Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lightening the Layers, Just a Bit -- Early Spring "What I Wore"

 In the interest of offering you some content here, without my having to write many words. . . . a few What I Wore photos snapped over the last two weeks or so. I'm really tempted to delete that simpering selfie, above, but it gives the best sense of the sweater's drape, the curve of that high-low hem. I'm afraid those Fluevog loafers are entering their last days, and I wish I could find a replacement as versatile and comfortable. I bought the jeans (Denham) in London six years ago, and they're only this last year really beginning to fade noticeably -- a bit shocking, really, to think how much wear we pay to have knocked out of most of our denim. . . The sweater (which I generally have to wear over a t-shirt or other inner layer) was bought in Bordeaux, 2015, and the scarf is Club Monaco, at least three years old. I'm often happiest in outfits that comprise mainly garments and accessories I've had for a few years yet still feel current in.

 I finally dropped my (J. Crew) pea jacket off at the drycleaners -- poor thing spent much of the winter waiting on a hook by the door, supposedly for me to grab it on the way out. Even after I managed to get it to the cleaners, it took me three weeks to get 'round to picking it up! Do you do this too? I mean, really, how busy can I be?!
Perhaps as punishment for my procrastination, two days after I picked the coat up, so pleased to have had the cleaner sew a button back on for me, another button popped up. I have to say, owning two of these J. Crew peacoats (remember this turquoise one?),  that while the quality is otherwise very good for the price and the jackets do seem to wear well, I've had at least five buttons pop off between the two coats, and with very little provocation. Any sewist knows that special care needs to be taken with metal-shanked buttons -- someone should tell J. Crew!
 Otherwise, though, this is another outfit I felt good in recently, again comprised of pieces that I've been wearing for a while: my one and only Hermès scarf (a birthday gift way back here),  the peacoat, the striped T-dress I got last fall, and the Vince sneakers whose soles I've almost worn through. (Yes, replacement shoe shopping is definitely in order very soon.)

 I have done a bit of shopping lately, so it's not all old favourites. These (J Crew) boyfriend chinos caught my eye as a nice change from jeans, yet with the same ease.
 Wearing them with a navy Bompard v-neck, tissue-weight, which I bought last fall as  a replacement for the same model I'd bought five or six years ago and worn and washed to a felted frazzle. My bad.
 I'm starting to think about replacing my moto-style Mackage jacket -- it's got a few small rips now, and I notice there's a grease stain on one sleeve (and the leather on both sleeves is noticeably faded). At seven years of being worn at least twice a week through most seasons, it doesn't owe me anything, but I'm not in any rush to chuck it out.  . . It took long enough to find a fit that works for my short waist; I rather dread having to do that again. Plus I prefer a worn-in look in this style, but I want the "distressing" to be done by me, through day-to-day wear. For now, at least, this jacket stays in circulation, rips and stains notwithstanding.

Below, since I chopped off my head in the photo above. . . the state of my grey and length of my curls these days. . .
 And one last series, just to show you my new ever-so-comfortable, unquestionably fabulous, splurge sweatshirt from All Saints.
 I love the shape, the fit, the colour, the subdued neutral-toned drama of that beast. The ribbing on a sweatshirt too often says discouraging or downright nasty things about my short waist, so when I tried this on I was very tempted to get a second one (different graphic, in grey very similar cut). Thus I have earned the added bonus of feeling virtuous about my restraint in purchasing only one, even though I fired up my charge card....
 Again, Vince sneakers, Denham jeans, all the tried and true. . . .

