Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Comfort Dressing (with a bit of Flair, I hope)

 Thank you so much for all the warm and supportive comments on my last post. They make a world of difference right now -- in fact, Pater texted me yesterday from our island home (he's gone back to do some necessary errands) that he'd been reading through them and was close to tearing up.

We continue to be positive, but we're impatient to learn what the next weeks will bring and should find that out in a visit later this week. Meanwhile, this seems like a good time for a much lighter -- Short and Sweet! -- post, and I had a few recent What I Wore posts in my file. The weather here has been beyond gloomy -- More wind, more rain, more grey skies -- and although we get brilliant hours of sunshine here and there that coax lovely blooms into delighting us with their colour and fragrance, those only serve to show us what we're missing. March, such a tease!
 So Comfort is key, and I have been achieving it in a fairly narrow range, a uniform almost. Jeans (these are Levis revised 501s, in a wash called Rolling Fog -- I wore them back here when I first got them, and you can see how different my hair is now, length-wise especially, but also note that the hair colour in the photos here is all my own, barring some highlights of a light caramel and a darker brown, meant to add depth and define the curl a bit -- better not get side-tracked by a discussion of greying but two favourite bloggers are looking at different poles -- before/after -- of that choice right now, Lisa and Sue). And with the jeans, my super-soft, super-cozy, part-yak (!) Aritzia sweater, and to add even more comfort, the Bompard cashmere scarf that I've been wearing almost exclusively since buying it this past fall in Paris -- CPW dropping rapidly by day.

On my feet in these shots, a pair of suede brogues I bought a few years ago at Fluevog and haven't worn as much as I thought I would. The recent closet-culling I've been doing has me being very critical of some spendthrift ways I fell into when I was working. More money than time (not that academics in small teaching universities make fistfuls of dollars! but still, the kids raised, the mortgage paid, a good bit of that income was disposable), and retail therapy was often my response to a need for some kind of respite.  I'm cutting myself some slack, understanding what I was doing and recognising that it was only for a limited time in my life, that it didn't hurt anyone, and that I was always responsible enough in my shopping. As well, variety in my wardrobe did matter in a job that put me at a lectern in front of a full room several times a week. But piling stuff into bags for thrift shops has raised my consciousness, as have the much smaller numbers on the pension cheques (when you start earning this at 50, it's hard to build up much steam!) and I'm being very thoughtful about what I buy these days. And to help slow me down, retail temptation-wise, I've been  --  wait for it, there's a Blogging Cliché coming -- Shopping my Shoe Closet.  Only within limits, though, because the shoes have to fit with my uniform...

As for that uniform in these photos -- the too-many shots are not so much intended to emphasise the repetition of the look, day after day, but were a result of me playing around with trying to get a decent selfie in a door-mounted mirror.  I indulged myself with a bit of tongue-in-cheek play with the angle -- the whole thing feels weird, I gotta say, but the occasional What I Wore posts seem welcome here and they give me subject matter for a post that doesn't require emotional commitment. That seems like a good thing right now.

So one more variation on the uniform. You'll begin to wonder if I ever take this sweater off! And there's the same cashmere scarf again. My old Mackage moto jacket (careful, that six-year-old link will take you to one of the very few, probably the only, use of the f-bomb on this blog), and these 70s-styled wide-legged jeans, my closet-updating purchase of the winter. A pair of black flats that have logged enough sidewalk distance to have been re-heeled and resoled more than once. Tried and true, everything I'm wearing. Worn-in comfort -- I'm off now to figure out today's version of the formula suitable for collecting a Little Girl from preschool in the rain* and bringing her back to Nana's for a cookie-baking afternoon.

*Cute kid anecdote, a Nana-blogging hazard 'round here: Last week, while Little Girl and I were waiting for bus after preschool pick-up, she looked up at me, under my umbrella, and asked "Why is it raining, Nana?"  I learned during my own kids' Why stage that sometimes a long scientific explanation is wasted and a useful technique that provides much fodder for thought and amusement is to flip the question back to the Young Inquirer. So I asked Little Girl why she thought it was raining. "Because it's February," she speculated. 
And on the Wet Coast, that's as good an answer as any really. Although I had to point out that it was actually the first day of March. Didn't take her but a second to integrate that new information and revise her answer. "So it's raining because it's March?"
You got it, LG. Indeed, except for August here on the western edge of Canada, you could sub in almost any month and that answer could work. . . Out of the mouths of babes . . . 



