Month: January 2018

Outfit Round-Up: January 2018

I’ve decided to switch things up a bit with my OOTDs; rather than individual posts, I am going to do regular round-ups of my favourite recent outfits. Almost all of my outfits end up on IG, so they don’t really need the double exposure, but this is supposed to be a style blog so sprinkling a few photos here and there is probably still a good idea. As much as possible, I will try to focus in on pieces I find most useful/versatile, as this is information that’s most likely to be of use to you guys.

My plan is to sprinkle a few of these posts throughout the month, but since January has come and gone, I figured I would do a larger recap to kick things off. So, in no particular order, here are my fave outfits from last month.

1) The Red Blazer-Coat Thingie


What do we call this? Is it a coat? Is it a blazer? I’m not sure, but I like how it switches up the traditional topper-trousers outfit formula. The “punched up” simplicity here – everything is plain and basic, but the silhouette is a bit unexpected and there’s that pop of coral – makes this a Peak Outfit. The blazer-coat is a Zara piece which … on one hand, yes, it’s fast fashion and not something I would normally thrift … but on the other hand, the clean aesthetic is very much my jam, and it is thrifted. The whole outfits is, in fact, thrifted/secondhand. Minus the bag, it cost something like $27. That might be a record.

2) The Rediscovered Dress


I’ve had this Tracy Reese dress in my closet for more than 3 years. It was relegated to my swap/sell/donate pile ages ago, after I lost weight and went down a couple of sizes. For some reason or another, I’ve never been able to part with it. It has nice stretch, and it feels heavenly soft, without being unflatteringly clingy. I was going through the aforementioned pile during the holidays and decided it was just the thing to wear given that I have a few extra pounds of indulgences on board at the moment. Although it’s still on the looser side, it’s not noticeably “too big”, which is in many ways my “happy spot” with clothes. Anyway, nothing remarkable about this outfit except that every piece feels nice to wear, which makes me feel great, and that is all that one can ask for in the middle of the frigid wasteland that is early January.

3) All the Teal in the World


As soon as I thrifted this cashmere sweater, I knew I would try to work it into one of my monochrome outfits. Late last year, I rediscovered my old J. Crew wool pencil skirts, which are perfect for the same purpose. An outfit – not exactly matched, but close enough – was born. I threw in some teal shoes because why not. The sweater-skirt combo is a little more “ladylike” than my current aesthetic, but it’s also a classic silhouette that’s hard to fault.

4) Casual Friday


Another all-thrifted/secondhand outfit. Minus the bag, total cost would be something like $30 and change. Ah, but the bag! It’s a good one. I found it on eBay while browsing the “Anthropologie bag” listings. Who knew Moulinette Soeurs made bags? The details are very Peak Anthropologie – the travel-inspired design (which carries over to the inside pocket as well – very cute), the inner striped lining, the contrast handles. Mine was in mint condition, which is miraculous given the cream canvas involved, but I think it’s the kind of bag that will look no less charming for a bit of wear and tear. We shall see. In the meantime, it’s the perfect size for work. As for the rest of the outfit, I love the playfulness of this Elizabeth & James linen top, especially paired with the leopard pumps. And the jeans are Adriano Goldschmied and they are typically soft and comfy; next to my similar Madewell pair, they are my new favourite denim.

5) Fancy Feet


I am a late adopter of many trends, which is probably why I was never destined for fashion blogging greatness. Take OTK boots; it took me until the year 2018 AD to finally give them a try — and that is only because I lack the internal fortitude to say “no” to a like-new pair of real leather, made in Spain boots for $17. I mean, I’m only human after all. Trying these on at home was the first time in the last, oh, 15 years that I found myself uttering the phrase “I really need a mini skirt”. Well, I don’t have a mini skirt, but this Antistar dress is one of the shortest I have, so it served for my plan. Specifically, my outfit. I like it. My husband hummed “Pretty Woman” the entire drive to our friends’ party. I didn’t even care because, yeah – I felt pretty damn good.

DIY Wool Rehab

I am not a very handy person – in life generally, but especially when it comes to the so-called domestic arts. For the most part, this is not something over which I lose sleep; I have mastered enough basic life skills to pass for an acceptably responsible adult, and I am fortunate to have money to throw at problems I can’t solve. Still, there are times when I wish I had spent more time in my youth learning practical arts – for example, every time I have to pay $20 for someone else to fix a basic hem on a dress. Sigh. Recently, though, I find that I am more inclined to take an occasional risk and attempt a solution myself; thrifting is often the catalyst because, well, the downside of a failed experiment is much less painful at thrift prices.

Such was the case with this red wool Smythe blazer.


This was my second time spotting Smythe at the thrift store, though it was a far more readily explainable occurrence. My first thrifted Smythe was in impeccable condition; this one … not so much. Commensurate with its retail price, the blazer had lovely design details. Real leather elbow patches; a windowpane print that lined up at each seam, and over the lapels too; that signature waist-nipping tailoring. The only problem? It had been shrunk to hell and back. In fact, it looked like it had made a trip to hell – wash ‘n dry cycle hell. The collar had shrunk into a permanently popped state, and the whole thing looked like a sad, misshapen child’s jacket.

It was also $6 (VV was running a random 50% off sale).

