The Fall Blazer Window

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Fall is my favourite season. I know it’s the same for many of you as well. Wood fires, falling leaves, crisp sunny days. Sweater weather for a while. And then, hopefully, for at least a couple of weeks between the humidity of early September and the rain and snow of November, there will be a window of sartorial opportunity when we can wear fall blazers and tweed jackets as outerwear. Yah. The fall blazer window. When it’s cool enough to require a jacket, and still warm enough for the jacket to be a blazer.

This is the time of year when I really, really love to get dressed. I feel most at home, most like myself, in jeans, and blazers, and boots. And in the last couple of years… sneakers.

To take advantage of this brief season, when I went out and about in Kemptville earlier in the week, I wore my old Alfred Sung blazer. This houndstooth jacket was purchased as part of a suit back in the late eighties. The shoulders were designed to allow room for the large shoulder pads that were in style back then. So despite the fact that I had a tailor remove them and put in small pads instead, this jacket still makes me look like a linebacker. Sort of. I could have had the tailor cut down the shoulders and reshape them, but I didn’t really want to spend the money for such a major overhaul. Besides, I wanted to preserve its menswear-inspired look.

Uh oh… forgot to change my socks.

Never mind. Linebacker-ish or not … I love this jacket. It’s lightweight, soft, and goes with everything. Including my new Levi’s 511 jeans, this green cashmere polo sweater from Everlane, a white, short-sleeve Vince tee, and my Stan Smith Adidas. A reader commented when I first featured my old jacket on the blog that it looked dated. And maybe to some it does. But checks and plaids are back in style, as are sharper shoulders, and over-sized jackets. So I prefer to think of it as a vintage piece which takes advantage of the circular nature of fashion. But maybe I’m just deluding myself because I can’t quite bear to get rid of this old friend.

Learning how to take photos in the wild. So to speak.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been practising how to take photos out in public. Not in my backyard or on my deck. When I was in Kemptville, I tried affixing my gorilla tripod to benches and railings to take street photos. I’m still learning as you can see, above, from the relative size of my feet and my head, not to mention my foreshortened legs.

Yesterday when the weather dawned sunny and crisp, a totally perfect fall blazer window of a day, I pulled another old friend out of the closet. My dark green tweed Max Mara blazer. I love this old jacket with faded jeans. And since I was off to run a couple of errands and then visit with my friend Carmen for a hair cut, I pulled on my Levi’s again with my Everlane white pocket tee, and Stan Smith sneakers. Then I threw my forest green Prada wool crew neck sweater around my shoulders. This is the first time I have worn the “sweater as scarf” thing out in public. I think Carmen was a bit bemused. But no one turned a hair at Best Buy or at the wine store.

These new Levi’s look great with sneakers and a jacket, don’t they? Just the right leg length and width. A bit loose, but not overwhelmingly so. And the wash of the jeans is perfect with the dark green jacket. Even if I do say so myself. And I do. Ha. By the way that’s my new Jolie Hobo shoulder bag from Fossil. It’s dark cognac, with few to no doo-dads. I hate too much frippery on bags. It also comes with a longer strap for wearing cross-body.

Off to visit Carmen.

Tomorrow Hubby and I are off for a day in the country. We’re driving down to the Westport and Big Rideau Lake area. We’re going on tour before all the leaves are gone, and we plan to stop for lunch. In a restaurant. This is a big occasion. Hubby never goes anywhere for lunch except when we are travelling and visiting new cities. Well, unless we are heading somewhere for a hike or a bike ride and take a picnic or stop at a chip wagon. I always envy the IG posts of my friend Frances when she and her husband stroll around Vancouver and stop for lunch. Hubby is not much of a dining out person, and definitely NOT a “let’s stroll downtown Ottawa and go for lunch” guy. In fact, there are few activities he would rather do less.

Dressed for a day out with Hubby.

Still, I think he is trying to make the best of our not travelling situation. And I’m happy with that. And since we will not be biking or hiking and the weather is supposed to be blazer friendly, this is what I plan to wear. My old Adrienne Vittadini camel blazer, my black Liverpool Glider skinny jeans (black here, and blue here.) Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, a light, stretchy black turtleneck from Vince, a grey and black animal print scarf from Michael Kors, and my new bag from Fossil.

Old blazer and scarf, oldish boots and jeans, new turtleneck and bag.

I can’t rave enough about my new black stretchy turtleneck from Vince. I’ve worn it a few times. Under a jacket like I’m doing today. Under a coat sweater. Or slipped under a hoodie or a crew neck sweater. It’s the perfect underpinning, in my opinion. Slippy enough that you don’t have to drag the sweater or jacket on over it. Stretchy enough to fit snugly and not create extra bulk. Short enough to not have to be tucked in. And long enough in the sleeves.

