style/place musings & WIW on a short getaway

I just came back from an overnight trip to Bellingham, less than two hours north of my home in Seattle, Washington. I've been there before, but always in summer, and it has been a while. It surprised me how taken I was with the place this time. I felt very at home there and wondered if I might rather live there than Seattle, in some ways. It's a college town and a thriving arts enclave, a former fishing and logging port that has managed to build a tourist trade without losing its sense of community. Styles are quite laid-back, ranging from arty boho influences to hiking and biking gear. I found myself contemplating how my own style might differ from what it is now, if I lived there.

One outfit in particular, worn by a woman working in a restaurant where we had a casual dinner, prompted this line of thought and even made me a little nostalgic. She had on flared corduroys, clogs, and a sequined tank top. The corduroys, a faded gray, sat low on her hips, and fit just the way I liked to wear them several years go--just slightly loose, not baggy, flared at the bottom, and not overly fitted at the knee. All I could see of the clogs--or maybe they were Dansko-style shoes--were the thick soles and a slight bit of the toe. The black sequined top gave a whimsical nod to the holiday season. She wore her wavy hair down, tucked behind her ears. This was exactly the kind of look I aspired to, not long ago. Had my husband and I chosen Bellingham rather than Seattle--a brief consideration--when we moved from California in 2008, I would probably be dressing that way now. I came home and looked in my closet to see if I might have kept the gray gently-flared corduroys I had like those the waitress had worn. But no, they must have been in my last batch of clothing donations. I do still have a similar pair that I liked better, though. Just in case, you know. Maybe I'll want to return to that look sometime, even for a day or two. I still have my clogs and some clog-like shoes, too. You just never know where or who you might end up being, right?

I often fantasize about what it would be like to live in the places I visit. This time felt different, since it was so familiar and close to home, and yet the atmosphere felt both so different and appealing. Recently we've had some discussions about influences on our style, dressing to fit in, and the weight of  individuality versus community in shaping our style. I may seem like quite an individual in the way that I dress, but I feel there is a good portion of my style that is very much influenced by my surroundings and the people I'm around. Living in Seattle and hanging around the virtual YLF crowd have led me to aspire to a little more sophistication and to add some urban elements to my casual style.

The outfits (worn on our outing to Bellingham):
1-3: teal skinny corduroys (Kut from the Kloth, Diana); stone mixed media cotton & linen knit top (made by me); teal and olive scarf; stone & cream belt (Annette Goertz); gray moto boots (Frye, Lynn); taupe trench (Calvin Klein); taupe shoulder bag (Aunts & Uncles).

4-5: cords, boots, belt, trench and bag (not pictured), same as above; olive knit cowl-neck, cross-over front pullover (Nally & Millie).

Thanks for reading and looking! How much do you think your style is influenced by place?


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WIW: standbys and new trousers

In my mind, "standby" is a synonym for fast fall-back option (FFBO). Something I can put on without trial and error, something I know will work. I wore a couple of them in recent days, and in between, I wore a new pair of trousers (outfit 2 below). Despite having tried out some different outfits with the pants ahead of time, I had some trial and error before heading out the door. I was pretty happy with how it came out. I will say I think the pants looked better in the mirror than they do in the photos. They felt quite Katharine Hepburn-like to me--a thought put in my mind by MuseumGal's comments on a couple of my recent WIWs.

The outfits:
1-3 (worn to work): dark brown ponte skinnies (NYDJ); layered-front tie-dye knit tunic in browns, cream, gray, and black (made by me); long charcoal cardigan (Halogen); black suede booties with gray turn-down cuff (Paul Green); brown and gray wool coat (made by me); black satchel (Elliott Lucca, Olvera).

4-6 (worn to work): stone wool crepe tuck-front trousers (made by me); cream, red, and blue-gray floral chiffon peasant top (made by me); charcoal cashmere high-low hem cardigan (360 Cashmere); gray, black, taupe, and cream ombre plaid coat (MICHAEL Michael Kors); gray gloves; black and burnished gold cap-toe pumps (Anyi Liu); black satchel.

7-8 (worn for a day off): maroon long sleeved ribbed tee (Stem); mauve and gray print wool cap-sleeve sweatshirt (made by me); dark straight leg jeans (Kut from the Kloth, Stevie); espresso moto boots (Miu Miu); taupe trench (Calvin Klein); black satchel.

Thanks for looking! Comments and suggestions welcome.


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WIW: a few diverse work outfits

Here are work outfits for the last few days.

The first one is pretty staid for me, an easy if not particularly fast fall-back (i.e., it's not necessarily something I reach for often).

Second outfit is fun and feels more like me.

