Desperately Seeking More Colour

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Okay, in all honesty, I’m not desperately seeking more colour. I’m seeking more colour … just not desperately. My original panic weeks ago that nothing in my wardrobe would suit my new colouring has proven to be slightly unfounded. As one reader postulated, I was responding to my shaggy, grown-out-non-style as much as to my changing hair colour. And now that most of the blonde has been cut off, I am finding that I can wear more of my tops than I thought. But I still needed to establish some easy uniform-ish outfits that I could throw on without thinking, on those occasions when I ventured into the village or the city. Outfits that did NOT include a black or white top.

So here’s what I did. Once again I went through my wardrobe and pulled out all the tops that were NOT black or white, which I already know work well with my hair. Then I did my hair and make-up and tried them all on.

My summer sweater collection is pretty varied in colour: cream crochet, blue and white striped, yellow with white at the neck and cuffs, lilac, and navy. Now that my hair is white the yellow sweater is a bit iffy. But luckily the rest look pretty darned good; no need to seek any more colour there. I have several really casual, won’t-wear-anywhere-but-at-home tee shirts: blue, red, turquoise, blue and white striped. So I’m pretty well fitted-out for walking, biking, or hanging around the back yard. But in my small collection of “decent” tees that I’d wear into the village to run errands, out to lunch or dinner, or into the city colour was pretty much absent.

So I decided to order some coloured tees on-line, limiting myself to tee shirt retailers whose products I like, and which I know fit me the way I like. I tried Vince first. I do love their tee shirts. But… well… much as I love Vince, they do not offer a variety of tee shirt colours. I found a couple at Nordstrom Rack, but only in very small sizes.

Talbots had lots of colour variety, but not in styles I wanted. Their boat-neck tees are lovely and soft, and a good weight which makes them not too clingy. But I already own a couple of these tees, bought last year for travel. They have a ton of colours in their short-sleeve tees, and I like the neckline. But they’re too fitted and too long in the body. Too long to do a half tuck, and too fitted to be flattering worn out over pants. At least for me. You can have a look here and see what you think. The price is certainly right, especially now their summer sale is on.

So in the end, I went back to Everlane, which I seem to be doing more and more these days. I really like my Everlane box-cut pocket tee in white which I ordered a while ago. I wear it a lot. Right weight. Boxy, loose, and not at all clingy. Good length for my short waisted body, and long enough to do a bit of a half-tuck without having too much extra padding in my pants. Ha. That’s what decided me that I didn’t want the Talbots tee. It would have to be tucked way down inside my pants. And let me tell you, my friends, I have no need for more padding around the middle. Plus Everlane had a good selection of colours in my size.

Everlane box-cut pocket tee, Frame high-rise, straight-leg jeans, Michael Kors sandals, Eric Javits bag.
My new cool blue tee shirt from Everlane.

This is the Everlane icy blue, box-cut, pocket tee I ordered. I already knew I loved the style, and the colour is really good with my hair. You can find that tee shirt here. I wore it the other day with my Frame straight-leg, high-rise jeans, my Michael Kors sandals with the little heel, my Theory cream crochet sweater, and my Eric Javits straw bag from last year.

You know there’s just something about my white hair that makes me feel more edgy. That’s weird isn’t it? The cut isn’t much different, a bit longer on the top. So it’s definitely the colour. Or lack thereof. I feel, somehow, more modern. Now that really is weird. Why would letting my hair go grey, let alone white, make me feel more cutting edge? It’s a mystery.

Everlane box-cut pocket tee, Frame high-rise, straight-leg jeans, Theory crocheted sweater, Michael Kors sandals, Eric Javits bag.
All edgy and ready to shop.

When I ordered my box-cut tee I took a peek at the other tee shirt styles on the Everlane site. And I ordered this tank top in “azalea.” Fits like a dream. It’s made from super soft cotton, in a good weight, with a high neck, cut-away shoulders, and an interesting seam down the back. It’s slimmer in cut than the box-cut style, but not tight. It comes in quite a few colours, most of them not good for me, except the navy and white stripe, which I’m still thinking about.

Everlane tank top. The Rideau River behind.
Off for a fun evening in my new red tank.

I wore my new tank the other evening to a socially distanced drinks party on my friend Joanne’s patio. I half-tucked the top into my loose, black cotton pants, wore my flat black sandals, and took my denim jacket in case I was cool after the sun went down. You know, I thought my tank-top wearing days were done. But with my loose cotton pants with the huge pockets, this top seems just right to me.

