I’m a huge believer in buying quality pieces I love, and then wearing them for years. In making every piece in my closet work, and work, and work.

The navy Veronica Beard suit I bought in 2016 became, from day one, an integral part of my closet. Navy is such an easy colour with which to work. I’ve worn the pants and the jacket with the detachable hoodie (or half a hoodie, actually) with various coloured camis underneath, with sneakers, with my black Stuart Weitzman loafers, or my red Earth brand ones. I’ve worn the pants alone with a tee or a sweater, and sandals or sneakers.

The jacket with the hoodie/dickie zipped in with a tee shirt underneath, bootcut jeans, ankle boots, and a windbreaker is good on those slightly cooler days. And the jacket, with the attached hoodie zipped out and substituted with a grey, light-wool hooded sweater kept me warm all over England in the fall of 2017. I’ve worn the jacket over various tees, with my Burberry denim skirt, or with skinny jeans, sneakers or loafers, and a plethora of scarves.

From early on I tried to find alternatives to the grey zip-out hoodie. Veronica Beard does offer a couple of different choices; one is a woollen fisherman knit sweater that, to me, looks all wrong with the jacket, and another is a faded denim jacket which looks cool. But man, oh man, they are pricey. More than you’d pay for a whole sweater, let alone a half a sweater or jean jacket. Plus, I really like the look of the structured jacket with the casual hoodie. My grey, pullover from Aritzia works a treat. But, still, it’s grey, and even though it’s warmer than the zip-out hoodie, it looks too similar.

Last year I shopped high and low for a red, zippered hoodie to wear with the jacket, jeans, and my red Earth brand loafers. I wanted one that was not too bulky, but not too flimsy, not too cropped, but not overly long either. Such a sweater seemed not to exist. So I threw in the towel, bought a black, crew-neck sweatshirt from Aritzia to go with my white jeans, and forgot about the idea of a replacement hoodie.

Until last week, when I saw that Uniqlo had lovely, not too bulky, not too flimsy, zippered hoodies on their site. But not in red. At least not in the style and fabric that I wanted. I considered yellow for a nano-second. Then thought that this soft, bluey-pink one might be just the ticket. Not to wear with my red loafers, but with the burgundy Paul Green loafers I bought last fall.

woman wearing Veronica Beard navy suit, pink Uniqlo hoodie, Vince tee, Paul Green burgundy loafers, and socks from Simons standing on a deck beside red deck furniture

Veronica Beard jacket with pink Uniqlo sweatshirt, white Vince tee, Paige high-rise skinny, jeans, and Paul Green loafers with pink socks from Simons.

And so the pink hoodie has turned out to be, as I thought, just the ticket. I tried it with my lilac socks and didn’t hate the look.

So on Thursday morning I headed out for breakfast with my former JMSS colleagues, wearing my Veronica Beard jacket, Paige high-rise, dark-wash skinny jeans, and a white Vince tee… plus my new pink hoodie. Since the temperature was a chilly 5°C. I draped a burgundy, light wool scarf around my neck to keep me warm. The scarf goes well with my Paul Green loafers (similar) and this old Marc Jacobs bag. The lilac socks with this outfit? Not so much. But it was too cold for bare ankles, so I have pantyhose on in this shot. I know, pantyhose under jeans are an anathema for some. But not me.

woman wearing Veronica Beard navy suit, pink Uniqlo hoodie, Vince tee, Paul Green burgundy loafers, Nordstrom scarf, and carrying a Marc Jacobs burgundy bag standing in a driveway
Off I go for my breakfast in sunshine and 5°C temperatures. Wee bit chilly.

Then, later, when I had errands to run before my next engagement (book club luncheon), I jettisoned the pantyhose and the scarf. It pays to carry a large bag sometimes, people.

woman wearing Veronica Beard navy suit, pink Uniqlo hoodie, Vince tee, Paul Green burgundy loafers standing outside a grey house.

Whoops… staggering not dancing here.

So, I’m pleased with my find. Even if it’s not what I wanted originally. This zippered sweatshirt will be great for travel. With jeans, blue or white. With my black and white checked cropped pants. Maybe even with my burgundy, plaid cropped pants and my burgundy loafers. It’s well made, neither flimsy, nor droopy. I hate droopy. I ordered an extra-large, and that’s probably a size larger than I need, but I like how it falls away from my body. Besides, it may shrink eventually. And I wanted to be sure that I could make this piece work, and work, and work.

