Time to Style Our Hard to Style Pieces

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Do you have problem pieces in your wardrobe? You know, those hard to style pieces? Pieces you love for one reason or another, but which never look exactly how you want them to look? Yeah, me too.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

That’s how I feel about a Theory crocheted sweater that I bought a couple of years ago. I love the sweater, but it’s hard to style into an outfit that I like. It’s cropped, and if I’m not careful, it makes me look too… well… blocky. Too short and wide on my top half. And too short and wide on top is already a problem for me. As I said in the video, I should have thought of that when I bought it.

But I’m a sucker for a cream spring sweater. Cream with black, cream with navy, cream with white. Yum. And I love a summer knit. Or in this case crochet. For a while, I could NOT find a suitable camisole to wear underneath. Thank goodness Liz found me a linen sleeveless tee-shirt from Vince. It adds just enough length to the sweater and is loose enough around the bottom to not cling where it shouldn’t be clinging.

So why am I not wearing the sweater then? Well, besides the pandemic and the fact that I’m not going anywhere, it’s because I haven’t taken the time to try it on with multiple outfits. And now seems like the perfect time. Because I have so much of it. Time, I mean.

Plus, crochet is a big trend this spring; I should take advantage of the fact that I happen to own a crocheted sweater. Even if it is a slightly problematic crocheted sweater. I’d like to have a few outfit options, so I can throw on the sweater and feel good about my outfit without having to think about how to wear it. If I have to plan a last-minute outfit, I will often leave the house in a rush, already late for my appointment, abandoning a pile of discarded clothing on the spare-room bed, having changed into something easy and familiar in the end. And NOT wearing the one piece I started out to wear. Wardrobe pre-planning makes getting dressed so much less stressful, don’t you think?

I know I can wear the sweater and tee with my old navy Max Mara pants suit. But I want at least one other outfit choice that I like. So the other day, I tried the sweater and linen tee on with various combinations of bottoms and jackets. With various levels of success. A couple didn’t even make it to the picture phase.

I tried the sweater with my new Frame straight-leg jeans. And while I love these jeans, I wasn’t liking the sweater under the Theory white jacket (similar.) Too bulky, I thought. The jeans and sneakers would look much better with a slouchy white tee, half-tucked into the high-waisted jeans, under the white jacket. I liked the sweater under my old navy Max Mara jacket, but not with the jeans. I think dark-wash, skinny jeans would be better. With the sneakers, or even with my red Earth brand loafers (similar.)

I had better luck when I switched the Frame jeans for my Liverpool black jeans. I should be wearing these more. They simply pull on, and they’re so comfortable that I may start wearing them around the house like sweatpants. I tried them with this long blazer from Elie Tahari that I’ve had for ten years. I like this look. And I could zip up the blazer and tuck a scarf around my neck if it was a cool day. I like the proportions of this outfit better than the other two.

Theory crocheted sweater, Vince linen sleeveless tee, Holt Renfrew vegan-leather pants, Stuart Weitzman black patent loafers.
My favourite ootd. Add my Cerruti 1881 jacket and I’m good to go.

Then I had a brain-wave, as I sometimes do just before I’m about to pack it in and change back into my sweats. How about my leather pants? I mean, one of the big trends this season, besides crochet, is leather for spring. I like the sweater and tee with my leather pants and my old Stuart Weitzman patent loafers. As matter of fact I think I like this outfit best of all.

And instead of pulling on my black Helmut Lang summer jacket as I’d intended, or my old Elie Tahari blazer, I hauled out a very old Cerruti 1881 jacket, below. I paid an arm and a leg for this twenty years ago. I bought this jacket at Holt Renfrew wayyy back in the spring of 2000, as a suit with a matching knee-length, A-line skirt. Gosh, I loved that outfit for years.

Wearing my Cerruti 1881 jacket, with 
 my hard to style Theory crocheted sweater, Vince linen sleeveless tee, Holt Renfrew vegan-leather pants, Stuart Weitzman black patent loafers.
My Cerruti 1881 jacket is out and about again.

Sadly, as a result of expanding middle-age middle, the skirt is long gone. But I’ve always loved the jacket. I love the length, the slim yet not fitted cut, and the simple detailing. It’s very much like a men’s windbreaker in style. I found a few similar jackets at Farfetch. This one actually is a man’s jacket, but I love it. And what interested me more were the second-hand ones at Vestiaire, like this one. Very pocket-book friendly.

A month ago, when I unpacked my spring wardrobe, I decided I would try to pull my Cerruti jacket back into rotation. And it seems if I had anywhere to go to wear it… I could make that happen. But I don’t, so I will wear it for you guys. That way it’s at least had an outing, even if it is only out to the deck. Ha.