Below are some of the other tops that made the cut. More or less. I tried that bright green yoga shirt just for fun. It’s years old; I usually wear it cycling or walking if it’s a bit cool. But I like the colour. The cream and gold striped Theory tee, bought last summer, was a bit of a surprise. Because it’s a sort of vanilla, it looks quite lovely with my hair. I’ll wear it under my white blazer, rather than the beige linen Max Mara jacket I resurrected last year. Sadly, my old Max Mara jacket looks dreadful on me now. The navy Talbots tee was no surprise. I already knew that navy works with my new colour. In fact, I like the navy Rag and Bone dress that I wore to our big book party better on me now than when I bought it.

So that’s it for the tee shirt edit. That red tank and the blue tee add much needed colour to my casual summer closet. And give me some options to pull on with my blue or white jeans. And with my other summer bottoms, particularly my navy and white checked Rag and Bone pants.

Now, let’s digress for a moment. I’d like to pause and chat for a bit about “ethical” fashion in general, and Everlane in particular.

As you might know if you’ve been around this blog for a while, I’ve been trying to move towards being a more ethical shopper in a number of ways. Having an organized wardrobe, knowing what I own and what I need, limiting impulse buying, and buying quality over quantity, these aspects of being a wise and ethical shopper come naturally to me. Not because I’m such a wonderfully ethical person, but because I’m anal about organizing, and I have always preferred quality garments.

Slow fashion, keeping garments a long time, wearing pieces from past seasons, and recycling outfits year after year is also pretty easy for me. Because I’ve always worked that way. If I buy quality, I know I will hang onto it as long as it fits. Period. Otherwise I’m wasting my money. Plus being able to haul out an old garment that is on trend with a current season has always given me a kick.

But I’ve found some of the other aspects of being a more ethical shopper to be a struggle. Especially finding ethical, sustainable brands, which I can afford, and which fit my body and my style. My goal in the past year or so has been to look for brands that are more ethical than the ones I was currently wearing. Then I would be able to recommend brands because they were ethical and also because I was wearing them myself. But I’ve found that’s not so easy to do.

Writing about cashmere sweaters last winter, I found an article that recommended the best cashmere brands. One of them was Everlane. Hmm. I’d heard about Everlane. A couple of Vloggers, who ascribe to slow fashion ideals and to whose channels I subscribe, wore Everlane and were raving about their clothes. I started exploring the Everlane website and liked what I saw. My friend Jeannie and I chatted on messenger about Everlane. She ordered a couple of things and reported back. Eventually I ordered a couple of things too. I liked how they fit, the quality, and the price. I ordered a couple more pieces.

Then all of a sudden, it seemed everywhere I looked on social media “influencers” were tripping over each other trying to back away from Everlane as fast as they could. Followers were chiming in to call out “influencers” who were still talking about Everlane. It seems that bandwagon-jumping-off is as rampant as band-wagon-jumping-on these days. So I started doing my homework. Most of what I found was repetitive. The same headlines with little detail, restated and rehashed over and over: union busting, toxic work environment, more union busting. As a longtime member of a teacher’s union in Ontario, union busting is something I could not countenance. But trying to trace the sources used by posts and articles I was reading was like running in circles. They were all quoting each other. Over and over, I found a lot of outrage and not a lot of hard facts.

This article in Vogue is the most comprehensive one I could find. You can read it yourself here. Everlane describes itself as an ethical, transparent company with sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices. A self-described “progressive company” who cares about people and about the earth. But as Emily Farra says in her article in Vogue, being seen as a company which takes advantage of the economic hardship of the pandemic to get rid of a union it didn’t want is not doing much for Everlane’s ethical reputation. But you should read all about that in Farra’s article. This was the line that stood out for me:

The bigger takeaway is that for all its efforts in transparency, ethics, sustainability, and workers’ rights, Everlane is a business just like any other, and in the face of a pandemic and economic distress, it’s probably going to behave like one, too—even if it means contradicting its values and disappointing its customers (and devoted employees).

So, is this whole palaver a matter of simple economics or the result of morally corrupt behaviour by the company? I don’t approve of union busting of any kind. But it sure is hard to figure out what to believe.

I guess my quest for an ethical brand that I love continues. Lots of wonderful ethical brands are out there, I know. Many of them based in the UK, or Scandinavia, or Germany. Ideally I like to be able to touch and try on a garment before I buy. Or have someone personally recommend it. And if I buy on-line… if the company even ships to Canada… I’m not ready to order something unless the brand website provides lots of detailed sizing information. And so few brand websites do. Everlane is really good on that front. And on price and quality. So I’m not sure I’m ready to totally abandon them yet. Not that I’m necessarily a supporter of Everlane… I just happen to have bought a few tee shirts, and a blouse, and liked them.