And to head out into the day's rain (because honestly, that seems a constant lately),  a two-year-old trenchcoat and a silk organza scarf I bought on that  trip to Paris with my sister a few years ago. You might note that I've tried a different cuff on my jeans here -- I rather like it, and it's simpler to achieve than the roll in the photo above.
The outfit above got me to a local café yesterday where I hunkered down at a table and wrote enough words for my own writing project to get it back on its funny little track after almost two weeks of being shunted to a holding yard. I didn't really need to "dress up" for that, obviously, nor, if I'm honest, for much of what I do these days, but I like a bit of polish to my casual, I guess. What about you? What activities are you dressing for these days? Work? Play? Baby-sitting the grandkids? Milking the cows? (okay, that was a wild card, but who knows!) First day at grad school? A presentation to your local municipal council? Grocery shopping? Looking for a gallery or local restaurant to display your artwork?

And are you gravitating to wardrobe stalwarts of some longstanding? Or are you liking the lift of the new? A mix of the two? Do tell.  Never mind those young men with their thoughts of love; in Spring, what does a Woman of a Certain Age's "fancy turn to thoughts of"? (or, if you're in the other hemisphere, at the other transitional season, feel free to substitute Fall for Spring).


38 comments:

  1. Hello, it's early Autumn here on the East Coast of South Africa.
    Cooling down nicely. Navy trench coat and brogues ready to go!
    Regards
    Lizer Pearl

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    1. Lovely to hear from the southern hemisphere--your navy trench and brogues would be perfect here right now (in fact, I think a navy trench and brogues are perfect in many places!)

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  2. Hi Francis, these days I am wearing mostly workout gear. I'm 3 weeks into an 8-week programme at the gym consisting of boot camps 4 times a week, daily challenges and a running group. I'm not looking to lose a great deal of weight (it's actually a competition called 'The Biggest Loser'), but looking for motivation. It's a great group of people so it's definitely been a fun time.

    As for clothes, I'm still wearing my wintertime cords - our weather is very up-and-down at the moment - but I guess I'll be getting out the jeans, khakis and linen soon. I'm like my husband with the car tires - he doesn't change to summer tires until May, I like to make sure that winter has definitely gone before I put away my cashmere!

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    1. It's auto-correct's fault, right. My students often ended up writing to me as "France," which is a favourite SpellCheck default also.
      Whoa! You've really got hooked on fitness, haven't you? Good stuff! (and even here on the Coast, we haven't changed tires yet either -- but not because there's much chance of snow, just procrastination)

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    2. I'm loathe to admit it, but it wasn't autocorrect - I'm writing on the laptop - it was just a plain old typo! :0)

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  3. I have been lazily reviewing my wardrobe and replacing some basics that show wear or have become dated. I saw some olive pants (jogger-ish) yesterday that stuck in my mind and now I see your khaki...you may have given me the nudge I needed...these are neutral colours, right?

    Also glasses shopping. I finally found the frames I was looking for, only to be told the shop is having a buy one/get one promotion. Now I have another decision to make.

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    1. I love olive for adding some colour to neutrality!
      I'd love to be able to afford a second pair of glasses, but yep, that's decision piled on decision. Good luck!

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  4. I've been living with my blue/beige/khaki wardrobe for almost seven weeks now. When I get home, it should be warm (mid-May) so I could probably continue on with it until the fall. Library volunteering, Spanish lessons and gallery browsing mostly along with reading and Netflix. I was embarrassed the other night when a neighbour came by to invite me to have a glass of wine and I was already in pyjamas. Since I have no washer or iron, I am eager to hang my clothes up to keep them tidy.

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    1. I was much influenced by my three months with the carry-on wardrobe -- it's quite liberating if occasionally boring or frustrating.
      Great anecdote re your neighbour and pyjamas -- I could easily have been the same -- pjs are just so comfy and as you say, saves wear and tear on the rest of the wardrobe. Did you change and join them?

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  5. I do find myself in flats and sneakers a lot lately. But I miss wearing my heels, so I pulled them out the other day and wore them with my jeans!! And boy did I feel great!
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. It's true, Jodie, once in a while it's fun to shake it up -- I think you've inspired me to wear boots with heels today ;-)

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  6. I do love your style - you know what you like and you own it. Having begun my closet changeover, I notice that I am not as happy this year to see old stalwarts, largely because I have too many! Some have been high quality, some not, and it's the "not" group that urges me to purge. You're going shoe shopping? That's the best. I did stumble across some super-high platform shoes which I thought I had donated, and I'm so glad I didn't. They made me grin. Today is sunny! I'm in shock.

