Sunday, February 20, 2011

What I Wore: Smart Casual with a Soupcon of Luxe

I am still having the occasional turn-myself-inside-out bout of coughing, but I'm almost ready to skip an afternoon nap again. Between inching back toward running health and seeing some very welcome sunshine, it occurs to me that it's time to smarten myself up, wardrobe-wise, as well. After all, even though I'm not in front of a classroom this term, those near and dear might be getting a bit weary of my black leggings and whatever comfortable tunic-y garment is at hand.

So I thought I'd make a small effort today when Pater suggested we head to town for breakfast at the delightfully Parisian-inspired Mon Petit Chou, one of Nanaimo's more cosmopolitan notes.
After all, a very good Croque Madame (open face, sunny-side up eggs, thinly-sliced ham, all on sinfully rich slices of brioche bread) and a dark, rich Canadian (decaf, but still a very good freshly roasted coffee) deserved a bit of French in return. Thus I made sure to tie my Hermès scarf at the neck of a plain grey (but oh-so-yummy cashmere) v-neck. In my opinion, at least, this elevated the denim skirt, worn over grey ribbed wool tights because it's damn cold out there! And also in the way of elevation, I decided I'd wear heels again for the first time in weeks -- I was taking care, before last Sunday's run, not to wear anything that might compromise knees, ankles, whatever. But I love a bit of height to convey a bit of attitude (when you're not quite 5'4", every inch helps!)

In case you've never seen photos of me with straightened hair before, I'm the first to admit it alters me considerably. Gaetan, co-owner of Chou, did a double-take this morning, not recognizing me at all at first, and I reassured him that even my husband almost biked right past me on the park pathway yesterday. Those curls are obviously such an iconic part of how the world sees me. And I'll wash them back in tomorrow morning so that my granddaughter, Nola, doesn't get upset. Meanwhile, a change is fun for a day or two. . .
Sweater, Banana Republic; Skirt, Esprit; Tights, Hue; Boots, Frye; Scarf, Hermès (fuller view of scarf here)


  1. Wow, you look all celebrity with that hairstyle! And I LOVE your scarf and the way you've tied it. I've been wanting an Hermes scarf for a while now and I think I'm just about ready for it. I even know where I think I'll find a great vintage one at an affordable price. Of couse, it's not on the list till I pay some bills.

  2. That's a great outfit. And double wow to the hair - I've seen photos of you with it straight before, but I think it was shorter, so it looks more dramatic this time.

  3. Mater- The photo just makes me want to say, "Come back to San Francisco, soon!" :)

  4. Love this outfit! It's simple, but well thought through and balanced. That scarf was really such a great choice for you, not only the colors (which flatter your coloring and bring out your eyes) but the patten too which isn't too traditional and staid, but rather has that touch of whimsy that suits you so well.

    The croque sounds fantastic.

    Glad to hear you're feeling better!

  5. I really like your outfit and hair - but I must admit to looking even more closely at the room behind you. Such a Sunday scene - the newspaper spread over the table!! And I'm sure you've been told many many times before - but wow, you're so lucky to live where you do, with that view and all!! P.

  6. There is a simple elegance to that outfit that I really admire. Its so easy to fall into the trap of comfort dressing (says me who is currently wearing her jammies!).

  7. K: Can you believe my guy surprised me with this scarf, and picked it out all by himself?
    I hooted at your comment re the celebrity hairstyle. I'm so bloody inept with a blowdryer and not much better with the flatiron -- a shame, really, 'cause my stylist is so great with colour, highlights, etc., and you really can't see what she does in my usual curls. I do feel like a celeb when I come out of her place all bounce and shine!
    Tiffany: Partly because of my styling ineptitude (see comment to K, above), I achieve more volume than might be desired . . . which adds to the drama, I expect. And we are growing the hair out a bit, which you can't always tell with the curls.
    LPC: And you know you have a standing invitation to visit us here, right?
    Pseu: I'm surprised how well the scarf suits me, considering I never picked it -- the boy done good!
    Patricia: You're too kind. I realized after I should have tidied up a bit. My modus operandi when I read the weekend papers (we get two) is to drop each section on the floor after I've read it, so I know which I'm done with -- more honestly, so Pater will know which are fair game and which I still have dibs on. . .

