Interesting thread. Couple of more thoughts from me:

1. overbuying for our shoulder seasons - that is such a smart term, too - is a real problem , isn't it? All the great clothes are for spring and fall, yet both you and I live where those seasons can be gone in a flash. The Vince dress (and yeah, isn't it interesting how so many of us couldn't make that dress work?) is a perfect example. It's too dark and too much for summer, ok for fall, too filmy and staticky for winter under a coat, and too dreary in colour for spring. I think I wore mine twice.

2. shortening the R&B piece is a good idea...might make it more wearable, but would take away a bit of the drama...

3. I too need a packable/lightweight longer black puffer like Janet's.

4. and I too wonder what is the "ideal" mix of statement vs essentials? I want all statement pieces,lol.

Yeah...I wish I'd snapped up Janet's jacket! It would probably be too long for me, alas. The LLBean version is sportier but comes in petites so might work better for me... It does come in black, too.

I have a hard time with statement pieces, too. I've finally settled on handbag, shoes, and coats being my statements. The handbags and coats are easiest for me because they're not on me every second and shoes because they're not right at my face. However, I just can't make ankle boots look right on me. I love them. I think they're adorable. I have 5 pair I've never worn that I'm thinking about letting go of because I just can't make them work.

Suzanimal -- tell me more about why ankle boots don't work for you! What do you wear instead? What do you usually revert to?


They either don't look right with my pants or I look short and stumpy in them. I'm 5'4", btw. If I roll my jeans, I look stumpy. If I tuck them my legs look too skinny for the boot. I dunno if that makes sense.

Actually, the only boots I don't feel stumpy in are my OTK. I love those but only wear them for dates. I don't even think I own a pair of boots that hit right below the knee.

I actually wear a large variety of shoes so it's hard to say what style I revert to because it just depends. Right now, I'm loving my gold heeled loafers.

I'm 5' 4" also with legs on the short side, and proportionately even shorter calves. So booties were a really tough sell for me, too, except I'd always adored chelsea boots so I was highly motivated to figure out ways to make the style work.

FWIW -- a few tips to make them work (if you want to).

Take pictures
. And make sure the angle is accurate. When you look at your own legs in a mirror, you are looking down, thereby foreshortening the perspective -- your legs look much shorter than they do to others!

Tone booties to bottoms. So if you are wearing black bottoms, wear black or charcoal booties, etc. This will lengthen the leg line and minimize horizontal lines.

Aim for booties with a snug shaft -- you want to avoid the "flower pot" effect. Experiment with shaft heights. A "V" shaft will lengthen the leg line somewhat (Munro Find). Taller shafts will work better with the cropped pants both to keep you warm and to "close the gap". (Finds). Mid-shafts can work better with a dress if you have short legs. (Aquatalia Find -- it works on me with a dress and toned hose).

Tucking into booties never looks good on me. (Tucking into BOOTS can work -- even mid-calf boots -- but the height is different). It's a question of proportion and each person is different.

Pointed toes will lengthen the leg line, even in a boot without a heel.

Try a small heel if you can.

Suz, how about a short term fix...pack your suitcase full of booties and come to the west coast for Easter break. You need to get away and wear your lovelies!

No West Coast, Suz


I haven't read all the comments, so excuse the repetition:

  • Keep your statement pieces in a solid neutral, perhaps?
  • Don't over analyze the "whys" here too much. At the end of the day, your very emotionally tricky 2017 and the blasted climate are the real reasons for these orphans. Stick it all in a holding zone. Start again. Listen to your current feelings.

And much love to you. xo

Thought of you when I saved this photo today .

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It's interesting to read Janet's comment about the Vince dress being neither/nor. I have been very thankful to wear that dress when either I don't know what the dress code is or when I think there will be a big range of "dressy-ness". One event I wore it to last year people wore jeans/sneakers and others cocktail attire and there was at least one ball gown. I was happy in the chameleon dress


Thanks for the tips.

The flower pot effect. I run into that a lot. I have a pair of sock booties I may try messing with this week and see if I can make one pair wearable.

I'm also not sure I have the right pants for them. I mostly wear ankle pants and they look silly with my boots. I have some trousers but they're too dressy for the boots I own. My jeans are either skinnies or cropped flares. The skinnies give me the flower pot look or the sawed off look when rolled up and the cropped flares just look ridiculous, lol. It seems I bought the boots because I loved them without much thought about what I would wear them with or if they would even look good on me.

I never thought about the angle. I'll have to try taking some photos.

