Friday, February 24, 2017

What I Wore, Outer-wear-wise, Inviting Spring. . . .

My two-day Drawing Course is over, and I have a few images to share with you soon. I stayed at my good friend's, a few houses away from my home of 20+ years, and it was great to catch up with her and good-but-a-bit-weird to be back on "our little island." I'd been worried it might be too difficult, that I'd be holding back tears throughout the visit, but instead I managed to get out for a few quick walks, bump into old friends and neighbours, exchange a few hugs. . . . I even walked out onto our old beach, looked up at the house that's not ours anymore, and when I turned my back to it and looked back out toward the horizon, I spotted an oystercatcher at the tide's edge (as seen earlier, in this post). . . Felt like a good sign. . . .

Still, a lot to process -- not least, the brainwork required to assess negative space, to approximate angles and set out rough geometric areas/shapes on a page, to play with contours, and to attempt continuous line drawing. And remember which pencils work best on which papers. It's play, yes, and it's also the best kind of work, but it is at least as exhausting as it is exhilarating.

And I'm still away from home, in a hotel last night, meeting a friend for breakfast before a road trip over a mountain pass to visit my son. A mountain pass which has been dusted with snow flurries overnight, although I expect by the time I reach it those flurries will have given way to showers. (Sounds much more dramatic than it is, honestly, but, you know, a blog needs a bit of drama occasionally, and sometimes I have to throw in a "mountain pass," without necessarily mentioning that I used to drive this twice a week, and many people include it in their daily commute ;-).)

Meanwhile, though, until I'm home and rested up, I do have the What I Wore photos I promised to illustrate the way that I'm trying to bring some colour to my February wardrobe. The temperature dropped again this week (see above, re snow flurries!), but overall it's been warming a bit (and raining, and raining). Not needing as warm an outer layer meant I could wear this trenchcoast -- still neutral, yes, but at least not so dark. . .

although the footwear is still winter-weight. . . . What would I do without my Blundstones, so perfect for our Vancouver rain. . .  You might also note that I tied a brighter scarf at my neck to enliven the neutrals a bit, although it's a bit tough to see the pattern (if you'd like a better view, you can see it in this post -- scroll down a bit -- or this one, or this one).
I also went the scarf route to lighten the slightly tough-practical combo of cuffed boyfriend jeans, black sneakers, and leather jacket. I love this silk-mohair shawl/scarf I knit ten or more years ago (here's the pattern page on Ravelry, if you'd like a better idea of the size and design).


And after I'd worked my way into small, judicious bits of colour. . . . Ah, why not?! I decided I should let this J. Crew peajacket out of the closet. I bought it impulsively a few years ago even though (or because) I already had one in navy. Honestly, I've found that I don't always want to live up to the colour, if that makes sense, but I have to say I got many compliments on this.
I could have toned down the impact, I suppose, by pairing with jeans or dark pants or even a slightly longer, solid-coloured skirt.
But I like this look, for a change,
and although the peacoat is warm enough for winter,
wearing this makes me feel as if spring might be on the way -- as the shorter skirt (the bottom part of a cotton knit dress) with its nautical stripes, as well as the no-good-for-snow-and-ice sneakers) attest. I know, I know, we still have another month or so when snow and ice and grey days are fair game, really. A mountain pass with snow flurries, even.  But it's coming. . . .

And where you are? Is the weather beginning to shift as we move toward the equinox? Is your wardrobe shifting slightly with it? Or perhaps the weather's not shifting at all, so you're making some wardrobe adjustments to try shifting your mood instead? Or, like Sue, you've wearied so much of winter that you've packed a bag or two to suit the season you're flying to. As always, we could chat about any of this if you care to leave a comment below.  I'll be busy over the next day or so, but you know I'll see your comments as they come in, and they're always so welcome.

Now, off you go and Happy Weekend to you!

