Fall Closet Goal… Wear What I Own

I fully admit to spending way too much time thinking about clothes. Leafing through magazines or scrolling Pinterest and dreaming of outfits. I love organizing my closet, making lists of what I have, what I’ve bought, and what I still need. The seasonal turning of my closet is imminently satisfying to me. Washing my spring and summer clothes, then neatly packing them away. Pulling out my fall and winter jackets and sweaters and hanging them in my closet, or folding them into drawers. And every year when I do this I promise myself that I will wear what I own. And every year I fall short of that goal. But not this year. This year my fall closet goal is to wear every one of my fall jackets at least once.

So my task when we came home from Croatia last month was to get back on my exercise bike, fire up Pinterest, and plan outfits for every one of my old jackets. My aging but still lovely, still covetable, tweed, and suede, and leather jackets.

I was inspired initially by the shots, above, from Celine Fall and Winter 2019-2020. These looks are deliciously retro, don’t you think? And that works well for me. I mean, take that tweed houndstooth blazer… don’t I own one just like it? I sure do. From Alfred Sung. Bought way back in the mists of time, 1988, I think. Didn’t I recently haul it out of the back of my closet, and take it to the tailor who removed the shoulder pads and replaced them with something a little less 1988-ish? I sure did. Clever me.

Fall colours. Alfred Sung houndstooth blazer, Prada sweater, Lafayette 148 blouse, Frame high-rise, boot-cut jeans, and Paul Green boots.
My take on that Celine Fall and Winter 2019 look.

I love my Alfred Sung blazer. It’s super light-weight and soft, with lovely dark green lining. The first week we were home from our trip, I met my friend Marina for lunch, and this is what I wore. My Layafette 148 white cotton blouse, a dark green Prada wool sweater that I bought in New York in 2016, my Frame high-rise boot-cut jeans, and my Paul Green boots. I love a crew neck sweater under jackets. On its own or over a tee shirt or blouse. The blouse has to have stretch or I don’t find the combination comfortable. And the collar has to stay put or else I continually fuss with it. But this Lafayette 148 shirt works well under a sweater, and is really comfortable. I bought mine at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale a couple of years ago.

By the way, I saw this sweater at Nordstrom yesterday. It’s slim enough to slip under a jacket without being too bulky, but loose enough to hide what I want to hide. And if I didn’t have too much burgundy in my wardrobe already, I’d have bought it to slip under my old jacket. But I do have too much burgundy already, so I won’t.

Duly pleased with myself and my first foray into old tweed, I put together this outfit, below, the other day. I bounced out of the bedroom smiling broadly and announced to Hubby the provenance of each item I was wearing. Jacket 2004, pants 2015, scarf 2016, sneakers 2015, tee shirt this year. I adore this old Max Mara double-breasted jacket. But I haven’t worn it for years and years. And not ever with burgundy.

By the Rideau River in Max Mara tweed jacket, Talbots long-sleeve tee, NYDJ burgundy jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, and scarf from Nordstrom.
I used to wear this Max Mara jacket with jeans and boots or with the matching pants and sweater.

Back in the day I wore my Max Mara jacket with matching bronze, wool dress-pants and a sweater… not tweed, just bronzey wool in the same shade as the jacket. Or I wore the jacket with jeans and brown boots and the bronze sweater. Never with burgundy. But the acquisition of the Talbots burgundy tee which I bought for our trip gave me an idea, a column of colour under the jacket using my old NYDJ burgundy pants.

By the Rideau River in Max Mara tweed jacket, Talbots long-sleeve tee, NYDJ burgundy jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, and scarf from Nordstrom.
I am really pleased with my old jacket and my burgundy “column of colour.”

I really love these NYDJ jeans. And I have’t worn them much in the past couple of years. They work perfectly with the tee shirt and my ubiquitous burgundy scarf. For a couple of years, the bootcut looked a bit off to me. Not as chic as cropped or skinny jeans. Now they look just right. And they fit just right, which is a relief. NYDJ jeans are well made, I think. And with just enough stretch to feel really good. Later, when the snow flies, I’ll change up the sneakers for my brown Paul Green boots. I looked around on-line to see if I could find these jeans in burgundy, but interestingly, I found them in a soft brown instead. Which is much more on-trend. You can see the NYDJ pants in “coffee bean” here.

By the Rideau River in Max Mara tweed jacket, Talbots long-sleeve tee, NYDJ burgundy jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, and scarf from Nordstrom.
I am feeling “chuffed.” Love that word.

