicely.
Suede jacket: Thrifted, remixed. When I found this, I thought it would go well with my tan boots, and so it does.
Barely-seen ribbed long-sleeve tee: H&M, remixed. To the reader who asked in the comments the last time I wore one of these, they go for £7.99, and run a little big.
Skinnies: H&M, remixed.
Boots: Duo, Catalonia, remixed, although this is their first appearance here of the season. I’m pulling my long boots out of storage as I go along.
Checking in with today’s outfit for Megan and Keely’s Fall Color Trends challenge, and it’s a pretty simple one. I’m probably pushing the definition of pumpkin a bit, but these pants aren’t quite as red-orange as they photograph and anyway, I’m pretty sure Megan and Keely aren’t going to send the fashion police to arrest me. They are, after all, orange.
And I’m very happy to have them! I’ve wanted a pair of orange skinny jeans for a while now, and these eventually turned up, OF COURSE, on the Gap clearance rack. As long as I size down at Gap, I can usually get their skinnies to fit properly on the thighs and hips, and these are no exception to that.
Jumper: Marks & Spencer, thrifted. This had the contents label cut out, but it’s obviously a natural fibres mix, including a touch of angora, and I do mean a touch, because anything over about 10% angora and the itching is unbearable for me. No itching at all, making me think that it’s got a fair bit of merino and/or cashmere in it as well; the handfeel would suggest such. (They often blend all three with a small amount of nylon in many of their jumpers.)
Dressed as comfortably as possible today, for my quadrennial nervous breakdown. For the most part, I enjoy my expat life here, but election days are always very hard for me, due mainly to the timezone difference. That five hours means a long night for me, and, frankly, I miss voting on election day itself. I don’t think my distinctly leftist political leanings are any secret to anybody who’s read my blog for a while, but putting all that aside for the moment, if you’re in the US, and reading this, and haven’t voted yet, please go do that!
Thus endeth the soapboxing, and here are the details, such as they are today:
Funnel-neck knitted tunic: August Silk. Another lovely saturated blue.
Skinny jeans: H&M, remixed. I am less and less happy to buy first-hand from fast fashion retailers, but when it comes to pants, I do get a fairly consistent fit at H&M. Am I imagining it, or do they cut fairly narrowly in the thighs and hips?
Boots: Debenhams, remixed. I think I’ve figured out some of my non-Duo long boot fit issues. I’ve never thought of myself as having particularly narrow calves, but often have problems with long boots being too roomy for me. Part of that, I think, is down to the shafts being scaled up along with the foot size, and me having possibly disproportionately narrow calves as compared to the average size UK 10 foot, but today the penny dropped, when I happened to catch a sideways glance of myself, and realised that my longer legs may be the problem, as the widest part of the shaft, where the calf bulge would be on a shorter woman actually is hitting me a bit lower on the leg, and thus, there’s a bit too much room. Also, my lower legs are pretty close to exactly as long as my thighs, and I recall reading somewhere that at least a bare majority of women have longer thighs than calves, and I assume mass-market long boots are produced with this in mind. There’s really not much I can do about this, but at least I’m pretty sure I know what it is now.
Picmonkey was giving me grief last night, so this is going up late. Have a great weekend, everybody!
Suede jacket: Thrifted, remixed. This is a little boxy, and could do with some waist shaping, but I’m very fond of it, and it was a really good addition to my wardrobe. I love suede, and I especially love suede when I thrift it for pennies on the pound of its original cost.
Cashmere jumper: Fenn Wright Mason. Cobalt is one of my favourite shades of blue. I’ve often been told that paler blues are particularly flattering on me, and I don’t disagree, but I like the bold, hyper-saturated blues best. (I’m also a huge fan of peacock blue.) Anyway, this is lovely, and I think cowl necks probably work a bit better for me than turtlenecks, overall. Which is not to say I have the slightest intention of ever giving up turtlenecks, of course.
Belt: Next, thrifted. Oh, this is nice! Well-worn leather with a big brass double-ring closure. Seriously very soft and moldable, and it stays in place. Win.
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind. I have opinions on jeans. Oh, do I have opinions on jeans:
As is always the case for me, with anything but skinny or boy cut jeans, fit is a challenge in the hips, thighs, and ass. These do way better than average on that count, being only very slightly loose in the ass, and frankly, I don’t look at my ass anyway. The length is bloody perfect for wearing with wedges, and the fit from thigh to knee, while not snug by any means, is sufficiently good. I’ve needed a pair of boot cuts, these are the best I’ve found, and after a couple more wears, to make sure I like them enough, I may very well have them altered to fit a bit better. And, yeah, they’re overpriced “premium” denim, but I do think they are a decided cut above, for example, my Gap jeans.
I love jeans, and mostly, I think they look good on me. Even with the hips/ass/thighs issues, as long as I avoid a high waist, I really think they play nicely with my body. Low-rise jeans were a revelation to me; after a lifetime of feeling vaguely uncomfortable with most jeans, I put on a pair of low-rise jeans, and they worked. Yeah, the waistline is well below my natural waist, and I almost always need a belt to keep them on my non-hips, but wow, are they comfortable, and visually I think they make a virtue of those non-hips, by flagrantly displaying them as a feature, not something to be camouflaged.
Wedge boots: Debenhams, remixed. Totally perfect choice for these jeans; I had just enough hem clearance to avoid anything getting manky, but kept my nice, long lines.
