Sunday, November 6, 2016

What I Wore, Getting a Bit Chilly in Bordeaux

 I'm working on that Ten Weeks One Carry-On post, and I hope to have it up soon. Meanwhile, I suspect we're heading into the weather that will truly test. . . We walked to the Sunday market by the river yesterday, and it was sunny, but with a projected high of 9 degrees Celsius, not so warm. . . I suspect I'm going to get rather bored of alternating my down jacket with my trench over a sweater or two, so I'm still trying to make this J Crew blazer work. I layered it over a lightweight cashmere pull, already layered over a black rayon turtle-neck (the latter is a Sarah Pacini, at least eight years old, a real workhorse). The knit skirt is wool, and with tights, ankle boots, and a big cashmere scarf and my new gloves (I'd planned ahead to buy them here), I was comfortable and could handle a few degrees cooler.
 But.
I will readily admit that I'd love to have my navy J Crew peacoat here.  Or my leopard-print wool, mid-thigh length, sassy swing, deep pockets. Or the turquoise J Crew peacoat I was a bit sheepish about adding to the closet a few years ago, but just couldn't resist colour, mid-winter. Or the midi-length, dramatic black beauty I bought nine years ago, and still love to break out occasionally. Or the charcoal cashmere coat I bought on sale at Banana Republic, also about nine years old, and still worn at least weekly.
Or my black leather moto jacket. . . .
 Especially because I've been seeing some great coats here -- a 40-ish woman at a table outside the restaurant we were snuggled inside on Saturday: she wore a slim-fitting black bouclé coat, mid-thigh-length (does anyone still call that a car coat?), a black and white scarf wrapped loosely around her neck, slim jeans, ankle boots; a 60s-ish woman at the market, elegant silver head separated by a grey-pink-yellow scarf from a classically tailored coat in a surprising shade of pale gold; the young mom walking ahead of us through the park, Four-ish daughter skipping ahead, Two-ish bouncing and chattering away at the end of Mom's hand,  that hand having pushed quickly that morning through the sleeve of a loosely fitting ivory wool coat belted to accentuate a petite waist. Probably the last chance Mom had to think about what she was wearing all day, but the coat showed the world a polished image.

Meanwhile, in my Blogverse, one Sue reveals a wonderful coat bargain she scored on a recent trip to New York, and another Sue, in a climate with very different winter demands, shares a photo of another drool-worthy manteau. The Desire Machine gets ramped up. . . .

But as much as I'm feeling a bit Envious, a bit Bored with what I've brought along, a bit Covetous of More, More, and More, I'm also appreciating what can be enough. I did buy a beret yesterday, at the market, a Made in France beret, in an orange not too different from the best orange you spot in these photos. But I will be able to make do, and not look too shabby, with what I've managed to pack in one carry-on, and to do that for ten weeks.

When I get tempted to grumble a bit, I deflect the boredom by finding interest outside myself and my wardrobe -- I've channeled more creativity into sketching, painting, and photography, into walking without a map, into my knitting, or writing, or sending postcards. . . .

And this evening, I'll be wearing something for the first time this trip, so. . . Variety! Yay! It's something Pater generously used his carry-on to bring me, a blue velvet (velour, knit, actually) dress I've had for ages, perfect for the event we're attending. More later. I've got a yoga class to get to! And a blazer to take to a Nettoyage À Sec (at the market yesterday, we couldn't resist the delicious fragrance assailing us from a stall selling large shrimp, shelled but heads still attached, sautéed in a wonderful mix of garlic and seasoning and served in paper cones -- removing the heads revealed how juicy these morsels were and, inevitably, a splash landed on my sleeve. Ugh! I can't afford to have any non-performers in my wardrobe right now, so crossing my fingers it cleans up well.

