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Weekly Roundup: Cognac Accents

by Angie
The resurgence of brown for Fall 2014, and its rich inclusion in a cold weather neutral palette, have amped up the appeal of cognac wardrobe accents. Here are ten fun items to get your cognac juices flowing for Autumn.
  1. J.Crew Studded Belt: A casual cognac belt with a subtle stud. Nice and different.
  2. J.Crew Italian Leather Belt: A modern classic style with a dressier integrity.
  3. Sam Edelman Petty: The Sam Edelman Petty is a repeat style that I find comfortable. It's a nice shade of cognac, and extra comfy with a cushioning insole. Read the rave reviews.
  4. Frye Courtney Slip On: Fryes slip-on heeled loafers are a super combination of refined ruggedness. More rave reviews.
  5. J.Crew Perforated Monk Strap Loafers: A dainty monk strap loafer in a light shade of cognac with fun brogue detailing.
  6. J.Crew Classic Silk Blouse: A boyfriend silk blouse in a richer shade of rust that is gorgeous with bottoms in shades of blue.
  7. Boden Isabel Jacket: A retro jacket in a graphic pattern. It's 100% cotton, so good for a warm Fall climate.
  8. Prada Chelsea Boot (Women): Pricey, but absolutely gorgeous and beautifully made. Refined Equestrian at its best, and very comfortable. Well suited to low and regular volume feet. Runs a size big like most Prada footwear. I have had my eye on these for a month, and am saving up for them.
  9. Boden Chic Ankle Boot: Boden makes comfortable boots, especially when they are suede. An extra rich shade of cognac in a sleek style of bootie. Good on a higher volume foot.
  10. Foley & Corinna City On A String Clutch: A clutch that converts into a crossbody in a bright shade of whiskey. Interesting.

Adding cognac accents was the first thing on my Fall shopping list. The recent addition of a Smythe jacket with cognac elbow patches to my wardrobe has kickstarted the process, so I’m well on my way.

Here is my finds collection if you would like to browse the list visually.

Angie's latest top picks

These are Angie's picks. You can collect items for your own wishlist or shopping list using YLF Finds. If you are logged in, you can collect the items right here by clicking the icon. Read more about using YLF Finds here.

My Spider Vein Story

by Angie

I developed spider veins on my thighs about fifteen years ago, just before I turned 30. It hit me quite hard because my Mum used to frequently call attention to her own spider veins saying how ugly they looked, and saying how lucky I was that I didn’t have them. Little did she know that her daughter was on the same track. 

For the next ten years, my spider veins weren’t very noticeable unless I wore a swimsuit, so I simply ignored them. I seldom wore shorts, skirts, or dresses shorter than a few inches above the knee anyway, so it didn’t affect the way I dressed.

By age 40 I noticed that my spider veins had spread. They were especially noticeable above my knees and around my inner thighs. A year after that, they were very visible on the front of my shins, the backs of calves and on parts of my ankles. I wasn’t thrilled by how this made my legs look, but I was even more concerned about whether they were a danger to my health. A dermatologist reassured me that there was no danger at all, and also mentioned that I could have them removed. I didn’t act on this information immediately, but stored it away in the back of my mind. 

I made no effort to cover up my spider veins because I love to wear skirts, dresses, and knee-length shorts sans hosiery when the weather is warm. Greg was completely unfazed by them and for the most part, so was I. I’m not sure what others thought about my spider veins, but no one ever made me feel bad for having them. 

My thoughts did keep returning to the fact that I could have them removed, or at least minimize their visual effect. So two years ago I took the plunge and booked the procedure. And it was an awful experience that I hope to never repeat. Painful, tedious and expensive. I had to stop the procedure halfway through, it was that unpleasant. I had sores and bruises on my legs for months, and had to wear support hose for 6 weeks. After a couple of months, I could barely notice the difference, although sweet Greg said that the procedure did soften some of the lines. 

At 44, the spider veins on my legs are alive and well, and they have multiplied. But I’m no longer concerned about how they look because, truly, what does it matter? They’re just lines on my skin. They are part of who I am. If my Mama was alive today, I would tell her that too. I’m grateful that my legs are healthy and strong. I can power walk with the best of them, and my tree pose is improving all the time. Those things are more important than any visual blemish.

My spider veins do not affect my fashion choices, and I still don’t cover them up. I’m grateful to be in a better frame of mind now than I was at age 29. We can’t stop or reverse the physical changes that accompany aging, but we can change the way we think about those changes. That is empowering.

Team Chocolate, Team Taupe, or Team Cognac

by Angie

Brown is making a fashionable comeback and we are seeing all four dark neutrals making a statement for Fall 2014. So I’m interested in hearing about your favourite shades of brown. You are on Team Chocolate if you prefer shades of dark brown, both cool and warm toned. You are on Team Taupe if you prefer cool, mid-tone browns. You are on Team Cognac if you prefer warm mid-tone browns, like the colours of chestnuts and hazelnuts. 

