The title says it all: pretty simple. But I felt so comfortable wearing this, you guys. I felt polished but understated, which is slowly becoming my preferred sartorial “message”. I’ve said this before: separating my love of colours from my personal style has not always been easy. I love colour, and I even love wearing bold colours, but not necessarily in the way that I used to. But after wearing outfits like this one, it’s hard to deny what the heart wants.
The colour here is obviously muted, but can I just mention how much I love the green of this sweater? The label called it “thistle”, which I also love. (I have an odd fondness for thistles.) Though I very rarely buy clothes at regular retail stores, I couldn’t resist this Selected Femme piece at Saks Off Fifth. It’s not a brand I knew before, but it’s something I’d definitely look for at thrift stores in the future. The funnel-like neck (wider than a mock turtleneck) is so chic, and gives it a bit of that effortless Euro appeal I’m always chasing.
Speaking of colour, a funny story. I recently discovered that I experience Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) — and fell into the, hands down, strangest internet rabbit hole ever, but that’s another story. I have been experiencing ASMR for as long as I can remember, but I had not realized, until that point, that it was a “thing” or that only some people experience it. That got me thinking about other everyday sensory experiences that one might have without realizing that they are unusual. While I am not a synesthete (though I think that would be super cool), I do have really strong emotional/physical reactions to colours. The reactions are very shade-specific; certain reds feel suffocating/oppressive to me, for example, while others are cheerful. Salmon pink makes me feel irritated, while fuchsia makes me feel excited. Some blues are soothing, others are depressing. I am thinking of making of list of the feelings associated with each of my favourite colours, so I can see if I can manipulate my mood by strategically deploying them in my outfits.
Does anyone else associated colours with certain moods or feelings? Any synesthetes in the crowd? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
I mentioned previously that I struggle with updating my dress outfit formulas to reflect my current style vibe (architectural, edgy classic), and this outfit is a good illustration of what comes out of that struggle. I was originally going to wear this dress with a blazer because, hello, that’s what I always do. It’s easy and it works, and sometimes it’s what my day calls for — say, if I have a client meeting or something. But it feels a bit boring, and on days when I have more sartorial leeway, I prefer to try something other than “boring”.
The other strike against the blazer option in this case happened because of the shoes. I had just thrifted them (for $12!) and was dying to wear them; I hadn’t planned on wearing them with this dress at first — I thought they would work best with pants, to avoid looking too old-fashioned — but I quickly realized that they could be a nice match. The midi length has a bit of a vintage vibe, which pairs well with the shoes, but the dress is otherwise fairly modern, which keeps everything from sliding into costume territory. But what about a topper? Blazers were out, because none of mine worked with the rest of the look. It needed to be something that would not clash with the vintage vibe, but would also bring the outfit as a whole closer to my preferred aesthetic.
A sweater seemed too casual. A black cardigan looked great, but it only reinforced the vintage element. Eventually, I pulled out this cream waterfall cardigan, which looked more promising. What I really wanted to do was to add volume to the top part of the outfit, to balance and contrast with the slinkiness of the dress silhouette, and add some of those architectural lines I can’t seem to stop talking about; luckily, the long cardigan did the trick. I added back some definition with the belt, and voila: an outfit was born. It might not be particularly edgy, but it is (hopefully) an interesting twist on the dress+topper formula.
Can it be called monochrome if it involves a floral print? I guess that’s a rhetorical question; Imma go ahead and file this under “purple”, which may be more generalization than truth. What’s for sure is this is another Peak Adina outfit. I like the slightly offbeat proportions, and the fact that it’s undeniably feminine without being at all girly. I note, with some concern — she says, tongue firmly in cheek — that it features pants, just like the last outfit I tagged as most representative of my current sartorial aspirations. Since my love-hate relationship with pants is well-documented on this blog, what does that mean?
Best as I can tell, it means that I’m still figuring out how to translate my new interest in unusual and/or architectural silhouettes to dresses and skirt outfits. For example, while I love sheath dresses and pencil skirts, it’s too easy to default to my old trusted outfit formulas when I wear these pieces; those resulting outfits, while certainly figure-flattering and suitable to my lifestyle, don’t excite me all that much anymore.
Here are some dress/skirt details to which I find myself drawn these days: (knife and regular) pleats, paperbag waists, tulip skirts, two-piece dresses (aka dresses that look like separates, with the top part “untucked”, but which are attached — is there a term for this style??). Some of the details can be found on pieces I already own, and I am by no means rushing out to replace everything else. It’s just taking me a while to figure out how to remix my favourite pieces in new ways that let me explore some new sartorial territory. And what could be more fun?
Another thing I want to explore these days is playing with volume and texture, rather than colour combinations and print mixes as in the past. This outfit is a good example of that, too. Who says monochrome has to be boring?