Pink is not always kind to me. Especially orangey pinks, or peachey pinks. They make me look ill. I have quite a bit of red in my face, and as a child I had reddish hair, like my grandmother. Everyone always thinks that warm tones, peaches and corals will suit me, since I have a redhead’s complexion.

But according to Mona, my former hairdresser who was into all that colour stuff back in the eighties, I’m a “cool red”, and not a “warm red.” She did the whole colour thing with me one day while we waited for my hair-colour to process. She held up large bits of cardboard in various colours under my chin. The peach one made me look terrible; the colour seemed to leach from my face, I looked sick, and my freckles stood out. But the cool burgundy instantly transformed me back into the picture of health.

I never cared too much if I was a “spring” or an “autumn” like some of my friends who had had their “colours done” and never shopped without their colour swatches. But since that little chat with Mona, I’ve always looked for reds and pinks with blue undertones.

woman wearing Veronica Beard navy suit, pink Uniqlo hoodie, Vince tee, Paul Green burgundy loafers, sitting on the steps of a deck
Enjoying the sunshine while I can.

You know, I’m so pleased that making the pieces in our closets work and work and work is now the cool thing to do. I always buy pieces that I know will be flexible, and which will work with a variety of other pieces, for a long time. At least as long as they suit my body and my lifestyle. That’s always been the smart thing to do, as far as I’m concerned. And the right thing to do environmentally. But it hasn’t always been cool.

Not since the seventies when we all patched our jeans, and wore them until they fell off of us. That was only partly because it was the cool thing to do. The other reason had to do with the fact that most of my friends and I couldn’t afford to have ten pairs of jeans. Not when we made fours dollars a night working for my Aunt Phyl in the canteen at the Lady Beaverbrook Rink. There was no such thing as fast fashion. I remember we paid ten dollars for a pair of Levis at Chippin’s clothing store, the only store in Fredericton that carried them. And I remember when we heard rumours that, in Russia, kids were paying up to fifty dollars to get their hands on a pair of American-made jeans. Scandalous. Jeans would surely never cost that much over here. Ha.

I’m looking forward to making my new pink hoodie work hard to earn its place in my closet. I’ll be wearing it a lot this spring. With my Veronica Beard jacket… hopefully without the woollen scarf.

Hopefully… without a scarf. Maybe. But not today. It’s snowing out right now.

I know.

Sometimes I hate spring. It can be a perverse season. Especially when it plays coy, making us think it’s here for good. And then disappearing again.

Just messing with those of us who have stupidly put away the winter woolies. Sigh.

P.S. You can find that Uniqlo hoodie here, if you’re interested, but the pink colour is out of stock. I couldn’t find my burgundy Marc Jacobs bag anywhere. But I did buy it in 2015, so no surprise there. I like this one, though, even better. Not so squashy, bit more structured.

P.P.S. Most of my shopping links are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking on an affiliate link, I will earn a commission. So thanks for that.


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From the archives


Joys of Rereading Jane Austen.

This week I am rereading Jane Austen. Which means I can revel in the book and not worry if the characters will find happiness. Or not.

Escape to the Wilderness

Camping can be balm for the soul. Sometimes. And then there are the other times.

The Art of Distraction

This week, what with politics, snow storms, and one country in Europe on the edge of destruction, I think we're all in need of distraction.

23 thoughts on “Making Things Work. And Work, and Work”

  1. This sweatshirt — so great with your suit jacket, and I love the way you make the look go even further by mixing in the burgundy scarf and bag. And completely with you on making our closet items work and work and work. Currently working the heck out of a very small wardrobe while traveling, as you know, and then you remind me of the years when we never expected to add to our wardrobes very often. even 20-25 years ago, when my daughters were in their teens, they made items work and work and work (remember your students adding fabric strips to the outside seams of their jeans for that wide-legged look in the 90s? Or was that just a West Coast thing?

    1. I remember my sister and I doing that in the early seventies, cutting a slit in the jeans and sewing some floral material in to widen the bell bottom and make them longer. But none of my students did that in the nineties. They did however all wear clogs, and slouchy jeans and the girls parted their long hair in the middle just like when I was in school. I remember encountering one kid on the stairs who was wearing one of those crocheted skull caps, and with her long straight blonde hair looked exactly like my best friend in high school. I think I even did a double-take.