This is an interesting thread. This is one of the things I like about the way fashion is addressed here at YLF: there is a lot of analysis that goes into *why* something works or doesn't work. In my own style, I enjoy that analysis, figuring out the nuts and bolts of what creates happiness in my outfits.

Suz, you have mentioned that you are not afraid of bright colors on the bottom (at least...I think you said that; the thread has gotten long). I am reminded though of a pair of orange-red pants that you bought as a wild card from BR maybe three years ago (?). They were full length, I believe. I remember that those did not work out. I'm just wondering if there is any correlation between the two brightly colored pairs of pants not working out or if it was just coincidence.

I hear you on feeling boxed in by your climate. I see so many cute booties around but know that I won't have that much time to wear them in the year (my climate is similar to yours). And cute footwear for a serious winter is not easily found. I'm starting to watch Blondo's offerings more and more; same with La Canadienne and Aquatalia. Yes, they're expensive, but when you're stuck wearing the same two or three pairs of boots for four months, they might as well be fashionable ones!

Janet beat me to a suggestion for the military jacket: change out the buttons. I think that would make it more sophisticated and less "cute." I also am averse to epaulettes and can understand why you would want to get rid of them!

It is interesting how just minor details can really affect our take on a piece of clothing. I recently ordered a leather jacket from WHBM. I put it on, and it just looked ho-hum. I wanted to figure out why, and I finally realized that it was because the peplum at the back also extended to the sides, which made the jacket have less of a streamlined look, and the tops of the shoulders were slightly puffed, which I HATE! So I took my hand and pushed down the puffy shoulder on one side, and used my other hand to lay the peplum flat, and voila! I loved it. Mystery solved. So this got returned to the store.

Dear Suz, I have only 2 things to add:
1. Try the culottes(no underlayers), the booties, the blue sweater& the 2xbright jackets come Spring! I'msure they will work fab!
2. I have a long gillet simillar to yours and never have found a long enough coat to layer on either- so- I now keep it in my office and put on when want a bit of drama over an outfit which matches. Problem solved!:-)


3. Try wearing the animal cords with a longer black or grey top so to reducing the amount of the pattern. This will surely help!

It is frustrating to spend good money on things and then not wanting to wear them. I hate that feeling too. You may indeed find yourself wearing them next year though - I know I've done this with many items I bought in one year and thought I'd never wear. For example, this year for us was a pretty darn cold winter (still happening some days) so my long thick cardigan sweater has gotten a lot of wear when last year I didn't even get it out!

On the other hand my cashmere sweaters never feel right because they are just too warm for indoors with heat (for me) and I don't wear them if I'm going to be outside walking a lot. Not to mention the delicate washing required. I'll keep one or two for "going out" nights in winter.

What if next year's winter is milder or if you travel to a warmer area during winter - maybe you will be able to make better use of a few of these things?

I notice there were 4 pair of pants and 4 jackets in your list - as well as 3 pair of booties. Maybe you can limit yourself going forward to maybe 1 statement pant, 1 statement jacket and 1 statement bootie/shoe per season? I also notice all of the items are fairly "dressy" and I'm not sure how many opportunities you are having to wear dressy things.

Thank you all so much -- these are all excellent observations and points.

Texstyle, you are exactly right about the weather. Next year could be completely different from this year and it could be that I purchased with "last winter" in mind. Ditto on the dressier items. I just haven't had the usual occasions to wear them this year, but that could be different next year. So I won't toss anything out just yet unless the fit is really off and I just don't like.

Lyn, thank you! The particular blue sweater is heavy merino so not really wearable in spring here, but I can wear the rest of the outfit as you propose and will give it a go.

Suzanimal, do take photos and show us if you wish. It might be a question of styling.

Gigi, you are so observant and what a good memory. You are dead right about those orange pants -- I passed them on to Ms.Mary. I think you might be onto something. Patterned bottoms = yes, esp. if a fairly subdued pattern. Screaming red or orange bottoms = not so much. Duh!

I loved your comment about the details. This is, I think, the key to it all. Some of the details on these items just didn't work well for me even if everything else was perfect. Too heavy or not warm enough; too delicate; too long (for a topper in a climate where I need a topper); too "fussy" in some way....fascinating! Luckily, I can easily get rid of the epaulettes on the jacket, so that should save that particular item.