44 comments:

  1. Mountain pass? Snow flurries? Frances, you must be going to Three Pines,although February is not "the cruelest month" :-)
    I love the peacoat-it is lovely. I would wear it with all black or navy and a colourful scarf -but in your way - Spring is Comming,indeed. Your knitted scarf is a fairytale piece of clothes,very nice...
    I decided that it is Spring-we had a couple of nice,sunny days and I am in the spring mood,together with white corduroy trousers (ok,still under the camel coat :-))
    I am hosting 'Alo,'alo theme dinner tomorrow-so,a lot of cooking and baking are waiting ahead. I would make your bread!!!
    And Sunday evening is reserved for Cinderella musical-my friend's son would breakdance in the show
    Dottoressa

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    1. White corduroy trousers and a camel coat? -- What a magnificent way to bridge from winter to spring!
      And what a fun, social weekend you have planned. (by the time I write this it will almost be over -- hope it was all the fun it sounded)

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  2. When I realized that your "old stomping ground" meant in fact your little island, I was a bit worried about you, fearing that going back there so soon might turn out too painful. I am very glad to read that this was not the case.
    I love your peacoat. It also reminded me that there is a very pale blue woollen coat hanging in my wardrobe which I bought second hand a couple of years ago and then never wore because I could not find the right combination of pants/scarf/shoes to go with it. But now it occurred to me that a lovely cashmere shawl I was given recently for my birthday will do very nicely to pull an outfit together. So thank you for the inspiration.

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    1. I'd worried about that as well, Eleonore, and I can't deny that there was some sadness, but I found there wasn't enough to stop me from simply enjoying the island as a visitor, and it was very pleasant to bump into a few old friends as well.
      With your eyes? That pale blue coat will be splendid! (and cashmere shawls are always a delight! -- Happy Belated Birthday!)

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  3. I love your pea coat. What a beautiful colour - bright without being Look At Me. I say if you're wearing a coat you may as well make it a colour that makes your heart sing.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip and fingers crossed for the weather. Here spring is gearing up to spring and I almost impulse bought a Malus from the waifs and strays bargain section at the garden centre. Calm reflection and a small car meant that I came home with just an Agapanthus bulb, but it was good to be thinking about blooms to come.

    (And I am fascinated by Dottoressa's Allo Allo party - please you cannot just offer us the merest hint without giving us a little more to go on. If I have understood you correctly, your theme relates to a British TV series from the 80s which I had thought was so niche that only Brits would watch it... Clearly not)

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    1. Thank you Ceri :-)
      'Alo,'alo was amazing and hilarious (I love British series very much) and I hope we'll have a lot of fun.
      I'll say a few words after the dinner(only once),if you are interested :-)
      I can't reveal my role in advance (although,with my english ,officer Crabtree would be perfect choice)
      D.

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    2. Well, I will say this only once, have a wonderful evening...

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    3. I'm loving this discussion, though I don't know the show myself (suspect my dad might have) -- we definitely need a report after the party, D.
      Ceri, this is what I've been itching to do -- get to a garden centre and bring home a few new blooms (maybe even a Malus! -- assume you mean a little (crab?)apple tree). But I know I'm going to need to exercise some restraint, so I'll keep you and your bulb in mind ;-)

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    4. Have to confess that I resisted the cute little crab apple tree only a day before going back with husband and larger car. Turns out cute little tree is at least 10' tall and only just fitted in so it was just as well I exerted self control the other day when I had my teeny car. But I have just the spot for it and am looking forward to getting it dug in.

      I am not very familiar with the comedy series Allo, Allo myself as it was on at a time when I didn't have a TV (I know, imagine) but it was very popular and some of the catchphrases have entered the language. I just thought that it was something it was a humour that wouldn't travel so I am looking forward to hearing more about Dottoressa's jollifications.

