I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on the couch this winter. Coughing, hacking… whining. But this week a little video I watched on YouTube inspired me to get off the couch. There’s nothing like a dose of fashion inspiration to fix what ails us, I always say. An outfit idea will always cheer me up, and get me off the couch. Every time.

I’ve had a cold coming or going, or settling in for the long haul, in my chest or my throat or my sinuses since New Years. I know you know that. I’ve mostly attempted to keep the whinging and whining off the blog. Except for my original sickie post back in early January. All bets were off on Instagram, though. Ha. All through January, I stupidly struggled to take blog pictures and write posts and pedal my exercise bike. And generally pretend I was feeling better. Then we went skiing. Then we came home. And then wham. My old cold, or a new cold, came back in force, with a few added features, to make life interesting. So, last week I gave up. I shouted “you win” to the nasty germs or virus or whatever the hell was making me miserable. And retired to the couch. For a week.

For seven days I lay around drinking warm fluids, eating Hubby’s homemade turkey vegetable soup, and insisting on mashed potatoes for dinner (required fare for sickies IMHO). I read or scrolled through Instagram, and watched video after video on YouTube. And mindful of Nancy’s request, in her comment on a recent post, I’ve been making a list of my favourite fashion inspiration sources. The Instagram accounts and the YouTube channels which I follow purely for the love of fashion. Over the next while I plan to tell you all about my list. What’s on it and why.

In a post last week on creativity and finding inspiration, I mentioned Signe, the twenty-eight-year-old Danish former designer, and now blogger and vlogger, who I recently discovered. Signe’s blog and YouTube channel Use Less are all about using less (hence the name) and living a more sustainable life. You can find a link to her You Tube channel in that earlier post, and you can find her blog here. I love this kid. Her simple style, her aesthetic, and her overall view of life. And most of all, I love the ideas she promotes in her posts. And even though I could never get away with wearing rumpled, baggy, cropped, vintage Levis like she does, I still enjoy hearing and reading about her fashion philosophy, and how and why she puts outfits together.

It was through listening to one of Signe’s videos that I found out about British vlogger Emma Hill. Emma started blogging a number of years ago as a hobby, and then, like a lot of bloggers, quit her job in fashion retail to blog full time. She now works from her home in London. I find her videos vastly entertaining. For her sense of humour, her energy, and mostly for her fashion sense which dovetails so perfectly with my own. Like moi, she is a boots, blazer, and jeans kind of girl. You can find Emma’s You Tube channel here.

So it was one of Emma’s videos which I watched a few nights ago which finally shoehorned me off the couch, or out of bed as the case may be.

Vintage Max Mara double-breasted jacket, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, Vince turtleneck.
I’m pretty pleased with this old Max Mara jacket.

That night, still sleepless at 1:00 a.m., I tried to read but couldn’t focus. There’s just something about a throbbing head and burning sinus pathways that make concentration difficult. (Insert rueful laugh here.) So I plugged my headphones into my i-pad and decided to visit with Emma for a bit. In the video I watched, she talks about her fall and winter blazer collection. This girl may be a minimalist in her style, but her closet is anything but minimal. She owns seventeen fall and winter blazers. I counted.

At one point, when Emma was enthusing over blazer number two, or it might have been three, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. For my own closet. For my own sartorial past. And for a black Max Mara double-breasted blazer which I bought as part of a pant suit at Holt Renfrew back in the early nineties. And which I thought… which I hoped… still lurked in a garment bag in the depths of our hall closet.

Good thing that Hubby was sleeping in the spare room because I launched myself out of bed and began to rummage through said closet. Way in the back in a couple of garment bags live a few pieces that I haven’t worn in years, and which for various reasons I have not sold or given away. A gold and cream, striped silk blouse with a high neck. The skirt which matches my recently unearthed Adrienne Vittadini camel blazer. A black lacy dress that I bought to go to a gala at the Arts Centre in 1995. And… my old black Max Mara pants suit. Too treasured to give away, too old to sell at consignment stores that won’t take anything over two years old, it had survived purge after purge.

Vintage Max Mara double-breasted jacket, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Vince turtleneck.
I love this jacket. So why have not been wearing it?

I love, and have always loved, this old suit. The pants have a narrow leg, and when I wore both pieces as a suit with black, low-heeled boots, the outfit always had an early sixties vibe to me. Like something the Beatles might have worn onstage when they were still referred to as “mop tops.” The double-breasted jacket is quite plain and buttons high on the chest, with black buttons. But what makes the design interesting and cool, to me, are the two vertical seams running down the front, and the seam running horizontally at the zippered pockets.

The pants I didn’t even take off the hanger. Ha. I may be deluded sometimes. But I knew I didn’t have a hope of wearing them ever again. But I slipped the jacket on over my nightie, and it fit perfectly. And it still fit when, the next morning, I tried it with a heavy grey sweater underneath.

