Fall 2020 Musings… Fashion and Otherwise

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My favourite season is about to begin. Favourite weather: cool but not cold. Favourite fashion: sweaters and jeans and boots. And with the demise of the summer humidity, it’s the best season for hair. Fall is about new beginnings, new ventures. Like making videos. Ha. New back-to-school clothes. New books by our most loved authors. Books that we’ve been waiting for, like the new Susie Steiner, and the new Ann Cleeves. We’re turning the metaphorical page on summer, folks.

I am always excited by the advent of crisp early mornings in late August. In a normal year that first cool morning happens when we’re down east and makes Hubby and I realize that it’s time to head for home. This year Hubby is preparing for a seven-day back-country canoe trip with a buddy. They’ve been packing and planning how to manage the covid situation safely. And I’ve been planing too. I sure have. Because, as you may already know, I love my alone time.

Instead of meeting Liz at Nordstrom and shopping the latest fall fashions, this year I am doing most of my shopping on-line. At least the window shopping. I’ve been perusing the Vogue.com site for the Fall 2020 fashion shows. Checking out the good, the lovely but unattainable, and the sometimes chuckle-worthy outfits.

These two images below are from Frame. One of my favourite denim brands.

Both of these shots made me want to shop my closet. Because it’s not all about new things. Especially when we still love our old things. Yesterday I had a hankering to pull out my fall blazers to see what I could come up with for transitional outfits. So I did. I tried my old camel Adrienne Vittadini blazer with a cream blouse and tucked my skinny jeans into my brown suede Stuart Weitzman boots. Nah. Cream and camel together is NOT good for me anymore with my uncoloured hair. But I still love that Frame camel blazer, and my own camel blazer. And maybe this year will be the year I spring for a new pair of knee-high boots. Black, but with a chunky low heel, I’m thinking.

I actually own those boot-cut jeans in the shot on the left. I don’t, however, own a light-coloured fall blazer. My tweed and woolen blazers are all dark. But I gamely tried my old black Max Mara jacket with my Frame high-rise boot-cut jeans, my sneakers, a white message tee, and an old black saddle-bag bought way back in the nineties at Holt Renfrew. The outfit was not altogether successful, but I did want to try to emulate the photo as closely as I could. That shock of white hair seems to throw off the balance somehow.

And since I know I’m not going to go back to darker hair, I’ll try some other variations another day. I’ll probably end up wearing the jeans, tee, and sneakers with a different jacket. Maybe I should be looking for a fall jacket in a lighter colour. But I can’t bring myself to buy anymore blazers when I own so many. Maybe I’ll change up the white tee for a black turtleneck, and wear my black ankle boots, but I somehow don’t think that will solve my problem. Not that it’s a problem, per se. I’m just messing around with clothes here.

Trying to shop my closet for transitional looks for fall 2020. Max Mara jacket, Frame jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, Zara tee.
Not quite there yet for fall 2020. Still thinking.

Outfit try-ons are never wasted. I did learn that I like those jeans with my sneakers. And I am definitely going to be wearing my old cross-body bag this year. I love that purse, the visible stitching and the wide, cross-body strap. I haul it out every now and then when I want an easy, casual bag. Like this fall. I’m still hunting, though, for a smaller tan or burgundy cross-body bag. That’s been on my list for a couple of years now.

Some of the photos I drooled over on the Vogue.com site made me think about what I might add to my closet to update old pieces.

I love that Tibi plaid coat on the left. And while that bright yellow accessory looks more like one of those airplane neck-cushions to me, I get the idea. Similarly the photo on the right. That shot is just plain beautiful. The weathered stools and peeling walls of that vintage diner, wherever it is, make me long for a fall road trip. And those chartreuse gloves. Clearly Tibi is all about a pop of unexpected colour in an otherwise traditional fall palette. I have a long, dark green tweed winter coat which I don’t wear often enough. And which I might update with a pop of colour. And while my pop probably won’t consist of a yellow fake fur collar, I’m now thinking of what it might be.

And speaking of drooling, this Brunello Cucinelli outfit, below, is delicious. And it had me thinking of specific new pieces I want to add to my shopping list. I can’t afford Brunella Cucinelli, so I’ll work with what I can afford. I have a recently purchased grey sweater that I’ve been musing over. Of course it goes with lots of things already in my closet. But I’ve been dreaming of how it would look with black boots and a pair of lovely grey flannel trousers. But maybe grey culottes will work better. With those black boots that are already on my list. And my short white Uniqlo jacket? It’s good to keep the options open, don’t you think? Let’s just say I’m looking for black knee-high boots, and something loose to go on the bottom. Might be pants, might be a skirt, might be culottes.

fall 2020 fashion from Brunello Cucinelli
Brunello Cucinelli Fall 2020 via Vogue.com

Of course not all the images I’ve been perusing have inspired me to shop my closet, or had me dreaming of new fall outfits. Some shots just made me laugh. I know, I know. Runway shows are all about the theme, the ideas behind the collection. And of course the models are not always wearing outfits we might want to wear in the literal sense. But still. Sometimes I do think that designers are having us on. Just a little.