Now tell me: are you a big fan of Coats? Do you swear allegiance to one for a season or five? Or do you like to keep a few in rotation? Are you waiting to see if I crack, before it's time to go home, and buy myself a new beauty, despite having all those warm coats waiting for me in my new closet back in Vancouver? Anyone laying bets? (not going to happen, I'll tell you right now! ;-)

29 comments:

  1. Buckle up, Mater, I'm comin'in re coats....Being just over 5ft, coats have always been something of an accident black spot for me so jackets have had to take their place. My all time fave is my vintage suede car coat (yes! they exist!) from the 60s which is the equivalent of a coat for me. My daughter recently borrowed it and got lots of compliments. Next: big fat fake fur from La Redoute about 15 years ago which goes anywhere and is completely wipable. Biker jacket. A cheap-as-chips black and white jacket bought a couple of years ago which looks smart and is light enough to layer. Mini-trench, now shared with daughter, whose light and swingy black coat, bought in Nantes a couple of years ago, I have now decided to appropriate. These get me through. But, oh, how I mourn the leather flying jacket I let go years ago. And a brilliant cream jacket with suede collar and plaid lining that I decided was over. Neither of them were. I have decided to look out for a new, swingy coat this year and HOLD ONTO IT FOREVER.
    PS those glasses are excellent. Tres bien fait. BCBG.

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    1. I know what you mean -- only 3 inches taller (although I used to be almost 5'4"!). All the same, you've done alright, haven't you?!
      I find it very satisfying when I'm able to pass a coat along to a daughter, as you've done. . .
      Thanks re the glasses -- I've been so happy with my new pairs, regular and sunnies, even if they did break the bank...

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  2. You look incredibly chic in your black and camel ensemble! SO elegant! As for coats, living in Texas I wear one just a few days a year most winters, so I own very few. When we travel north, I take tons of layers.

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    1. Thanks so much, Tricia! "Elegant" is a hard adjective for me to accept, but I love that someone aimed it in my direction ;-) So hard for me to imagine living in an almost coat-free environment. . . . more shoe dollars, no?!

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  3. It is quite a discipline, making a few clothes work really hard, but that outfit works so well! Black and camel is such a classic combination.

    Even when I just go away for a few days, there are always things I take that I never use, and some things I really wish I had brought with me, so it must be even harder to try and cover several weeks and a change of season.

    I find I have several coats or jackets, actually mainly jackets, all for specific reasons and they all get worn apart from my long black Laura Ashley overcoat which is almost too much of a statement. Must try harder with that. Have just ordered a lovely dark red fitted tweed jacket from Boden and hope it will fit the bill with jeans and boots...

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    1. Thanks, Marianne -- I've never worn much camel, not finding that it suited my complexion until the last few years. And combining it with black is new for me, although really it should be a no-brainer, and I'm loving it.
      I know what you mean about an overcoat that's almost too much a statement. My long black Creenstone fits that bill, but I still love it. Absolutely love the sound of that Boden -- what's not to love about dark red + fitted + tweed!

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  4. Yes, I am in the great Canadian coat camp. My husband asks why I have so many.
    I keep my coats for a long time. I have an Avoca Irish cape that is 25 years old, a
    classic wool "car coat", a Danish down and oil commuter coat, some Columbia for outdoor activities, and an assortment of rain coats... Oh, I also have a long coat for theatre and opera. Most of my coats were bought long ago and are in good condition. Your outfit is très chic and I'm sure that you will rise to the challenge and manage successfully with your 10-week wardrobe.

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    1. You're smart to have saved that cape! All of those coats sound like classic treasures and worth the closet space!
      Thought of you yesterday, for some reason, as I took my blazer to the "Pressing" around the corner. I seem to remember you talking about doing this when you lived in Paris during your Sorbonne course.

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  5. Thanks for the nod, Frances. It's so frustrating when you're travelling and the weather changes and you know you have "just the thing" in your wardrobe back home! Makes resisting the shops that much harder. Good idea to channel that urge into a beret. Orange ... bet it looks fabulous with your camel blazer. By the way...I love the double camel thing. I'm kind of moving away from printed scarves this year and more into solids... which may become problematic since I only own two solid colour scarves. Won't you be excited when you get home and your whole wardrobe with a thousand choices blooms before your eyes! What to wear? What to wear?