  2. I love how you make your wardrobe so functional and stylish at the same time. Also, Uniqlo sizing is interesting. Where I can take an xs in Banana Republic, I need a M/L in Uniqlo. I should have been more mindful of that when I scored two of their cashmere sweaters for $30ea. They are great for everyday but a tad slim through my “senior tummy”.
    Thank you for sharing the wisdom!

    1. I know what you mean about Uniqlo sizing. They have a good chart with measurements, though. Sleeve length, and sweater length in the back and width etc. I paid close attention to it and it was pretty bang on, I thought. My down vest, and my cashmere sweater are both extra-large.

  3. Hi Sue,
    Uniqlo seems to be a gem of a store I should spend more time in. Always nice to have a reason to visit Yorkdale. Happy Sunday!

    1. I think that Uniqlo is pretty good for some stuff. Although when I was in New York in 2017, I didn’t see anything in the store that I wanted to try on.

  4. Gyrations way to stay flexible on what you can actually find when you are on he hunt for something specific! I have had various items that just could not be found, color or size just not out there, and had to compromise with something other than what I wanted. Honestly, I love the pink when you add the burgundy accessories! Win Win!

    1. Thanks, Deanne. Lately I’ve tried things on in-store just to get a feel for sizing and fabris etc. Then I’ve ordered on-line where the variety of colour choices and sizes is bigger. I did that with a tee from Zara last year. Not that I’m much of a Zara lover… but they do have good quality tees… some of them, anyway.
      P.S. I think you got stung by auto-correct in your comment:)

  5. I absolutely love what you do with color here. And the reuse of a “look” i.e. hooded sweatshirt inside the blazer. Am also a big UNIQLO fan:).

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I have had good luck with all of the things I’ve ordered on-line from Uniqlo. I started with my burgundy down vest last fall on the recommendation of Sue/Une Femme.

  6. You look cool in your pink sweatshirt indeed! I like it very much on you but this colour doesn’t suit me at all-except during summer with some tan…..
    Re pantyhose under jeans or whatever-It is not my opinion because I’m d’un certain âge but I couldn’t understand why one has to be cold,get common cold, pneumonia or cystitis because “it is not fashion appropriate” even as a young woman.It’s Emperor’s New Clothes thing. I wear socks or bare legs when the weather is fine,but during the winter…….sorry not sorry….

  7. You look really good Sue . I’ve tried the hoodie under jacket look but struggled & found myself faffing with the hood all the time . Perhaps my neck isn’t long enough – not much I can do about that . Snow again ! I seem to be obsessing about the weather around your area now & keep checking the forecast to see if spring has arrived . Chin-up .

    1. Ha. Thanks Wendy. Chin up… just not too much. Safer to keep it tucked into my warm scarf. Stu and I walked this morning in sunshine and 4°C. It was lovely. But he’s stressing he’ll never get his garden in at this rate.

  8. I love that you went with the pink, and it looks great with your socks too. Plus, I’m partial to Uniqlo. I’ve added triangles to my pant legs to make them belled too. My clothes work and work too, often after they’ve already worked and worked for someone else. I’m thankful that they are cared for enough by previous owners to allow several go-rounds, although I do have pieces that I wear right into the ground!

    1. I can’t compete with you and your colour style. Not that it’s a competition:) I really must try harder to give find vintage or thrifted pieces. Heading to Toronto later this spring. I’ll check out those wonderful vintage stores around Kensington Market.

  9. Love the look and colors! Never thought of “de-formalizing” a blazer this way. I wouldn’t have minded going with the pink socks even with all the burgundy – I like color, and never had – or heard of – any problem with socks or pantyhose showing under pants. Probably coz here in Israel their season is too short to bother making rules about them. 🙂
    Thanks also for the tips on uniqlo sizing, just in case. Wishing you a warm spring!

  10. Ann in Missouri

    Yes, spring is perverse. Down here in the Ozarks on the last day of April, we’re getting deluged, which one shouldn’t complain about in April. But it comes with tornado watches and warnings and sightings. Tonight does not promise uninterrupted sleep.

    Back to fashion and style … you look great in that right-for-you shade of pink hoodie. I am copying your layers on these still-cold mornings that turn into warm days.

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