Now here’s the thing that had me feeling really chuffed about this outfit. The bag, my friends, the bag. I bought this vintage croc bag at the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show a few years ago. I love it. But the chain strap is so short, I’ve used it only as a clutch. And now I will take advantage of the fact that super short, cross-body bags are cool. They don’t look as silly to me as I once thought they did. And when I’m out in public if I can’t get the bag off over my scarf and my big head, I can just unclip the strap. Easy.

So, the other day, all wrapped up in Max Mara and burgundy I was off. Happy. But secretly wishing I had somewhere more exciting to go in my outfit. I mean, I like going to the library, but I didn’t think our librarian would be as appreciative of my outfit as he should be. Ha.

Max Mara tweed jacket, Talbots long-sleeve tee, NYDJ burgundy jeans, vintage croc bag, and scarf from Nordstrom.
I look pleased with myself, don’t I?

I was so pleased with my old jackets that, when I came home from the library, I did some scooting around on the net. Looking for tweed jackets, like the Celine ones, which I can’t afford. Jackets that I would buy if I didn’t already own several tweed jackets. Tweed is really big this year, and not just at Celine. My favourite one is the Bella Freud Harris tweed jacket on the left below. It’s beautiful. Timeless, actually. I found a lovely Max Mara jacket. In fact, I think I saw the same jacket in a Max Mara store in Zagreb in October. The grey J. Crew boyfriend jacket is really nice too. Have a look.

So how am I doing with my “wear what I own” closet goal? Well, I’ve worn these two tweed jackets. I wore my khaki suede moto jacket to town one day. And a short, black Elie Tahari coat with leather trim to lunch with former colleagues. I still have a couple of tweed jackets to go yet. One long Max Mara blazer from 1998, and a shorter jacket, part of a skirt suit, from 2001. I was on a real Max Mara run back in the day, when I was still working and wore suits and jackets regularly, most days in fact. Even on casual Fridays, I usually wore a blazer, and swapped out my skirt or dress-pants for jeans and boots. I used to get occasional flack from colleagues for not being casual enough on casual Fridays.

I remember one young teacher in my department told me that I was more dressed up when I was casual than she was when she was dressed up. I’m still not sure if that was an insult, a compliment, or just an observation. That’s because she did come out with the oddest things sometimes. One day we walked together back to our prep room from a staff meeting, down a long hallway, up several sets of stairs, then down another long hallway. I take long strides, and she was not nearly as tall as me. As she gasped for breath trying to keep up, she said, “Jeeze. You must be in really good shape. You aren’t even breathing hard and you’re like twice my age.” Ha. I choked back my guffaw, and just smiled instead.

You know, this new jacket project has been a ton of fun. My goal to wear what I own has kept me occupied with lots of research and outfit dreaming, helped me not get bored on my exercise bike, and staved off post trip let-down. Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro were all wonderful. I still have to tell you about our time in Bosnia-Herzegovina and our last few days in Zagreb. Where, I must admit, I squeezed in a desperately needed hour or so of shopping with Dottoressa. Oh my, I was starved for fashion talk and window shopping, I can tell you.

And I will tell you…. soon.

Now how about you my friends? Do you have any fall closet goals? Do you wear what you own? Or do you have a plethora of lovely pieces languishing unloved and unworn in your cupboard? Come on; you can tell us.

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31 thoughts on “Fall Closet Goal… Wear What I Own”

  1. Yes , the switch from summer to winter is my favourite wardrobe time too – Discovering all those treasures that seemed suffocating in the warmth of summer but are perfect now . I’ve always loved tweed jackets & like you have some old but good ones . I think perhaps I overdid the shoulder pads in the old days as some of mine couldn’t be adjusted enough , I tried one but it didn’t work . Perhaps your tailor is more skillful . You have some great combinations here & I like the other jackets you’ve found . I was admiring the Isabel Marant just yesterday but in a lighter , denim blue colourway . Lovely quality fabric . No buying though . These days autumn seems very short & I get more wear from my proper winter coats . I try not to feel guilty if I do neglect certain items . Sometimes I don’t wear something for a few years then it becomes a favourite again . I do send things to the charity shops but the advice to sling it if you haven’t worn it for a year doesn’t work for me .

    1. My tailor couldn’t take the shoulders down as much as I wanted without a costly refit and so I settled for removing the big shoulder pads and replacing with smaller ones. It’s still a bit Joan Crawford-ish… or like Linda Evans wore in Dynasty in the eighties… minus the jewels and the big hair of course. Now that you’ve reminded me… my next closet goal should be to wear all my winter coats. Old and new-ish. No coat left behind, so to speak.