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    1. Thanks! I wasn't sure about the double camel, but decided to trust my eyes and my eyes like it so. . . . Plus the scarf is Bompard cashmere, so it brings comfort beyond its warmth. I bought it in Paris last fall exactly so that I could have something I don't have to think much about matching. I did bring one print scarf and my red laceweight alpaca handknit one, but otherwise Variety is sadly lacking here. And yes! I don't think the term "Shopping my Closet" will ever have had as much meaning as it will on my return!

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  6. Trés,trés chic,I agree!
    I love coats-and need them during the winter-,so I have a few in rotation,jackets,7/8 lenght,long one,puffers...the oldest one is 12 years old,still in good condition
    My advice: if it is too cold for you in Bordeaux,buy a coat,you don't live in Bali but in Canada,it wouldn't be in vain
    Dottoressa

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    1. Ah, shame, you're an enabler! ;-)
      I'm trying to remember how much purging I did, how much less space I'm now living in.
      Also might be trying to save room for shoes in the luggage! ;-)

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  7. Through necessity I have amassed a number of coats, all neutrals and worn for several seasons. I suppose I would get bored if I let myself think about it. The fall and winter range: cloth coats (medium and heavy), light puffer jacket, ski jacket, rain coat with detachable lining, long down coat, parka. This will take me down to -40 Celsius or so. The closet is full without adding variety.

    It's funny how we feel the cold and thus dress differently depending on what we're used to (and our internal thermometers).

    Love the black and camel and the tights and short boots...looking forward to your packing post!


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    1. You know serious coats! Serious weather where you are. When my sister lived in northern Manitoba, she invested in a beautiful shearling coat, and the expenditure made perfect sense.
      Yes, re feeling the cold. I remember being so amused when a friend who was at Memorial for med school would come home to visit at Christmas and come out in shirt sleeves because our Vanc'r temps now felt so mild.

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  8. Hi Mater, I love camel with black (or, in my case, navy) and you look lovely in that outfit. As for coats - in the winter I really only wear one coat. It's a Quartz Nature, made in Montreal, similar to a Canada Goose but not as ubiquitous. However, in the fall and spring I have lots to choose from - wool coats and quilted jackets mainly. Even though I have many coats I still love to look at them in the shops, and now and then add to the collection - they are just so easy to wear!

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    1. Another woman who lives in a climate that takes winter coats seriously (like Georgia, above). When P worked in Ottawa and I'd come for a, hem, conjugal visit, in the winter, I'd wear my Linda Lundstrom long felted-wool parka. Remember those (actually, I think they're back in production again). Once he was back on our Coast again permanently, that much comfort wasn't as necessary and it was rather dramatic for small-town life. I gave it away in the Great Moving Purge last spring to a woman who is delighted with it.
      And I agree, those transitional coats are so easy -- and fun!

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  9. You look great and I am interested in your 10 weeks in a carry on post...
    I too have lots of coats and jackets...for all kinds of weather as I like to go for a long walk everyday.

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    1. And in a good coat or jacket, you can walk in almost any weather!

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  10. You look great & I admire your ten week challenge . I'm happy to live out of a small suitcase for a while & find it surprisingly freeing . Then after a couple of weeks I become restless & need more variety. It's nice to get home & have more choice - makes me realise that I wouldn't have been happy in a uniform . Coats - I have far more than I need but love the way they ' pull everything together ' in the cold weather .
    Wendy in York

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    1. Exactly. It's been quite freeing, but I'm a bit restless with it right now. Still, I rehearse the reasons I chose to do this and give myself a little pep talk.. . . I'm going to be so much more appreciative of what I have when I get back!

