Posts Tagged ‘outfits’

Look of the Week: Getting That Semi-Elegant Bad-Ass Feeling with Blazers

When I lived in NYC, I wore jackets and blazers all the time. Boyfriend blazers, tuxedo-y styles, classic English-y redingcotes: they all made me feel upright, strong, swaddled in strength and fortitude as I weaved down the streets and sidewalks quick and sharp. My uniform was a sharp jacket, skinny jeans and boots — it was practical and utilitarian, but most importantly, it made me feel like a semi-elegant bad-ass.

Then of course, I left, and slowly those jackets went away. I either sold them — some lucky duck owns a fabulous Phoebe Philo-era Chloe wool jacket now for crazy-cheap — or replaced them as they wore out with cardigans, ponchos and wraps. I went soft and cozy in my gentle, hushed new life. This was instinctual and deliberate. After years of being armored — a mental and emotional fortress onto myself — I wanted to be open, receptive, warm. And it works — if you ever want to soften your heart and soul, put something against your body that feels that way. It helps.

But lately I’ve been gravitating back to the jacket and blazer. I’m not sure what it is — I don’t have a yen to move back to the city. Perhaps it’s that I go riding horses a lot more these days, and the strong upright posture you hold is rubbing off on me in strange ways. Or maybe I just feel the need for some reserve of strength, power and forthrightness to draw upon. I have things to do, accomplish, reinvent; I need solid footing and the armor to shake off criticism and be brave!

But I realized as I was transferring my fall/winter wardrobe into my closet that I had only two blazers remaining in my repertoire — a thin silk boyfriend-y one for evening, and a very old Armani Exchange one that was like a shrunken, cropped swingy peacoat. Both are nice in their ways, but don’t exactly give me that feeling of decisive power I like and want. It’s time to tap into my powers of elegant bad-assness again! So I decided, this fall, that some new jackets were going on the shopping list.

Jackets, though, are tricky to buy. They are not easily or cheaply tailored items; they have to fit very precisely and perfectly to look right, especially on my short frame. While I can usually adjust sleeve length, I am very picky about their overall length, as well as with what I call the “bra lines” area — the horizontal line from right underneath your armpit to the middle of your chest, and the one from where your bra strap would be to the middle of your ribcage. Essentially, anything going over your boobs! This area has to fit absolutely right with no excess material and hang open perfectly. Otherwise it can make you look much stockier and thicker than you really are, and that’s no fun. Oh, and an overly low armpit is also usually a disaster. I often tend to buy jackets that are a size smaller and just make peace with the fact that I’m never going to close them. But usually I just don’t buy it if it doesn’t work right on me.

So you see, I’ve only been able to find two blazers…and I’ve tried on a great many in my search so far! One is black crepe-like material short with a curved, shapely waist, collarless with nice, shorter sleeves. (I always end up shortening sleeves on a jacket.) It’s much more formal and structured. Oddly, I like wearing it with shirts with really long sleeves, and let them flop out goofily, because it feels Dickensian to me.

The other is a navy blue knit, much more of a classic blazer, and the knit lets me push up the sleeves in the way that I like. At first I was a little wary of the knit, but it's very soft and warm, so I think of this as my cardigan replacement. Because it's nice to feel both soft and strong in the same garment, right? Anyway, I wear it here with a shirt I got last year and can't decide if I want to keep. I was in a polka dot quirky mood last year, but this year not so much. The jacket gives it a bit more groundedness, which is what a good blazer does well.

I’m thinking of going kind of Bianca Jagger and trying to find a cream-colored jacket. That might just be a tad beyond my comfort level, though it might look nice with my coloring and hair. But eek, so impractical! We shall see. You can take a girl out of a practical jacket, but you cannot take the practical out of the girl.

Look of the Week: The Transitional Outfit

It’s the in-between days, straddling Indian summer and the crisp, purposeful fall — today as I write this, it’s 90 degrees and sunny, but tomorrow we’re supposed to have a low in the 40s. I suppose you can say this is my “last gasp of summer” outfit because it’s cool enough for a day like this but — with a jacket or cardigan thrown on — will do just fine when it gets cold tonight. It’s a silk sleeveless top from the Fletcher by Lyell line (prob my fave designer collabo ever), a pair of beloved, well-worn sandals, though the grey Mango jeans are a new purchase. It takes a lot for me to buy a bottom: usually I wait for perfection, because the last thing I want to worry about is my arse. But I’d been wanting an alternative to my usual dark skinny jeans for some time, and so when I found these on sale, I snagged them.

As it turns out, they were sort of the missing link in my wardrobe — the kind of item you didn’t realize you needed until you bought it, and then were like “Why did I wait so long to get these?” Kind of a big “duh” moment, I suppose. These particular jeans, they’re not really perfect, but sometimes you just have to go for it anyway, and I’ll get a lot of mileage out of them later in the season. I have other things to do with my time besides spend afternoon upon afternoon trying to find jeans, you know? There are so many brands and styles and it just makes my head spin — and it makes me miss Uniqlo, because I would just find something I liked there and be done with it. Jeans are such a personal thing — which ones do you like, that make you feel confident and secure and all those things? I need jeans suggestions that aren’t $200+. (I look at those price tags, and I’m like, Hmmmm, I could get airfare to someplace cool with that money…)

Anyway, I tried something new with this outfit post and made a quick video instead of taking photographs. I really find it weird to take pictures of myself like I’m a model, so perhaps I can just pretend I’m an actress pretending to be a model? I still felt gawky and weird anyway, but at least I was using my rusty filmmaking skills.

Look of the Week: A Pink-and-Gold Scarf, An Orla Kiely Shirt

Fashion blogger habits die hard! I started out as one ages upon ages ago, and while I don’t particularly have a strong desire to do it full-on again, I do miss chronicling how clothes form a particularly beautiful part of a larger story, whether it’s of a time, place or a self. I never did outfit posts at nogoodforme.com, except for our rare seasonal fashion concepts. But oddly, I know of no other way I can write about fashion here on my blog, since I’m not super-interested in industry news, fancy designers or the like. I don’t pretend to be a typical fashionista, but I do love clothes in my own intimate, sometimes lyrical way. I think what’s most interesting about clothes are the relationships and stories people tell with them, and exploring and recording my own history via my sartorial choices.


My Life in Pictures: January 2013

I have a Flickr account and an one as well, but sometimes it’s nice to pull together stuff in one central place. For one thing, it’s like making a small treasure trove for myself. I hope in future years, I’ll tool around in my own blog and enjoy seeing these bits and pieces of the past. And even now, it helps me remember the small details and textures I want to soak in: little adventures, more epic ones, lyrical details that don’t seem so until much later. My little experiments in homemaking and adventures in DIY fashion styling seem so ordinary now, but who knows — I may look upon them with an odd tenderness in years forward.

A Home is A Home is a Home

I don’t live in a Design Sponge-worthy kind of apartment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take great pleasure in it. After years of dark New York apartments, it has loads of light — I wake up in the morning and the sun is streaming through the windows and it makes me happy.

It’s slowly filling with artwork. Nothing special, but it’s all personal, made by my friends or it makes me feel serene and peaceful and calm. A home takes awhile to come together, but when it does, all the effort is worth it.