Spring Fashion Sorted… Sort of

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It’s finally spring. And it ain’t pretty, folks. Not yet. The sky is grey with low cloud today. I can hear the rain pelting against my window. And outside, I see brown grass, bare branches, melting swaths of dingy snow. And a couple of unhappy doves huddled in our mock orange tree. Bu-ut… I know that soon the sun will shine again. The grass will green up, the leaves bud, the birds sing. And I want to be ready.

So I’ve been preparing for spring shopping season this past week. Taking an inventory of my closet. Doing my research. Trying to get a feel for the season. What’s new? What’s not new, but still in style? And hoping to glean some ideas. For what I want, or need, to buy. And how I might restyle pieces I already own. I do love my seasonal rituals, as you well know if you read this blog regularly.

I usually look to print magazines to give me a seasonal overview. With enthusiasm, I dove into the two issues of Harper’s Bazaar which were waiting for me when we returned from Peru… and came away none the wiser. So, I’ve been reading blogs, and sifting through the “spring ready-to-wear shows” on Vogue.com. I’m not sure if it’s me, my sources, or simply this season… but I can’t get a handle on what defines Spring 2017. Ah well, if nothing in particular is “in,” then everything must be “in,” right? Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe in slavishly following trends. Not at all. But I do like to know what the trends are. Especially if I can make them work for me, for my body type, and, with a bit of tweaking, use what I already have in my wardrobe.

I’ve long admired Phoebe Philo. As much for her own understated, androgynous style as for her designs. I always check out what Philo is sending down the runway for Celine. Lots of orange, white, and black for spring this year. Over-sized jackets and full pants. If you pay attention to trends… you may want to check out vintage stores for eighties blazers, and fifties-style structured bags. I swear my Mum had a purse just like the one below. You remember… those slim bags that snapped shut briskly when you tucked your gloves and cigarette lighter inside?

three looks from Celine Spring 2017
Celine Spring Ready-to-wear 2017 on Vogue.com

I love the looks below. From Tibi on the left and right, and Haider Ackerman in the centre.  These are two brands which I learned about through the shopping website Matches Fashion. I subscribe to their e-mails, not for the shopping but for their editorial content, fashion shoots, and such. More full, wide-legged, flowing pants. Midi-skirts and dresses with flats. Lots of balloon sleeves, bell-sleeves, and other miscellaneous sleeve detail. These looks can be chic on everyone. Unlike the short short skirts, and the short short shorts. Ha. I’ll be giving those a miss.

spring 2017 looks from Tibi and Haider Ackerman
Spring Ready-to-wear looks from Tibi HaiderAckerman, and Tibi on Vogue.com

I love navy and white for spring. I still remember with a sigh a navy and white spring coat I had when I was twelve, what our mums called an “all purpose coat.” Tibi showed all kinds of navy and white combos this spring. Including this fabulous skirt, which I think could work on an older (let’s say sixty-year-old) model with a few bumps and rolls to hide. That’s because the skirt seems to be denim. And the heavier fabric, and the very high waist could serve to smooth out a muffin top, and the voluminous pockets could probably hide, well, any number of things, in my opinion. Or I may just be inspired by this shot, and dig out my Burberry denim skirt with the pockets and pewter snaps and pair it with a white top.

Tibi spring 2017
Tibi on Vogue.com

Stella McCartney showed all kinds of dresses and full pants that would look great on us women of a certain age. Lots of volume in places where it could be useful. This dress reminded me a bit of a Laura Ashley dress I had back in the early eighties, minus the girlish full skirt. I like the volume in the sleeve and around the hips.

dress from Stella McCartney, spring 2017
Dress from Stella McCartney on Vogue.com
But my favourite looks this spring are from Brunello Cucinelli. I’ve been pulling ads for this brand from magazines for a few years now, pinning them to my inspiration board, and trying to capture the louche, relaxed vibe in my own outfits. Since I’ve been retired, and even a few years before, I have been trying to move away from my go-to style…. preppy, a bit too lady-like, bit overly matchy-matchy. Creases neatly pressed into my jeans, every hair in place. You know what I mean. Part of this is my perfectionist nature. Part is habit. Part is the way I was raised. I simply can’t abide wrinkled shirts or baggy-arsed anything.
I love the idea of a slouchy sweater pulled on over a feminine top and flowing pants. Or a fringed wrap tossed over a smart suit. Most Brunello Cucinelli pieces are beyond my price-range. But the ideas, the layering, the mix of very casual pieces with more structured dressy ones is what I aspire to. Like my friend Liz said the other day when I visited her at Nordstom for our spring fashion browse, lunch, and natter… I can use other lines like Eileen Fisher to mimic Brunello Cucinelli at a fraction of the cost.
          suit and shawl from Brunello Cucinelli, spring 2017
Look from Brunello Cucinelli on Vogue.com

As I mentioned above, I visited Liz at Nordstron earlier this week. I was there most of the day, and had a fabulous time. I arrived with my short list in hand: high rise, cropped jeans with a slightly frayed hem, either a longer skirt or a pair of full-legged pants, and tops. I always need tops. First we chatted and got caught up on each other’s gossip. Then we did a “walk-about.” Nattering about the spring styles. Liz says that full-legged pants are big this season…. no pun intended. As well as sleeve detail. Lots of lines are using that soft blue and white striped fabric that looks like mattress ticking. Dresses are everywhere. And the so-called “ath-leisure” trend, those dresses and tops that are modeled on athletic wear, is still big this year. I’m happy about that. I can’t wait to wear my blue Rag and Bone dress from last year. As we chatted we picked up items, put some back, and carried others to the dressing room. Then I commenced the trying-on, and sometimes just plain trying, portion of the day. Then when I was sick to death of trying on we adjourned for lunch. Followed by decision time.

