Turning Purple… And Grey. Fall Shopping Adventures in July.

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Okay, so I’m not really turning purple. But I am turning to purple. Or burgundy, to be more precise, and to grey. After finding myself some sweet deals at Nordstrom’s July “Anniversary Sale,” burgundy and grey, it seems, will be my go to look for fall this year.

Nordstrom is new here in Ottawa, so I had never heard of the “Anniversary Sale.” Until now. I love the concept of putting the new fall merchandise on sale before the season even begins. But the fly in the ointment was that it was in mid-July, way too early for me to be ready to shop for fall. I normally do my “back to school” shopping in August, just before I go, well, back to school… hence the name. “Back to school shopping” has been a tradition since I was six years old. Naturally, it morphed somewhat over the years, from the days when Mum took me shopping for back to school clothes, as well as binders, scribblers, ‘campfire notebooks’, crayons, a new pencil case. And for the last twenty-odd years, when Hubby and I would arrive home from our August trip down east, he’d pack for his last canoe trip of the summer, while, in between preparing lessons, attending meetings, and ordering textbooks, I’d plan my fall shopping. Everyone in my department knew that I would be at school and available the last two weeks of the summer… for meetings, consultations, whatever… except for the Thursday (sometimes the Friday) before the long weekend. That day I shopped. Homework done, list in hand, I descended upon my favourite store, for…. sigh… my absolute favourite shopping day of the year.

Paugh Lake, Ontario. October 2014
Our fall 2014 camping trip

Retirement wrought some changes to the fall, “back to school” shopping tradition, I will admit. I was not actually going back to school, anymore. I needed fewer clothes, and different clothes, for my new non-teaching life. But I still did my research, consulted the fall fashion magazines, sorted my wardrobe, and made my list. A much shorter list, to be sure. And I waited until a few days after school started to shop. Much less crowded then. But overall the concept was unchanged. The anticipation was unchanged. I dreamed of crisp fall breezes. And of the boots, jeans, sweaters, and tweed blazers, in beautiful fall colours (forest green, caramel brown, burgundy) that I would soon wear. ‘Soon’ being the operative word, here.

But, this year, long before I normally even start thinking about fall, when I was still excited about summer fashion, I had to work hard to psyche myself up for fall shopping… in July.  And, as I wrote in this post, I was not entirely successful. My homework had failed to inspire me. And I had no list. Unthinkable for a list-making, organizing obsessive such as myself.

Bu-ut. You could say that fate and the fashion gods (and my friend Liz) were on my side the day I strolled into Nordstrom for the “Anniversary Sale”… list-less, and totally un-psyched for fall shopping. You could say that, although my homework had failed to inspire me, faced with the actual, real-life array of sweaters and jeans, tweed jackets, and blouses, in deep greens, burgundies, and luscious browns, I was soon in the mood for fall shopping. You could say that. Yep.

With the help of my buddy Liz…who, I’m sure you remember, is the personal shopper at Nordstrom… I had a very successful day of fall shopping in July. This is what I bought. In list format.

1. A gorgeous, charcoal, heathered coat sweater from Vince. I love the length, the cut, the shawl collar and the leather trim.

grey Vince coat sweater, burgundy NYDJ jeans
So cosy. I can belt it, or leave it open. I love the drapey folds. See the leather trim detail in the back? I will get a ton of wear out of this sweater.
grey Vince coat sweater, burgundy NYDJ jeans, black Stuart Weitzman loafers
grey Vince coat sweater, burgundy NYDJ jeans, black Stuart Weitzman loafers
2. Burgundy slim cut (but not skinny) jeans from NYDJ. They are high waisted, and narrow through the leg… just the way I like them. Great with loafers in the fall or with low boots in the winter. I love, love burgundy; it’s one of my favourite fall colours. And it looks great with my new charcoal coat sweater. I’ve used one of my vintage brooches here to pin the sweater closed.
grey Vince coat sweater, burgundy NYDJ jeans, black Stuart Weitzman loafers, burgundy Marc Jacobs tote
3. Burgundy leather tote bag from Marc Jacobs. More burgundy. I had intended to get a new handbag for fall this year. And this one fit the bill. Roomy, soft. The handles are long enough to be able to wear it over my shoulder even with a heavy coat on, and the strap is long enough to wear cross-body. Love, love the colour.
grey Vince coat sweater, burgundy NYDJ jeans, black Stuart Weitzman loafers, burgundy Marc Jacobs tote
I can’t wait to start wearing my burgundy and grey for fall. But of course, I will have to wait. Seeing as how it’s only the beginning of August and we have several weeks of summer left… hopefully.
But in the meantime. I might be able to spin my burgundy jeans into a transition outfit.
I love these silver and burgundy earrings and necklace from Montreal jewellry designer Anne-Marie Chagnon. I bought them at a little boutique in the village of L’Anse-Sainte-Jean, Quebec, where we visit every other summer. Chagnon uses odd bits of metal, beads and stones so creatively. I love all of her pieces because they’re unique, and a bit edgy. I don’t usually wear very feminine jewellry. I feel silly in pearls, for instance.
Anne-Marie Chagnon earrings and necklace
These pieces from Anne-Marie Chagnon will tie my burgundy pants in with just about any top I want to wear. Like my black Helmut Lang blazer, that I bought to take to Paris, with a white, Theory cami underneath. The pants are pure fall. But the jacket, even though it’s black, is light. And with the white cami and the black and white Kate Spade bag, this will be a good transition outfit for late August, or even early September.
black Helmut Lang jacket, burgundy NYDJ jeans, Kate Spade bag, black Stuart Weitzman loafers.
So. What have I gained from this experience?
Well, three really great pieces for fall, of course. All on sale, a fact that should not be easily dismissed. I mean, I did save 40% on each of these items, people. That’s pretty awesome.
And I’ve learned that, while tradition is good, it isn’t good to become too stuck in one’s ways, too hidebound. I might have missed out on these great deals, if I’d stuck to my usual plan. Yes sirree. I think I could get used to this fall shopping in July thing.
Now. I’ve got to go and start sorting my fall clothes. Editing, they call it. Not because I need to make my fall shopping list. Nope. But because a friend of mine has just opened a clothing consignment shop. And it’s high time I made a few tough decisions and got rid of some stuff I know I won’t ever wear again.
P.S. About my childhood back to school shopping. “Scribblers” are what we Maritimers called Hilroy notebooks when I was a kid. And “campfire notebooks,” well, they were legendary. We used to use them to write down our homework. Here’s a picture of one I found on Etsy.com. You can find a picture of just about anything on the internet, can’t you?
What about you? Do you have any ‘back to school’ fall shopping traditions?