And wow, do I ever agree on the boots. My Aquatalias and La Canadiennes are getting a serious workout this year. I also wear the Ugg snow boots but there are times when a person wants to look at least halfway fashionable and also feel comfortable indoors as well as outdoors (which is impossible in a big clumpy snow boot. These higher end boots and booties are saving my life this year.

BrieN -- So, I found a way to wear the dress today!! More soon. I think you are right that theoretically, it can be a really useful chameleon piece.

Lisa, I love the hoodie with jacket (or gilet) look. Now I need a cashmere hoodie! I used to have one that I loved, long gone now....

Angie -- holding zone is music to my ears (and eyes) for these pieces. Thank you.

This was a really interesting thread Suz. I can relate to several of your pieces... I HAVE several of yor pieces!

1. Vince dress. I got this in navy. Like you, I've hardly worn it, but it has been absolutely perfect for the times I did wear it. A couple have been special occasion... one was a May funeral, with black cardigan and shoes, and the other was a late Sept wedding, with navy sandal booties.

2. the Halogen crops. I also struggle with these, and that is with the black version! Not sure you remember, but I almost got hem in navy last year, but didn't. thank goodness. I also have those BR crops, and have NO problem wearing those. I think for me, and our climate, it's the footwear. Crops and fashion sneakers, or sandals... bring it on. But with booties, I don't know, the proportions just don't' feel right to me. Shame, because I do find those pants very comfortable. I'm hoping my Sorel's will get more life out of them, as at least those boots feel great. My take away is that crop flares are better for me in denim/casual, or for summer. I also have red Sloans... and to me, that bright red for pants is more of a spring colour. I've put them away for the winter. So maybe you'll feel better about yours once the sun gets higher and brighter?

3. The gilet. I got one in plaid, same as Viva's, and have exactly the same struggles with coats. I can't tell you the number of times I've thought of wearing it but have not been able to as soon as I clued in I'd need a coat too. When I used to walk back and forth to work, I always had full length wool coats, but now that I drive I tend to have shorter ones. I have been known to carry it to work and put it on once there, but have to be careful I don't need to go to any outside meetings. Pita. But still a fun piece that I'm hanging onto for a while.

4. Change out those buttons! Settle down with the Olympics and a needle and thread and you'll have it done in no time.

5. Booties.... yup, totally relate to that too. But when spring comes, you'll wear them. And then you'll get a non-snowy winter (or will you?)(we're having one this year) when all of a sudden there are more outfit options because you have footwear you didn't plan on, to pair with things you usually wear only in deep winter. And it totally messes up your "deep winter" capsule challenge, but it's still fun to make new outfits

Elizabeth, A non-snowy winter??? What the heck is that? We've had snow here since November. Sigh...

But, I hear you. Some of this is situational, for sure. And seasonal. I'll hang onto the red pants for spring and see how I feel. And I am on a SERIOUS hunt for a lightweight, packable, midi length puffer!!

Can you turn the floaty wine coloured dress into a top? Chop off as many inches as you need to to turn it into a blouse or tunic to wear with pants or skinnies? Easy to have that done at a tailor and maybe you'd get more use out of's such a pretty colour!

Totally ridiculous. I hate it. Two of us even have ski passes this year

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Jumping in late, just to say this thread is fascinating! Suz, what a great idea. Your analysis is full of precious insights. I am very interested since I share some of the same or similar orphins/underused pieces.

Some thoughts:

J-Crew blue sweater: yes, I think it is correct to assess the problem is not the sweater but the bottom and more specifically the bottom's waist type. It might also be due to the fact that you like toppers (jackets...) and this type of sweater bulks underneath narrower armholes.

Leopard corduroy skinny: It might be because the waist is too loose on you. If you feel they are tight aroung the thighs, it's because they are not tight enough at the waist and slightly slide down. If that's the case, alter. It's simple and relatively cheap to have it taken in.

Vince shirtdress: Again, try alterations: shorten it.

OK, so I've been out of the loop for a while and I should probably work through the thread before rattling out a drive-by response but...

1. There are things in here which look very familiar to me, and not just because I've seen you wear them. I also struggle with trophy jackets and less-than weatherproof boots. Probably for exactly the same reasons.
2. There are other things that may not have found their niche just yet. You might need to work your way towards a pair of sequin culottes rather than expecting them to work straight away. Once you get your head around sequins as daywear...

Would the red pants be less bold if they were long shorts? Just a thought. More leg showing = less red. I'm having a *very* hard time finding good shorts these days and have considered just buying pants and having them altered if I can find someone to do it right!

