I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on the couch this winter. Coughing, hacking… whining. But this week a little video I watched on YouTube inspired me to get off the couch. There’s nothing like a dose of fashion inspiration to fix what ails us, I always say. An outfit idea will always cheer me up, and get me off the couch. Every time.
I’ve had a cold coming or going, or settling in for the long haul, in my chest or my throat or my sinuses since New Years. I know you know that. I’ve mostly attempted to keep the whinging and whining off the blog. Except for my original sickie post back in early January. All bets were off on Instagram, though. Ha. All through January, I stupidly struggled to take blog pictures and write posts and pedal my exercise bike. And generally pretend I was feeling better. Then we went skiing. Then we came home. And then wham. My old cold, or a new cold, came back in force, with a few added features, to make life interesting. So, last week I gave up. I shouted “you win” to the nasty germs or virus or whatever the hell was making me miserable. And retired to the couch. For a week.
For seven days I lay around drinking warm fluids, eating Hubby’s homemade turkey vegetable soup, and insisting on mashed potatoes for dinner (required fare for sickies IMHO). I read or scrolled through Instagram, and watched video after video on YouTube. And mindful of Nancy’s request, in her comment on a recent post, I’ve been making a list of my favourite fashion inspiration sources. The Instagram accounts and the YouTube channels which I follow purely for the love of fashion. Over the next while I plan to tell you all about my list. What’s on it and why.
In a post last week on creativity and finding inspiration, I mentioned Signe, the twenty-eight-year-old Danish former designer, and now blogger and vlogger, who I recently discovered. Signe’s blog and YouTube channel Use Less are all about using less (hence the name) and living a more sustainable life. You can find a link to her You Tube channel in that earlier post, and you can find her blog here. I love this kid. Her simple style, her aesthetic, and her overall view of life. And most of all, I love the ideas she promotes in her posts. And even though I could never get away with wearing rumpled, baggy, cropped, vintage Levis like she does, I still enjoy hearing and reading about her fashion philosophy, and how and why she puts outfits together.
It was through listening to one of Signe’s videos that I found out about British vlogger Emma Hill. Emma started blogging a number of years ago as a hobby, and then, like a lot of bloggers, quit her job in fashion retail to blog full time. She now works from her home in London. I find her videos vastly entertaining. For her sense of humour, her energy, and mostly for her fashion sense which dovetails so perfectly with my own. Like moi, she is a boots, blazer, and jeans kind of girl. You can find Emma’s You Tube channel here.
So it was one of Emma’s videos which I watched a few nights ago which finally shoehorned me off the couch, or out of bed as the case may be.
That night, still sleepless at 1:00 a.m., I tried to read but couldn’t focus. There’s just something about a throbbing head and burning sinus pathways that make concentration difficult. (Insert rueful laugh here.) So I plugged my headphones into my i-pad and decided to visit with Emma for a bit. In the video I watched, she talks about her fall and winter blazer collection. This girl may be a minimalist in her style, but her closet is anything but minimal. She owns seventeen fall and winter blazers. I counted.
At one point, when Emma was enthusing over blazer number two, or it might have been three, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. For my own closet. For my own sartorial past. And for a black Max Mara double-breasted blazer which I bought as part of a pant suit at Holt Renfrew back in the early nineties. And which I thought… which I hoped… still lurked in a garment bag in the depths of our hall closet.
Good thing that Hubby was sleeping in the spare room because I launched myself out of bed and began to rummage through said closet. Way in the back in a couple of garment bags live a few pieces that I haven’t worn in years, and which for various reasons I have not sold or given away. A gold and cream, striped silk blouse with a high neck. The skirt which matches my recently unearthed Adrienne Vittadini camel blazer. A black lacy dress that I bought to go to a gala at the Arts Centre in 1995. And… my old black Max Mara pants suit. Too treasured to give away, too old to sell at consignment stores that won’t take anything over two years old, it had survived purge after purge.
I love, and have always loved, this old suit. The pants have a narrow leg, and when I wore both pieces as a suit with black, low-heeled boots, the outfit always had an early sixties vibe to me. Like something the Beatles might have worn onstage when they were still referred to as “mop tops.” The double-breasted jacket is quite plain and buttons high on the chest, with black buttons. But what makes the design interesting and cool, to me, are the two vertical seams running down the front, and the seam running horizontally at the zippered pockets.