I suddenly remembered reading something online about how wool fibers have “memory” and can be un-shrunk. Without so much as trying on the blazer, I turned to my BFF and said “I’m going to try to fix it.”

When I got home, I decided to see how bad the damage really was. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo when I tried it on, but the image was comically horrific and my optimism took a nose dive; I pretty much wrote off my $6 then and there. No point in taking a photo to document my certain failure, right?

Well, as it turns out, this story has a happy ending after all. Behold:


There is no secret to this “magic”. I mean, all the instructions are right there on The Google. Here’s what I did:

– Soaked the blazer in a bathtub of lukewarm water with a bunch of Johnson’s baby bath shampoo. Don’t ask me how much; I eyeballed it. I realized belatedly that baby bath stuff + running water = foam, but luckily there were minimal suds to contend with. I left the blazer to marinate for about 20 minutes.

– Rinsed the blazer in lukewarm water, then gently squeezed (without wringing) the excess water out.

– Gently pulled and stretched the (wet) blazer back to a more natural shape/length.

– Put the blazer on a padded hanger, then proceeded to stuff it with towels until it looked like a dummy. The arms were difficult to stuff, so I used two small towels – one at each end. I closed the blazer button to hold the inner “stuffing” in place. Then I hung the (still wet) “dummy” and left it to air dry.

– Every so often, as it dried, I would gently pull and stretch – especially the bottom flaps.

The blazer dried much more quickly than I expected; it took about 36 hours. The lining remains fairly wrinkled, but the blazer is otherwise in great shape, including the leather. I think the elbow patches might benefit from a bit of conditioning, but they don’t look the worse for wear. This was surprising to me, though it should not have been; I had read accounts of people who have rehabbed vintage (leather) Coach bags by soaking them, re-shaping, and drying them (followed by conditioning) … still, I have always cringed at the idea of putting leather in water. This was a good lesson for me on that score as well.


As successful experiments are wont to do, this one has given me the confidence and desire to test my newfound rehabbing skills on new subjects. Next time I find a beautiful, shrunken Wilfred sweater at the thrift store, I shall not be disappointed; quite the opposite, in fact …

What I Read: Recap Edition

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts and, to be honest, I can’t remember everything I’ve read and watched during that time. Mostly, I read; with a few exceptions, lately, I haven’t felt the desire to sit down and commit to a show. The exceptions? I’ve watched almost the full 2 seasons of The Crown, and parts of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I adore the latter, and the only reason why I haven’t gobbled up every episode is that I don’t have access to it except when I’m visiting my girlfriends; we’ve had a few watch-a-thons, but I’m not fully caught up on all 3 seasons. I know all the songs though – they’re definitely my favourite part.

As for The Crown, it is eminently enjoyable but not binge-watching material for me. I will go ahead and confess that I enjoy the gossipy bits the most, and could do with less politics. I will definitely finish season 2 at some point, though, and look forward to future seasons; I hope they follow through to the Diana/Sarah Ferguson years at the very least.

I would also love for a similar treatment of Queen Victoria and her offspring; since PBS’ Victoria already covered the early years of her reign and marriage to Albert, we could skip ahead to, say, the 1860s when most of her children were starting to marry and multiply dynasties across Europe. There is SO MUCH material to be mined there! Scandals, love stories, wars, revolutions … you name it.

Moving on … much of what I read recently consisted of Anne Perry mystery novels. Perry is one of those writers, like Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and PD James, whose work I re-read once every 3-4 years. I’m actually not a huge fan of historical detective writing (i.e. set in pre-1900s times), but there is something about her writing that strikes the right chord with me. I prefer the Thomas Pitt series over the William Monk one, though I also like the earlier novels better because they focused more on the upper classes and less on things like treason and espionage. I am HERE for all the Victorian scandal, is what I’m saying. If anyone has recc’s for similar work in this narrow genre, let me have them.

Sidenote: during this most recent reading marathon, I belatedly realized that Anne Perry is the pseudonym of one of the women who, as teenagers, were involved in the infamous murder which inspired the movie Heavenly Creatures. She went to jail and served her time, and then emerged (or disappeared) into an incredible “second act” as a famous mystery/crime writer. The mind, it boggles. I also can’t believe that I had not heard of this before.

Other books I have read & enjoyed lately (round-up style):

Sicily by John Julius Norwich. I generally enjoy Norwich’s non-fiction, and this was no exception. Excellent writing and a interesting, fast-paced read. Sicily gets overlooked a lot in history books, but it was at the centre of conflagrations and political machinations for millennia.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Brosh is a co-writer of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I had heard of this book before (and, in fact, I’m pretty sure I read the blog at some point years ago), but I decided to buy it and read it over the holidays because I love the show so damn much. I loved the book as well, and my only complaint is that it didn’t keep going. It felt much too short.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. My BFF introduced me to this book, and I was hooked about half a chapter in, and rushed to buy my own copy. Needless to say, LOVED it. I am one of those people who is perpetually convinced that her carefully constructed cover of normalcy might be blown at any moment, leaving the “gross” weirdness inside completely exposed. Reading Irby’s book made me feel a little bit better about the possibility that there is weirdness that we all keep hidden away.

Your turn: tell me everything you’ve read and watched (and loved or didn’t) recently.