Be Discerning About Fabric and Function

I recently ordered the three skirts in the collection below, but returned them because of fabric and function problems. Judging by the details online, they had great potential. But in reality they were far from perfect. 

The patterned skirt from Marni looked gorgeously voluminous and swooshy, albeit a little short. But since I’m shorter than the model, I pulled the trigger. It came and I was disappointed. The fabric was thin and there was no lining. It looked limp and didn’t have the heft to give it a good drape.

The red skirt from Nicole Miller was close to the red skirt of my dreams, and I was awfully excited to swoosh around in it over the holidays. I was ready to buy a tulle petticoat to wear underneath the skirt to accentuate the voluminous silhouette. Again, the fabric was a problem. It did not drape at all. It created strange right angles and crept up as soon as you touched the fabric to straighten the pleats. It looked like origami, and not in a good architectural way.

The burgundy skirt from Cinq à Sept was perfectly beautiful as long as I didn’t move. From the photo, I thought that the lining went to the hem of the see-through mesh fabric, but it stopped just above the first tier, and was not attached to the tier. So you could see through to my legs when I moved. It was bad when I sat down, because the lining crept up and became a mini skirt, while the rest of the see-through mesh skirt left nothing to the imagination. For me, who likes to be covered, this wasn’t a workable design.

I like to apply the triple P purchasing principle to new purchases. I’ve found that being patient, picky and practical when adding items to my wardrobe is key to minimizing mistakes. It’s hard to make the right online purchasing decisions when we can’t see, touch and feel the details. But at least we can be discerning in our dressing rooms at home.

Fab Finds: Boots, Beanies, Sweaters, Dresses

Retail stocks are better than I expected them to be, and some of these items are on sale. If you’re shopping for yourself or others, you’ll probably get what you’re looking for. Order early if items need to go under the tree. Shipping is unfortunately not as fast as it should be. 

1. Franco Sarto Waxton Chelsea Boots

These boots have a roomy square toe box that is more pronounced on the foot than in the photos. Clients and others find them very comfy. I found the heel too high, and the footbed needed a cushioning insole because I like VERY soft shoes. But the leather is soft, and does not rub on the ankles. The turquoise, burnt orange and purple options are unique.

2. French Connection Mozart Popcorn Cotton Sweater

I bought this at the NAS in cream and love it. It’s white in the stock photo but cream in person. It has a fantastic architectural drape to it, and looks like a COS item. Just enough volume and structure in the right places. It’s very comfy, layers well under puffers, 100% cotton, and semi-tucks well too. It launders beautifully in the machine. Crisp and substantial.

3. Everlane Cashmere Beanie and Scarf

These are the bomb. Gorgeous quality, sustainably and ethically produced, super soft, and flattering. I could not believe my luck that the beanie fit my small head. It also fits larger heads well. I got the orange and wore it right away. None of the photos show the beanie worn slouchy without the folded edge, but that’s how I like to wear it best. It has a darling shape, and scarf to match.

4. Everlane Cashmere Crew

Sustainably and ethically produced, super soft, and heavenly on the body. I like the interesting front shoulder seam, and the fluidly tailored silhouette. An excellent simple sweater that can be used as an effective colour vehicle. They layer well under jackets and coats, and provide a fab back drop for a statement scarf. You might need to size down. Hubs Greg was enamoured with the orange that matches the beanie, so it followed me home. The orange is the only colour with a bit of cream tipping, which perfectly matches my pearls.

5. Hobbs Dresses

I’m a Hobbs fan because their items are clean, crisp, colour-rich, trendy classic, fit well, lovely quality, and the fabrics are substantial. Items are generally tailored and drape well. I enjoy the subtle playfulness in their pattens too. I do well with their jackets, coats, knitwear, and more recently with the dresses. I appreciate that the brand offers dresses that keep me warm and covered in midi lengths with sleeves. Clever forum member Tanya alerted me to the first horse-printed navy and chartreuse dress in the collection. She thought it could work in my horsey capsule. It does! I got it on deep discount and it fits perfectly. It’s gorgeous, swooshes when I stride, and I feel fabulous in it. I tie the tie in front and not the back, which gives it more of a ‘70s vibe.

6. Casual Holiday Sweaters

Last, if you like to wear cosy, very casual, and festive warm Winter knitwear between now and the end of the year, here are some options. Some are subtle and others hectic. You can dress these sweaters up a bit if you like. Utterly besotted with Yorkshire terriers, I got the first red Yorkie sweater. I’m wearing it here with jeans, but plan to dress it up with a pair of orange faux leather pants, pearls and cream boots.

Nordstrom
BP Crafted Sweater
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3
Boden
Christmas Sweater
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3
Boden
Christmas Sweater
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2

Trend: Matching Sweater and Skirt Set

I mentioned in this season’s trends post that all sorts of matching sets are on point. We covered fabulous twinsets or sweater sets earlier this year. Today we’re covering a not-too-distant relative: a set made up of a matching sweater and skirt. Just like the two-piece sweater dress beautiful Assa showcased on YLF a few weeks ago. The look is fringe, and reminds me a bit of the ‘70s.