That child in the white J.W. Anderson for Moncler coat, below, looks as if she’s waiting for the train to Hogwarts. And since the background is surreal and fantasy-ish, and the whole show seems tongue-in-cheek, maybe that’s what they were going for. Besides, it’s only the accessories that are outlandish. Especially the Mary Poppins carpet bag. Ha. But that Prada outfit in the middle is just plain ugly. Especially the leather puffa jacket. And while I’m normally a fan of Stella McCartney, that teddy coat needs a hair cut. Clearly it went four months without professional hair attention just like the rest of us. So big is in again this year, I guess. Big, loose, and extra long. Also extra-puffy, and extra shaggy.

Sometimes we need a good laugh. Remember that line from Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Bennet says, “For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn.” And in case that sounds mean, please know that no matter what fashion houses send down the runway, whether it’s luscious or ludicrous, I always enjoy the show. And even if I hate some of the outfits, I do recognize the talent and work that goes into them.

So fall is almost here, my friends. Even though most of us are still wearing our summer clothes. This morning was definitely crisp. As I type this I’m wearing long sweatpants and hiking socks, so it’s time to dig out the fall clothes. Next week when Hubby is away I will be doing my fall closet edit. I hope to make a video of that. I’m excited to be pulling all my old friends out of storage. I’ll also be doing some in-person shopping. I have my list all ready. I do need a few new things… see above musings. And one day soon I’ll be meeting a friend for a patio lunch. So I’m hoping for a sunny afternoon and cool-ish sweater weather.

But, you know, it’s not just the crisp mornings and the sunny afternoons of early fall that excite me. I love those first cool evenings when we have to pull on chunky sweaters if we want to sit outside.

The other evening I invited a few of the girls over for a backyard, socially-distanced get together. It was lovely. We shared funny stories, and tried to lighten the stress load of those who head back to the classroom next week. Even with the candles I’d set out, it was dark earlier than expected. And it grew quite cool. But everyone pulled on their cosy wraps, and we talked and shouted with laughter into the darkness.

Then I shushed everyone, because out on the river I could hear what has become a much-loved harbinger of fall for Hubby and me. Ducks quacking like there’s no tomorrow. That sound always makes me smile. We couldn’t see them, but we sure knew that they were there. Then as we looked out over the water one of the girls pointed. And as we watched, across the river and behind a line of tress, the most beautiful full moon was rising.

Now I ask you, if that’s not a harbinger of good things, and better days to come, I don’t know what is. We were quiet for a few minutes and then someone cracked a joke and the conversation continued. I love these women. Old friends, best friends.

Because of course it’s not all about new stuff in the fall. We still love our old things. Right?

Well, that’s enough musing from me. Now it’s your turn, friends. What fallish things are you musing about this weekend?

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47 thoughts on “Fall 2020 Musings… Fashion and Otherwise”

  1. Thanks foe mentioning the new Susie Steiner book. I went online to order it, and was stunned to run into an article by her in the Guardian about her brain cancer. Very sad to see that.

  2. The Frame outfits and the Tibi in the diner are my favourites. I love your fashion posts 💕
    However, big loose, extra long, puffy and shaggy are not my friends – I’m puffy enough without needing clothes to assist in those dimensions 😉
    I used to love Vogue and can still appreciate the artistic side of runway shows but I don’t look at them much these days. Too over-the-top and ridiculously unwearable far too often. But I still love beautifully designed and made clothes and enjoy the way you highlight all that’s good each season.
    I hear your pleasure at crisp early mornings and share with you my joy in sweet smelling, warm spring breezes. Freesias, daffodils and cherry blossoms are bringing me lots of happiness right now 🌸

  3. Hi Sue – I wanted to leave a comment to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed your blog over the last few months. I know you’ve felt like you were in a rut but I’ve loved reading your thinking during Covid, musings on fashion and life and so on. And…I love your beautiful silver hair!

    Thank you!

  4. The new Susie Steiner book is all that! Now that our library has re-opened, I’ve got a stack of books I’d had on Hold forever, but before I started those, I bought my own copy of Remain Silent. So good (and so moving to read about her illness).
    I’m not so keen on getting out my Fall gear, although I suppose I’ll get there. Still wanting a few more opportunities to wear some of my summer dresses — much as I like Fall, I always feel a bit melancholic when I realize there will be no more blackberries to pick this year, no more ocean swims . . .