To cut to the chase… full-legged pants are a trend I will have to take a pass on. They simply do not suit my shape. I tried on a beautiful Diane von Furstenberg flowered pair, and they hid all my assets, and accentuated those parts I’d rather stay hidden. Sigh. It was worth a try. I fared better with a black and white striped midi-skirt from ALC which came home with me. It will look great with my black flat sandals. That is if I can find something in my closet, or elsewhere, to wear on top. As well as a Frame short-sleeved tee. And a beautiful pair of black cropped Rag and Bone pants. I mean… one can never have too many pairs of black pants, now can one? Liz ordered for me an Eileen Fisher black and white striped, tunic-style tee with slouchy pockets that will look so smart with the cropped pants. And wonders of wonders… it arrived the next day…UPS having clearly decided that they can find my house after all.

So. Spring 2017 is sorted. Sort of. I still need to haul everything out of storage. Try it all on. Mix and match the new pieces with the old. Then see about finding something to go with my new skirt. I may look for a pair of flats with an ankle strap, similar to the ones in the Brunello Cucinelli shot of the suit, above. We’ll see.

And as for the jeans on my list. Well, I’m still searching.

But when was I not?

What about you, my friends? Are you sorted for spring? Any trends you’re steering clear of this season? What’s on your shopping list? Do tell.

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29 thoughts on “Spring Fashion Sorted… Sort of”

  1. I admire your methodical approach to shopping. So very far from my own. Ha!

    I have picked up a couple of pieces with sleeve details while thrifting lately.

    Overall though it is the treasures I find while thrifting that dictate what direction my style moves in.

    I've been obsessed with midi length skirts and dresses for some time now even though I'm only 5'4". Two years ago I would have found them frumpy now I find them feminine. Style like everything else is fluid.

    I just bought the most amazing leather poncho from Argentina if you can believe it! Never worn with tags attached. It is a gorgeous cream colour and quite sophisticated. It had a matching skirt which I passed on. It made me think of you and your recent trip. How funny that I found a piece so far away from its original home.

    That is what I love about thrifing. You never know what you will stumble upon.

    BTW…I have quite a collection of framed purses 1950's style. I've been collecting them for a while. I sold a few lately and need to list some more. They are my favourite. I just picked up a fantastic red one in brilliant shape while thrifting today! I don't think I'll sell it though. It's too cool! Funny to note that they are now back in style.


    1. Midi skirts have to be a very particular length to look good on me. Otherwise it's just all twig-like ankles showing:) Love that you found a poncho from Argentina. I though we would see them everywhere down there… but guess we weren't in the part of the country where they are traditional wear.

  2. It is good to have you back , safe & sound , after all that excitement ! So , to fashion , thanks for doing the groundwork for us . I do like the more masculine jackets as I didn't suit the cropped jackets that have been so popular . I've an ancient Jaegar one in sage that I'll dig out , just not sure if the shoulders need a tweak by an expert . The fancy sleeves everywhere leave me cold , a bit fussy for me & with my square shoulders I can look like a quarterback in some (whatever one of those is – no sport in our , bar hubbie's cricket on the radio ) . We keep being told baggy trousers are coming back . I quite like the look & I've got a few pairs packed away but they don't seem to be catching on & it seems everyone prefers the narrower silhouette . I always wore them with heels ( short legs , long body ) so that's problematic too . I can't totter round in heels all day now . I do have a lovely old frame handbag from the 1950s but it makes me feel like HM the queen – just a little too ladylike for me . Love navy though . I'll stop whittering – it's rather like bumping into an old friend & having too much to say .
    Wendy in York

    1. I love a masculine jacket…but I have to be careful of the shoulders as well. Mine are already broad enough. I like some of the sleeve detail…except for the "cold shoulder look" which I think just looks silly. Guess I am giving that trend the cold shoulder. Ha. I know what you mean about the HRH look. Especially of one carries it on their wrist:)
      Whitter away, my friend. I'm so happy to be back blogging regularly. And able to reply to comments which I couldn't get to work when we were away.

  3. Like your controlled approach to shopping! I'm on my usual mission to find pattern I actually like. I fancy the idea of being girlie with little blouses and skirts this summer but that probably won't work out with my awful knees. It'll be white crops as usual, I guess!