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  11. Interesting.....I am finding that I am more bothered by cold than I used to be and thus have been allowing a bit of closet creep as the coat collection expands. New last year was a LLB down jacket to replace a 30+ year old one that had really made its contribution, and a rain jacket to replace a worn out slicker. Other coats include a long black cashmere bought for a December wedding that turned out to be on a 60 degree day (go figure.....), a light green shortened to car coat length cashmere from a thrift shop, a bright pink long car coat length coat for mid winter doldrums.....there might be a few more that don't get much wear? But I get so cold and the silk long underwear isn't practical for everything......

    Liking your camel/black combo, and agree that you may be very happy to see your larger collection when you get home - I know I would!

    ceci

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    1. Aren't we lucky?! So much choice in our closets to warm us. . .

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  12. Oh coats! Wish I could get it right. For the past 5 years I've been walking to and from work, 5 days a week, 4 miles round trip daily in the worst of the Scottish winter weather. So I needed a completely waterproof, hooded, below the knee, lightweight coat for drenching summer rain (aubergine), and ditto but cosily lined for winter rain, sleet and snow (navy). After that I have a high performance waterproof for hillwalking (bright blue), an Italian below knee length down coat without a hood (black), a hooded down jacket (lime green) and a velveteen high collared mid thigh length coat (mustard). All except the last 2 are purely functional. The mustard one is by Toast - my one fashion coat purchase! I would love more, but they are blooming expensive and fashion coats tend not to work for my mostly practical lifestyle. That is going to be even more the case when we move to the country, but I long to be fashionable in the coat sphere. It would be a case of finding the one perfect coat that was warm, fashionable, would go with most things. And by the time I'd finished researching for a season the stock would have moved on. Some people have the knack of making the right purchase - I find coats the most fraught of all items to buy. I mourn the camel Jaeger coat I let go as a 20 something.
    But I can understand your resolve not to buy. It actually feels quite good once the initial pang has passed. That is something that not earning this year is teaching me, and it's a valuable lesson in our over-consuming world.

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    1. I'm guessing you must get plenty of wind with your rain to be so insistent on the hooded waterproof coat. I used to be equally firm on that, but over the years, I've moved to an umbrella, if the winds aren't too bad and to a felted-wool hat for warmth and rain resistance -- a beret tends to stay put. . .

      And I'm so glad someone else experiences that good feeling of outwaiting the initial urge to buy. I really do know that I have what I need back home, and compared to some of the need I see on the street, wearing the same coat for a few weeks is not such a hardship. . .

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  13. Ooh yes, coats. Love them. I have a selection but find that, depending on the weather, one gets worn over and over again until the temperature changes and it's on to the next one. Currently on a bright green lightweight down jacket but hoving in to view is my purple Lands' End chalet coat - down below my knees and makes me look like a badly lagged hot water tank but it is soooo warm. Perfect for a cold city walk. I am always tempted by a good long wool coat for the way that, as an earlier friend remarked, it pulls a whole outfit together. Just fling it on and, as long as the legs are looking smart, everything looks good. But my lifestyle is so much more casual these days and it just wouldn't get the wear so I resist the temptation.

    Love camel on you (and on me too) Why is camel so beguiling but beige so boring?

    And I'm with Dottoressa - don't freeze in France. Get a snazzy new coat if needs be.

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    1. Down coats are so cozy in the right climate -- in Vanc'r, their usefulness is limited by the rain, but they're great on a cold dry day.
      True, that, about the camel vs. beige -- is that just semantics, clever marketing?

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  14. Don't live in coat country, but I truly understand the way a country call you to buy to fit it. Your shrimp sound delicious:), as does your yoga.

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    1. Honestly, yoga saved me this morning. Breathe. . . .

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  15. I am a big fan of coats, and yes, I do still call that slightly cocoon shaped, mid thigh length coat a car coat. One of my favourite shapes, amd flattering to my fuller figure. Like Linda, living in Scotland, I agree that one always requires a waterproof, windproof, below knee coat to pull on for casual wear. I also have summer and winter dog-walking coats, demoted from everyday/casual/smart wear, a necessary precaution when walking dogs daily, often in mud. X

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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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