I always, always loved Math class in school. As a kid, math was pretty easy for me. Nowadays though, besides balancing my bank account and adding up my cardio minutes, the only math I do is fashion math. And sometimes fashion math can be complicated. Especially spring fashion math.
I love the idea of fashion math, the phrase coined by Erin, the sweet and bubbly receptionist at my physio clinic a few years ago. I arrived one spring day breathless and late for my appointment, and regaled her with my tale of trying to find something to wear that morning. How I had piled on the layers, then added and subtracted and replaced layers because one was too light the other too heavy. I needed to be warm because there was a brisk early spring wind blowing that day, and yet not too warm since it was sunny. And I did NOT want to wear my winter clothes. I wanted to feel spring-y. And she laughed and said, “Fashion math can be hard.”
I’ve been doing a lot of spring fashion math lately, cyphering out what to wear without resorting to wearing my winter coats. Thinking about what layers will go with what. How to be warm, spring-y, and still look good. And I’ve been pinning ideas to my Pinterest board.
I love a hoodie layered under a jacket or coat. The outfit on the left from Boden UK is similar to how I’ve been wearing my navy Veronica Beard jacket for the last couple of years, with a hoodie and white sneakers. The looser cropped pants update this look. I love it, but it’s not warm enough for right now. I’d need to add a light coat and definitely some socks. I love the very casual outfit in the middle, with the oversized blazer and sweats. Partially tucking in the hoodie makes this outfit look neater, and less slouchy. And I love the Celine look on the right. The bootcut jeans with sneakers I can totally do. And I love the long jeans with the short jacket. It’s not just about the layering, is it? But about balance, and proportion.
Adding or subtracting layers to suit the weather is the easy part. The hard part of fashion math is getting the proportions right. It’s not just about piling on the layers but about piling on the right layers, in the right way to look balanced. And the hardest part for me this spring is that my eye has changed. How I see what I’m looking at has changed. Since I let my hair go white, I no longer want to wear looks as polished as what I preferred to wear in the past. Plus changing styles have altered proportions. Coats and blazers have been getting bigger, and pants have been getting longer and looser. So a slim short coat with a pair of cropped skinny jeans looks wrong. A looser pant would be more current. Or a longer coat.
Here are some spring hoodie looks I’ve worn in the past.
In the shot on the left, I’m wearing a long-sleeve white tee, my navy Veronica Beard Scuba jacket with the attached partial hoodie, Current Elliot boot-cut jeans, Paul Green boots, and a Theory hooded camo jacket. Because the jacket is so light it doesn’t feel too bulky over the blazer, even with the two hoods. In the photo in the middle, I have on the same Veronica Beard jacket, with a pink Uniqlo hoodie instead of the attached hoodie, a short-sleeve Vince tee, Roots sweatpants (similar) and Stan Smith sneakers. On the right I’m wearing a light, hooded sweater from Aritzia, my black Helmut Lang blazer, Frame straight-leg white jeans, and Stuart Weitzman loafers. I’d wear all three of these outfits today. Although I might have to make the black and white look a little more messy… or something. I have ideas about that one I’ll try one day.
Meanwhile, below is a look I tried the other day. Not successfully, I should add, as you can see from the expression on my face. I wasn’t comfortable, and I hated the proportions of this aborted attempt at spring fashion math. Ha. I was too bulked up on top and too skinny on the bottom. I felt a bit like a spindly legged, fat-bodied spider. Albeit a two-legged one. My hooded sweatshirt was too big under my navy Moncler hooded anorak. I was seriously over-hooded. The colours work wonderfully together, but that is all. Please do not offer kindly suggestions for how this outfit might work. I’m serious. I will NOT be trying it again. Ha.
This outfit failure did serve to reinforce for me that the two new items I’ve been considering for spring would really help to update my wardrobe. A pair of loose trousers. Dress pants as we used to call them back in the day. Loose, straight-leg, full-length pants. Hopefully with a flat front because pleats in the abdominal area do me NO favours. And a long, loose trench coat. One that falls below the knee, preferably, and is loose and a bit flowy. Loose pants and sneakers would look good with my Moncler anorak. And these Rag and Bone Simone pants and Paul Green loafers would look great with a loose below-the-knee trench.
My last hoodie try-on was an attempt to mimic that Celine look, shown earlier, which I love. So I wore a long-sleeve white tee and my new Club Monaco cashmere hoodie under this khaki suede moto jacket from Marks and Spencer (similar), my Frame high-rise boot-cut jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, and an old khaki and faded blue ballcap bought on a trip to the Yukon many years ago.
Now, let’s assess this attempt, shall we? The jeans and sneakers are great together. The sweater is a good length and weight to wear under the jacket. I love the proportions of this outfit. But not sure that the colours work. The green of the sweater is too cool and bright for the warm, dark khaki of the jacket, which almost looks olive-coloured in the photos. And the hat. Well, I’m not sure I want to wear a ball cap except when I’m walking. I’d probably eliminate that element of the outfit.
So 10/10 for appropriate layers for early spring, 8.5/10 for proportion, 4/10 for colour scheme, and 2/5 for that darned cap = 24.5/35 That adds up to a 70% grade. Seems fair to me. I didn’t hit it out of the park, if you’ll excuse the baseball metaphor, but I learned what I can and what I can’t wear together. I’m happy.
So yeah, Math is easy. But fashion math is harder than it looks. Especially this time of year. Adding and subtracting layers, getting the proportions just right. Keeping warm but not too warm, and up-to-date with the trends, but not as if one is trying too hard. It’s a balancing act. Now that I think of it, maybe advanced fashion math is more like Chemistry class than Math. Like balancing equations, so those molecules of sodium and calcium add up to the correct number of atoms on the other side of the equation. You know, balancing. Ah well, never mind.
And speaking of how easy Math is. Do you remember the fuss caused when Mattel introduced a talking Barbie, back in the nineties? Fuss which I agreed with, I might add. Along with other pithy phrases this “Teen Talk Barbie” said, “Math class is tough.” And she said it in a very specific voice, like someone imitating a “dumb blonde” in a not very funny “dumb-blonde joke.” The public, parents, and even kids rejected the idea that Math is necessarily hard for girls, and they definitely rejected “Teen Talk Barbie.” And the media were quick to jump on this blooper by Mattel, dubbing the doll “Bimbo Barbie.” Ha.
You know, as a kid who always loved Math class, I would have been so disappointed in Barbie if she had been a “bimbo”, if you’ll excuse the pejorative term. We appreciated smart women in my house. Thankfully my Barbie couldn’t talk. Except to say the things I made her say. Which of course were always really smart things. Ha.
Now it’s your turn my friends. Have you been doing any spring fashion math? Are you finding that your idea of correct proportions has changed lately? Do outfits that you previously liked look somehow wrong now?
P.S. Once again I apologize for the delay in posting. Lots of stuff happening this week that prevented me from finishing this post. Thanks for your patience.
P.P.S. The clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.