Fab Finds: Bottoms, Tops, Jackets

End-of-season sales are here if you live in the US, so be sure to check for discount codes before you check out your online shopping bag. It’s been a good jacket season, and athleisure bottoms are still going strong. There has been a plethora of black and white tops too. Be sure to browse the colour options. 

1. Athleta Bottoms

Athleisure bottoms, casual bottoms, lounge bottoms, and jumpsuits from Athleta continue to be a hit with my clients, friends, and forum members. The quality is quite good and the prices are competitive, especially at sale time. Size ranges are diverse, and there is ample variety in silhouette and colour. Many items are made of breathable technical fabric, but items made of cotton and linen are there too. The technical fabrics are thin Summer weights, making them extra appealing for hot weather. Above all, the fits are quite good, and generally work on a range of body types. You might need to size down on some items. You’ll find all sorts of handy pockets in the items too. Good for phone, key and credit card stashing. I’ve ordered a pair of the salutation joggers to see if they work for yoga.

Athleta
Gap Savannah Skirt
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Athleta
Gap Brooklyn Short
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Athleta
Gap Farallon Short
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Athleta
Gap Cosmic Pant
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Athleta
Gap Calm Cool Pant
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Athleta
Gap Release Pant
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Athleta
Gap Marlow Romper
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2. Banana Republic Jackets

Trendy Classic jackets and vests (or waistcoats) at Banana Republic have been stellar this season. The quality is great to exceptional, with lots of interesting pocket detailing at the back of the garments. Colours tend to be earthy and neutral, and fits are tailored or fluid. Producing these items sustainably and ethically has become a welcome priority too. I loved the cream Riviera Tuxedo Blazer. Gorgeous fabric, fit and colour. But it’s sold as an item and doesn’t having matching bottoms, and I wanted a pants suit.

3. Solid Black and White Tops

Sometimes, all you need is the right solid black or white top to complete a couple of outfits. If that’s on your shopping list, this collection is a good starting point. Some of the tops are knitted, and others woven. Some are dressy, and others casual. Some are simple, and others more complex. Price points vary. I have the white Ralph Lauren Eyelet Polo Shirt, and the Brooks Brothers Cable Knit Sweater. I have the Club Monaco Floral Jacquard Sweater on order.

Summer Black, White & Red

A new outfit from Dayle of artfulcitystyle, whom we introduced to YLF in December 2019.

Black, white, and red is a classic colour combo that’s always striking. Here, Dayle is sporting a sleeveless, tailored sheath dress with origami-esque folding details that create subtle drape. The bold geometric print reminds me of mid-century modern patterns and makes a marvelous visual impact. Our blogger is a master accessorizer, and has once again picked the perfect jewellery to complement this elegantly graphic outfit. Her red chunky bangles in organic shapes complement the circular elements in the dress’ pattern, while the angular black and white bangle echoes the straight lines. The two-toned bangle also cleverly refers back to the double frame on Dayle’s eye-catching specs. Her playful dangly earrings add an extra bit of red, as does her happy lipstick.

Dayle - 1

Dayle - 2

Relentless Frills, Puffs and Ditsy Florals

Puffy sleeves, tiered skirts and dresses, ruffly blouses, smocking, shirring, gathering, flouncing, and all sorts of ditsy floral patterns have been enjoying their fashion moment for three seasons. Unfortunately, the fashion industry has a habit of overdoing mainstream trends, thereby flooding the market with too much of one look. As a result there is an abundance of this aesthetic at retail in the US, and it’s still going strong.

Some of my clients are enjoying the vibe, and stocking up while their look is on-trend. Others like the look in small doses. But for many more, it’s not their cup of tea. Frequently, they will choose something simple and classic to avoid a silhouette that is too frilly, floral, or puffy to their eye. But that’s not terribly satisfying either.

Personally, I like a bit of a billowing puffy sleeve, tiered skirts and dresses are fab in small doses, a smattering of smocking and shirring is pretty, and flounces that swoosh around my legs get a thumbs up. Yet even I feel ready for a change. That said, I enjoy wearing classic tops, have added several to my wardrobe, and find that satisfying too.

Of course, with all that’s available online and second-hand, you will eventually find items that are to your taste and suit your pocket. You simply need patience, a bit of luck, and to know where to look.

The best fashion seasons are those with ample variety across colours, silhouettes, patterns, and fabrics. With trends sticking around longer than they used to, it will be interesting to see if frills, puffs, and ditsy florals appear in full force for Autumn and Winter collections. I hope there will be more variety.