    1. I’ve set that book aside for when Stu is off fishing. I can’t wait to read it… but then it will be done and that will be sad. I do so hope she is able to recover. That article in the Guardian about her was lovely.

  5. Those styles are very 1978 to me, not in a bad way. Down in Sussex it is still quite warm but the start of autumn is more marked already than back at home. Collected acorns yesterday to see if I can coax some Surrey oaks into life.

  6. In Sydney a long hot summer is definitely on the way. I hope you don’t mind a suggest re the black jacket outfit. I think it may work with a more colourful bag and a a broach or two on the lapel. Winter is my favourite season so I am sad to be packing the clothes away. I am also concerned because summer means bushfires.

    1. You may indeed suggest. I am still experimenting and was trying to mimic the look in the Frame runway shot, hence the jacket and bag in a similar colour. It didn’t work out… but it’s never bad to try.

  7. Hi Sue, interesting musings! May I suggest you have a look at Imogen Lamport’s InsideOutside Blog. She discusses value and contrast in quite a few posts that could be helpful with your new hair color.

    1. I clicked over there this morning, Lise. I’ve been on her site before, when I was researching a post I wrote about colour a year or so ago. Now of course it’s a whole different ball game. I’m not keen on her style but she has lots of knowledge about colour and I always pick up a tip or two. As I did this morning too, so thanks for reminding me of her.

  8. Yesterday we had record breaking heat, today we expect the same. Tuesday we are told to expect snow. I wear all seasons clothes in one week. Love your post about the Fall season.

  9. Mornings are definitely cooler here & the light is changing . It’s about dark by 8pm now & the log pile is ready . Normally I’d be packing away summer clothes & bringing out winter ones . Not this year . I brought out very few summer clothes in the spring as I could see there wouldn’t be many outings . So that’s saved me a job ! Autumn feels different this year too . I do wonder how the colder weather will affect the Covid virus , especially as people will gather indoors more . The experts don’t seem to know . We are missing Scotland & hoping to make it back there in a few weeks time .

  10. Enjoyed your fall musings. Could imagine sitting on your deck as the evening closed in, listening to you and your friends have a chin wag. Lovely.

    Not sure if it is just me, but for the most part I have been having a tough time finding things (online) that would tempt me to part with my money. Haven’t been in any stores since that requires a 70 mile RT drive to get to any decent ones (and our Nordstrom’s has closed), so it is easy to put that off. But given the sketchy supply of stock, it will be doubtful that much will be available if some things aren’t purchased sooner rather than later. Looking at some sites yesterday, I noticed certain items were already on back-order until later in October.

    1. It was a lovely evening. Those small events are so sustaining. I am planning to hit a couple of stores next week, and then may come home and try to order on-line. I am really wary of having to ship stuff back since many companies charge for that.

  11. Fall, also my favorite time of year. Here in Nebraska USA it is going to be 98° today, but then only 49° by Tuesday!! I haven’t worn long jeans for many months – cannot wait. I have come up with several new fall outfits to wear, but have nowhere to wear them yet 😔. Our Covid numbers are still rising – sigh….. Love seeing your inspiration pictures from Vogue. Guess I now need to inspire myself to wear my new fall outfits around the house. 😉

  12. I always enjoy your musings, particularly when you talk about both fashion and books in one post. COVID has made life difficult for many of us, with few opportunities to get together with friends and family as we used to do. Thank goodness for back yard gatherings and front porch tea times with friends. And thank goodness for you, Sue, and your posts, particularly your videos!
    I’ll enjoy your perusal of your fall/winter wardrobe. I don’t intend to switch over to mine just yet, but with the cooler weather we’re experiencing in western Canada I’ll pull out jeans and sweaters.
    Speaking of which, may I suggest that you try one of your lovely scarves with the tee and black jacket.

    1. Good idea about the scarf. I was trying to use that Frame shot as inspo, but will probably try to de-emphasize the contrast with a scarf. Plus I will be shopping for scarves this fall.

  13. Had to let you know, Sue, that I am loving the Everlane pocket tees I bought with the link from your blog. In fact, I am wearing the blue right now and bought the white as well. Mostly for summer wear, to be sure, but they will transition well to fall under a jacket or sweater. The fabric is so soft! Thank you for the recommendation. I read once that 75% of people say fall is their favorite season. It is not mine, but I do love pulling out my cozy sweaters and peacoats. Days with blue sky and leaves that are beginning to change color are beautiful days indeed.