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    5. The 'alo''alo theme dinner report :-):
      We had such a great time (you have to watch at least a couple of episodes-it is hilarious,although very politically incorrect,even only to see the characters) and a lot of fun.
      We were Herr Flick from the Gestapo (me-and it was a great suprise for all the guests-they expected one of the beautiful ladies :-)) and von Smallhausen( It was not enough time to find an uniform for Helga character-except the garter and the corset :-):-)
      There were two pairs of Rene and Ivette,Edith,british officers.....we missed Michelle of the Resistance (my first choice :-)) and Officer Crabtree ( he didn't want to disguise)
      It was the mixture of all the languages with all the wrong pronuncation and an evening with a lot of laughter
      Our turn for hosting dinner with our friends is always near Carnival,so it becomes a tradition. Once it was a Bridget Jones moment-I was a Catwomen and they all decided to come casually dressed-of course,by mutual agreement :-)
      Dottoressa

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    6. Dottoressa - thank you. What fun you must have had with your friends. Although I was certain that you would be the glamourous Yvette Carte-Blanche... Herr Flick would have not been my first guess. I have had evenings with friends like this in the past but your account has made me realise that our gatherings have all got a bit sensible in recent years. Time for a theme evening, I think. Catwoman, eh? Practical (a wipe clean, all covering garment for the cook, I imagine) and yet brave, so, so brave...

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  4. Weather here is bizarre. Today is lovely and spring like but yesterday Storm Doris did her worst. We were waiting for it but it seemed to pass us by, except for a lot of rain and a biting cold. I have given up on much more than staying dry and warm. That peacoat is great - such a useful coat for changeable days.

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    1. Staying dry and warm -- that's a very reasonable goal, 'til spring actually arrives. (It's very true about a peacoat -- so useful! Does me in winter if I add a good hat and scarf, and in spring it falls open nicely, unbuttoned, if the day warms. . .

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  5. Wow, you look fab Frances in the skirt and peacoat shots. Very chic and youthful and fun;French-inspired is the vibe I get.
    Spring- the beauty of it in London is there is no mud-season (the unofficial fifth season in Maine) to trudge through; just seems like pop, sun turns on, birds tweet louder and flowers bloom overnight. London has so much green space-so many parks and this time of year they are calling my name.
    Scarfs cure all manner of ills and moods in my opinion. Panache added just by tying/tossing/wrapping something around our necks! The one you knitted looks wonderful with the peacoat and bet that it would jazz up your black motorcycle jacket in an unexpected way, too.
    Preparing for US family and friends next month. Eagerly hoping London gets her Spring frock on for that. Just craving sun.
    So glad your two days of classes enlivened you and the island trip was OK. The first time was bound to be the hardest and now it is behind you.
    A. in London

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    1. We're quite similar to London in our lack of a mud-season, and very lucky in that, I know. Once this threat of snow is over, we're in for a week of rain at about 6 to 10 degrees Celsius, but on any day, should the sun come out, it will be as you say: birds tweeting their mating calls and blooms exploding colour on every corner.
      As you've added below, that is the moto jacket with the handknit scarf above.
      How nice to be able to show your visitors around that amazing city -- even if the weather is sulky, there are so many wonderful things to do (Tate, NPG, British Museum, etc. etc.) ;_
      And yes, it's good to have done that difficult first time back to the island -- future trips will be much easier.

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  6. Love the texture of your beautiful hand-knit scarf with your curls. I know what you mean about having to live up to some clothes. I am amazed thinking about all the red I used to wear--can't imagine wearing it now. I like to choose when I announce myself, rather than having my clothes announce me. Although that may change again....

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    1. Thanks, Elle. I never thought about the textures of scarf and curls, but I see what you mean. It's really a treasure of a scarf -- a large-shawl surface area, but can be pulled through my wedding ring. Very light, but surprisingly warm.
      Interesting about the red -- I met an old friend for coffee the other day and she was wearing a red coat. I told her I remembered one she'd had four decades ago, and she just smiled and said she always had a red coat, bought a new one every few years. . . .