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    1. Increasingly so, Melanie -- I'm still drawn to colourful prints, but I know they eventually lead to my being more self-critical -- which yeah, I could work on, but seems smart to avoid or minimise.
      You do very well with the super-high platforms and I suspect we'll spot them in a cool shot soon. More and more, I really like to feel the pavement through the sole of my shoe with the sole of my foot. Platforms make me a bit queasy these days...

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  7. Love your new sweatshirt... as one short waisted person to another. It's the waistband that is often the clincher for me. Also love your new khakis. I've never had much luck shopping at J Crew. The fit never is right for me. Love those pants with your old Mackage jacket. I really must haul out my spring stuff... new and old...and have a good "try on" session in search of new combinations.

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    1. You've got some great new pieces and I know they'll combine beautifully with your old -- you're such a discerning, organised shopper!

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  8. Frances! The second photo of you is simply fabulous. It is exactly how I imagine you looking, right down to the tiniest nuance.
    And,aren't you lucky that you have that gorgeous orange entry way/hallway with interesting art (who created that?;have been wondering) to photograph yourself in? It really suits you.

    I am loving the Mint Velvet brand here London. Geox sandals and boots are exceedingly comfortable with a bit a swish.....especially comfortable for urban hiking for the miles I cover a week.

    But, with sunny skies here in London, have hauled out my chi-chi-la-la (as my french BIL would say) flip flops from a Brazilian company and love the liberation of toes and feet.

    A friend in her 30s just bought a motorcycle jacket, relaying to me that the ultra chic/judgemental sales clerk in a shop in St John's Wood told her that woman over 40 should not wear them (so to enjoy it while she can !!!!). To that I say, huh?!
    Rock on, Frances, you look great.
    A. in London

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    1. Thank you for the sweet words, A!
      Honestly, I'd love to have a more neutral, less crowded space to snap reflections in, but I do feel lucky to have the art (the orange wall, along with a fabulously chartreuse accent wall in the livingroom and some great greys in the master bedroom, were choices of the previous owners and we'll eventually arrive at our own, I hope) -- we have several paintings by this artist, a woman I discovered through our uni's student art sale many years ago. Comfort+the Swish Factor sounds perfect to me for London -- but flipflops, I can only dream right now!
      As for that sales clerk, I'm glad your 30s friend has better guidance in you!

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  9. I'm British so my everyday summer wardrobe is much the same as my winter wardrobe, but with one layer less... (and that layer is probably somewhere handy, just in case)

    Re first day of grad school - I deliberately wore a corduroy jacket because I'd read some sneery fashion writer dismissing all such jackets as fit only for geography teachers. As I was re entering the portals of a geography school after many years away, I thought I'd face up to the snark.

    Tomorrow I'll be cutting back an out of control hedge. My wardrobe choices are likely to focus on the practical and will be accessorised with an step ladder.

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    1. Our climates aren't so dissimilar, but we do generally get some decent runs at temps in the high 20s. . . .that suits me perfectly. Not keen on much higher.
      Grad school dress I remember as offering a certain impunity, somehow, being with one's tribe. I suppose that's more true for the Humanities than for business school though ;-) Have fun with the pruning -- no accessory as valuable as a really trustworthy stepladder!

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  10. I have been alternating between Yoga wear and my NYDJ and a plain tee and sweater. Yoga classes 3 times a week means that I am dressing for these classes and then when I get home I may just head out for my walk so I don't bother changing.
    My Style is definitely casual these days but I do love to add a scarf and some cute shoes. Your outfits look very fresh and fun...

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    1. Good for you if you're fitting in 3 yoga classes a week -- and then walking afterwards as well!