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30 thoughts on “Turning Purple… And Grey. Fall Shopping Adventures in July.”

  1. Love your burgundy and grey picks Sue! I didn't visit the anniversary sale – that's definitely a must for next year. I haven't been thinking at all about fall, but you have put me in the mood!

  2. What fabulous pieces. They will serve you well this coming fall/winter. You reminded me of my shopping 'plan'. Like you, for many years from childhood into adulthood did the back to school shopping trip. Now in retirement it's almost anytime shopping when the need/want strikes!

  3. Great choices & you really suit burgundy . I like the same type of jewellry as you – not keen on the delicate ladylike stuff . Had a look at the designers website & would have bought a bracelet , but she frightened me away with postal charges & poss taxes at this end . So , I shall admire from afar
    Wendy in York

  4. Love your choices and what a great discount on the new season stock. Delighted to see burgundy and grey are back. Have a few burgundy items in my wardrobe which will work well. Never as organised as you in terms of fashion. Loved reading about how you shopped with such military precision. Were there always suitable clothes available on the allotted Thursday/ Friday?? Always loved getting new stationary for back to school though never wanted holidays to end. Love your jewellery. For an extreme take on statement jewellery you should have a look at the new documentary film about Iris Apfel – maybe you've seen it already. At 94 she's still very stylish and interesting. Iris H

    1. Thanks, Iris. I always called my friend Liz who worked at my favourite store and told her what I was looking for…and she set aside items for me. It pays to have friends in the right places:) I haven't seen the Iris Apfel film yet, but I hear it's charming.

  5. Absolutely love the jacket !! Must think about the burgundy….. Snap ! I was gifted the same purse by my daughter. I thought that Nordstrom was coming to Toronto. Possibly it will arrive sometime in the near future – too bad we have now downsized and moved to Peterborough……. I do enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Hi Susan, Last I heard, Nordstrom was opening in the Eaton's Centre in the Fall 2016, taking over Sears. And a huge Yorkdale store will also open in 2016……. One can only hope……

    1. Thanks. I've been going back to school in September (and shopping for it) most of my life…when I was a child, then high school student, then university student, then teacher. I did take a few years off in between uni and teaching when I did other jobs. September feels pretty weird now that I'm retired.

  6. You really scored with some fantastic pieces. I do have to go back to work next week (lucky you!) but I missed the Nordstrom 40% off sale. Love that Vince jacket on you!
    Thanks again for joining us in the Linkup, Susan!
    xx, Heather

    1. Thanks, Heather. If I were still teaching I would be back at work in two weeks….but the switch in my head would be thrown next week. I'd wake up in the middle of the night around August 15 and my brain would be clicking and whirring with ideas and things that needed to be done. Instead this year, I'll be packing for ten days with my mum in New Brunswick…we'll visit and shop and talk about books and watch last season of Downton Abbey.

  7. What a successful shopping trip! You look great in the trousers and jacket …. I m especially keen on the jacket! 🙂 and the bag looks perfect. I find cross body styles so easy and practical to wear and the leather looks really soft. I've a couple from the Canadian brand Roots that I use a lot … Plus I've yet to see someone in England with the same bag!! I envy your organised and disciplined approach to clothes shopping. I m much more of an impulse shopper which often means some items don't get worn as often as they should because theyre similar to things I already have! I also have a habit of buying a second one of something I love!! Not handbags though! As you say, I m sure you ll wear your grey jacket a lot ….it's so stylish and versatile … Looks cosy too!
    To digress a little … I came across a perfect bookshop in Lindau Germany recently …. it was also a coffee shop and had lovely rattan style chairs outside with colourful cushions and tables with a varied selection of books on each that people could read and browse through whilst drinking coffee or tea. It was always busy …. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to stop! Too much to see and do! After your last post I thought you'd definitely like it too!
    Have a good week, Rosie

  8. Susan, I just love your posts and I look forward to your updates and writing. I just love your purchases and I look forward to Nordstrom shopping when Nordstrom opens up shop in the Toronto area in 2016.

  9. Late to the game on this one, too–but something I enjoy about early-ish shopping is that I have the clothes tucked away in my mind's eye to enjoy for awhile before they come out to play. It's the anticipation, I suppose, that makes it a little more delicious knowing what I have to look forward to.
    Leah from http://thriftshopchic.com

    1. Oh yes…I do know what you mean. Like if I'm having a bad day, I just close my eyes and think of that grey sweater. Delicious anticipation is a great way to put it.

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