35 comments:

  1. I like your uniforms - every piece a keeper.
    Out of the mouths of babes, indeed. Those little moments are zingers that go straight to my heart. There is just nothing better for whatever ails one - truly!
    Now off I go to look for a pair of jeans the colour of fog....

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  2. I like uniforms for retirement. After 4 weeks with my carry-on size suitcase, I realize that I could have brought even less. T-shirts, a sweater, grey capris and jeans and a scarf are really all that I need. I need to eliminate some shoes when I get home. It's my second to last day here so I must get out and enjoy the sunshine. Those little girls are very aware of the world around them.

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    1. Sorry to tell you how drastically you'll need to change your wardrobe when you get back home -- store up the memory of that sunshine, because you will not be seeing it again for a while!

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  3. It's March so it's raining here too. The cold keeps taking me by surprise - outside the bulbs are up and flowering themselves silly so it must be getting warmer, right? Wrong every time.

    And you're a brave woman to bring your ankles out this early in the season.

    Love the scarf. Just the right caramel by the look of it and safely distant from beige (which as we all know might kill you)

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    1. You spotted those ankles, Ceri, and you're right, that was a risky move. Unusual for me, but I like the look and it was a relatively warm day, if wet.
      I've been looking for a neutral scarf in a not-boring colour for a few years, and I do think I got it right with this one, thanks!

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  4. Good to take your mind off things by shopping in your wardrobe. I am wrapped in many layers today, topped by a hooded woollen poncho as winter refuses to let go its icy grip, and my perennial jeans. I would love to wear a warm long skirt with boots today, but the puppy sees anything floating in front of his face as a toy, so out of the question for a while! Keep us posted x

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    1. I love a long warm skirt and boots -- very Virginia Woolf in my mind -- but even more I love the idea of that puppy playing. You really need to do a little photo-essay to satisfy those of us currently living dog-deprived lives.

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  5. I like your hair and light blue (fog?) jeans . Yep,I really need this colour for the spring and summer :-)
    And what's wrong with uniforms?- I spend almost whole week in jeans,black patent brogues (showing ankle!),navy V neck,navy-white scarf and different white tees.
    Dottoressa

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    1. That's a smart-sounding uniform -- I've just worn out a pair of black patent brogues myself and need to start looking for a replacement pair.

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  6. love your comfortable uniform! And yes, with a more than a bit of flare. Increasingly, I am drawn to those perfect pieces that I just want to wear over and over, and seem to feel that style evolves from knowing exactly what you love, and putting it together..

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    1. Sue/Une Femme is talking about those "key pieces" on her blog today and I realise that this is perhaps more what I mean than a uniform (considerable overlap, though, and I know I'm cultivating far less variety than she is -- somehow variety is boring/overwhelming rather than interesting me laterly)

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  7. I am tiring of the gloomy weather...the sun peeked out from the clouds awhile ago and it has retreated again...your uniform looks super cozy and perfect for our west coast weather.
    Children say the cutest things...at brunch last weekend our daughter and her fiancee were discussing their elopement plans and Henry, who is 2, said why are you getting married?
    Wearing Cashmere, especially the scarf, feels like a warm hug...and yes you have a flair Frances!

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    1. Cute! And I can't believe that Henry is two already!
      I looked at the weather forecast this morning and it's symbolised by five days worth of clouds, raining down... Oh dear!

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  8. Love the grey combo. I am sick and tired of all my clothes at present and would like a complete revamp. Sadly not possible. Cosy and comfortable is always good but that does not have to mean no flair. Time to get out the biker jacket, I think.

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    1. There's a reason those biker jackets are so popular! ;-)

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  9. Hm, I can't stop thinking with envy of those thrift shop customers who will be lucky enough to come across your discards!

    This is how I dress most of the time - got to be comfortable!

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    1. Ha! It's true -- I gave away some good stuff. I debated trying a consignment shop, and I know I could have eBayed or Craigslisted stuff or saved it up, even, for a garage sale, but honestly, so much work! And I already got what I paid for out of the items, even if that was only the thrill of the new rather than the sustained wear I should have planned for. I did give some pieces to my daughters...