I wanted to show you a closer look at the turtleneck in the shot below. Please know that I bought it to wear under things; I do NOT intend to wear this sweater with nothing on over it! I’m wearing a size large. So while it’s stretchy, it’s not overly clingy. It also comes in tan, which is not a good colour for me. But if it came in another colour, one I could wear, I’d buy it. Perfect turtlenecks are hard to find.

Not the most flattering view, but gives you an idea of the fit.

So that’s what I’ve been wearing this week, my friends. Taking advantage of the fall blazer window, to wear my fall blazers as outerwear. And now that I have my outfit for tomorrow sorted… all I have left to do is hope that it doesn’t rain.

I hope the weather is as nice as this tomorrow.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve made several new purchases these past few weeks. That Everlane polo sweater, the Vince turtleneck, my new jeans, and the Fossil bag. There are still a couple of items on my wish list that I’ve yet to talk to you about. And that will make six new purchases for fall. Four more than I discussed in my fall small haul post a while ago. That’s a lot for me. Especially considering my admonitions about slow fashion, and my efforts to shop less, and shop my closet first.

But maybe I can offset all that shopping with the fact that every fall blazer I own is old. They all pass the “thirty wears test,” and then some. You know, the question that Livia Firth who made the documentary The True Cost says we should all ask before we buy something new: “Will I wear it thirty times.” In fact the newest fall blazer in my closet is the Max Mara, bought in 1998. That must buy me some credibility in the slow fashion world. Don’t you think?

Now it’s your turn, my friends. Do you have any pieces that you can’t wait to wear in the fall? But for which the wearable window is brief?

P.S. There are affiliate links in the post. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

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From the archives

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55 thoughts on “The Fall Blazer Window”

  1. Well, you can envy my city lunches while I envy your blazer panache! Fair? We’re heading off to lunch in far-off cities, so I might not be finding time to comment here over the next few weeks, but I’m glad you’re taking full advantage of “the blazer window.” I know exactly what you mean, but in Vancouver it’s more rain than cold-dependent. It seems that it’s going to rain straight through the temperatures that would have worked for blazers here — and tomorrow (as our plane tries to lift into the sky) we’re warned to expect heavy winds along with that rain. . . Not blazer weather at all, so I’m glad to know you’re getting more wears out of yours. Enjoy! You look fabulous!

  2. I was looking for a new grey and white narrow strip tee, it has been on my want list since last winter, yesterday I found one, had to buy a large. Is it the 70’s revival to taper tees? This body at 70 is no longer tapered.

  3. I’m very impressed with your plaid jacket photos and your new stretchy black polo neck. The jacket does indeed look marvellous with faded jeans and it works really well with your hair colour. As I said on Instagram, it gives you a cool, academic vibe, which suits you very well.

    I bought some things for spring/summer from bricks and mortar shops yesterday. Very liberating and very efficient – trying things on takes the guesswork out of shopping and I noticed things I would have ignored online but which actually work IRL. I added a new Mediterranean blue linen dress for hot days – some of my old standby hot weather dresses are looking threadbare – a new sleeveless cotton tee in a deep red and a light-weight denim jacket for cooler evenings. I’m very happy with much purchases and feel ready for whatever summer has in store.

  4. You look great,I love your new turtleneck and beautiful bag. The blazers are apsolutely not dated at all-they look perfect for me,so,enjoy the blazer weather and your lunches out
    In Croatia,the sweater weather was very short,it is cold (for us) and I’m wearing coats and trenchcoats with removable thick lining (especially because we are sitting outside for a coffee)
    Dottoressa

  5. Some great outfits there Sue . Stylish but casual as we like to be now . The light jeans work very well with the tailored jackets . Your wonky photo giving you short legs makes you look more like me . I love the blazer window too & some years it just doesn’t happen .I’ve made a purchase here in Scotland which I’m very pleased with . It’s a felted wool jerkin , longish hip length , like a sleeveless soft blazer in navy . I have a lighter weight one in heavy cotton but this is winter weight & will be nice instead of a cardigan . Plus it’ll be useful under loose coats for extra warmth with the the collar poking out . It’s by St James , a French company who make good quality stuff that lasts forever. Max seems to think I’ve been robbed as it has no sleeves but he doesn’t understand these things .
    I hope lunch is so good that Stu wants to make a habit of it .

    1. That jerkin sounds lovely, Wendy. It will be great under a coat. Warmth and style without that feeling of the sleeves of your coat being too tight. By the way… what’s the difference between a jerkin and a gilet?