Everlane box-cut pocket tee, Frame high-rise, straight-leg jeans, Michael Kors sandals, Eric Javits bag.
Feeling good about my Everlane tees despite everything.

So that’s it for me today, folks. I intended to write a much shorter post. But then I thought I should address the whole controversy around Everlane. Maybe you already knew all about it. I seem to be a little late to the party. I guess I’ve been too busy with my socially distanced book club meeting and a socially distanced drinks party. Two events in a week! Amazing. Plus I’ve been reading some lovely, engrossing books which I’ll tell you all about later in the week.

Hope everyone is well and staying safe. Trying to wring as much enjoyment as you can from summer. Unless you live downunder, that is. In which case I hope you’re still safe and well… and enjoying the cooler temps. 🙂

Now it’s your turn, my friends. Tell us about any wardrobe changes you’ve had to make when you changed something big about your appearance… like hair colour. Or just weigh in on anything, really. We love to know what you’re thinking.

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43 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking More Colour”

  1. Love the azalea tank on you – great color! Suits your skin tone and the hair.
    Re: the edgy – I think your hair looks more modern because it presents as something approaching platinum. As if you were spending a lot of money and time hiding dark roots. 🙂 Seriously, though, it is a great, forward look for you. I’m somewhat envious.

  2. Sue Richards Tasmania

    Your hair looks fabulous and I agree, white/grey hair does look sharper, I think it fits our face better. I’m going to look in to Everlane for t shirts, I wonder if they send to Australia. I have terrible trouble finding nice boxy tees. Like you I’m short waisted and long legged, although sadly not as long legged as you, oh to have another 10 centemetres! It is cold here in Tasmania at the moment but we are enjoying glorious winter Sunshine till about 4pm each day,can’t complain!

    1. Thanks, Sue. I am really a fan of these tees. I initially bought them because the measurements on line include the dimensions of the shirt. And when I ordered one I was impressed with the weight of the cotton.

  3. The red and the green tops look great with your new hair colour. And your hair now does look edgier and modern

  4. White/grey hair,especially great cut, seems much bolder,as a statement
    And when one has such an amazing hair like you….
    Blue,navy,azalea,green…they all look great.
    Finding a sincere ethical brand,with shipping here, is a project indeed
    Enjoy your weekend plans!
    I’ve had plans for coffee yesterday (my third this year :-),on the terace,with social distance),but we’ve had a huge amount of rain- so I’m at home.
    Dottoressa

    1. That’s the problem with so many of the small ethical companies… overseas shipping. And if they do ship sometimes the shipping charges are expensive. On top of the fact that if I know little about the brand… I’ll probably not order because returning will be a hassle. Maybe I d=should take a chance to see if I’m wrong about all that. Hope coffee next weekend is a go for you. I miss Croatian coffee. So yummy I became spoiled.

  5. Like you, I’m tall with long arms and legs, but very short-waisted. I find some tee shirts and tanks too long, and especially objectionable if they cling too much to my midsection. When sleeve length is not a consideration, I ofter order tops in petite sizes. With some retailers, J Jill being one, I find going up one size in the petite size fits me better.

  6. Thanks for all the food for thought. I find the colors that look good on me (or bad) have not changed as my hair has gone grey. I’m a “summer” and those colors have always looked best on me and still do, even though I now have what I like to refer to as “mousy grey hair”. My husband is an “autumn” and is a natural redhead who has gone white – he, too, looks best in those colors he always looked best in.

  7. I think you look fabulous in the tops you kept/bought, and I love that shade of blue in the Everlane top.

    I have had no luck at all with Everlane, so I don’t even bother to look anymore. And like you, I am against union-busting anywhere. I always feel that until you can find something legitimate and complete, it can be hard to know what “ethical” even means.

    1. Thanks, Bridget. It’s so hard to find good information. And all these ratings etc and articles written about ethical companies are written by people who have a bias too.