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  7. Oh,now I realize that is maybe your black motorcycle jacket you wearing. Thought it was a black, short down jacket. Color me confused-and tired. TGIF
    In any case, you look fab.
    A. in London

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  8. Like everyone else I love the peacoat with the striped dress.
    Up here in northern VT, just south of Quebec, spring comes in fits and starts. So far in Feb. we've had an ice storm, a nor'easter of 18 " of fluff, and now rain & 40 degrees F. My husband is busy getting the sugar house ready and he's tapped a few trees in
    the front yard. However, we could get a cold snap that halts all the preparations. The
    latest spring I can remember in my adulthood is the year that the leaves were just unfolding on the last day of school, June 18 (Paul McCartney's birthday.) Carol

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    1. I would have a tough time with that long a winter, although I suppose you get very used to it and learn to celebrate the cold white beauty. . . .
      Does your spring happen like the ones I've seen in Ottawa and Montreal? The ones that see bulbs and perennials grow inches in a day, go from first tentative green poking through the soil to exuberant blooms within a week? Our spring here begins, really, in late January, early February, with snowdrops and catkins and there's something new blooming or unfurling for weeks and weeks, so I'm always fascinated by the speeded-up version, so very lush.

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  9. Love your colorful peacoat with your striped skirt, tights, and flats. Also love the black leather jacket, jeans, sneakers, with your lovely knit scarf. I have tried to add color, it doesn't work. Gray, white, and cream are my brights. I do have a couple of dark navy striped t-shirts. That's as wild as I get. I have patterned scarves in black, gray, and white that I add for contrast. I have one long, gorgeous, patterned silk scarf with an understated rainbow of colors on it. I put it on, take it off, and put on a patterned black or gray scarf instead. I'm happy in neutrals, so I'll just go with that.

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    1. Your palette is a very elegant one, and I have, with much less elegance, been feeling increasingly comfortable moving in that direction. Still, I own the peacoat, and it does garner compliments, so I may try to get out the door in it more often. . . . until I find someone to pass it along to. . . ;-)

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  10. ... England is slowing coming here in England too... now snow where we live this winter, just cold and wet, which is worse. The bulbs are starting to poke through and My wardrobe is getting lighter too.

    Navy rather than black... it's a subtle shift that nobody else probably notices... but it's important to me.

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    1. I agree with you on Navy rather than Black -- especially for spring, even summer.
      Can't agree with you on the cold and wet being worse than snow, although I do know what you mean about that wet cold that gets into your bones. Just that I have no patience with the limited mobility snow brings....

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  11. I enjoyed seeing these and am curious: do you keep all your clothes in your condo? Do you have offsite storage? I could not accommodate the three coats as you have shown (plus leather jacket), and the other coats that you have WIW'd in other posts.

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    1. No offsite storage, and I'm thinking seriously about what coats to cull for that very reason. We're still sorting out the clothes storage -- we have a large (walk-through) closet in our room, a good-sized closet in the guest/TV/library room, and a coat closet in the entryway.

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  12. That green cost really suits you. I love it.

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    1. Thanks! It's actually a turquoise more blue than green, but I know that varies on different screens.

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  13. Love the color of the peacoat -- it's one of my favorites. Spring is definitely here in Florida. The plants think it is spring, but we have had highs of 80F which feels more like summer to me. I hate to think what we're in for in July. I know I should change out my wardrobe, but I keep hoping for one more cool spell, one more chance to wear a sweater all day...

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    1. Wow! Those are such high temperatures for February, impossible for me to imagine here. . . I suppose I should count my good luck in being able to wear my sweaters so often ;-)

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  14. I really love that outfit. And that coat is like the blue version of celadon.

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    1. Yes! Something like a cross between Cyan and Celadon. . .