I don’t like to wear dark brown simply because it doesn’t make me happy. I have no logical explanation because this is purely an emotional reaction to the colour.

Cognac, on the other hand, is a “bright” brown, almost an orange-lite, and it does make me happy. I have a studded cognac belt that sees quite a bit of action. The cognac elbow patches on both my Smythe jackets make me smile. The cognac trim on my Okala pumps and cheetah footwear too. And I have a very old, very groovy cognac ‘70s leather jacket that I love.

I have one pair of great taupe booties, but that’s the only taupe in my wardrobe. The colour is too cool to wear against my complexion.

By now it should be obvious: I bat for Team Cognac. And I have cognac booties and bag on my shopping list for Fall. 

Over to you. Do you bat for Team Chocolate, Team Taupe or Team Cognac? Tell us why, and no batting for more than one team. If you can’t pick a side, there are crispy rosemary chicken wings on the bench with Dutch chocolate gelato for dessert.


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4 Reasons to Love White Jeans

by Angie

White jeans have been in style for several seasons, and this year they seem to be available in an even larger variety of denim silhouettes. From skinnies and straight legs, to bootcuts, flares, boyfriend jeans, shorts, overalls and cropped styles. And the whites vary from bright optical white and off-white, to a greyish bone and warm cream. Take your pick. 

I am a HUGE advocate of white jeans, and here’s why: 

They Are Crisp, Graphic, Fresh and Summery 

There is something about adding white denim to an outfit that makes it look extra crisp and fresh. It also looks more graphic than blue, grey or black denim. White jeans look fabulously modern to my eye, especially when you wear them in the Autumn and Winter. 

They Are Bright

White is a bright neutral. Combine white jeans with a neutral top, footwear and bag, and the visual effect of your outfit will be bright and bold sans the use of bright colours. Genius. 

They Work Extra Well with Pastels 

Pastel tops and footwear look especially good with white bottoms. Match pastel tops and footwear with black and grey bottoms and the effect isn’t as punchy. White bottoms bring out light blue, blush, mint and lilac. Furthermore, white denim is absolutely smashing with black tops, providing a more Summery way to wear black. 

They Are Dressier Than Blue Denim 

When you don’t feel like wearing formal trousers or a skirt, but faded blue denim feels too casual, white jeans are a great option. They are a lot dressier than faded denim if they aren’t ripped or torn. Many of my business casual clients aren’t allowed to wear blue jeans to work, but a polished pair of white jeans is perfectly acceptable. I find that white jeans are the ideal level of dressiness for many settings, which makes them very practical and versatile. 

For my style, white jeans are an absolute wardrobe essential, and one of my very favourite things. I have five pairs across skinnies, straight legs and boyfriends that I wear year round and very frequently. And I always seem to be looking for more. 

Most of my clients, across all body types, sizes and ages, wear white jeans. I say it every year: We can all wear white jeans. You don’t need to be slim in the leg, waist and thigh, to wear a small size. My US size 14 and 16 clients look as good wearing white jeans as those who wear smaller sizes. It’s a question of getting the fit and fabric right. Here are 12 tips for feeling fab in white bottoms to refresh your memory.

Over to you. Are you wearing white jeans? If so, why do you like wearing them, and do these reasons resonate with you?

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Footies That Stay on My Feet

by Angie

Footies are often called sock liners or no-show socks. You wear them in closed shoes like pumps, loafers, ballet flats, sneakers or oxfords, to create the comfort of a sock without its visual impact. I’ve tried footie after footie, but they all slide off my feet when I walk. For years I gave up the idea of wearing footies and went back to wearing loafers, pumps, flats and sneakers barefoot, which I don’t mind doing.

Then someone on our forum suggested trying kids sized footies when you have small feet that are low volume. I wear a US size 6.5. or Euro 36/37. So in the spirit of leaving no retail stone unturned, I bought a pair of M/L footies for size 12 to 5 kids shoes to road-test the suggestion. They fitted more snugly on my feet than footies for ladies, which was a good sign. I put them through their paces last week with loafers and sneakers, and they stayed on my feet beautifully. They didn’t slide off at all with my loafers. Not once. I was wowed. They slid off a few times with my sneakers, but only on the left foot. All in all though, I’m pleased with the result and will stock up on the footie. 

FootiesI can’t find the footies that I bought in the Nordstrom kids department online, but here is the exact same product for small kids. They are beige with perforation holes, and come up quite high on the vamp. I don’t think they will work for feet larger than a US size 7 because they’re quite short. But if you wear a smaller size, they might be worth a try.

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