I fully admit to spending way too much time thinking about clothes. Leafing through magazines or scrolling Pinterest and dreaming of outfits. I love organizing my closet, making lists of what I have, what I’ve bought, and what I still need. The seasonal turning of my closet is imminently satisfying to me. Washing my spring and summer clothes, then neatly packing them away. Pulling out my fall and winter jackets and sweaters and hanging them in my closet, or folding them into drawers. And every year when I do this I promise myself that I will wear what I own. And every year I fall short of that goal. But not this year. This year my fall closet goal is to wear every one of my fall jackets at least once.
So my task when we came home from Croatia last month was to get back on my exercise bike, fire up Pinterest, and plan outfits for every one of my old jackets. My aging but still lovely, still covetable, tweed, and suede, and leather jackets.
I was inspired initially by the shots, above, from Celine Fall and Winter 2019-2020. These looks are deliciously retro, don’t you think? And that works well for me. I mean, take that tweed houndstooth blazer… don’t I own one just like it? I sure do. From Alfred Sung. Bought way back in the mists of time, 1988, I think. Didn’t I recently haul it out of the back of my closet, and take it to the tailor who removed the shoulder pads and replaced them with something a little less 1988-ish? I sure did. Clever me.
I love my Alfred Sung blazer. It’s super light-weight and soft, with lovely dark green lining. The first week we were home from our trip, I met my friend Marina for lunch, and this is what I wore. My Layafette 148 white cotton blouse, a dark green Prada wool sweater that I bought in New York in 2016, my Frame high-rise boot-cut jeans, and my Paul Green boots. I love a crew neck sweater under jackets. On its own or over a tee shirt or blouse. The blouse has to have stretch or I don’t find the combination comfortable. And the collar has to stay put or else I continually fuss with it. But this Lafayette 148 shirt works well under a sweater, and is really comfortable. I bought mine at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a couple of years ago.
By the way, I saw this sweater at Nordstrom yesterday. It’s slim enough to slip under a jacket without being too bulky, but loose enough to hide what I want to hide. And if I didn’t have too much burgundy in my wardrobe already, I’d have bought it to slip under my old jacket. But I do have too much burgundy already, so I won’t.
Duly pleased with myself and my first foray into old tweed, I put together this outfit, below, the other day. I bounced out of the bedroom smiling broadly and announced to Hubby the provenance of each item I was wearing. Jacket 2004, pants 2015, scarf 2016, sneakers 2015, tee shirt this year. I adore this old Max Mara double-breasted jacket. But I haven’t worn it for years and years. And not ever with burgundy.
Back in the day I wore my Max Mara jacket with matching bronze, wool dress-pants and a sweater… not tweed, just bronzey wool in the same shade as the jacket. Or I wore the jacket with jeans and brown boots and the bronze sweater. Never with burgundy. But the acquisition of the Talbots burgundy tee which I bought for our trip gave me an idea, a column of colour under the jacket using my old NYDJ burgundy pants.
I really love these NYDJ jeans. And I have’t worn them much in the past couple of years. They work perfectly with the tee shirt and my ubiquitous burgundy scarf. For a couple of years, the bootcut looked a bit off to me. Not as chic as cropped or skinny jeans. Now they look just right. And they fit just right, which is a relief. NYDJ jeans are well made, I think. And with just enough stretch to feel really good. Later, when the snow flies, I’ll change up the sneakers for my brown Paul Green boots. I looked around on-line to see if I could find these jeans in burgundy, but interestingly, I found them in a soft brown instead. Which is much more on-trend. You can see the NYDJ pants in “coffee bean” here.
Now here’s the thing that had me feeling really chuffed about this outfit. The bag, my friends, the bag. I bought this vintage croc bag at the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show a few years ago. I love it. But the chain strap is so short, I’ve used it only as a clutch. And now I will take advantage of the fact that super short, cross-body bags are cool. They don’t look as silly to me as I once thought they did. And when I’m out in public if I can’t get the bag off over my scarf and my big head, I can just unclip the strap. Easy.
So, the other day, all wrapped up in Max Mara and burgundy I was off. Happy. But secretly wishing I had somewhere more exciting to go in my outfit. I mean, I like going to the library, but I didn’t think our librarian would be as appreciative of my outfit as he should be. Ha.
I was so pleased with my old jackets that, when I came home from the library, I did some scooting around on the net. Looking for tweed jackets, like the Celine ones, which I can’t afford. Jackets that I would buy if I didn’t already own several tweed jackets. Tweed is really big this year, and not just at Celine. My favourite one is the Bella Freud Harris tweed jacket on the left below. It’s beautiful. Timeless, actually. I found a lovely Max Mara jacket. In fact, I think I saw the same jacket in a Max Mara store in Zagreb in October. The grey J. Crew boyfriend jacket is really nice too. Have a look.
So how am I doing with my “wear what I own” closet goal? Well, I’ve worn these two tweed jackets. I wore my khaki suede moto jacket to town one day. And a short, black Elie Tahari coat with leather trim to lunch with former colleagues. I still have a couple of tweed jackets to go yet. One long Max Mara blazer from 1998, and a shorter jacket, part of a skirt suit, from 2001. I was on a real Max Mara run back in the day, when I was still working and wore suits and jackets regularly, most days in fact. Even on casual Fridays, I usually wore a blazer, and swapped out my skirt or dress-pants for jeans and boots. I used to get occasional flack from colleagues for not being casual enough on casual Fridays.
I remember one young teacher in my department told me that I was more dressed up when I was casual than she was when she was dressed up. I’m still not sure if that was an insult, a compliment, or just an observation. That’s because she did come out with the oddest things sometimes. One day we walked together back to our prep room from a staff meeting, down a long hallway, up several sets of stairs, then down another long hallway. I take long strides, and she was not nearly as tall as me. As she gasped for breath trying to keep up, she said, “Jeeze. You must be in really good shape. You aren’t even breathing hard and you’re like twice my age.” Ha. I choked back my guffaw, and just smiled instead.
You know, this new jacket project has been a ton of fun. My goal to wear what I own has kept me occupied with lots of research and outfit dreaming, helped me not get bored on my exercise bike, and staved off post trip let-down. Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro were all wonderful. I still have to tell you about our time in Bosnia-Herzegovina and our last few days in Zagreb. Where, I must admit, I squeezed in a desperately needed hour or so of shopping with Dottoressa. Oh my, I was starved for fashion talk and window shopping, I can tell you.
And I will tell you…. soon.
Now how about you my friends? Do you have any fall closet goals? Do you wear what you own? Or do you have a plethora of lovely pieces languishing unloved and unworn in your cupboard? Come on; you can tell us.
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