I love a black on black look. Even now at age sixty-three when black probably does me no favours, I love it. So I switched the grey sweater for my black turtleneck. And put on my most faded jeans, my Citizens of Humanity Rocket high-rise skinnies which I bought to take to France in 2015. Who doesn’t love a black jacket with faded denim? And finally my black Stuart Weitzman ankle boots.

Vintage Max Mara double-breasted jacket, Vince turtleneck, vintage earrings and bracelet, pendant from Magpie Jewellry.
Tiny cameo earrings stolen from my sister’s jewellry box.

For purely sentimental reasons, I dug out these old cameo earrings. They were my sister’s back in the day. I remember her wearing them in her high school graduation photo. In the sixties. And sometime in between that photo and her leaving home I must have “borrowed” them. As younger sisters are wont to do. And I have them still. My silver chain bracelet is vintage. The pendant necklace I bought at Magpie Jewellry here in Ottawa when I retired. My white woolly hat lightens all the black a teensy bit. And does double duty by covering my roots. Besides it’s kind of reminiscent of Michael Nesmith from the Monkees, don’t you think? Remember the Monkees, that other band of “mop tops”?

Yep. I love this old jacket. With jeans, and boots, and a turtleneck or a tee shirt. I should be wearing the darned thing. I can’t think why I haven’t been. In fact, I seem to be doing a lot of rummaging in my closet lately, and finding yet another old piece that I should be wearing. You must be thinking that my closet is limitless. Ha. One day I’ll show you just how NOT limitless my closet is.

Vintage Max Mara double-breasted jacket, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, Vince turtleneck.
I love black jackets with jeans and boots. Just like Emma.

So that’s the story of how one little fashion video inspired me to get out of bed at 1:00 a.m. and off my couch the next day. Inspired me to try on several outfits with this old jacket. To take photos for this post, and make some plans for future outfits. As I said to Hubby yesterday morning, “I must be feeling better. I woke up with an outfit idea in my head.”

This is Emma’s blazer video below. Have a look. This girl has a style that is timeless, and very chic. And dovetails perfectly with my own preferences, as I mentioned before. Emma may be a minimalist in her look but, as I also mentioned, her closet is anything but minimal. She has a ton of clothes. She says so herself in her videos, even jokes about it. I love that. And she’s making forays into the world of thrifting, admitting that, like me, she has little experience in buying second-hand. That she’s just learning how to appreciate vintage, and thrift store merchandise. And finding out that some of her favorite luxury pieces (like a certain camel Max Mara coat) can be had for a fraction of the original cost on vintage sites or in second-hand stores. I must say that I’ve been really enjoying taking this journey with her.

Today I tried to see if I could find any good vintage or second-hand Max Mara blazers on-line. I wasn’t very successful. But have a look at these beauties below. Lots of stores have slashed the prices of their quality winter blazers, which I guess is no surprise. But I was surprised to see so many Max Mara jackets on sale. Doesn’t make them inexpensive, except by comparison to what they would cost if they weren’t on sale.

If I lived in an area where on-line returns were easy, I might be tempted by one of those jackets. But I own enough Max Mara jackets already. In fact, I don’t have the time, nor the places to go, to wear the ones I have.

And I think I should probably do something about that. Soon. Get off my couch and get back out there. Jump in the car. And head off somewhere. Anywhere. After more than a month of house arrest, trust me, anywhere will do.

And when I get where I’m going, wherever that is, you can be sure I’ll be Max Mara jacket clad. Thanks to Emma’s fashion inspiration.

Sigh. In all seriousness, though, I may wait a few days. Just to be sure this darned cold is well and truly over. I may be inspired, but I don’t want to be stupid. Again.

How about you my friends? Any favourite fashion inspiration sources that you want to share?

P.S. Clothing links are affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

Linking up with Catherine at #IWillWearWhatILike and #ShareAllLinkup, and Patti at Visible Monday.


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From the archives


On Books & Seasonal Lockdown

The time between Christmas and the start of school in January is a kind of seasonal lockdown for me. The best time to get buried in a book.

O Christmas Tree etc.

Everyone, meet Gladys. We brought her home a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve just finished dressing her in her beads and bobbles. She looks lovely, I think. Not too ostentatious or overdone. With a few slightly vintage accessories, and a few that are really old. She’s kind of classic. And authentic… I mean she is a real tree after all.          Gladys, all dressed and ready for Christmas   She looks lovely now. But she’s a fiesty little thing; Hubby and I had considerable trouble getting her to stand up straight. Tree wrangling can be stressful, ...

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42 thoughts on “Fashion Inspiration Gets Me Off the Couch.”