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  15. "Where am you?" I am on my way to your former "little island"! Currently, I'm in Seattle planning an August wedding for my son and his lovely fiancée. But on Tuesday, I am driving north, over the border, to Vancouver and lovely ferry rides to another art experience with your friend. Very excited! Though there may be no "mountain pass" on my northerly route, for this So. California native, driving in this weather "adds" to the excitement of this next adventure. :)
    Love your impulse buy...the color and the outfit! As for my island OOTD, I was warned to bring a painting work shirt as things could get quite messy. :)
    Again, thinking of you with fondness for opening this door...Charlene H.

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    1. I heard this news when I was with Alison this week, Charlene -- so cool for you! (and actually, there is a mountain pass for you as well, Sutton Pass on the way to Tofino ;-)
      Have fun with the wedding planning, and then have a wonderful time this side of the border. And do your best to get that Painting Shirt really, really messy! So pleased to have played the tiniest part in opening that door for you.

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  16. Your art experiences are ones I hope to experience, in part, in a few years when I have more time. I have sadly let the art journal drop in favour of photos.
    Your green jacket is lovely on you and speaks of spring. Today, it snowed heavily here. My husband drove that mountain pass northward today, and back again. I was glad when he arrived safely home.
    Going back to a beloved home brings mixed emotions. I'm glad your time on the little island was positive.

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    1. We can't do it all -- there will be time for the art journal later, and meanwhile your photos are so good.

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  17. Really love your jacket Frances, especially worn with the striped dress. The colour is great on you!
    Rosie

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  18. I am glad to read that you weathered the trip to your former Island so well. I too like the color in the pea coat, but see how it would be hard to wear given your general sartorial leanings a this stage. I recently realized that I don't have a coat in a true neutral (black, gray, navy) at all right now, but my colorful coats all blend into my wardrobe. Just the other day though I wished I had a neutral coat. I might do something about that except that I still have too many coats. I've pruned my collection extensively from when I lived in the Hudson Valley. But I'm moving from a modern house to a smaller house built in the 1920s, and I'm moving from many good sized closets that I don't fill, to few small closets and no coat closet, just a few hooks by the door.

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    1. Coats are so important in a colder climate, and I like a bit of variety, but they do take considerable room to store....I'm really interested in the incremental process you've taken to culling and editing and re-prioritising over the last few years, and this new move will surely feature even more of that.

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  19. Greatly enjoying catching up with your recent blog posts Frances. Although not officially 'retired' being 52, I did go through a similar process of working out 'who am I and what do I do now' when I left work to become a stay at home mum. That was 10 years ago and the answers have changed several times in that decade. It does take time to prioritise/reprioritise, find an identity that works for you etc. Keeping my self confidence at a reasonable level was (and remains) hard for me with the easy label of 'nursing sister, Orthopaedics' taken away. I did go through a phase of writing 'Domestic Goddess' on forms where it asks for Occupation, and still haven't found a suitable replacement though now tend to fill in the meeker option 'homemaker' (a term that actually makes me feel mildly nauseaus, much as I love my role as just that). Re colour: yes please. I wear bold, though not necessarily brigh colours. Grey, red, mustard, green, blue, often with an orange bag, wallet or scarf. I don't clash my colours, but like a definate colour in every outfit. Today it's a grey tunic sweater with graduated dark red stripes round the hem and cuffs, blue jeans, bright blue shoes with orange soles (there's that orange again) and stripey socks. X

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    1. I can really relate to what you say about being a SAHM, Penny, and I think in some ways, my feelings about being retired recall some of what I felt being a SAHM in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, although I juggled part-time work and taking academic courses with that. Like you, I found the role satisfying in many ways, but struggled with some aspects of it, not the least the way others perceived me in it. I know we shouldn't care about how we're seen (ha!) but I think I'll have to surrender that goal for another lifetime. ;-)
      I love the description of your outfit for the day you wrote -- those orange soles! a lovely detail. I'm a bit bemused, honestly, that I'm mostly hewing to neutrals the last year or so. I do love a gloriously saturated colour. . .

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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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