Part of my style evolution in 2015 involved reintroducing a retro element to my style, and I’m continuing this into 2016 with gusto. The adjectives I’ve chosen to describe my ideal style are Modern, Crisp, Simple, Soft and Dressy. I’m excited to see where these style parameters take me. The new year is brimming with fresh possibilities.
It’s been sunny but freezing in Seattle over the last few weeks and there’s ice underfoot. This outfit is not warm enough to wear outdoors in this weather, but it was fine to have dinner out with friends over the weekend because I moved from a heated house, into a heated car and directly into a heated restaurant. I’m also wearing a Heattech thermal tee under my turtleneck, which does an amazing job of retaining body heat.
I’ve gone back and forth on adding a cape to my outerwear capsule because they’re not all that practical for our climate. Also, they can easily overwhelm my slight frame and narrow shoulders. On the other hand, I love their fun, glam integrity. Plus, a cape works well over chunky knitwear that’s too bulky to wear under a fitted coat.
So I tried on a bunch of capes at Zara on our annual holiday shopping day with dear friend Bridget, her husband Derek, and my in-house fashion stylist Greg. They unanimously voted that the houndstooth cape was best and “Sherlock Holmes Fab”. They also assured me that it was just flattering enough despite the longer length and roomy silhouette. Twirling around Zara in the cape, I could not ignore how happy the item made me feel. So the retro darling followed me home and found itself under our Christmas tree.
The fluid black turtleneck — a wardrobe essential for my style — provides an effective canvas for the cape because it’s basic and neutral. The high neckline of the pullover complements the removable black faux fur collar. I have several tops that can be worn with the cape, but a simple neutral with a high neckline is best.
I’m wearing the cape here with jeans, but it works just as well over a pencil skirt, pair of trousers, or dress. It’s great that it works both open and closed. And that it can be comfortably worn as an indoor topper when I’m shopping with a client at the mall.
I’m tired of bottlenecking in the laundry with dark blue jeans, so I added another pair to my capsule. I chose Gap’s Girlfriend Jeans in a dark wash but manipulated the fit to create a trendier silhouette — one that is shorter and tighter than on the model. I sized down two sizes and purchased a petite to get an extra cropped length for my regular height. I also left the hems unrolled because that touch looks fresh to my eye. Sizing down and wearing a petite also lowered the rise, which is a nice way of changing things up from the high rises I’ve been wearing for a while. I adore these jeans and have worn them four times in the first week. They provide the trendy support act I needed to complement the retro cape.
High-shaft booties effectively close the gap, which offsets the shorter length of the jeans. Nude knee-highs provide ample insulation for indoors. A belt in the same colour as the booties pulls together the look. A new gold clutch from J.Crew — a Christmas gift from a dear friend — provides a little sparkle. The sunnies add an extra retro touch to the outfit and worked well for the sunny photo shoot. Of course, I wore my green specs out to dinner that night, along with a gold watch and wedding ring.
The new cape won’t get lots of wear, but that’s okay because it’s unrealistic to expect all wardrobe items to be workhorses. But the style has a high-longevity factor because retro items transcend the trends. I’ll be keeping the piece for a while and wearing it when I feel like a little glam detective drama.