Third outfit feels a little quirkier than I usually go, I think. I put on the faux-fur vest (or "minky" fabric, actually--usually used for blankets!)--which I made about 4 years ago as a class sample and have never worn-- for a day that I thought I would be working in a booth for our company at a craft fair. I thought the outfit would appeal to the craft-fair crowd. I ended up being called to the store instead, and I received some compliments on the vest and pants there.

I wonder if I look like three different people in these outfits. They seem rather diverse in style. What do you think?

The outfits:
1-3: charcoal crinkle knit skirt (made by me); navy v-neck cashmere pullover (Halogen); blue and red plaid scarf (Asian Eye); navy tights; wine lace-up Mary Jane pumps (Naya); ombre plaid coat (MICHAEL Michael Kors); black satchel (Elliott Lucca, Olvera).

4-6: scroll print sweater dress in wine, olive, teal, black, and gray (Nally & Millie); black lace knit shrug (made by me); black opaque tights; olive distressed suede tall boots (Donald J. Pliner, Devi); green trench (Gallery); black satchel as above.

7-9: dark sage linen-wool cargo pants (made by me); ivory long sleeved crew-neck tee (Caslon); ivory and green minky vest with green animal print lining (made by me); pewter metallic suede high-top sneakers (Paul Green). not pictured: same coat and purse as in previous outfit.

Thanks for looking! Thoughts and suggestions are welcome.


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WIW: skirted leggings

I got the Eileen Fisher skirted leggings back, after having returned them. (I had bought the AllSaints ones, which didn't work out.) While Nordstrom's website said they were backordered till 19 Dec, they showed up yesterday. Okay! Not questioning good fortune.
I bought a size larger than I would usually take in Eileen Fisher (that being the smaller of my usual sizes, since EF typically runs large). I ended up taking in the sides of the skirt this afternoon, because it poofed out a little at the side seams. Guess I was just in between the two sizes.

The outfit (worn for a day mostly off, and to teach a one-on-one sewing class in the afternoon): black skirted leggings (Eileen Fisher); black, red, and gray abstract patterned long-sleeved, crew-neck tee (made by me); long gray cardigan with step hem (Halogen); black suede booties with gray turn-down cuff (Paul Green).

Thanks for looking! Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Uh oh. I still have to download photos from camera. . . . Okay, here they are!

ETA: The skirted leggings, pre- and post-alteration

3-4: pre-alteration

5-6: post-alteration

Better, right? (I hope!)


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WIW: 3 silhouettes & new booties

Like a lot of other fabbers, I've been inspired by Una's 5-silhouette challenge. While I haven't actually taken up the challenge, I decided to analyze what I'm wearing in terms of silhouettes. I am posting 4 days of WIWs here, and I see that I have 3 silhouettes.

Sat: long cardigan over slouchy pants
Sun: boxy top over bootcut pants
Mon: bodycon dress with topper
Tue: boxy top over bootcut pants (again)

The outfits:
1-3 (worn for a day off and shopping): faded boyfriend jeans (Fidelity); black waffle knit tee (2 Dog Island); black, brown, and camel fuzzy animal print cardigan (Free People); tan belt (Trafalgar); black suede booties (Paul Green). True confession: I bought the booties on Saturday and wore them out of the store, for several more hours of shopping with a friend. Love them! I wore them as in #1, but tried them as in #3 for fun, and to show you the gray contrast turn-down cuff on the booties. I might wear them like that sometime, with the pants rolled above them--what do you think?

4-6 (worn to work and for family gathering in the evening): charcoal gray ponte bootcut pants (NYDJ); gray merino pullover (Eileen Fisher); burgundy, gray, and gold plaid matelasse asymmetrical vest (made by me); black suede booties (Paul Green); ombre plaid coat (MICHAEL Michael Kors); charcoal felt asymmetrical fedora (Asian Eye); black satchel (Elliott Lucca, Olvera).

7 (worn to work): dark espresso brown ponte knit shingle dress (made by me); faux fur vest (made by me); black tights; black wedge boots (Pikolinos). You can't see the shingle design in the dress in this photo, but it's kind of like the Vince Camuto or Bailey 44 bandage dresses; here's the pattern I used.

8-10 (worn for a day off & errands): dark wash bootcut jeans (Hudson, Beth baby boot); white long sleeved tee (Caslon); boxy green and blue arty handknit cardigan (Amy Brill); taupe nubuck booties (Paul Green, Jano); brown belt (B Low the Belt); charcoal wool cocoon coat with green wool trim and cuffs (Lodenfrey); black satchel as above. I bought this coat in 1992, in Austria. I brought it out a couple of years ago after many years of not wearing it, and reduced the ginormous shoulders. Still didn't feel like wearing it. But now I think it's almost stylish again. What do you think?

Thanks for looking! I always welcome your thoughts and suggestions.


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