  4. I would like to wear every one of the outfits in photos you've picked (except Stella-don't like the sleeves)-love them all-you have a great sense of style and it speaks to me.
    I am so envious of your Nordstrom store (and of Liz,she seems a fun person to shop with :-),but more for Nordstrom)
    I didn't have time to think seriously about anything (and beautiful spring we have here is lost on me,too),but,now and then I realize that so many shops (even our brands) are closed or closing and it makes me both sorry and angry. It seems that we all here will be wearing identical things again (it is maybe a joke…)
    I've bought comfortable Mary Jane shoes in suede by Mephisto and Weekend Max Mara summer dress in linen and silk (emerald Astrale dress)-all the other things would be shopped in my closet.
    Although wide trousers are in fashion,they interfere with my lifestyle (except for evening),so I'm thinking about getting my white wool trousers narrowed (they are from one of our beautiful brands that is going to shut their door although both their men and women selections were perfect. Bad management and fast fashion competition,I assume )
    Your purchases sound lovely ,I've fallen in love with navy and white again.
    Can't wait to see the photos

    1. Liz is awesome! I'm sorry that so many stores are closing where you are. Why is that do you think? Here we have not so many independent stores, either. Ottawa isn't necessarily large enough I think to support much of an independent fashion business. Still the ones we do have are wonderful. I must do a recce of some local stores for a blog post again. I tend to rely on my tried and true favourites a bit too much.

  5. Love the styles you've shown. Grinnell Cucinelli is new to me. Look forward to seeing your new purchases and how you'll style them. Iris

    1. Thanks, Iris. I'm waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before I do the big fashion show in my bedroom thing. But I've been dreaming about my new checked skirt and what might go with it:)

  6. I do so admire your organization skills for tackling your spring/summer purchases and appreciate your sharing with us your process. I wish I could be so good. However, I don't generally impulse buy and do have a bit of a plan, although nothing compared to you.

    1. Thanks, Christy. I started doing my inventory and lists when I was still working, and much more busy than I am now. It saved me from shopping for stuff I didn't really need. Now it's tradition:)

  7. Sounds as though you had an enjoyable and successful day with Liz! Looking forward to seeing pictures of your new items and how you style them … especially the skirt! I seem to struggle with skirts. How I think they'll look is never the same as how they actually do 🙂

    1. Hi Rosie, Liz and I had a great day. I should have taken you to meet her when you were here in Ottawa. But you had other fish to fry…so to speak… besides shopping that day. I'm hoping to make my new skirt a success. I have stayed away from skirts of most types for years…so we'll see how this one works out.

  8. Hi Sue, funny you should say that. I almost suggested it, as I would have liked to meet Liz with you and maybe do some shopping! However I decided it seemed a bit presumptous at the time as I wasn't sure how much time you'd have and it was great to be able to meet for lunch.

  9. You're so wonderfully organised! I've bought a few pieces (dress, sweatshirt, very light printed sweater, khakis) and have yet to find replacements for my Vince sneakers which were perfect for almost everything last year but are quite worn. . . . Haven't managed the block of time yet that I'd need to do the job the way you do — the bits-and-pieces approach is dangerously inefficient (well, it might be more efficient for filling the closet and costing the wallet. . . Just not as good at ensuring all pieces get worn, and that they don't duplicate items already in the closet….

    1. Thanks for not saying that I'm incredibly anal… which would be true. But I'm finding that my much scaled down wardrobe is so much easier to "inventory." And I can now keep my list in my head. Something I could never do when I worked and had a much more extensive work wardrobe. Now… about that sweatshirt you bought. I've been half looking for one I like for a few years now. That and light sweaters. So hard to find ones that aren't too thin, too short, too clingy etc.

  10. I love the way you're able to zero in with such precision! Sounds like you've made a great start to the season on your day with Liz. I feel we could all do with a Liz in our lives!
    Yes, so many trends these days, it's becoming harder and harder to discern what the trends really are. But I love the styles you've shown from Brunello Cucinelli. The understated casualness yet at the same time you know it's a well curated look. A hard balance to achieve but which is on point here.
    Here in the UK, we're swimming through oversized sleeves – some I'm liking, some I'm not especially as being petite, I feel like I'm drowning in them and also gingham. It's popping up everywhere. On the one hand I'm enjoying it's revival as it's one of those lesser features prints. On the other, it tends to be the same colours, black and white or navy and white. But I'm rather chuffed that before gingham really hit town, in February I scored a pink gingham shirt on ebay! So I'm on trend but in a colour that totally suits me.
    Oh and I feel for you on your jeans search. This one is a never ending journey for me too. Happy hunting!


  11. I struggle with the fashions this year. Too much over-size for a short person and far too much 80s revival which horrifies me, no exaggeration. I do quite fancy a bit of black and white gingham but there is altogether too much whimsical sleevery going round at the moment. Hurrah for the kitten heel return though – I knew I was wise to hang onto mine.

  12. I've been obsessed with Poshmark lately, and I generally don't even care about clothes 😀 Now, I'm reading a fashion blog post! What has happened to me?!?

    Thanks for all of the tips, now I know what to look for when poshing!

    1. You're welcome. And thanks for putting me onto Poshmark. I'd never heard of them I don't normally do on-line shopping… except for on-line window shopping:)

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