  8. Cybill: It really is almost as easy to wear as the jammies, certainly just as easy as jeans, and Pater seemed to appreciate me making the effort yesterday. I'm hoping to keep my game stepped up now that I'm feeling better.
    And nice to hear from you, btw -- miss your blog!

  9. Cybill: I just checked and I see you're back again -- I'm heading over to catch up.

  10. I like your hair straight, and the outfit is très chic, especially the scarf.

    Most of all you look comfortable, despite the cough. Feel better soon!

  11. I know I am not the first to say it but I must, YOUR HAIR!!! Love it. Well, I always love your hair. And you look very Town and Country. Love the ensemble and the hair. Gorgeous!

  12. what do you have to do to get your hair straight like this?

  13. Thanks, Susan -- I'm definitely on the mend.
    LBR: Town & Country, really?! Thank you.
    Terri: More work on the 1st day, but less for the next two -- after I wash it, work product through it (Aveda Hang Straight), then blow-dry it with a large round brush. Once it's almost dry, use the flat-iron on section by section by section. . . tedious, and I'm not very good at it. But then the next day, instead of wetting my hair, applying product, scrunching it, and letting it dry (air-dry, no blow-drying) -- which I usually have to do each day -- I just touch up with the straightening iron, and no more product needed either.

    And, of course, as soon as it gets a good soaking, we're back to curls again!

  14. I went back to the Hermes scarf post from 2008, and smiled, when I read the part, where you told us, that pater knew just what kind of scarf you would like, as he is aware of your likes and dislikes. OK- you said it in another way, but I got the idea. Having spent as many years as you with the same man, my hb does not buy me gifts without consulting me first. I admit being a difficult one to please. Sigh.

  15. Oh Mater, I wasn't thinking that it looked untidy! I was thinking that it's been years since we have sat like that with the Sunday paper, trading sections as you described. Looking forward to doing that again. :0) P.

  16. Metscan: I have to admit, when I first saw the box, and realized that he'd chosen something pricey, without my input, I was a bit nervous. I really didn't want to hurt his feelings by returning the item, but neither did I want to keep something of that cost if I didn't absolutely love it. such a relief to open it and see how well he'd paid attention to what I liked! Not always the case, but at least this time, he really got it right! As you say, it takes someone who has been married as long as we have to understand these dynamics . . .
    Patricia: Oh, don't worry, I never thought for a minute you were being critical. I know what you mean, though, about missing those years -- it's lovely what you get back to once the kids are grown and out on their own. The empty nest is much nicer than it sounds!

  17. Would it really hurt the giver's feelings for the recipient exchange for a colour she can wear better? My husband is happy when I do that (which I don't have to do often, but have done with Hermes scarves) as the piece will be worn and enjoyed instead of sitting in a drawer.

    I like your ensemble, but will be happy to see your hair return to its tumble of curls. It matches your natural animation.

  18. Duchesse: Yes, I take your point, and Pater is also happier to have me return the gift and "get it right" if that means I'm more likely to wear it. But I know he experiences some twinge of disappointment that he didn't achieve that "rightness" -- it's small and momentary, but I think if I'm honest it is there, even if he demurs.
    and don't worry, I washed the curls back in as soon as Nola was on the horizon -- she would not know what to make of THAT Nana!

  19. I love your outfit and the hair as well, although I can see that perhaps some who see you regularly might do a double-take. You look very casually chic and elegant yet still understated. Perfect.

    I have a lot to learn from you. In the past my attempts at scarves seemed to matronly. You have inspired me to loosen up.

    And I always love the colors on your walls. Someday, if life does not conspire against me, I would like a little less paneling and a few walls with color.

  20. Mardel: I'm really pleased at how well this colour has done for us. We painted our Vanc'r apt. walls the same colour (Benjamin Moore, dill pickle), and both homes have worn that colour for well over five years now, without us fatiguing of it.


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