The Almost Perfect Purchase

Sometimes purchasing an item that’s almost perfect makes sense, and sometimes it doesn’t. You can be extra patient, picky and practical with your purchases when you have a fully functioning, well established wardrobe with few wardrobe holes. You can hold out for something that ticks off all the boxes. 

This is why I returned the Quentin Chelsea boot from Dune. I’m looking for another pair of very comfortable cognac boots with a one inch heel because I’m wearing my equestrian Prada boots into the ground. The Quentins had enormous potential. Very comfortable, fab heel height, great fit around the ankle, well made, excellent sale price, lovely colour, refined, robust, looked good with my outfits, and not too casual. But they were also a touch too masculine. I would have loved them a few years ago, but not on this leg of my style journey. Back they went. 

But there are situations when an almost perfect purchase is the right way to go. Here are five of them:

  • Time Pressure: You need the item for a trip or an event and need to settle.
  • Dressing Your Body Now: You ALWAYS dress the body you have right now in wardrobe items that fit correctly. If you’re in the process of losing or gaining quite a bit of weight, you need to put together a few temporary capsules to see you through to your goal weight. That usually means you can be a little less picky about the purchases since they are tiding you over.
  • Experimenting With a Trend: When you’re unsure of how you’ll like a new-to-you trend or colour, you can purchase a version that meets most of your requirements because that’s all you need to assess whether you’ll purchase deeper into the look the next time. 
  • Opportunity to Alter: It’s a fabulous idea to purchase an almost perfect item that you can alter to perfection. You have to be willing to put in the extra expense and effort though. 
  • Need: Sometimes, clients have very large wardrobe holes, and there isn’t enough time to hold out for absolute perfection when we’re shopping. For example, when a very casual stay-at-home Mum unexpectedly lands a job that requires daily business casual and business formal attire – she literally has nothing to wear for her new job which starts in a couple of weeks. In this case, we put out the fire by pulling together a few appropriate mix-and-match capsules to tide her over. Over time though, we build on what we got, and hold out for even better items.

Over to you. Can you think of instances in which you’ve said yes or no to an almost perfect purchase?

Weekly Roundup: Camisoles

I wear a camisole daily when I’m not wearing thermals. They are a very important part of my style, and a necessary third item of underwear. I now have three styles that I rotate in white, cream, black, grey and ink blue (the first three styles in the collection below): The Hanky Panky jersey cami with lace, the $12 B.P. stretch camisole, and the Heattech cami from Uniqlo.  All VERY comfortable, fit like a dream, look pretty, and wear like iron. The straps line up perfectly with my bras, which is a plus since I don’t like the “double strap” look. I pop all my camisoles into the dryer and they’ve retained their shape.

The rest of the camisoles are winners with my clients. Some of them are available in plus sizes. Most styles come in a  large assortment of colours.

  • Hanky Panky Classic Heather Jersey Camisole: My new favourite pretty camisole because the lace is LOVELY peaking through from under a neckline. The shape is flattering on most body types and the lace is super soft. Comes with matching boy shorts, which I love and wear too. I hope to see more colours in the style for Spring.
  • BP Stretch Camisole: I've been wearing this camisole for eleven years and replenish as needed. It's VERY comfortable, cotton-rich, fits well and launders well. The satin strap adds a subtle pretty touch. It runs small and the cut is narrow, so size up. Excellent price.
  • UNIQLO Women Heattech Camisole: I like the extra warmth that this cami offers. I find it roomier than other camisoles, and extra lightweight and soft. You can't feel that you're wearing it.
  • UNIQLO Women Airism Camisole: This camisole keeps you cool if you run warm. The V-neck is lovely on a larger bust or very broad shoulder line.
  • Halogen Skinny Strap Tank (Regular & Petite): A camisole that is well suited to a curvy figure like a pear or hourglass because it doesn't ride up at the hips. Extra long and fab for tall gals. The slightly built-up strap is nice too.
  • Eileen Fisher Scoop Neck Silk Camisole (Regular & Petite): A fab camisole for the apple-shaped body type. Extra room on the midsection, and does not cling.
  • TC Camisole Shaper (Plus Size): A great shaping camisole to wear under a top with a shirt or pair of trousers. The control is moderate and comfortable. Read the rave reviews.
  • Yummie By Heather Thomson 'Stephanie' Shaping Tank (2 for $58): The yummy tummy cami provides shaping control over the waist and midsection. It's not for everyone, but CAN be sufficiently comfortable to wear daily, which some of my clients do. It has quite a bit of length, so not good on the very short waisted.
  • Halogen 'Absolute' Camisole (Regular & Petite): One of the best camisoles for tall gals because of the extra length. Super soft and cozy. Great adjustable straps for those who are short between the bust and neck. Read the rave reviews.

You can see my descriptions alongside the items on the collection page.

Celebrating Puffer Coats & Jackets

A puffer (or parka) is a coat or jacket that is filled with polyester, feathers or down. The layers are stitched down to create a quilted and “puffy” effect. The quilting can be heavy, medium or lightweight. The outer shell is made of a water-repellent man-made fibre or blend. 

Lengths vary from hipbone to ankle length. Puffers are available in just about any style, and all sorts of silhouettes. Many have detachable hoods, and some have faux fur trim. The aesthetic is casual and sporty, but dressier and more avant-garde puffers are becoming very popular. 

