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Page 2 in the conversation "Evolving my style, Part 2" by Suz
Suz, why couldn't you wear a dressier outfit to meet your friend and throw the puffer over top for the walk? You have those great La Canadiennes for a less clunky but still weatherproof winter boot option, yes? Or is there something else I'm missing? Other than footwear and coats and slimmer trouser legs on some days, the winter weather doesn't seem to require other formality compromises: lots of dressy clothes come in suiting wool, so you'd still have insulation. Aren't your beautiful blazers wool? And cashmere is a dressy fiber too!
Of course I lean rate and towards the artsy end of the scale, so winter in this climate is easier for me to dress for. Feel free to disregard me. And I'm sending lots of sympathy your way!
E...in theory you are totally right. But in practice...in practice it's a different matter.
Wearing a blazer isn't all that comfortable or practical while at home -- doing dishes, cleaning up, scrunching on the couch. And even visiting my friend, I was...scrunching on the couch. Plus, my dressy Aquatalias are heeled, and it is snowing like mad out today. And very slippy and slushy. Just not a good day for heeled boots. I ended up wearing the puffer, the snowboots, hat, scarf, mitts, and my plaid skinnies, a white shirt, my blue cashmere sweater. It was practical, and looked nice enough -- the white shirt made it a step up from my usual. But still the basic silhouette was the same as ever.
It's not just a question of looking dressier. It's a question of wanting that bit of drama in the look. And this is hard to do.
That makes sense Suz! I agree that blazers aren't the best for at home wear; I imagined you were meeting your friend at a cafe. And I forgot your dressy boots have heels! Definitely not suitable for a snow day.
I hope you figure out how to add more drama. That is tricky to do without veering into artsy. I remember you tried a couple avant garde looks, but that wasn't quite right either, correct? I love you sparkly asymmetric sweater tunic: is that the kind of drama you want? I imagine those pieces are elusive and pricier too.
What! Disagree with me, Gaylene?! Preposterous!
No, I think you're right: a piece tends to sit in the closet if it can't meet the needs of both form and function. That, or the knees do a lot of whingeing about the cold. The two lists tho, for some reason, are distinct in my mind. It's as if I have to take an item and run it through one list and then the other.
Before Uniqlo opened a store here, I had more categories of shirts on my shelves - thermals, tees, long sleeved tissue tees, tissue turtle necks, heavy turtlenecks... Their heattech stuff has also made the stuff I like to wear... actually everything... that much more wearable. My knees particularly thank heattech tights.
Rachy, I am really looking forward to Uniglo opening up in Canada!!
And this is just it -- form and function at once are not easy to meet.
E, thanks for commiserating, and the asymmetrical sweater is exactly the kind of thing I have in mind....sharp without being uncomfortable or overly "arty" for me.
Agreeing 100% with Gaylene (as usual). You need to find practical yet unusual pieces that express more of "you".
I think you are right that until we know what we need/wear it's difficult to fork out the money for the unusual. As E said they are usually more elusive & pricier.
That is why tracking actual wears this year has been really helpful, Caro -- thanks to you.
I see that a really unusual/ luxe puffer would not be a mistaken purchase. Snow boots are pretty much snow boots, but I clearly need some more "interesting" versions of my standards. I don't think I will purchase anything this year, but for next winter that is what I'll be looking for.
I feel the same way but feel that I need to change my job to one that gets me out of the house more because I want to be dressed and be with other people. If you are happy with the work at home then I think there is the right designer out there for you it just may take some work. Maybe someone who does some heavyweight jersey in dramatic modern cuts that would be crisp and soft enough. I can't think of who that would be. I often want to take the silhouette of a certain designer outfit and have it made in crisp heavy wash and wear jersey that could be worn around the house. If not, you may have to design your own signature line! Good luck on your new journey!
Thanks, Jeanie. That may in fact be a solution, LOL. Find an office!
Some of EF's pieces would really work for me...IF they fit and if I could combine them with more structured pieces, a la Transcona Shannon. For my at home capsule. But I'm often sized out.
Suz I have been looking forward to this part 2! I have skimmed through some responses but not all in detail yet. I am not sure what the solution is for you but I can share that generally my lifestyle is not all that conducive to dressing up either, but I just do it lol. For example, I dress 'up' more than my colleagues and in fact I dress more professionally than my our CEO. Many people in our organisation wear jeans to work - it is very very casual.
Some time ago I accepted that I prefer a more dressy aesthetic. I would always prefer to be dressed up than dress down Casual dressing has perhaps been my biggest challenge. Significant realisations for me were that comfort was a priority as was the desire for my clothing to be able to go almost anywhere. I think has been part of the catalyst for
So what this means for me is say I am working at home, I might wear my harem pants and a draped oversized top - I always wear makeup and accessorise. If I go into the office, I can wear the same harem pants with a draped top semi tucked and a knit blazer and ankle boots. Casual to dressy but still meeting my need to feel and look a certain way in both versions. Does that make sense?
I know your weather contributes to your wardrobe choices in a way ours doesn't, so I get that.