  14. I think you will find that you can’t wear black tops with your white hair (too much contrast.) You will have to switch to gray or navy.

    1. I wear a lot of navy already. But I’m on the hunt for some particular scarves for winter which I hope will have me still wearing my favorite black jackets. We’ll see. I am a work in progress… and enjoying the journey.

  15. We watched that same moon rise over the trees while huddled by the fire in our provincial park campsite! Coyotes howled in the distance and Canada geese honked overhead as they made their way to the nearby lake to settle for the night. I love summer and never really want it to end, but there are lovely, bittersweet things about fall too. It’s the coming of winter that I dread!

  16. The fact is, whatever the fashion gourous and instagramer and the like would tell, black close to the face when you are fair skinned and with white hair, can be very VERY harsh and harder to handle.
    As you are not going to get rid of your beloved black jackets (why on earth get rid of good clothes?), maybe try to wear, as someone suggest, a scarf or even, scarves (yes multiples… as a necklace or whatever is your fancy), coloured necklaces or/and different coloured than pure white tops.
    You wrote that you are already wearing quite a lot of navy, have you tried grey or, should I say, greys, as there are a lot of differences between some grey with more blue than yellow in it. Just find the one that suits you the most!
    Or prints with grey
    Don’t care if it is trendy or not as long as it SUITS you.
    Fashion has never been created with mature women in mind, one who know it by now8
    So let’s not waste time: you seem to have great skin, soft and plump, and a good deal of hair.
    Lucky you, those are some of your assets. And with your new colouring, maybe it is time to reconsider some of your colours in your closet, especially close to the face.
    Mind you, even I younger than you have started to notice some changes. I am paler and my hair is whitening. I must be careful now of which orange I should or shouldn’t wear closer to my face.
    I hope you don’t mind (too much) my being so… honest and frank.
    Do remember that english is not my mother tongue and that I may not be using the right words. And not being too politically correct, that I can’t be, sorry.

    1. I don’t usually pay too much attention to IG “influencers” and fashion “experts” except to take their ideas and try to make them my own. I like to know what is current in full knowledge that I won’t be able to wear most of it. I have been reconsidering the colours in my closet since this whole hair transformation began in the spring. But this is my first fall season with white hair, so I am having fun finding out what I can and cannot wear from my current wardrobe. I already have a lot of grey sweaters and tops and always wore a cool grey because cool colours have always been best for me. So grey is a good suggestion. As I mentioned in a previous rely, I have winter scarves on my list. My goal is not to necessarily give fashion advice nor to seek advice on what to wear, but to share my journey with readers, as I would in a chat with a friend over coffee. Including the successes and the failures. I don’t mind people being honest at all. The main goal with posts like this is to start up a conversation. 🙂

  17. It’s tough transitioning to gray/silver hair. I’m doing it and have another month or two till I’m completely silver. Your hair looks more platinum than silver on my screen, like Helen Mirren’s. I think you have to find the right white that blends with your hair. Definitely scarves that flatter your coloring. Sometimes your eye has to adjust to the change in contrast. Thank you for the Susie Steiner recommendation, I haven’t read her. I read the Scottish mystery trilogy you recommended and enjoyed it very much.

    1. My eye certainly has to adjust all over again to the change in contrast… especially now that I’ll be wearing my fall and winter clothes. I still get a shock every time I pass a mirror so clearly I’ve not adjusted yet. 🙂

  18. I love your approach to adapting the runway to your own closet and especially your thoughtful shopping strategy. It was 88 degrees here in Colorado yesterday and 30 degrees and snowing today. I think we skipped a season!

  19. I’m curious about your try-on sessions – do you have a room with lots of mirrors and good lighting to view your outfits, or do you make more decisions based on the photos yout take for the blog? I find try-on sessions notoriously unreliable! An outfit that I approve of one day in front of the gloomy bathroom mirror will get the thumbs down on another (possibly very next) day! And do you maintain your enthusiasm for multiple try-ons (without getting hot and bothered and messing your hair up!) Or will you spend several days on one set of clothes?

    1. Small bedroom, one small mirror. And I have also had moments looking in a mirror thinking my outfit was “da bomb” until I caught sight of myself in a shop window and gasped… not “da bomb”… just an outfit that bombed. I must say that taking photos for the blog has helped. And I have abandoned many outfits after taking a photo. And I have my limit, frequently getting hot and bothered and retreating to the sun room in my sweats with my book. 🙂 I try to avoid this by trying multiple tops with one pair of pants, or one top with multiple bottoms. I wish I had a huge room with a beautiful antique mirror and wonderful lighting… but we’d have to move or renovate for that to occur. Ha.

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