Cerruti 1881 jacket, Theory crocheted sweater, Holt Renfrew vegan-leather pants.
I love the menswear look of this jacket.

So now I have a couple of easy options for my problematic, hard to style sweater. I’m happy. Later I swapped my leather pants for my black jeans, and my black jacket for my white Uniqlo down jacket and Hubby and I headed out. For an outing! Yah!

We drove to my favourite specialty store to pick up an order of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The Unrefined Olive was open for two days, for on-line ordering, and curbside pick-up only, to help their customers stock up. Our salads will thank Elizabeth, the owner, for doing this. Blood-orange olive oil and cranberry-pear balsamic vinegar makes the most scrumptious salad dressing I’ve ever had. I could almost drink it. And for the first time, I’m trying wild mushroom and sage oil. Hubby will love that one. He is a BIG mushroom lover.

Sitting on our deck in my Theory hard to style crocheted sweater, Uniqlo ultra-light down jacket, LIverpool Glide black jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, and a silk scarf from Holt Renfrew.
Off on our outing today. Curbside shopping.

If you’re interested in the current crochet trend, I found a few crocheted sweater options below. Not all crocheted sweaters are as problematic as mine.

So, that’s it for me today, my fine friends. I’m already thinking of other hard-to-style pieces I can play around with next. Maybe a certain infamous pair of yellow pants, huh? Now that I have so much time, it’s the perfect time to pre-plan outfits. I’ll soon have so many choices I won’t have to think about what to wear all season.

That’s if I ever get the chance to go anywhere… ever again.

Now, now…. none of that negative thinking. As my mum sang to me on the phone the other day: “You’ve got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. And latch on to the affirmative.” Etc etc etc. 🙂

How about you folks? Do you have hard to style pieces in your closet? Maybe now is the time to figure out what to do with them, eh?

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

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31 thoughts on “Time to Style Our Hard to Style Pieces”

  1. Thanks for the inspiration. I have a couple summer skirts that I have often pulled out and put back, since in theory they should work but in reality it was a no go. I do have plenty of time to figure this one out it I put my mind to it and stay out of the gardens for a while. Looks like rain for a few days this week so this is a plan. Loved the little chat at the beginning. Oh, fingers crossed that the comfort food has not changed the fit of the skirts.

  2. Nice to see you sitting in the sunshine at last – hopefully no more snow . I would veer right away from that jumper / sweater . It would make me look so busty – the high neck , the thickness & the shape just wouldn’t suit me . My chest was Twiggy-like in the old days but not now so I have to be careful . I’d fight you for the Cerruti jacket though . I don’t suit leather but that sheeny texture is great . I don’t seem to be in a fashion frame of mind these days, though my dog walking outfits are more varied & I have a nice selections of ‘Zoom’ tops . Hey Ho 🤪

    1. I should have known better than to buy that sweater. It makes me look top heavy, and the colour doesn’t help. Even though I love a cream-coloured spring top. Hope the dog walking is helping you stay sane, my friend.

  3. Hi Sue, sorry I’ve been rather absent here lately … you’ve written some really good posts! As always, I look forward to reading them 😊 Just getting a bit behind with my commenting!
    Your Cerruti jacket is gorgeous … quite timeless and stylish, and it looks great on you. Plus, you really suit your Uniqlo jacket. Whatever you wear it with!
    I’m sure I remember you struggling with styling this jumper when you first bought it , so apologies, if I’ve already suggested this.
    Have you tried styling it with a longer , still loose top underneath? I feel the linen one works “ok ish” but a longer, maybe lightweight shirt/blouse may look better … also maybe a small collar or something showing at the neckline of the jumper would create balance ?? Or even, a longer t shirt maybe … I’m talking, hip length. Just thoughts!
    I have a couple of boxy jumpers and I find that’s the only way I like wearing them.
    I’ve found your way of styling outfits in advance, so helpful. I used to be a classic, imagining an outfit in my head and loving it there … then wondering why it doesn’t work / looks ghastly! when I put it on … usually minutes before I’m due to leave the house!
    Slightly off topic, but I think your hair is looking great at the moment …
    Rosie

    1. Oh… I’ve tried it with everything I own. At the moment anything long and loose becomes bunched by the hem of the sweater, and looks like a big frill around the bottom… which is NOT a good look either. 🙁 I tried it with my light weight blouses/shirts, but none of them worked. I think I will wash the sweater and block it to try to stretch it a bit and make the bottom looser. Since I do have the time… Ha

      1. Actually, I did wonder if that was the problem … it needs to be looser . Good Luck! Let us know how it goes.
        KSL describes a “shirt tail hem” I do find a hem like this works with my boxy sweaters/ jumpers

  4. Not that it doesn’t always look great 😂 … it’s just I know, that you wondered how it would be without your regular visits to Carmen ( I hope I’ve remembered her name correctly!)
    Rosie

  5. Melissa O’Neill

    I agree with Rosie that a long loose gauzy top under the sweater is worth trying; maybe a shirt that can be unbuttoned. The linen cami just looks ok which I know is never going to be good enough for you. Also I love that you pull all those wonderful Italian labels out of your storage.