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  11. I have discovered the pitfall of working at home for yourself...you can easily spend an entire day looking like a shambles. Never having been one to happily wear pyjamas all day - even when my babies were small I was up and properly dressed - I have now decided that if I am to sit typing all day long (hours...) then I need to be comfortable. Sometimes I catch sight of myself with vague horror...it is like ath-leisure for down and outs. But I will be up and typing from about 7am tomorrow so back to the old running leggings and comfy top. Curiously calming.

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    1. I do love a good pyjama day, I must admit. But even for working at home, I tend to at least wear jeans, even slip a belt around their waist, try to find a top with a bit of pizzaz. However, I'll admit that I can barely wait 'til dinner time to change at least my bottom half into pjs. . . .perhaps if I adopted leggings instead of jeans, I wouldn't need to do that....

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  12. I'm still adjusting to a non-working life so trying to find an everyday style which makes sense of the "workwear" I didn't immediately donate on retirement. As part of that adjustment I have treated myself to a session with a style consultant who told me most of my clothes are too big for me! Explains why I've been dissatisfied with many items which look fine on the hanger but never felt right on.
    A mixed life of city/country, grandchild minding/London social life means a varied wardrobe is required so a work in progress.
    And a winter of immobility following a bunion operation means I'm looking forward to sandals -- as soon as the swelling finally clears!
    Thanks for the inspiration Frances -- love the sweatshirt.

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    1. So interesting what that objective assessment can tell us. Has it been uncomfortable replacing your wardrobe with smaller sizes? Is the neater/smaller fit tough to adjust to? What a good investment in yourself that style-consultant session must have been.
      Although I haven't had a bunion operation, I'm also very keen to get my sandals (in my case, Birkenstocks) out. Getting my first pedicure of the season today, in readiness. . .

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  13. The other day I tried on a new T-Shirt which I had bought because it combines a subdued grey with a catchy statement on the front. When I looked in the mirror, I saw to my horror that the bulge above my waist is definitely distracting attention from the political message. So only very few Easter eggs for me this year.
    As for dressing up, I am not quite sure how that will work out in the future. At the moment I have to dress for work, of course, Casual but clean, no holes nor stains, polished shoes. And a scarf or necklace to pull the colours together. But I am not quite sure what will happen when I retire. I am afraid I might succumb to the temptation of jogging pants an sagging sewatshirts while at home. So the best thing will be to go out regularly in order to have to dress properly.
    As my future needs and habits are still unclear, i do not plan to buy anything new at the moment. But I have a light cardigan on my needles, a Kaffe Fassett design made up from all the odds and ends of my stash. Hope to finish it before summer ends.

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    1. Ha! I've experienced that same horror. T-shirts can be very tough masters, it's true. But do still enjoy some Easter chocolate, please!
      I wonder if I'd be tempted to wear the sagging, moth-holed gear around here if I hadn't purged so much to move to a smaller space. I suspect so, and I really think you make a good point by suggesting purposeful outings be part of the retirement plan. You have so many interests and seem so urbane that I doubt that will be a challenge for you ;-)
      Ooooh, a Kaffe Fassett design -- wonderful!

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  14. Love your outfits, and particularly your Way With a Scarf. I know there are scarf-tying tutorials on YouTube, but I still never get it right! J Crew has just landed in London. I love the look of their stuff but may resist for the sake of not spreading globalisation.
    Since I'm not working at the moment and have no income I am not buying, and am gradually whittling down my wardrobe. Like Ceri in London I'm trying to find an everyday style (and have also been through the personal styling experience - good old John Lewis - to discover I was buying clothes one or even two sizes too big), and like Ceri in Bath I have been wearing my summer wardrobe but with one of my two Uniqlo ultra light down short jackets on top. Have worn the same 2 pairs of jeans since September - 1 on, 1 on the wash. They are now far too baggy as a result of toning up thro personal training sessions and just moving far more than when I was working, but I'm holding out to replace them until I'm working.
    On that note, my only purchase has been an outfit for tourist guiding - a fitted, standup collar Harris Tweed jacket, plus matching shirts. From House of Bruar, in the middle of the Highlands - a bit like this http://www.houseofbruar.com/ladies-tweed-riding-jacket-tr40400ombremulti/
    Incidentally, best customer service buying this that I've every had.
    Watching The Devil Wears Prada again the other day shamed me somewhat about my lack of interest in clothes as a result of not working, and made me resolve to do better.
    On biker jackets - I have one too, very fitted, in grey felted wool. Nice and cosy!

