We are in the deep freeze here in Canada, my friends. Hubby just set off for his cross-country ski, and it’s so cold this morning that he’s wearing his downhill ski clothes and goggles. Of course it is only February, and spring is many weeks away. So -20°C temperatures are not entirely unheard of here in the “great white north.” Ha.
I wonder if anyone still gets that reference to the old SCTV show from the seventies, and the Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas “Great White North” sketch in which fictional brothers Bob and Doug Mackenzie drink Canadian beer and say “eh” a lot. As teenagers we all loved Bob and Doug. For those of you who have been binge watching Schitt’s Creek, SCTV was the show where most Canadians first encountered Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. Plus other Canadian comics who went on to greater fame, like Martin Short, Andrea Martin, and John Candy.
Anyway, while Hubby has been shushing across the frozen fields these past few days when it’s too cold for me to ski, I’ve been sitting on my exercise bike, and scrolling through Pinterest for outfit inspiration. Looking for warm, layered outfits. Suitable for winter pub nights, and other vital activities. I’m still on a winter layering kick this week. As usual, I’m interested in combining my old pieces in new ways that I hadn’t thought of before. Looking to layer an unexpected piece under or over a coat or a jacket.
Below are a few looks from my Pinterest board. I liked all of these. The tonal looks especially. Layering is in many ways all about proportion. And about colour. And not looking like we did when our mums layered us up to go sliding when we were kids. I want layering… not bundling. Ha. Too much bundling makes me cranky, as you’ll know if you read this post.
Pinterest is great for outfit inspiration. I always look for pieces that I already own, or pieces that are similar to what I already own. Like that yellow hoodie or the down vests. I look for ideas like layering pieces in the same colour, or down layered under down, or under tweed. Or using a scarf to tie contrasting colours together. These aren’t earth-shatteringly creative ideas. I might have thought of them on my own. But Pinterest makes me think, “Oh, yeah, I can do something similar with my pink hoodie and paisley scarf.” And my Pinterest board serves as a visual reminder that I wanted to try this or that outfit idea.
My plan, when I started trying on outfits yesterday, was to utilize my two down vests and my pink hoodie. I love the look of a vest or a hoodie under a coat. For this first look I tried a black, cream, and grey palette. I wore my charcoal-grey Vince turtleneck, my black Theory wool leggings, black ankle boots, ancient cream puffer vest from Max Mara, cream and grey scarf, and grey AllSaints bag. Then I pulled my old black Max Mara alpaca coat on top. I like the colours together; the cream vest is a bit unexpected, and is repeated in the cream scarf so it doesn’t look too random. Plus I can zip up the vest and wear my grey woolly hat for more warmth.
But here’s the problem with this outfit. The proportions. The narrow, tidy-looking leggings paired with the slim, lady-like coat make this outfit too boring, too much like a work outfit. I could wear a long, loose black duvet coat with this and it would look so much more modern. To create fullness on top against the narrow black leggings. But of course I don’t own a long, loose, black duvet coat. Or I could keep the Max Mara coat and wear a pair of slouchy, super-casual black cargo pants. If I owned black cargo pants. Or any loose, wide-leg pants at all. The absence of loose trousers of any kind is a hole in my wardrobe that I identified a while ago. I’ve looked and looked for loose trousers. They are out there… I know. And I’ll find the perfect pair. Eventually.
In my imagination, this outfit looked much better. But inspiration and imagination don’t always lead to the expected reality. Do they?
I had better luck when I tried this look, below. Same black leggings and boots, but with my burgundy chunky cashmere sweater from Akris, burgundy Uniqlo down vest, and Marc Jacobs bag. I have worn the vest and sweater together before, under my fuchsia tweed Max Mara coat. But that look is so… expected. And like my previous outfit the smart coat makes the outfit too “worky.” I prefer the sweater and vest under my ancient houndstooth Alfred Sung blazer.
I love this look. The blazer is unexpected. And since it’s menswear-inspired it looks modern, and more casual than my tweed coat. And the burgundy in the check works with the vest and sweater. Now I just need a coat that will fit over all of this and not make me look like a stuffed sausage. Which is what I looked like when I tried to haul on my old Zara down coat. That long black duvet coat, the one that I don’t own, rears its head once again. Hmm. The black puffer coat with the black leggings, and the bright check blazer peeping out would be great, I think.