  1. Glad you feel better. I too love black on black, especially with jeans. I was flicking through the wardrobe that holds jackets the other day – in the spare room – and realised that I have more than enough to last me for years. Black and white, cream denim, blue denim, black biker jacket, mini trench, fake fur…but not a classic blazer. Maybe that should go on a mental list. Like you I have been shopping my existing wardrobe and found I have more than enough for the coming months. It won’t stop me looking for a black blazer because I know I would wear it again and again. Pinterest, I hear your siren call.

    1. The fact that all manner of blazers seem to look fresh and modern, now, really helps. I abandoned my black MM one in the closet when the “look” was short and shrunken. All of a sudden my classic blazer looked old and past it. Funny how that always changes within a few years.

  2. Love,love the combination! I wear it and love,only usually with a gold necklace or scarf to liven things up. You have such a wonderful collection of MM jackets! My favourites,as you know,together with Boss. I’ve donated the majority of my structured jackets-I’ve wear EU size 38 (italian size 44 US 8),sometimes even 36,oh happy days! MM has pretty narrow sleeves,so…..somebody else’s joy now
    I’ll check Emma Hill ( nothing like You Tube channels in the wee hours,with a cold or something else…) I like Audrey Coyne’s channel,maybe you would like to try(if you don’t know her already)

  3. Some lovely blazers here . I do have a ‘few’ but in recent years our summery weather has switched off & we’ve plunged into winter , missing autumn altogether . They are patiently waiting to have their moment again . I like Emma . She’s very natural & full of good info . I’m not keen on the big , loose & rather flappy blazers myself . Unless you are very slim you can look like a walking box but ‘ bloats ‘ are great , especially on chillier days – slimming too . I seem to have your cold ( or it may be my sisters little grandson’s ) anyway I shall wade through Emma’s videos today , so thanks for finding her .
    PS Reading my first DS Smith & really enjoying it – thanks again ( Thanks to Dottoressa too for Audrey Coyne )

    1. Ha. I see you have learned Emma’s new word. “Bloat” seems like the perfect word for that long lean blazer which is more of a coat. I must have transmitted my cold digitally to you. Not sure how I transmitted it to Stu. I kept washing and disinfecting everything I touched. And as he sarcastically said to a friend on the phone yesterday, I was still “kind enough to gift him my ailment.” Ha.

  4. Hi Susan, here’s a Susan too… I’m 61 years and found your blog some weeks ago. Your writing is very enjoyable and with a lot of interest I read also the older posts. As a side effect, I try to improve my english… some words you use a very unusual for me and I have to google..
    But now to the fashion: I realy like your style and your sense of humor. The black MM jacket looks great with the skinny jeans and the boots… and thank you for the memory of “The Monkees” , now I have a song in my ear (in german “Ohrwurm” (earwig)) “Hey, Hey we’re the monkees” from the tv serie.
    Hoping you’ve killed the cold finally,
    best whises from Cologne, Germany

    1. Thanks so much, Susa. So happy you found my blog. I should admit that some words I use are the local slang from the region in Canada where I grew up, and are not standard English.
      P.S. I’ve been singing “I’m a Believer” all day. 🙂

  5. Ms. Beltempo on YouTube and Instagram is really great with the same vibe as Signe and Emma, with tutorials on the elements of recreating looks from your closet shopping responsibly in stores and vintage. She is an Ottawa girl with great style! I am envious that you purchased such quality clothes so long ago and had the foresight to hang on to them!

  6. Love that jacket and your style! I have been on the prowl searching for a second hand black jacket with interesting details; haven’t found one yet! I did, however, score a beautiful navy, wool (lined in silk) Jil Sander jacket on the real real for only 63.00. Second hand and vintage is all about happy accidents…no expectations and gratitude when something wonderful crosses my path!

    1. Thanks, Debi. Frances is right… that’s a great way to look at second-hand shopping. Was the jacket in your size? That always worries me about shopping vintage on-line.

  7. What a great jacket! I’ve culled a lot from my closet but kept all my jackets. I love that look. Thanks for the blogger links. I love their style too. Xx

    1. Thanks, Jen. I never get rid of quality but timeless pieces. Well, mostly anyway. Unless like some of my old work wear, I know I’ll never need it again.