I love puffer coats because they are…

  • InsulatingA puffer coat is warmer than a wool coat, which is just what you need when temperatures plummet, or if you run really cold. A heavyweight puffer is extremely effective in arctic weather. 
  • ComfortableThe quilting is soft and comfortable against the skin. Wearing a puffer coat is like wearing a stylish sleeping bag as a topper. SUPER cosy. 
  • PracticalThe outer shell is weather resistant and does not crease. Lightweight puffers can be warm, easy to pack, and extra comfy to wear. They also layer well over a bulky outfit. You can wear a faux fur vest, suit, leather jacket or chunky knitwear under a puffer coat. 
  • DurablePuffers usually wear like iron. They tend to last for years, which means that you get a lot of bang for your fashion buck. 
  • TrendyPuffer coats have become very fashionable, and that’s why there’s a better assortment of the item than ever, and across a wide range of price points. They’ve become quite the stylish statement, which shows the fashion industry’s commitment to practical fashion. 

Most of my clients have an assortment of puffer coats that vary in length, thickness and colour. They all have “gear” type puffers that are used in sporty and ultra casual settings. But they’re also accumulating the dressier and trendier puffers. For many clients, puffer coats are wardrobe workhorses, which makes perfect sense. 

I currently have four puffers in rotation that I have accumulated over the years (the exact items are shown in the collection below.) The three trendier styles are used as everyday attire, while the sporty North Face number is only for walking to and from yoga and taking Sam into our garden.

I used to have a cream puffer coat with faux fur trim that I bought in the Netherlands, but wore it through. That’s when I replaced it with the long black puffer coat with an avant-garde sensibility. Although I adore the seven year old puffer, it doesn’t have a hood. I’ve been wanting to update it at some point with a slightly less bulky silhouette with a hood and in a colour other than black. Just last week, the ink blue puffer of my dreams came my way. Coincidentally, both long puffers are from Canadian company Soia & Kyo. They have impeccable quality, interesting design details, and their styles fit a narrow frame. I also have a short toffee puffer from Zara that’s ideal for milder weather. 

The puffers that I use for everyday wear (the first three in the collection) are dressier than their sporty cousins. They’re fitted at the waist, streamlined, high in the neck, and slightly glitzy. The short puffer has an equestrian sensibility which I adore. These attributes go a long way to making them work for my dressy style, which is why I chose them very carefully. I’ll be travelling to Europe at the end of the month to see my Dad, and my new ink puffer will come in very handy. 

Over to you. Are you joining me to celebrate puffer coats and jackets?

Soia & Kyo Hooded Down Coat with Oversized CollarMackage Adali CoatSoia & Kyo Madelyn Parka with Fur

Canada Goose Kensington ParkaCanada Goose Chelsea ParkaSAM. Freestyle Jacket








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Ensemble: Black, Red & Cream Accents

This ensemble was inspired by an outfit I wore to host a casual dinner in our home between Christmas and New Year. The silhouettes are simple but sufficiently interesting because the colour combination does the talking. I was comfortable and could attend to our guests without giving my outfit a second thought. 

Here are the exact items I wore. If we were leaving the house I would have added my cream coat and oatmeal satchel.

Combining black with a shade of red is one of the most classic combinations of them all. Personally, I prefer to add a shade of white to the palette because it looks crisper, brighter and more modern and graphic to my eye. For Winter, I’ve added a rich cream for a more bold effect. The cream accent can be large or small. 

Red Bottoms: Choose any style of red bottoms. Trousers, skirts, jeans, casual pants, culottes, cropped pants, woolly shorts – take your pick. I prefer a warm orangey red, but feel free to choose any shade of red. From bright tomato to deep wine, it’s all good. 

Black Top: Choose a black top that works with the silhouette of the bottoms. Black knitwear is ideal for Winter. Wear the top tucked, untucked or semi-tucked. 

Cream Accents: Finish off the outfit by adding cream to the palette through footwear and accessories. Cream booties, pearls, belt and a cream handbag are effective options. Adding cream through a patterned scarf, gloves or bag is another way to go. Or add a solid cream jacket, coat, and hat to the mix.

Combining a black sweater dress with a red jacket or coat and cream accents is another option. Adding tall black boots and Wintery hosiery will keep you toasty warm in the frock combination. 

Black, Red and Cream Accents



Link Love: 3 Sock Brands to Watch

Racked recently featured Japanese brand Anonymous Ism, which you can find at retailers like East Dane, J.Crew, and Club Monaco.

A while back Hannah from En Brogue, wrote about Italian socks brand Oybo, who sell intentionally mismatched socks. Would you be game for sporting a pair of “untuned” socks, as they call them.

Meet Gina Locklear, “the Sock Queen of Alabama”, who is producing two lines of organic fashion socks: Zkano and Little River Sock Mill.

Fab Links from Our Members

Karie says it’s nice to see young artisans making a difference in the fashion industry in this age of fast fashion, and reports that her friend’s son, who is making custom-made jeans in Greenville, SC, was featured in this video.

Lisa recently discovered the blog Southern Curls & Pearls, and adores how Caitlin often sports light colours in Winter.

Angie lets us know that Sally from Already Pretty is moving on from fashion blogging. We wish her every happiness and success!

This year, Janice at The Vivienne Files is once again building a capsule wardrobe based on the patterns and colours in 12 scarves. Alexandra will be following along with interest.

Ledonna N. is loving Freddie Harrel’s sense of style.

MsMaven wanted to share this older post from Une Femme d’un Certain Age because it captures perfectly what the very basics are for her personally.

Gradfashionista thought this article about discovering the joy of recluttering was interesting. She wonders if it could be a sign of recession and times of uncertainty.