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    1. Lovely jacket, Linda. I'm a sucker for a good jacket. And oh to be told that my clothes are two sizes too big...

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    2. I really like the idea of a fitted biker jacket in grey felted wool -- probably warmer than, and just as wind-breaking as, the leather. And that Harris Tweed is perfect for looking good and representing your heritage.
      I'm not sure we should feel ashamed of going through periods when our interest in clothes drops -- I think it's healthy, having just gone through a long-ish spell myself, and finding it a release from so much consumerism and so much emphasis on our physical selves. An occasional Fast is probably a very good thing.

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  15. I love your sweatshirt a lot.
    And I would never stop wearing my leather jackets despite all the sales clerks :-)(only if I decide to do it for some other reason than age)
    I am still in dark winter colours (+white jeans sometimes),simply couldn't try or think or anything at the moment.
    The other day, during a meeting with the young CEO of one firm , he was wearing an amazing dark pink shirt-it is a spring and I should pick a colourful dress from my closet,too........some day,one day...
    Dottoressa

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    1. Now I'm curious about why you were meeting with this young CEO -- how wonderful his shirt sounds -- like the magnolias that are blooming here, finally, so spring-like. I'm not doing much colour myself (as the photos show), but I do have good intentions . . . ;-)

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  16. Since its hot and steamy here by mid/late spring and I am partly soon to be fully retired my wardrobe basics had devolved into tees and baggy old shorts. This year I am resolved to switch to more sun protection with longer linen pants and long sleeve linen shirts - we'll see how that works! Love your taupes and tans and the chinos - not my colors but splendid on you.

    ceci

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    1. We normally don't get more than perhaps 6 weeks of heat here, and it's mostly moderated by our proximity to the ocean. But I do love linen pants and shirts for sun cover. and I've got a few that never get worn quite as much as I'd like. . . .as for the colours, it's odd that I never thought these were mine, but the last few years I seem to be able to wear them.

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  17. Hi Frances, you look great in all of these outfits! I love the dipped hem jumper and I would definitely have encouraged you to buy the grey sweatshirt! I'm terrible for that ie buying a second or even a third! one if something works well ie a different colour or sometimes identical!
    Having just arrived home from California yesterday I'm wearing pj's a t-shirt accessorised with a yawn!
    I've tried writing this twice on my ipad but each time I pressed preview to correct something it tried to publish! so I hope you don't receive random comments from me!
    Going back to your outfits I realised I could probably "mirror image" you in all the pictures :) except for the leather jacket ... I've never had one although I have been considering it lately... Obviously a big mistake reading A's comment!! :)
    Rosie

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    1. I'm usually just the same, Rosie. If I love something, I tend to try to get it in another colour, sometimes even have bought two the same. But I'm trying to maintain consciousness of closet size after our move. . . .
      Love your description of your post-jet-lag outfit, such a cute accessory ;-)
      I think you'd be surprised how versatile and useful you'd find a leather jacket. Listen to me, to A., to Dottoressa, and ignore that silly, snooty sales clerk's words. Some day, when she's over 40, she'll discover her error!

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  18. Blue denim looks good at any stage in its life, which you demonstrate. Longevity matters to me, and like you I would like to replace some things I've worn into the ground rather than find a new thing. (Replaced many navy cashmere v-necks, no one realizes whether I have a new one or not.) Re the salesperson: many of them will say •anything• to make the sale.

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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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