I am so sorry that I am only just now getting to read this thread. It was a fascinating read, but I can't add anything that has not already been explored.

I haven’t read all the comments, but I am just adding my two cents in that I hear you on the climate issue. And yet every year (when it is still warm) I always say “This year will be different. I will wear everything I bought for the season.” And then it gets super cold and snowy and I go right back to wearing what is cozy and what is warm.

Karie, right? PJs for the Winter Win!!!!! (Okay, I'm a little better than that, but honestly, I'm in loungewear from about 8 pm on most nights...if not earlier!)

Sterling, thank you for stopping in!

Liz, I'm (sort of?) glad to know I'm not alone. And the sequin culottes are awesome and I will keep them until they don't fit -- they're pretty easy to wear for the right occasion and the right occasion does come up from time to time. I'm more worried about some of the other stuff...

Krish, you, of anyone, gets the sweater issue!

Noelle, I'm going to keep it as a dress for now and if I don't wear it next autumn, maybe I'll alter.

Suz, thanks for posting these bootie tips.

You know, I was thinking about this bootie issue today, the fact that with our cold snowy winters they can't be worn outside - and then they're not really your inside cozy footwear either. In my case, I am lucky in that sense because my workplace happens to be this huge semi public space (college) where lots of indoor walking happens and where changing from snowboots to shoes make sense. Still: carrying booties in your tote is not as practical as ballet slippers. Yet, I do own 4-5 pairs of booties. During the years I lived on the West Coast, these would have been workhorses. But here... that's when I remembered what you posted in my other thread about NTW and had an epiphany: in our weather, Suz, we have to recognize and respect the winter. Maybe we should from now on vow to spend more time, energy and money on building a collection of snow boots. No really. These babies are expensive as h... but having more than one pair - more than two even - could change winter dressing completely.

Krishnadoux, this is exactly my conclusion this year. I agree -- if I worked in a big building and had an office or even a locker where I could remove snow boots, I would wear my booties all. the. time. for months!!

But my lifestyle is this:

Once a week: Walk 2 miles to work. Teach all morning. No office, no locker. No place to leave my coat, even, except the back of my chair. Walk back. Sometimes meet a friend for lunch on my way back. Sometimes go to another meeting on my way back.

2 or 3 additional days a week: Walk to library for research. Walk to campus (as student). Either for class or meetings. Again-- no office, no locker.

3 or 4 days a week: Go into town for errands or to meet friends, on foot. Walk in and out of stores, banks, restaurants, etc. on slushy, snowy, or wet streets. Coat stays on unless I am out for lunch or supper or a show; footwear stays on.

So...this is my reality.

From early-to-mid December (in a typical year) to the end of March or even mid-April (approximately 16 weeks):

I need functional but somewhat attractive, flat or block heeled waterproof insulated boots. And slippers for indoors.

  • True snow boots like Uggs are too casual looking and too warm. (Though I own those boots and wear them for my regular walks and outdoor stuff and on truly stormy days.)
  • Non leather rain boots would make me sweat.
  • Most booties are not warm or protective enough and would get ruined.

From April to May (approximately 8 weeks), I need:

  • Booties.
  • Sneakers.
  • (very occasionally) a dressier pump.
Often, waterproof is best, because weather can be wet. A bootie that is weather proof will get the most wear, even if I own and love others.

From early-to-mid June until mid-to-late-September (approximately 14 to 16 weeks) I need, primarily:

  • Sandals or open heel or toe styles, or
  • (occasionally) sneakers, or
  • (even more occasionally) dressier pump style.

From mid to late September until the mid-to-end of November or early December (approximately 10 weeks), I need:

  • Booties (mostly weatherproof because it can be rainy).
  • Flat casual boots.
  • (occasionally) a dressy closed pump.

I am going to make a separate post about this. Honestly. You would think I would get real with this!!

Have you seen these? Not waterproof, but water resistant. I wonder what that means, exactly? The heel might be too high, though.

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Suz, fascinating insight. I am reading the rest on your other post!

Krish I love what you said -- Respect the Winter. I don't want to respect it -- I want to wish it away already -- but that just isn't my life here and now.

Looking at posts about spring wardrobe planning and new trends just isn't doing it for me right now. I have too many months left to wear my winter wardrobe and I would like to do it joyfully. (I try to hold off on the winter weight items in spring colours at LEAST into March.)

I'm thinking of starting my own thread where those of us still well stuck in winter weather can share inspirations to get us through. I was glad to see Suz's new thread but it's pretty boot specific.