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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Outfit Formula: Simple, Solid, Loose, Neutral

As much as I like to wear colours and patterns, I also enjoy wearing solid light and dark blue with shades of white for mild and hot weather. Very few of my items are form-fitting. Most are fluidly tailored, or very fluid for comfort, breeziness, and ease. 

Here are items from my wardrobe that I combine to create simple, solid, loose, and neutral outfits for Spring and Summer. I’ve added very narrow blue and white striped shirts because they look solid light blue from a distance, and are more of a false plain.

G-Star Raw
Workwear Shirt
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Hobbs
Westbourne Bag
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Everlane
The Arc Jean
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COS
Silk-cotton Polo Shirt
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Yoox
Furla Across-body bag
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Here is how Scandinavian COS does it:

COS
Draped Sleeve T-shirt
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COS
Regular-fit Linen Shirt
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COS
Oversized T-shirt Dress
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COS
Gathered Neck Blouse
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COS
Belted Shirt Dress
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COS
V-neck Maxi Dress
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COS
Wide-leg Culottes
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COS
Pleated Linen Pants
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COS
Oversized Linen Shirt
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COS
Belted Shirt Dress
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COS
Sleeveless Midi Dress
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COS
Midi Shirt Dress
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COS
Puff-sleeve Jumpsuit
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COS
Zip-up Playsuit
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COS
V-neck T-shirt
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COS
Oversized T-shirt Dress
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COS
Puff-sleeve T-shirt
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COS
V-neck Sleeveless Top
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COS
Boxy Short-sleeve Shirt
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COS
V-neck Sleeveless Top
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On to some outfit ideas. They are solid and neutral because that’s the point of the formula. But feel free to combine the silhouettes in colours and patterns of your choosing.

1. Flared Skirt and Big Short Top

Combine a neutral flared midi or midaxi with a voluminous short top that showcases the hips and lower waist of the skirt. That way you’ll visually temper the volume of the top by showcasing a bit of the structure of the skirt. A short top also lengthens the leg line from the hips upwards. This top has a high-low hemline that is not essential. You can get a similar effect by semi-tucking a voluminous top. The gigantic puffed sleeves are on-trend. Flat black espadrilles and clutch finish off the look, and match the model’s top and hair.

Flared Skirt and Big Short Top

2. Cropped Pants and Roomy Tank

Combine a roomy woven tank top or shell top with a pair of wide cropped pants. Leave the top untucked. You’ll achieve a longer leg line if the top isn’t too long. The pants are chartreuse, which is not a neutral, so imagine they are olive. The white and green separates create a high contrast, which accentuates the horizontal line across the thighs. Keep the items low-contrast neutrals if you prefer a more subtle horizontal line. Finish off the look with neutral Summer slides. These dark brown ones bookend the model’s hair. White slides to match the top would be great too.

Cropped Pants and Roomy Tank

3. Unstructured Dress

If you bat for Team Dress, wearing a frock that is relaxed and fluid is a great way to wear the vibe. Choose one in a neutral, add comfy Summer footwear, and Bob’s your uncle. Here, the model wears a boxy navy shirt dress with flat sandals. Add a tie or belt to the shirt dress for some waist definition if you like. The effect will still be loose and simple, just not as unstructured.

Unstructured Dress

4. Wide Pants and a Belted Flowing Top

There are ways to add a bit of structure to the fluidity of the outfit if that’s more your cup of tea. Here, a pair of wide cropped linen pants is paired with a soft and flowing cape-esque silhouette blouse. It has a tie to create waist definition which adds structure to the look. Dainty black strappy sandals match the top and the model’s hair. A brown bag can work well here too. Add jewellery, watch, and headgear as desired.

Wide Pants and a Belted Flowing Top

Link Love: June Medley

I’ve been collecting interesting articles across a range of topics that are good to share:

Fab Links from Our Members

Indigoprint enjoyed Alyson’s post about fisherman sandals, and adds: “She includes a picture of sandals with socks that I found quite appealing.”

Runcarla thought Lisa Eldridge’s tutorial on how to create happy lips was brilliant.

She also liked this video showing how two designers completely reworked a piece created by the other: a wedding dress and Rihanna’s 2018 Met Gala Pope-inspired Maison Margiela look.

This very tongue-in-cheek article in The Atlantic about the current ‘Coastal Grandmother’ trend made Silver laugh.

Angie enjoyed this article with fun and interesting facts about the first Downton Abbey movie.