  6. You look great as always! Love the blazers and new purse. Makes me want to rush to pull my older blazers and see how I can wear them to look more “current”. But we woke up to 70 degrees and the high will be 90 today here in the middle of Texas today so a blazer won’t work yet. I love summer weather but will enjoy cooler temperatures when they finally arrive. Love your blog – thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I love clothes that have been with me for a while. I had a black and white tweed suit I bought to go to college in,took it into my marriage,it worked well living in Germany back in the day, it came back to the States with me. But then I decided to part company with it. Missed it the first cold day.Now I have a special closet just for items I think need to move down the road This way I have time to rethink if the item really needs to move on or stay.One does not necessarily have to think about this type of clothing, I know exactly what goes with it and do not have to think a lot about putting it together.But nothing I have would pass the 30 year test-too many weight gains and losses,etc. You give”investment “dressing a whole new meaning!

    1. Me too. I have a couple of garment bags of pieces that I’m not wearing, but don’t want to give away yet. P.S. I meant “30 wears” and not “30 years”… although in my case, 30 years is applicable too. Ha.

  8. Sue, Love your blazer looks! Your new jeans work perfectly with your plaid jacket. That black Vince turtleneck will finish off many looks, one of those wardrobe “must have” pieces.
    Absolutely love your new bag!
    Sun is shinning, enjoy your outing!
    Liz

  9. I love your blazers. I am the same age-ish and well remember how we had to allow for shoulders pads and then furthermore for shoulder pads under winter coats, which had shoulder pads! ! That’s a lot of padding. I donated all my blazers. They weren’t the high end name brands of yours. A lot of good Ann Taylor, though, when everything was lined and well cut. No closet room. Anyway you look great, and I LOVE the 30 times rule. I am just trying to rationalize a cashmere polo I bought from jcrew. Hard to wear anything 30 times with Covid curtailing dinners out. Sometimes you just need something new for Fall. Also love Fossil. Such a good brand, but I ditch the key LOL.

    1. It takes a few years to get in 30 wears during Covid, doesn’t it? I though I’d ditched the key as well… and then I noticed it in one of the photos. I’ve ditched it now. It looks kind of silly.

  10. I LOVE your blazers and wish I had not let mine go. I don’t have a single one left and am now full of blazer envy. Enjoy your blazer season!

  11. In late Summer, I purchased the ‘Eloise Sweater-Blazer’ from J. Crew. The colour is ‘Heather Blossom’ and when it arrived I couldn’t wait to wear it! Our temperatures in Southwestern Ontario stayed quite warm for a long time but last week, I finally had the opportunity to wear it out to lunch with friends. It was the perfect weather for it! I hope to be able to wear it again before that window slams shut. Your blazers are perfect Sue. I also have some older blazer “friends” that I will never part with. It’s how you style them that keeps them current. I also purchased a bag in navy that will arrive Monday. Fingers crossed the navy colour is the same as the photo. Enjoy your day in the country with Hubby!

    1. Thanks, Glenda. I have a couple of sweater type jackets. I’ve always loved them. In fact writing that reminded me that I have one from many years ago that I thought I’d try to wear this year. I must go and dig it out of storage.

  12. You are so right about the blazer window! Last week I was able to break out the ankle boots, dark jeans, and an olive hound’s tooth blazer that was made for me in the 1990s as part of a suit. It too is sharp at the shoulders, but I think the shape is flattering —and I felt terribly chic at the dentist’s!

  13. I love your Vince turtleneck! I’ve got two Vince long sleeve crew neck tops that I wear as “underpinning” as well…very versatile and serve the same purpose as your turtlenecks. I don’t do turtllenecks; my neck is too short and I feel like I’m being strangled. My favorite of your outfits above is your camel/tan blazer with black skinnies…it’s superb!

    1. Ah well… I guess I’ve just fallen into the habit of listing brand names. Partly because when I first started blogging commenters always asked me what brand a piece was. It was not with any need to list designers, more as information.

      1. Actually, I appreciate (and I’m sure lots of others do as well) you listing the brand names. Gives me a place to start looking even if that particular design is no longer available.

        Thanks for all your work on the blog!

  14. You look great in your blazers, I especially love the forest green one with the green sweater worn outside. I appreciate you giving the brands of your clothes. This way I can look them and buy something similar, even if yours are old. I hadn’t thought of wearing something 30 times as a criteria for purchase but I will in the future.

    1. I’m afraid that I’ve just fallen into the habit of listing brands. Perhaps more than I need to do. I love that green sweater with the jacket too. They are almost an exact match.