  6. I think something with a shirttail hem, which would visually lengthen the boxiness, might look good under the sweater and not necessary in the same tone.
    Cerruti jacket is beyond cool….

    1. I love that Cerruti jacket. I’m so glad I never gave it away. I love the menswear look in most jackets. The shirttail shirt is a good idea. I have one that I may try just to see if the style works. Thanks.

    1. Yes, you’re right. Last year I looked high and low for a summer dress I liked in a style that looked good on me with no luck. I may try ordering something on-line.

  7. My fashion desires seem to have been put on hold at the moment as my husband tells me I look beautiful no matter what is worn and the dogs have no comment other than tail wags…I get those tail wags even wearing pajamas and an old housecoat! Your curbside shopping outfit with the cream sweater, jacket, scarf and black jeans is my favourite look posted. Cream worn with black is a charm. Cream with white…don’t like it at all…it either makes the cream look like yellow or the white like it has been bleached blue-white. Bringing out old items to try new ways is an ideal way to spruce up the wardrobe and have stylish, great results as the Cerruti jacket proves. Cranberry-pear balsamic vinegar is wonderful and is used in our home all the time…enjoy your shopping outing even if it is only curbside.

  8. Wardrobe puzzles can be a source of creative fun!

    Would you consider a more permanent alteration to the length of your lovely crocheted sweater? You could add a few inches by attaching the shirttail part of a shirt (or another type of soft fabric) under the sweater’s lower edge, leaving the original edge free.

    As a knitter, I might look for a similar weight yarn in a soft neutral shade, pick up stitches all around, and knit to the length I really wanted. (Might be easier than trying to match the crochet, lol.)

    I’m sure Vince wouldn’t mind a touch of customization, smile.

    Your Cerutti jacket is truly timeless and chic. Lovely to have that waiting in your closet!

    1. This is the Reply that gets my vote. There’s a certain point when I just admit that I’ve done my best — and by then I’ll maybe have worn the garment five or ten times, maybe even fifteen, each time determined to make it work, and nearly each time hitting a moment, however fleeting, when I’m conscious of its shortcomings. Or worse, when it makes me feel mine. . . .
      Life’s too short. And you do very well overall in considering your purchases and getting the most out of your wardrobe. Here’s a free “Get Out Of Jail” card from me. xo

      1. I should never, ever buy something that needs something else to make it look good. Something that I then cannot find anywhere. Trying to style this sweater has certainly made me aware of my shortcomings. But that might just be my isolation mood, which has been all over the place. Some warmth and sunshine would help. 🙂

  9. Although I have never been a fan of crocheted clothing, the Cerruti
    Jacket is lovely. Glad to see that the snow has melted where you are. We have had temperatures in the high 80s and 90s where we live in Texas. We have had plenty of sunshine and very pleasant days …enjoyed from inside our house or a short drive or walk. Loved seeing you style your outfits!

  10. Great suggestion, Sue. I can think of a couple of items that have hardly ever been out of my closet because I simply haven’t figured out how to style them. Perhaps it’s time to do as you did and try them on with a variety of different things and if that doesn’t work, move them out.

  11. Dear Sue,

    thank you for bloging from corona isolation.
    What do you think of trying your sweater over a flattering summer dress. Maybe it will look casual and a little boho. The crochet sweater is such a nice item, the color just right for spring and summer and I like the idea to build a combination with a dress.
    Best wishes from Cologne,
    Susa

  12. Cerutti jacket is so beautiful!
    So many nice advices….I like short over long combinations. Sometimes I sew (by my seamstress :-)) some silk “extensions” with raw hem, it looks nice and not to polished,but it is a question of ratio sweater:hem and proportions,it has to be just a little bit longer
    I have kind of crochet white EB cardi,would I wear it somewhere this year?
    Dottoressa

    1. I wish I had been able to find just the right underpinning for that sweater. I’ve been thinking of all those old jackets I tucked away and then hauled out again a few years later. I may do that with this sweater. Because I do love the cream, not quite white, crochet knit. I’ll tuck it away and casually keep my eye open for just the right piece to wear under it. Then triumphantly haul it out … sometime. Hope your balcony remains sunny these days.

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