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  10. I love those shoes! They look terrific with that outfit.

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    1. They're good, aren't they! Not sure why they've been ignored...

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  11. Your personal style really shines through here. The casual-luxe of that sweater with the more playful silhouettes and brogues strikes a nice balance. I know you mentioned on Lisa's blog that you're growing your hair out a bit more, but I do like the current length.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! That's what I'm hoping for, re the outfits. Still sorting out my feelings about the hair...

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  12. I agree with Sue above - Your personal style, and I think flair is the perfect world for it, shines through. I love the suede brogues, by the way, but they are hard to wear in the rain!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, that might be why the shoes don't get out so much.

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  13. Your cashmere scarf is lovely Frances ...like Leslie commented, a warm hug on a chilly day. It really enhances your outfits. I nearly always wear a scarf. An simple way to "lift" my usual jeans, Bretons, cashmere polo necks etc. Even during hot weather I find a cotton or linen one helps to stop my neck becoming sun burnt.
    Take care ...
    Rosie

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    1. It's true, isn't it, about the scarves. And once you get used to them, the neck feels naked without it!

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  15. I love those soft grey 501s Frances, and the brogues in particular. Also combined with the scarf... the grey with beige/brown is lovely. I bought a verrry pricey scarf my first (and only) visit to London in 2000. I was so excited to be in Liberty's and got a bit carried away, lured beyond the sale table by a lovely coral scarf. Totally forgetting that pounds are NOT dollars...I snapped it up. Later that evening at our B&B my friend commented..."You DO know how much you paid for that, don't you?" Akkk I didn't. But I had already worn it in the afternoon. And although I loved it I DID wish she had said that in the store and not hours and hours later. Ah well... I still have it, still love it, and still wear it. CPW going down each year, thanks goodness.
    I've not been reading blogs as much as I usually do...trying to NOT sit at my computer so much this week. So I just now read your Sunday post. I'm not a mum, nor as elegant in expressing myself about serious matters as many of your other readers. Just know that good thoughts from Manotick are speeding your way. Your kids (and kids-in-law) are very lucky to have you for a mum. xxxxx
    P.S. Can't abide it when I mess up a comment, so deleted the previous one:)

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    1. Yikes! I can imagine how you felt when the exchange rate reared its ugly head -- but really, a blessing that you forgot about it when you laid down the plastic. If you're still wearing it and loving it and you have a good story to tell about it 16 years later, I'd say it's a good deal.
      And thanks so much for the good thoughts. I do think that positive energy adds up to something healing -- for spirits if nothing else. xo

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  16. I can quite see why you're so fond of that sweater ! Love the shape of it and can only imagine how lovely it must be to dive into .

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    1. Honestly, I could wear it every. single. day! Helps that there's absolutely no itch and the t-neck is not at all grabby.

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  17. I love these looks on you. You look relaxed in a together-kind-of-way. And you look luxe because you can tell the fabrics and the pieces have been chosen with care. There may be turmoil on the inside but at least your clothes have the outside wrapped up safe and warm and gorgeous.

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    1. Aw, thanks. I really like the analysis here and the "turmoil on the inside, gorgeous on the outside" (okay, I'm taking some liberties with the paraphrase...)

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  18. Cashmere is always a good idea.
    When you say you're being more thoughtful about what you buy, what sort of considerations are you weighing up? Do you take more time, give yourself a cooling off period?
    And on grey, I'm grey at 56 and have never dyed my hair and see the debate over to dye or not to dye as a complete non - issue. I never have a moment of anguish or doubt over being grey.

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    1. I'm not shopping anywhere near as often, and then when I do, I'm walking away more. I did, finally, buy two garments the other day, in preparation for spring/summer, but one is a replacement for something I wear a lot, and the other is probably frivolous, but I really needed frivolity.
      You're wise never to have succumbed to any temptation to dye your hair. Although it sounds as if you were never even tempted. Do you like the way your hair looks, may I ask? Have you always been happy with the grey or, if you hadn't been, would you have dyed your hair? i.e., I guess, are you opposed to dye for yourself on any particular grounds or does it just seem an unnecessary expense and effort?

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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