This is the second outfit in our series about client Karen’s Summer style. To recap, graceful and elegant Karen who is in her seventies, has had a major lifestyle shift that has affected her wardrobe choices. She now lives part of the year in Seattle and part of the year in Arizona, which means that she dresses for mild weather most of the year. Be sure to take a look at her first outfit if you haven’t seen it already, and also to read about here three style epiphanies at the start of Summer: fluid fits, patterned pants, and subtle pattern mixing.
Karen’s most important style epiphany to date though concerns her preference for neutrals. She loves the idea of colour, and seeing the pieces hang in her wardrobe makes her happy, but she seldom feels like wearing them. Karen opts for a neutral outfit ninety percent of the time. This means that we have to be VERY careful with the colour that we add to her wardrobe so that the items aren’t orphaned.
In the light of Karen’s strong preference for neutrals, this outfit is particularly notable because of the bright chartreuse top. Even more so because it is Karen’s favourite of the year! She has worn it over and over again with an exceptionally high happiness factor. HAH. We laughed about that quite a bit. Obviously, the right colour in the right item, and combined with neutrals, does work for Karen. In this case, the chartreuse brings out Karen’s stunning light green eyes, and picks up the chartreuse dot in Karen’s favourite scarf of all time.
The fluid Eileen Fisher linen knit top with high-low hemline and sleeves provides an ideal way for Karen to stay cool but covered while sporting trends. Karen is not at all comfortable baring the top part of her arms, so tops like these are brilliant for hot days. Being a lover of lightweight gauzy Summer scarves, Karen likes this top best matched with this scarf.
Karen LOVES to wear white pants and jeans and has several pairs in constant rotation. Here, she’s wearing the Roll-Up City Chino from Banana Republic, which soon became workhorses so she tripled up on the style (all in white). They are roomy, but not slouchy, and work with most Summer tops in her wardrobe (which are generally white, black, grey or ink blue). I love the way white bottoms pick up the silver grey streak in Karen’s hair. Attractive colour repetition.
On trend Charles David pointy toe ankle strap flats add an extra modern touch to the outfit. The ankle strap was made for this length of pant, which takes Karen back to the ‘50s and ‘60s when she wore this combination too. The black bookends Karen’s hair, while the patterned strap picks up her signature grey streak. Although super cute, these ankle strap sandals are a little orphaned because Karen reaches for her black Paul Green Trisha sandals more frequently. The comfort level of the Paul Greens cannot be beat, and bookend her hair in a similar way.
Karen prefers to wear one bag for the season, and this year it’s a studded two-toned Michael Kors satchel which I passed on to her. It was orphaned in my closet when I started to prefer less hardware a few years ago. But it’s brilliant how the wardrobe pet has received a new lease on life in Karen’s wardrobe. Earrings, wedding ring and watch are all Karen needs in the jewellery department.
In this outfit Karen is fully embracing the concept of just enough structure. The rolled hems on the pants, bare forearm skin, tapered sleeve fit, the asymmetrical hemline, and refined footwear style provide sufficient structure to counterbalance the less tailored casual top and bottom. These details are important, and make all the difference when it comes to Karen feeling like her ultra chic and polished self.