I was going to suggest EF and not it has been mentioned above. Metalicus works for me like EF seems to work for Shannon. It is so versatile and dresses up and down so beautifully (without really looking dressed 'down').
And for the record, I think you have dressing for your real life perfected. I also think you know well what works for you and I would say that you have quite a strong signature style already.
Deborah, thank you for that thoughtful and detailed response. I have no problem being "dressier" than others but have much more problem with knits and drape -- they don't work for my body type even though they do work for my lifestyle. So that is my challenge. To find a way to combine the structure/ angularity/ sharpness/ crispness I require with the comfort I need.
I think I need a trip to Australia to visit Metalicus!! I have been saying this for quite some time...
It's thanks to Mo I started tracking. The sharing here is another reason to love YLF - not that I need more reasons
I've been thinking about your posts & how you can physically express your energy/essence more through your outfits. My thoughts so far are, colour for your winter clothes, I see you cocooned in a beautiful raspberry cashmere knit that is mid-thigh length & kept close to your body (to give it structure) with a soft navy or taupe belt. Slim pants & ugg type slippers for the house & long boots & puffer for outside.
I'd love to see more movement in your hair too - this could add some more of that dynamic quality. I'm not attached to these notions they are just ideas for you to play with
I'll add that the Sharpness that you are after in your outfits Suz, is created by the fabric, angular drape and structure. That's why things feel off when you go the avant-garde and arty route.
Take the pieces that you love: shirts, t-necks, crew-neck knitwear, jeans, booties, sandals, pencil skirts, puffers, long shorts, sweatshirts, fitted jackets - and find versions that look different to what you already have.
You are head and shoulders beyond where I am in my style quest, so I am enjoying your discovery threads...though some of it is hard for me to follow.
My question to you, is how much do you consider your body in your style? Your aspirational style seems to be all angles and lines (defination rather than hardness if I understand correctly), but you have a curvy body to dress! Though not busty, you have an hourglass frame, and your legs are shapely with neat ankles and small knees.
Your skinnies, and your skirts/tights/booties accentuate these figure qualities providing the gamine and the feminine, despite the urban Prince/tomboy. So, despite the 'edge' of asymetrical design, or other design elements, there is still a certain 'softness', without being super flowy or a total EF devotee!
I wonder if the trend towards 'tailored' items that Angie mentioned in her blog post about spring trends, might provide you more of the definition you seek, since tailored items have more structure (and well thought out and fabricated ones can be comfortable.).
FWIW, I see your style as sufficiently distinctive be be 'Suz', it is just that it is subtle, and doesn't shout out.
As usual with these philosophical types of musings, it is sometimes hard to converse...
You (and all the fabbers) probably saw this but I thought this puffer was striking. Felt practical but "distinctive." And this overall look has some nice interest. Conceptually, could you provide some examples of what you feel is closer to your next style iteration?
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Suz, this discussion is very illuminating. It's really interesting to read everyone's thoughts on the challenge you've posed. I don't think I have any ideas. But I can commiserate, in a way: it's when I'm cold that I feel my least stylish. That's when I'm just trying to bundle up enough to stay comfortable, and not all of my cold-weather clothes offer much in the way of stylish remixing. So I am in awe of your winter style, which to me looks very put-together--your casual style included. I feel that I rely on footwear to put the fabulous feel into my outfits, and if I were choosing footwear to walk through snow, I would find it hard. I would want a snow-boot wardrobe, for sure.
That IS a lovely puffer, AM. I haven't seen it. What is it?
Carla, yes, I do have some curves, it is true, and those combined with my smile, eyes, etc. do provide some softness or at least femininity quite naturally. I could wear the most boyish outfit in the world and I would still look like a girl. Also, I could never look truly RATE.
But actually, I am considering my body type quite a lot in these deliberations. My body type is the main reason I can't wear the arty drape. I am quite simply too angular for it, especially up top, but even below -- i don't have the hips to fill out the draping. Thighs, yes (more than enough there). But the clothes look wrong without the hip real estate. And my face shape is quite angular, too. So too much "roundness" fights with it.
I agree that the new tailoring will be my STYLE friend. Will it be my COMFORT friend remains to be seen!
Angie, that's right -- it's "sharpness" I am after. That feels exactly right. That is why I get so annoyed when I have to wear scarves these days (almost always), and why I can never feel fab in an all knit outfit, and why I like angles and stripes.
Caro, you are one step ahead of me as usual. I do have some thoughts about colour that I'll share tomorrow. In the meantime, I love the image of that raspberry cashmere!!
Also, can you explain what you mean by more movement in the hair? More texture? Longer? I hesitate to go much longer, to be honest -- it stops feeling like "me" and also becomes hard to manage. (Similar to Shannon's dilemma, i think.)
Sharan, thank you, and I think you are seriously onto something with the snow boot wardrobe, too. Next year I am going to add another style.
Suz, thanks for responding and apologies for not reading everything fully. I think I get it now. More Drama (I love drama) and "To find a way to combine the structure/ angularity/ sharpness/ crispness I require with the comfort I need".