I am ruining my slow fashion reputation here, my friends. My intention to rethink old pieces has only identified gaps in my wardrobe. Gaps that make me want to shop, instead of just shopping my closet. But seriously, I should say these gaps have only been reinforced, not identified, today. I played around with the idea of buying a long puffer coat earlier in the season. And I’ve known I need new trousers for ages.
My attempts to turn outfit inspiration into reality don’t always work. After two outfits that were incomplete at best, I had better luck with the third. I wore my pink hoodie as a layering piece in this post in 2019, with my tweed Max Mara coat and black Liverpool jeans. But yesterday I wanted something new. So I tried my burgundy NYDJ boot-cut jeans and old Cole Haan Chelsea boots, with the long-sleeve burgundy Talbots tee I bought for travel two years ago. I added my pink hoodie, and my white Uniqlo down jacket. My old burgundy and cream scarf works well here, pulling the burgundy and cream and pink together. And softening the stark contrast between the dark pants and tee and the bright white of the jacket.
I quite like this outfit. It will be great for running to the drugstore or to the post office. Since Hubby always does the grocery shopping, those are my two official outings. Other than walking with the girls once a week, which is great, the post office and drugstore are it. The only times I get to drive somewhere, talk to people who are not Hubby, and then maybe purchase a take-away latte to drink in the car. Oh… the excitement!
I know that you know what I’m talking about here. We’re all starved for company. But as long as I have my weekly walk with Marina and Linsey, weather permitting, and some weeks even a trip to the drugstore, I can hang tough. Until things are better. That’s why I am so looking forward to our pub night.
For those who are new around here, we’re planning a fictional pub night. Just us girls. Our third imaginary event together since the pandemic started. We did high tea at the Chateau Laurier last spring, had a book party and lobster boil in my back yard in the summer, and even a weekend in Paris in December. This event gives you an excuse to try on your casual going-out clothes and swan around the house as if you are really going somewhere. Plus we want to be able to put a face to a name. So don’t forget to send me a picture of yourself in your winter layered look, all set for the pub. We’re none of us fashion models. So don’t be shy.
There will be no covid rules for us the night of our party, and free transportation from wherever you live. And I should say that you had better pop your jammies into your purse in case we get snowed in. That does happen sometimes here in the Canadian wilderness. Email your photo here as soon as you can.
I’ve been perusing coats online today, in between writing this post and doing laundry. Here are a few I’m looking at. Plaid or puffer? I can’t decide.
And when I was not shopping for coats, or writing this post, or running up and down stairs to attend to the laundry today, I was getting lost on YouTube. I started out looking for a clip of one of “Great White North” sketches I mentioned in the opening of this post. And I spent almost an hour down the SCTV rabbit hole watching old clips of the show. Hubby joined me from time to time and we had a good laugh.
This one, below, includes Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara et al in a satire of Jeopardy and the Canadian high school game show called Reach for the Top. Except with adult night school students. The Ontario version of the real Reach for the Top was hosted by Alex Trebek back in the day, by the way. O. My. God. This sketch is so lame, but I was laughing out loud anyway. I love Andrea Martin as the Dutch wife. She was brilliant as Aunt Voula in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Have a look for yourself. It’s pure vintage Canadian sketch comedy.
So that’s it for me today, folks. I think I have just about run the gamut of winter-layering posts for now. I was definitely preoccupied with that for a couple of weeks. But I do love a good closet rummage, pulling things out, and shaking them up to see if I can make them fall in different patterns. I am always amazed at how many new, or even slightly new, ways I can find to wear very old pieces. This is such a great way to keep from being bored with a limited closet. But it’s also a great way to reinforce that every now and then I need to make some new additions to my closet. We’ll see how that goes.
I am looking forward to our pub night. I know that many of you are in the same old lock-down, socially isolated boat as we are here in Ontario. But many others are not. So even if you’re able to get out to restaurants and might not be as desperate for company as some of us, I hope you’ll still join us.
This whole idea came to me as a result of a comment made to me by my friend Liz, ages ago. She said I was lucky, privileged even, to have the blog as an excuse to get dressed up every now and then. Even if only to take pictures for the blog. So I wanted to extend the same privilege to you guys. This is the “what I wore to the pub with the girls” edition.
I’m excited to see you all in your pub gear. I have received a few photos already. The pub-night post will go live next weekend. 🙂
P.S. Clothing links in the post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will make a commission. Except for the Uniqlo links. I don’t make commission from Uniqlo links, they are just a courtesy.
Linking up with Catherine’s #IWillWearWhatILike.