  8. Barb in Pennsylvania

    I’ve also gone gray, COVID style. My hair is mostly white, especially in the front, although I still have a few dark spots since I didn’t want my bangs cut too short. I’m a “winter” with fair skin, so I too am craving more color near my face. My “winter” palette still works for me; I like wearing my navy, black, gray, and white. However, I’m on the hunt for shirts in the more colorful hot pinks, cobalt blues, and true reds. I’m also looking for earrings in those colors to add a punch to my neutrals. Sometimes my silver earrings blend too much with my hair now. For the most part, I’m enjoying my new white locks, although I’ll be happy to rid of the final darker strands and let my hair grow a bit longer. Since we aren’t going out a lot now, I forget that not everyone has seen my new look. Yesterday we ran into an old friend at the golf course, and I had taken off my hat after our round. He did a double take when he looked at me! Haha

  9. As I have let my hair go gray (actually mousy brown with white streaks) I have found that I have to stick to cooler colors. I think because I have a neutral skin tone with out my auburn hair (it went mousy before it came in white and I had to dye it) I can no longer wear the warmer colors I used to. I do miss them. I have also noticed, that while I never could really wear cream, now it is truly horrible on me.

  10. You look so chic with the new hair look. It certainly suits you. I have found with the silver hair some of the winter colours I used to wear with dark hair are just too strong. People would comment on the bright top instead of the look and that made me rethink my colours. I went and had a redo with a colour and style expert and found out I am a softer winter, cross between summer and winter with the softer shades and tones more prevelant and I just love the difference it makes. I have cut out the black and red for greys and raspberry and merlot instead and feel so much more me. I am having my first haircut on Tuesday and am so looking forward to that. I already told her I am getting a major chop and new look, so we will see what works. This intense heat and humidity is a huge influence to get a really short cut since I am wearing a ponytail most of the time now anyway. I am not going to continue with the bohemian long curly ‘witchy’ look that is for sure.
    Thanks for all the inspiration you provide. Stay cool, it looks like a break is coming this week.

    1. I agree Diane. Since I have such low contrast between my hair and skin now, I think that the very deep or super bright colours will overpower me. I’m interested to see what my two favourite grey turtlenecks will look like in the fall.

  11. White hair can be very edgy, and it does look great on you, as do your colours. I’m finding it harder with my pepper and salt mix, which seems to demand a softer version on my colours – and any patterns look terrible! – so I’m still experimenting.

    I still wear (and love) clothes from the first days of one of the earliest sustainable brands here in the UK, Thought Clothing. More recently I’ve collected their bamboo T shirts which are soft, lovely, wash well, and manage to be fitted yet flattering. They deliver to Canada, might be worth a look?

    1. Thanks for that recommendation, Su. I just spent some time on the Thought Clothing website. They’re having a sale now which will help cover the cost of shipping. I may order something.

  12. Linda J Thomas

    Really interesting read as usual. I’m due to go to the hairdressers for the 1st time since lockdown was lifted this week, both with trepidation and excitement. Since my last cut at the beginning of March my hair has grown a lot. I don’t think I have seen my real colour since I was 16 and I’m now in my sixties! My hair colour is very different to what it was, so I am holding off buying anything new. I have been for a consult with my hairdresser and I am going with my new grey streaked hair, enhancing not hiding it. I really cant wait.
    Then I am looking forward to a wardrobe try on.
    Have a good week.

  13. Your hair looks fabulous — I was also surprised at how “edgy” my natural hair-colour seemed after I stopped colouring. I think there’s something about self-acceptance and confidence that gets into the mix, to be honest. And it’s still somewhat iconoclastic, mildly defiant to say it’s okay looking our age, and that we can still do that and wear makeup (if we want) and dress stylishly. . .
    I don’t shop much online, scarcely at all for clothes, but one of my daughters has a fair bit of Everlane (and her husband does as well). Like you, I try to shop ethically and to be eco-conscious; I’m also like you in mistrusting the bandwagon aspect of influencer-consumption patterns. I want to say that a company is trying pretty sincerely and hitting the mark on some of the most important considerations (labour practices; environmental; community commitment). But each one of those is complex and I mistrust knee-jerk responses. I think it’s great that activists are doing the research and that influencers and consumers work to keep the pressure on. But sometimes it takes time, and the power of the boycott isn’t one to be used lightly or from a sloppily informed perspective.

    1. The way in which vloggers and IG folk were distancing themselves when they’d been raving about the brand left a bad taste in my mouth. And all this with no real info as to why they did so. I’m thinking that a big company is still going to act like a big company where the bottom line is still their profit. So hard to know what is greenwashing and what is real change.

  14. I’m just going to throw this out there, for what it’s worth. I don’t know you personally, have never seen you in person. From your pictures, I always think how striking you look when you wear cool colors (the colors usually associated with a Winter coloring palette): black, white, fuchsia, royal blue. Warm colors always make you seem washed out. Maybe it’s just the way my monitor is calibrated, who knows. In any case, I’ve enjoyed your blog for many years and have looked forward to reading about your journey to the land of white hair. 🙂

    1. Spot on, Riley. Cool colours are usually the ones I look best in. Because my hair was a warmer shade I could still wear tan and camel, or certain shades of those at any rate, but probably not anymore.