What does drama look like to you? Can you provide visual examples? Is that element something you desire or is it part of your personality?
I like Caro's suggestion.
I am still thinking fabrics could be a big player in this for you.
Another thought! Does practicality in fact require you to go in a different direction? Save the drama for your other capsules and embrace the opportunity for a more casual but luxe look when working at home? I am thinking again of EF and even James Pearse. Casual stylings but beautiful, extravagant fabrications.
Ok so just for fun, and even though I should be working!! Suz's at home working wardrobe c/- Me and Metalicus (and Loft): BTW the items would be in your colours, these are the best I could find.
Anyway Suz, forgive my pathetic attempts here at humour, and I have tried hard not to project my preferences. I did think the sleeveless vest could be a great way to add structure to your work at home pieces. Not so much the one I post in #5 but more along the lines of something tied or belted. It's a jacket but it's not if you know what I mean and I often find a more tailored vest can really pull together an outfit of more relaxed pieces.
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That was a fascinating read first thing in the morning. So in my attempt to get the picture I am hearing that you want a more dramatic signature style - one that announces (without screaming) Suz style to everyone not just those of us that follow you closely here. Yet still make sense in the cold of winter. Yes, some experiments at Zara may be in order. And other distant stores with inventive designers. Speaking of places with warm climates and a lot of drama ;-)!
ETA I like what Deborah just posted, although I am not sure I see all those pieces on you. I could definitely see a furry vest though! But I think I need to dig around my closet and post some pictures too!
I was JUST coming back to chime in about hair, and saw Caro's comment. (YLF has been offline all day - and it's still hectic. Greg has had to hook me up to his iPad's server - so I'm skimming the responses - all to unsuccessfully I might add).
YES. Movement. That means a little more length to create it. A little controlled messy polish. Hope that makes sense.
I'm also smiling at Deb's generous and very sweet effort to help out - and can see her in every one of those pieces.
Why yes, Jaime. I have a feeling my summer shopping is all going to happen in one great (and hopefully not TOO dramatic) place this year!
Deborah, those are brilliant ideas and I really love the pieces. If I knew the fabrications would be warm enough for our climate and would work I would be seriously tempted to try a few of those. Maybe I should peruse the Metalicus website.
I have actually been after a sleeveless vest for some time -- I tried several summer versions but they did not work out for me. (They were actually laughable -- this is the type of item it is hard for me to "fill out" unfortunately, unless it is quite tailored). I haven't found a winter one, either, but I am a huge fan of them and would really like to find the right one.
I also love the merino sweater and the angled long sleeve dress.
I will try to post some visuals of the drama or sharpness I am after tomorrow. I'm actually having a tough time finding images, believe it or not. But I do feel that I am getting closer and am convinced that I'm moving in the right direction.
Thank you all so much for your help. Off to look at Australian fashion!
Suz - It is vince shawl collar puffer coat. I haven't really been able to get it off my mind since I saw it.
And it was a top pick.
Suz, you are gracious! Just having some fun but did think some visuals might prompt you. I find they help me a lot. I could so see you in the wrap knit dress!!
I have a newbie question. I've been seeing the term "modern classic" thrown around a bit on this forum - does this in any way describe the "distinctive" and "sharp" style that you are honing in on?
AM, I'll let Angie explain what "modern classic" is -- she talks a bit about it here, as well as other places on the blog. Basically, it means updated classics in current cuts and fabrications.
The core of my style is modern classic, I'd say. And I doubt that will ever change. I think at this point I'm seeking to refine my style a bit more and create some "signature" looks that work for me practically as well as in terms of style. I'll still be modern classic at my core (for all I know, that will be even more obvious!) but the look will be even more distilled, if that makes sense.
Angie, that coat was a top pick? Well then. I am going back to take a look at it! It probably wasn't on my radar earlier because I wasn't looking for a puffer. But I may not have permitted myself to look since Vince is costly and probably not the best puffer for a Canadian. (What do they know of puffers in California -- Rachylou notwithstanding?!)
Having trouble with the site today -- so I'm really late to the party.
I'm so excited to see what comes of all of this fancy cogitating! I find myself often feeling the same way: My aspirational style is dramatic and dressy, but I'm in an environment that is quite subdued, casual, and conservative. Curiously, my body provides challenges that are almost polar opposites to yours.
II like the idea of Zara for you, and maybe Cos for inspiration, at least. I also think that fabrication is huge when it comes to comfort, practicality and sharpness. A fabulous Ponte di Roma in a jacket with more dramatic, less preppy, styling would be a fabulous addition. Jerseys that are just a tad heavier would "fall" on your body, rather than "drape it. At home, color and texture can bring a lot of drama to the party.
Controlled, messy, polish as Angie said. I had a quick look for a photo but nothing yet - I'll have more of a look later.
My fantasy haircut for you is not matched by the reality of the world wide web - darn. This is as close as I could get. I think it could be fantastic - you could play with sleek or messy depending on the occasion & your mood
Just an aside, why does nearly every haircut for light coloured, short hair involve having hair in your eyes? It's okay, it's a rhetorical question........
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