Summer is here. Big time. It’s been hot, hot, hot. I’m not complaining, mind you. We’re back from camping and planning to spend the rest of the summer at home. And while home is not exactly in the city, I’ll no doubt be spending a lot of time there. Lunching with friends, seeing the latest exhibits at the National Gallery, dining on a patio somewhere with Hubby or with friends, shopping…. or just running errands. Ottawa is a beautiful city, especially in the summer.
|Brown’s Inlet on the Rideau Canal, from Colonel By Driveway
Which brings me to the point of this post. What do I wear when I’m doing all these things? You see, even though I love summer as much as the next person, I prefer fall when it comes to fashion. I’m a jeans, boots, and blazer kind of girl. Summer dressing is supposed to be sooo easy; just throw on a tank top and a pair of those cute little shorts, sandals and go. Uh… I don’t think so. Short shorts are definitely out, as are crop tops, tube tops, and halter tops; tank tops are mostly out (except for cycling, or camping or somewhere no one will see me.) I prefer to be a bit more covered up these days… or do I mean years? But, Ottawa is humid in the summer, so one can’t cover up too much.
I know, I know. I make a big deal out of this outfit business. But as I’ve said on the blog before, I get cranky if I don’t feel comfortable with what I’m wearing. Stressed, even. There’s simply no point telling me that I shouldn’t worry about how I look, just throw on something easy, no one cares. Many have tried to convince me of that. But, I am what I am, to quote Popeye. I’ve been like this since I was six, probably even before then. So, it’s not something that’s going to change when I “grow up”… and gain maturity and an adult perspective. Ha. Fat chance.
|Evening outside the National Gallery Ottawa, after seeing the Alex Colville exhibit
So, what do I wear, then, for a hot summer in the city… when I want to be cool, and look pulled together and polished, but am not keen to bare too much flesh? And how to make these decisions without trying on all my clothes and discarding, in a huge pile on my bed, everything that makes me look too old, or old and trying to look too young, or too puffy in the middle or …. well, you get the idea.
Well, for me, the answer means having a few key pieces that go with everything.
New pieces that I’ve shopped carefully for, keeping in mind what looks good on my body and, more importantly, what doesn’t. Like my black Rag and Bone tank top that I bought to take to Paris. As I said above, I don’t usually like tank tops on me. They have to be high in the neck and cut-away in the shoulders. I’ve raved about this one in numerous posts
so, enough said… except to say (again) that I love it.
And old pieces that I still love, and that go with the new ones. And then I rotate the new ones through the old ones.
Like this. My new black Rag and Bone tank, with new white jeans, bought this spring. For dinner out with the girls. I love black and white.
Or the Rag and Bone tank with these, more conservative, tan cropped pants from Theory. I bought these in 2012 and they’ve been a summer staple ever since. Ditto these Stuart Weitzman wedge-heeled, brown and black, tortoise-shell sandals. Add my ubiquitous Helmet Lang jacket for when it gets cooler in the evening… great for a fancier dinner out, maybe on Hubby’s birthday. You know, I think I love black and tan, even more than black and white.
Or the same ensemble (minus the jacket and the clutch) for lunch and a stroll through the Byward market on a sunny afternoon. Hence the hat. Or a visit to see the Alex Colville exhibit at the National Gallery, followed by that same stroll through the market. Okay. Truthfully, I haven’t actually worn the hat with this outfit… yet. I came close, then chickened out. It looked good, but just felt a bit costume-y. I’d definitely do the hat, though, if I were going to an outdoor antique fair, say the Merrickville Antique Show later in August. Everyone wears hats to that. Hmmm… I see from this shot that I need to wear a tank top when I’m cycling, instead of my short-sleeved cycling shirt. Despite SPF 50 sun screen, I’ve definitely got a farmer’s tan on my arms.
I could also wear my Rag and Bone tank with this black, Elie Tahari pencil skirt from 2010. The loose layers in the top make this look a bit like a flapper dress. I’d wear this for a nice dinner out. Or even to a friend’s wedding later in the summer.
Okay, so I’ve all these options, right? The black Rag and Bone tank looks great with…well…everything I own, pretty much. But how to decide which to wear with what and not accrue that enormous pile of discarded clothing on my bed?
This is where blogging comes in. Let me explain.
When I was working, and I had to think up five outfits to wear every week, I’d get bored wearing the same combinations all the time. So every once in a while, I’d take a couple of hours and try on all my clothes. Looking for new ways to wear the same old stuff, or discovering ways to incorporate new items into my current wardrobe. I didn’t have time to do this often, so I started taking notes on what worked and what didn’t, otherwise I’d forget the new combinations I’d discovered. And I’d pin the list on my bulletin board in my den, so when I was at my desk marking at night, I could glance up at the list and think…”Hmmm, maybe I’ll wear that tomorrow.” Result… I had new outfit combinations that I knew looked good, and no stress and indecision in the morning. Especially those mornings when I had an early meeting, and had to be out of the house before 7:00 A.M.
Then came retirement, and blogging entered my life. And fashion posts. And no more need for the list. Because pictures work so much better.
For example, I’m meeting two friends, Krista and Kristin, for dinner tonight. And undoubtedly while I’m drying my hair and putting on my make-up, I’ll be pondering what to wear. And playing in my head will be an array of pictures that I’ve taken for this blog.
The black Rag and Bone tank, bien sûr. But with what? The white jeans? Maybe. The tan cropped pants? Too lady-like. The black pencil skirt? Too dressy. Maybe my coral Elie Tahari pants that I wrote about in this post
? Or my emerald green cropped jeans from TNT
in Toronto, that I showed with a black tee and the Helmut Lang jacket in another post? Nah. Too dark. Those pants are better with loafers than sandals.
So, you see? Blogging gives me a pre-selected range of outfits from which to choose. And I know from the pictures how I’ll look in each one. No stress summer dressing.
Of course blogging can’t help me with that fact that I can’t wear short shorts anymore, or cropped tops. Actually, I haven’t worn a cropped top since I had an adorable, pink and white striped one (we called them pop tops then) and matching pink and white striped bell bottoms… and I was twelve. Nope. The blog is no help there.
Time marches on, people.
And speaking of time marching on. Below is a shot of me and my lovely friend Marina. We had lunch this week at Cafe Mio in Westboro. We ate and laughed and gossiped and laughed some more. Marina and I worked together for almost fourteen years. Fourteen! Ackkk. Hard to believe. I’ll be glad when she retires and we don’t have to wait for the summer to do this.
And speaking of time… which is definitely still marching on. I’ve got to go do my work-out and then get ready for dinner. Hmmm… I wonder… will it be the white pants or the pink?
How do you decide what to wear?