Matching knitted sweater and skirt sets are usually chunky in texture with stitch interest. Most are solid, but some are patterned. Some have intricate cable and Fair Isle designs. Most of the sweaters are fluid or oversized, have long sleeves, high necklines, and are very cosy. The skirt component is midi or midaxi in length, and narrow in silhouette. Sometimes they are flared and shorter. The sweater component is usually worn over the skirt untucked. It can be belted to create some structure. In some instances the sweater component is a cardigan with a V-neckline, and the skirt is a dress or A-line silhouette. But more typically the sweater is a fluid pullover with a high neckline, and the skirt is streamlined. Here are some examples.

The set is an easy pull-on-and-go option. Add a pair of boots, topper, bag, and you’re good to go. It can be awfully cosy, comfortable, warm, and has a relaxed elegance about it. As a fringe trend, it’s quite a unique look right now.

Finding a set that fits to your liking can be tricky. It’s a delicate balance between finding a fluidly structured silhouette that is neither too clingy and body-con, nor bulky, unstructured, and blocky. The chunkier the knit, the more substantial, forgiving, and camouflaging the fabric, which creates less of a clingy silhouette. But chunky knits can also feel bulky, widening, and unattractive.

Personally, I like the trend. Visually, I am drawn to the chunkier versions with lots of stitch interest, fluid fit sweaters with high necklines, and streamlined longer skirts. But the straight silhouette of the long skirts gives me pause because I cannot comfortably go about my day in them, and prefer a skirt with movement and swoosh. But you never you know. Maybe the knit has more movement than I give it credit for. I’d have to try one on, walk around, and make a decision.

Over to you. What do you think of this trend? Do you like it, and would you wear it?

Roundups

Simpler Items

This week's list of top picks list is about basic pieces.

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Assorted Items

Items for Summer, both in and out of air conditioning.

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Casual Summer Vibes

This week's top picks are good for a casual Summer vibe.

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Summery Earth Tones

These items are for those who like to wear casual earth tones in warm and hot weather.

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Hints of Spring

Some tried-and-tested winning items to refresh your style for Spring.

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Dressier Items

An assortment of dressier top picks might be just what the doctor ordered.

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Fashion News Roundup: November 2021

The first US state to ban the sale of fur, a renowned make-up brand launching skincare, and other style news that caught our attention this month.

Fashion Quote

In a recent Vogue feature, Sarah Jessica Parker spoke out against double standards for men and women when it comes to aging:

“Everyone has something to say. ‘She has too many wrinkles, she doesn’t have enough wrinkles.’ It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better. I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?”

Beanie Style

Beanies are soft and cosy, knitted Winter cone-shaped or cylindrical hats that fit closely to the head. They are designed to insulate, keeping your head and ears warm. They can be decorative and fun to wear. Beanies are made of knitted natural or synthetic yarn. I’ve seen woven fleece beanies too. The knits can be fine gauge or chunky, any colour and pattern, and vary in silhouette and stitch interest. Some are sleek and fitted, while others are oversized. Some have brims that create a double layer on your forehand and ears. Some are slouchy, and some have pom-poms.

I live a few blocks away from the water in downtown Seattle, where it’s often cold, wet, and windy. As a result, headgear is extremely popular in my neck of the woods. Almost everyone wears a beanie, hood, or cap for at least six months of the year. You’ll see people wear beanies before they wear coats. Some wear hoods over beanies for extra insulation, and to keep off the rain or snow. Suffice to stay, you stand out here if you’re not wearing some sort of head covering outside.

I think people look great in beanies and enjoy the large variety on the street. To my eye, beanies look especially good when hair peeks out from underneath them.

I wear beanies regularly too. Visually, I prefer the look of a beret with my short hair, but don’t find them effective. My ears ache when they’re uncovered in the cold wind, and since I don’t have hair covering my ears, nothing keeps them as insulated as a beanie. So I wear a beret occasionally, and default to beanies most of the time.

I have a large assortment of beanie silhouettes and thicknesses in neutrals and non-neutrals. I have a small head and sometimes buy children’s sizes. I’ve successfully shrunk wool beanies in the tumble dryer to make them fit. I enjoy chunky beanies with pom-poms the most. Their drama and height appeals to  me, and pom-poms are playful! I also like slouchy beanies and sleek beanies with folded rims.

Here is my current beanie collection:

I prefer solid beanies to patterned ones. I like to wear cream and blush beanies because they are low contrast to my hair, which creates a cohesive effect. Cream and blush beanies are likely to match my bookended footwear, which can pull a look together too. I also enjoy wearing beanies in my happy sour brights and dark blue. Over time, I’d like to add light blue, turquoise and burgundy beanies to my capsule.

I match beanies to scarves, handbags, gloves, and outerwear so that my outfit looks polished. But I will frequently default to a cream or blush beanie if I need a fast fallback option because those colours work well with my hair and footwear. That’s why my cream beanies are a wardrobe essential for my style.

I don’t think short hair looks bad with a beanie at all. Even if I did, I’d wear one because I hate to feel cold. I do make sure that a bit of my fringe peeks through in the front from under the beanie just because it looks more attractive to my eye. And yes, I get ‘hat head’, but it’s not that bad. I tousle my hair a bit afterwards, and it looks just fine.

Over to you. Do beanies feature in your style and in your neck of the woods? If so, which styles and colours are your favourites?