I felt spectacularly visible in this today (the very long explanation for why that’s the case is right below) and thus, I am hooking up with Visible Monday this week. Thanks, as always, to the inspirational Patti for hosting. I have Much To Say, about my current quest to come up with a handful of basics capsules for when my creativity fails and I need to phone it in and still look smart, but the following took me about an hour to write, and it’s already very long, so I’m afraid further thoughts are going to have to wait, because I want to do some blog visits before bed.
I have been working on this simple outfit for a very long time. It’s a good illustration of the importance of patience and persistence, and not settling. With the exception of the jeans and belt, which I’ve had for ages, and are the absolute workhorses of my casual wardrobe, every piece is something I spent ages looking for, was willing — though not exactly eager — to spend substantially on, and refused to settle for second-best or almost-but-not-quite in acquiring.
I knew I wanted all of these things, and envisioned them as playing big roles in the overall style I’ve slowly been working towards. And oh, did I shop for them. Every single time I was in a place where they might be found, I looked, and for the longest time they eluded me. I found lots of stuff that was almost what I wanted, and usually very inexpensive, but I stuck with it, because they were just not right. No, the jumper couldn’t be a regular turtleneck, it had to be a mock turtleneck, and no, it couldn’t be a cotton/viscose blend, it had to be wool or cashmere, and it definitely needed to be ribbed, so I’d get the fit I wanted. No, the moto jacket couldn’t have studs, or excessive/gaudy hardware. The Chelsea boots could not be vegan, they had to be real leather. You see what I mean about picky and precise in what I wanted?
So I looked and looked, and as frequently seems to be the case, within a period of about a month, all three (well, four, but the stacked-heel loafers were due to Gracey’s magic, so I don’t get a any credit for those) pieces seemed to fall right into my lap, and I got all three of them at very, very good prices. And they should all, barring some kind of unfortunate mishap, last me for years and years.
A big part of the problem is that I am just kind of hard to fit. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my figure; after a lifetime of being at war with my body, I’m generally OK with it now. Even though I technically wear a standard size you can find in most major retailers, and of which there are no end of choices in most charity shops, I do not have an easily-definable shape that fits easily into it, whatever the measurements may be according to the manufacturer. I’m not a straight-up apple, nor am I a pear, so looking for clothes from companies I know cut their stuff along those lines doesn’t really help. I’m basically kind of a broad-shouldered and slightly busty rectangle. I joke about my vast, bony, ribcage, but really, I’m only a 34-inch band size in bras, and that’s sort of in the middle of the standard range. My legs aren’t especially long when you take into account my considerable height; I’m actually almost exactly proportionate between upper body and lower. Wonky sizing aside, I can usually get away with a 34-inch inseam (in a perfect world, I’d be able to find more 35-inch inseams), so something like tall trousers from Topshop or Dorothy Perkins, for example, almost always need hemming. Except, of course, when they don’t. And except for when those 32-inch inseams mysteriously fit or are even a little long, and Gap, I am looking at YOU.
Tall shirts are generally a good fit, but not always a necessity, due to that fairly even upper/lower body proportioning, although sleeve length can give me trouble in non-tall-sized blouses. The real problem comes for me in the shoulders and bust; to fit those properly, I am often looking at vast quantities of surplus fabric flapping around my waist and hips.
This exegesis on my fit issues is here to make the point that when I say I was being stubborn as hell about these pieces being exactly what I wanted, in exactly the fit I wanted, I mean it; I was ready to put a lot of work into finding them, and willing to do without for as long as it took.
And they all came together this weekend, with the hardest-to-find piece turning up on the clearance rack at TK Maxx. I have searched everywhere for an off-white, ribbed, wool mock-turtleneck, and my god, they just didn’t seem to exist anywhere I looked. When I decide I need a really good basic, it seems to happen at precisely the wrong moment to start looking. Thus it was with this jumper, which was labelled “last season,” at TK Maxx. So probably I should’ve been looking then, but I’m kind of glad I wasn’t, as the details shall show!
Leather jacket: Aviatrix, remixed. I think I mentioned before that I went up a size on this, so I could get bulkier jumpers under it. This isn’t a bulky jumper, but that was a good call, since it was cold over the weekend, and I had a really chunky polo neck on under it, and the fit was excellent. I could comfortably cross my arms in front of my chest and everything.
Mock turtleneck: Prada, severely marked down Prada, via TK Maxx. Normally, I don’t give much of a toss about labels, other than appreciating that in my experience it’s generally true that higher-end brands have better workmanship and materials, but this kind of felt like vindication. Like, HAHAHA John Lewis and Marks & Sparks, where I normally would look for something like this, I got a bloody PRADA jumper for less than I’d pay for one of yours (admittedly, full retail and 100% cashmere, but still, less.) Beautiful, beautiful soft wool, and gloriously comfortable. The original price made me laugh and laugh, and the first markdown made me roll my eyes, but the clearance price made me think, oh for pity’s sake, this is clearly incredibly well-made, from top-notch materials, this thing will NOT date, and with care, it should last for years. It is exactly what I had in mind, so I gritted my teeth and bought it. And I made sure to put a bag over my head before pulling it on this morning, because I’d probably break down completely if I got makeup stains on it. The peace of mind was worth the temporary absense of dignity.
Belt: Gap, remixed.
Jeans: Premium Skinny, Gap Outlet, remixed. The perfect pair of skinny jeans are also on The List, and these aren’t them, since they’re a little too relaxed on me, but I don’t feel like I’m compromising, because they’ve served me well, and I do like them a lot.