  8. A blazer, jeans and boots is a great script for an outfit. I especially love that combination in spring or autumn with a t-shirt instead of a jumper (sweater). Something about the way a structured blazer contrasts with and elevates an informal t-shirt appeals to me. I wore blazers with blouses, skirts and panty hose all the time when I was working in the 80s and 90s before the world became super casual. I don’t miss the panty hose or the blouses, which are generally too fussy for my current needs and tastes but a good blazer (and your black Max Mara is very good indeed) is a wonderful thing. So happy to see you off the couch and helping us make better use of our small or not so small wardrobes 🌸

  9. Okay, this is an inspiring example of “shopping your closet”! Impressive that you had a gorgeous MaxMara jacket — in dramatic yet neutral, ever so flexible, black! — just hibernating there. And clever and helpful of you to link the outfit you model here to ways readers might find similar quality by shopping vintage/second-hand, if sustainability is a prime value, or looking for really good sales, if new is preferred but budget and quality are the main concerns.
    I’m curious — in your climate (Brrr!) how will you make this work in winter? Do you have a coat that you can wear over a blazer such that it’s not uncomfortable?

    1. Thanks, Frances. This MM blazer is a lot lighter weight than some of my others which are mostly tweed and won’t fit under a coat without a fight. Ha. This one slips easily under my big down coat. Yah!

  10. I wish you all the best and I perfectly understand as I am in the same kind of conundrum (is that right word) at the moment, cause of my illness.
    I own several jackets and blazers, well I should say, quite a lot actually.
    I love jackets, I think that jackets finish an outfit. Either with trousers, skirts or even a dress. I have jackets for all seasons (well apart from hot summer obviously).
    This blog post is a godsend and will help me to quit my bed and get up and have a look to my closet.
    Tomorrow (10 pm now in France) I have 2 appointments so it is high time to get really dressed.
    I like very much your outfit combination, very stylish actually and seems comfortable. Max Mara is such a good brand, good quality, especially if you are careful to buy the garments made in Italy.
    I heard that Poshmark was a good option to find good pre used/ second hand clothes or jewels, did you try that?
    Nowadays, I would say that half my closet is of second hand or pre used items, bought from Ebay or other french platfrom.

  11. I always say, when you’re feeling rotten, best thing is to give in and nurse yourself better. No trying to battle on !
    I like Emma Hill’s blogs but it does bug me that the girl has SO many clothes, bags etc. I think I prefer Audrey Coyne, and she is so elegant. Your black jacket , jeans etc outfit looks really good, isn’t it a bummer how the bottoms of suits don’t fit any more ? I have several like that, but must have a ruffle around in my closet and see what blazers would work.

    1. Emma certainly does have a lot of clothes, but I do like her style. Having old clothes hanging around certainly brings home how much our bodies are changing. Good thing the jackets still fit. 🙂

  12. You look great in that blazer! Congrats on never gaining any weight so you can wear all your old clothes! most of mine are long gone and donated because I could never get into them again! I live in Florida now, and guess how many times I get to wear a jacket here? Maybe 6 or 10 times a year! so I never need a blazer at all! I haven’t worn traditional jeans in 5 years since we have been here! (I can hear you going through withdrawal right now!) Too hot here! Even full length pants are too much even in our “winter” season which lasts 6 weeks if we re lucky. So, what do I wear? Shorts, capris, tee shirts, and an occasional sweater. I do wear a lot of linen shirts with the sleeves rolled up!

    1. I actually have put on weight since I bought that old black suit, about 15 pounds. That’s why the pants no longer fit. Ha. I would certainly go through withdrawal if I lived in a hot climate like yours. I much prefer layers to no layers.

  13. Just to say get well soon and also thanks for the links you give to other sites, what value! Your blogs get me off the couch and checking what I can wear with what to get a new look from old clothes. And I must get me to the charity shop for yet another blazer.

  14. Aww love this chic look! I wish I had kept more of my old stuff. There are a few pieces I’d love to have again. Hope you feel better soon, Dear!

    Dawn Lucy

  15. I love your jacket. You look very young in that outfit. I bought a Max Mara plum jacket for $20 at a consignment store. Other than wearing it to work I need to figure out where I would go in a blazer outfit. Shopping? Maybe our todinner but in winter I am in wool sweaters. I listed to the use less video. She is inspiring and looking at all the insta posts from #lowbuy is interesting. Lots of people in on the act and that is inspiring. I look forward to your posts! And am inspired to pull out the blazers. The old clothes were so much better. IMHO. Hope you are feeling better.

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. I think a more structured blazer looks good with a flowy midi-skirt and boots, myself. I just don’t have any flowy skirts. 🙂 Sounds like you scored a deal with your jacket.

  16. Hi Sue, I was awake at 4 am today so I was delighted to see your new post. I also watched Emma’s video. I got sick New Year’s Day and am finally shaking my cough. I found a great wool houndstooth blazer at a Florida thrift shop while on vacation for $10. Really in style this year. I still have a basement closet with my former work wardrobe. Need to give the jackets a fresh look. Always enjoy your posts!

    1. Thanks, Chris. Sounds like you found a great deal. I must do better at thrift store shopping. Once I’m feeling up to it, I’m going to plan a day of thrift shop shopping.

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