  15. Love your blazer looks, and am very envious. I went out to lunch with a friend earlier today and wore a lightweight summer sweater. It is 71 degrees F. here in Manhattan, and blazer weather may never come. That’s just as well, since I got rid of all my blazers except one. It’s a wool blend from Zanella, a beautiful navy and gray sort of checked Italian fabric, that I had altered within an inch of its life. I haven’t worn it since the pandemic, and may never wear it again.
    Weather like this makes me so sad. October was always my favorite month, for clothes and for going to Europe. The world has changed so much that sometimes I think I can’t bear it. But really, what choice do we have?
    On a more positive note, I love reading your blog. If anything can cheer me up, it’s a new post from Sue. Thanks for all the hard work.

  16. I like all the blazer looks – especially the one you’re going to wear (or wore) for lunch with your husband.

    Turtlenecks – I love the Miik “Kerry turtleneck” made in Canada (everything, even the fabric) by women for women – so many colours and they last forever. https://www.miik.ca/collections/fall-2021-collection-capsule-1/products/kerry-fitted-turtleneck-top

    I had an Eileen Fisher one – it was always so full of static (even on the wet West Coast), it drove me batty!

    Thanks for (another) great post.

  17. Hi Sue, such a lovely selection of outfits … casually stylish and very you! I especially like the black and camel combination and your new Fossil bag … minus the key 😉
    I wish I looked as good in blazers as you do.
    I hope you and hubby had a lovely lunch. I admit to often enjoying lunch out but I envy your kayaking and camping trips … and especially your view from home! You chose so well when you moved there. I love where I live, but a water or mountain view would be the icing on the cake!
    I’m really happy to be wearing sweaters, boots and scarves again with a lightweight jacket or trench. We’ve had some lovely crisp and sunny days recently, perfect for sitting outside for coffee.
    I find it useful that you mention brands in your outfit info as you’ve introduced me to quite a few brands that are new to me.
    Shame we don’t live closer , it would be lovely to have a wander and lunch together.
    Take care , have a good week.
    Rosie xx

  18. Hi again … I meant to add that I think your sweater, like a scarf over your jacket looks great. I’ve worn one like this for years. Especially when we’re travelling or out for the day in a city. Then I’ve an extra layer to pop on in the evening as the temperature drops. I don’t think I’ve had any strange looks … or not that I’ve been aware of!
    Rosie xx

  19. You look great in all your blazer outfits, my favourite being the camel blazer one. Also love your new bag. I also have a very small window period here to wear blazers and light jackets which is a shame as I have many that I brought with me from SA where they were considered winter toppers! I like to see the brand names of your outfits for various reasons.

  20. All these outfits are wonderful full. Your black turtleneck is a great find. Getting my hands on good basics is like finding a needle in a haystack. I’m always hunting for : good tees, turtlenecks and button shirts. Unfortunately no blazers or sweaters yet. Fall in Virginia comes very late. Up until last week people were still in shorts and flip flops. So, blazer season doesn’t begin until late October and can be worn throughout the winter. I have a burgundy blazer I love, it’s really a sweater blazer. The style is classic like a blazer but has some give to it. Also a gray herringbone blazer I love too.

  21. I think you should definitely move to Melbourne.. the weather here means we can wear a blazer as outer wear virtually all of winter and at least half of autumn and spring. if you ask a local they will probably say you can wear it half of summer too!
    your outfits look great. i always think in relation to something like your blazer looking dated, it depends what you wear it with. if you were still wearing that check blazer with pearls and heels and a skirt as we all would have back in the day, it would look dated, but it looks fresh and reimagined with the rest of your outfit… so pay no attention at all

  22. Hi Sue,
    You are looking sharp in your old blazers! They all look good to me. Just think of the plaid one as “vintage.” I love the Everlane green polo sweater and am sorry to see that it is sold out. Maybe the company will restock. I’ve gained weight and am not very inspired about wearing things this fall. However, I purchased a pair of clogs and boots that I am sure I will wear and wear.
    When I unpacked my fall and winter clothing, I realized that my old orange polo cashmere sweater should be back in style. I have cashmere lounge pants in black and dark gray that I wear every winter with dressy tops. I’m hoping that they will fit.
    I dug out my old black Coach bucket bag (after admiring a refurbished brown one in a Coach catalog). I’ve been enjoying getting reacquainted with the lovely bag.
    Enjoy your lunch outing.

  23. I feel like you are the Blazer Queen!

    Sorry you can’t be a flaneûr out and about. Feels in some ways like this tail end of the pandemic just pulls out new ways to torture us. Sending a big hug.

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