The pants I didn’t even take off the hanger. Ha. I may be deluded sometimes. But I knew I didn’t have a hope of wearing them ever again. But I slipped the jacket on over my nightie, and it fit perfectly. And it still fit when, the next morning, I tried it with a heavy grey sweater underneath.
I love a black on black look. Even now at age sixty-three when black probably does me no favours, I love it. So I switched the grey sweater for my black turtleneck. And put on my most faded jeans, my Citizens of Humanity Rocket high-rise skinnies which I bought to take to France in 2015. Who doesn’t love a black jacket with faded denim? And finally my black Stuart Weitzman ankle boots.
For purely sentimental reasons, I dug out these old cameo earrings. They were my sister’s back in the day. I remember her wearing them in her high school graduation photo. In the sixties. And sometime in between that photo and her leaving home I must have “borrowed” them. As younger sisters are wont to do. And I have them still. My silver chain bracelet is vintage. The pendant necklace I bought at Magpie Jewellry here in Ottawa when I retired. My white woolly hat lightens all the black a teensy bit. And does double duty by covering my roots. Besides it’s kind of reminiscent of Michael Nesmith from the Monkees, don’t you think? Remember the Monkees, that other band of “mop tops”?
Yep. I love this old jacket. With jeans, and boots, and a turtleneck or a tee shirt. I should be wearing the darned thing. I can’t think why I haven’t been. In fact, I seem to be doing a lot of rummaging in my closet lately, and finding yet another old piece that I should be wearing. You must be thinking that my closet is limitless. Ha. One day I’ll show you just how NOT limitless my closet is.
So that’s the story of how one little fashion video inspired me to get out of bed at 1:00 a.m. and off my couch the next day. Inspired me to try on several outfits with this old jacket. To take photos for this post, and make some plans for future outfits. As I said to Hubby yesterday morning, “I must be feeling better. I woke up with an outfit idea in my head.”
This is Emma’s blazer video below. Have a look. This girl has a style that is timeless, and very chic. And dovetails perfectly with my own preferences, as I mentioned before. Emma may be a minimalist in her look but, as I also mentioned, her closet is anything but minimal. She has a ton of clothes. She says so herself in her videos, even jokes about it. I love that. And she’s making forays into the world of thrifting, admitting that, like me, she has little experience in buying second-hand. That she’s just learning how to appreciate vintage, and thrift store merchandise. And finding out that some of her favorite luxury pieces (like a certain camel Max Mara coat) can be had for a fraction of the original cost on vintage sites or in second-hand stores. I must say that I’ve been really enjoying taking this journey with her.
Today I tried to see if I could find any good vintage or second-hand Max Mara blazers on-line. I wasn’t very successful. But have a look at these beauties below. Lots of stores have slashed the prices of their quality winter blazers, which I guess is no surprise. But I was surprised to see so many Max Mara jackets on sale. Doesn’t make them inexpensive, except by comparison to what they would cost if they weren’t on sale. That pink camel-hair and silk jacket is 70% off at Net-a-Porter. I love that jacket. If you click on the yellow one you can get a better look at the beautiful fabric; it’s lovely, and 50% off. And speaking of sales. I found these boots at Nordstrom. They’re not Stuart Weitzman, but are very similar to mine, and a lot less expensive.
If I lived in an area where on-line returns were easy, I might be tempted by that pink jacket. But I own enough Max Mara jackets already. In fact, I don’t have the time, nor the places to go, to wear the ones I have.
And I think I should probably do something about that. Soon. Get off my couch and get back out there. Jump in the car. And head off somewhere. Anywhere. After more than a month of house arrest, trust me, anywhere will do.
And when I get where I’m going, wherever that is, you can be sure I’ll be Max Mara jacket clad. Thanks to Emma’s fashion inspiration.
Sigh. In all seriousness, though, I may wait a few days. Just to be sure this darned cold is well and truly over. I may be inspired, but I don’t want to be stupid. Again.
How about you my friends? Any favourite fashion inspiration sources that you want to share?
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