  15. Well hello! I’m a retired teacher from Ontario and been exploring your blog since Covid. I am trilled to find a Canadian blogger my age. I stopped colouring my hair once I retired, and love my white hair!
    (Super short pixie cut) I use to wear warm tones with my auburn hair, but now favour the cool tones as well. Make up has been whittled down to a more natural look, with the occasional pop of blue based lipstick.
    If your looking for Canadian ethical brands, might I suggest Kotn.
    Please keep us apprised of any brands that your quest reveals.
    And thanks for the fantastic content M

  16. i worked for over ten years in fashion retail and manufacturing and one of the hard truths we dont want to face is that if workers are being paid a decent wage for their work then a t shirt is going to cost $40 plus. if you are buying a tshirt for $20 60% is the mark up leaving $8 for labour, materials and other on costs. the whole fashion industry is based on underpaying workers unfortunately. even in countries like Australia with strict labour laws many garments are made by piece workers at home for a pittance. what makes it even worse is that even if you are paying $80 for the designer t shirt its likely the worker is still being paid next to nothing

    1. Yep. It’s not a new story, that’s for sure. I don’t mind paying more than $40.00 for a tee shirt … if it means that workers earn a fair wage. I listened to a small manufacturer from the Uk on a That’s Not My Age podcast a while ago, and he said it was still possible in the UK to pay a fair wage to workers and still charge a “tenner” for a simple tee. I must go back and find the name of his brand.

      1. It’s pretty damning, and the company has admitted that many of the complaints have merit (although they deny union-busting).

        “[Internal] Investigators found that insensitive terms were used while discussing Black models; that leaders violated employees’ personal space by touching them, and used inappropriate terms when referring to people of color; that new hires felt isolated and unwelcome; that there was lack of consistent policies around promotions; that there were no formal processes to effectively escalate harassment or discrimination.”

        Further on, the article discusses how despite their 2017 pledge of “radical transparency,” the company hasn’t ever produced a corporate and social responsibility report, and an outside rating group dinged them for failing to track greenhouse gasses, as well as a lack of initiatives to ensure living wages or reduce water use.

        It’s a shame – I was intrigued by their story.

        1. Mary sent me that article from the NYT, I couldn’t access it at first because I’m not a subscriber. Seems as if Everlane has a big problem. Another thing that stood out for me from that article was how much goes into becoming an “ethical” company.

  17. I’m nodding at France’s comment because I’m another one who is wary of social media’s bandwagons. At 70, I’ve also grown more cautious about assuming malice and evil intentions when plain old ignorance and thoughtlessness are more likely sources.
    The injury created by these twin pillars is, of course, very real so it’s heartening to see people wanting to send a strong message to the transgressors. Unfortunately good intentions aren’t always rewarded with the desired outcomes. Social media boycotts and public shaming rarely “cure” the roots of ignorance or thoughtlessness, but they can have serious collateral damage.
    I suspect that every “ethical” brand could be judged to fall short of its aspirational goals at some point, but that doesn’t mean I want these brands to quit trying. Instead of branding them as villains when they fall short, maybe we need to figure out how to support these brands as they try to improve their business models. As consumers, if we run these “ethical” brands out of business by boycotting them when they lapse, what do we gain? Do we risk inadvertently send a message that ethical aspirations are a mine field that a smart CEO ought to avoid?

    1. And according to the organizations which rate companies for their “ethical” and sustainable practices, there are so many different aspects to earn an acceptable rating. It can sometimes be an exercise in futility for a shopper to find a company that ticks all the ethical boxes and which produces clothing we like. Still looking though. 🙂

  18. Hi Sue, I went to my hairdresser the other day. It’s more than a year since I’d had some foils to give me some highlights in between my grey longish hair.
    Getting back to you, however, I still can’t get used to your grey hair choice unlike many of your readers. Looking back at your 19 December post from last year, your hair colour looks perfect with that mainly black outfit. You look fabulous in clothes & have such an interest in your wardrobe at this stage in your life that it seems a pity not to keep your hair coloured as it was last December. Perhaps in 10 year’s time. There. I’ve said it!

    1. I hear you, Jill. And at times I’ve been looking back at photos on my blog from just a few months ago. Sometimes a bit wistfully. And at other times with relief that I don’t have to worry about roots so much. It really was getting to be a big problem for me. And parts of my hair were getting colour resistant. I may yet decide to do something else. I think i have to live with my natural colour for a few months before I make up my mind. Thanks for being so honest. 🙂

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