  2. Much as I love brown, I can’t wear it, except as boots or bags. On the other hand, my black-white-grey-gold-silver love knows no bounds, aided by a beautiful wool houndstooth jacket via my mum, so this year I am striding out rather smartly. Should an oversized black roll neck jumper present itself, it will be snapped up but, like you, I am organising what I have and making it work in different combinations. Mr Green is the tweed wearer in this house, and very well he does it, part gamekeeper, part gent-about-town. Ah, to be tall and rangy…

  3. Always love catching up with your blog! I’ve been trying to shop my closet more so thanks so the inspiration! Loving fab and love the tweed jackets!
    Dawn Lucy

  4. Your old, new outfits look like they’re straight from Celine. Stunning. Yes, I have closet goals for Fall, but the weather isn’t cooperating..at all.

  5. Love the burgundy outfit! Talbots has burgundy jeggings this season, and I love the pair I bought. Though I can’t wear the lovely bronzey and autumnal tones, burgundy-black-white-gray is a great pallette for me.
    Those jackets! wish I had some old ones in my closet to bring to the forefront but I haven’t ever really been a blazer person. Hoping to try on the style by finding a nice one second-and, or giving the Everlane blazers a try.
    Best of luck on your closet-shopping goal! We’ll love to follow along on your progress.

  6. I had a colleague who would always say “that’s what you call casual”. Of course she would come to work in her pajamas if it was allowed.
    I’m so impressed that you hold onto your beautiful older items and still look so good in them. I’m more of a one in one out type of shopper because there always was a lack of storage space.

    1. I have a couple of garment bags tucked into every closet in my house. My closet is tiny. So I have co-opted most of Hubby’s and much of the hall closet. Plus we bought a new bed for the guest bedroom with drawers underneath. Still, I have to be careful and cull regularly.

  7. My first response to you although I am a regular reader of your blogs. What triggered me was the fact that you are working your wardrobe and not buying new clothes. This is exactly what I have decided to TRY this autumn/winter. I have been using my wardrobes as if they were shops and, it has been working really well. Putting different outfits together and deciding what looks best and it has been great fun. I also have a large collection of scarves (saved over many years) and these have been very useful. I admit I did buy a new pair of pull-on winter trousers and a sweater when we were on holiday a few weeks ago and I am looking for a new cardigan for the cold evenings but that is very little for me.
    I look forward to your blogs so please keep them going.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I do work at NOT buying many new things. Although some seasons I need a refresh. Bought quite a few things a couple of springs ago. But fall is easier because I have so many jackets and blazers from my work life. Right now I’d love to find a silky tie blouse to slip under an old forest green tweed jacket I have. I can just picture what I want… but not sure if I’ll ever find it.

  8. I very much like the classic looks that are so in style right now and think that you’ve done a wonderful job in pulling that look together from items in the back of your closet. A beautiful Harris Tweed that I purchased in 1984 has been sitting in storage for many years. It’s a little tight in the upper arms (large muscles from gardening) but I’m going to buy a lightweight wool sweater to wear under it and hope I look as great as you do in your jackets.

  9. Beautiful outfits indeed! I love both of your blazers very much and the combination with burgundy is so lovely-such an inspiration,both Celine and you!
    I plan to wear old things in old and new combinations,but so far it was unusually warm and forecast rain for this week -so,I’m afraid -it will be the trench coat x 7 days (and umbrella)

    1. Thanks Dottoressa. Snowing here. Winter wool and down coats only for the next while. Looking forward to wearing my light down Uniqlo jacket. So glad I bought it in cream… and not a dark colour. We don’t need any more darkness in November.

  10. You inspired me to work on my closet yesterday. It is large & filled with things I no longer wear. Maybe someday I’ll wear again?? Finding it hard to cull, I gave up after 2 hours and decided to wait for daughter’s visit at Christmas to help me!!!
    Love, love, love your blog!

  11. Thanks for a truly inspiring post. I’m a huge fan of tweed and the styling you’ve done is right up my street. I’m following suit with you, trying to wear all of my old jackets under the guise of retro this season – what fun this will be!

  12. Your “new” fall outfits look wonderful, Suzan. That first tweed one (with the green sweater) just knocks me out! And burgundy is smack dab in your palette!


  13. I love this post — and your looks! or is that your Lewk ;-)–but haven’t found time to comment since I first read it before the weekend. And now I’ve missed the convo. Oh well. . . At least I got the inspiration . . . Thank you!

  14. You look so stylish, Sue 🙂 …as for me, I only have one blazer now that I style over cashmere polonecks when things cool down that shirts and other tops don’t quite get the job done.

    The rest of my autumn wear consists of a couple of knit crewnecks, three knit V-necks, one chunky poloneck that looks like the jumpers they wore in the navy during the war, several poloneck skivvies, a few long sleeved shirts, four pair of warm slacks and of course, JEANS 🙂

    1. I need more more light knitwear to wear under my blazers. By the way… had to look up skivvy. Love how English is so different in different places.

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