The crocuses and daffodils may be blooming where you live, my friends. Of course I say that without a shred of envy. Ha. But here in the great white north, it is still winter. Still very much winter. And I’m on a kick to make sure I wear my winter stuff before spring. My midwinter slow fashion initiative, I’m calling it. If that doesn’t sound too pretentious. I especially want to wear my winter coats, some of which have not made it out of the closet yet this year. Like this alpaca and wool Max Mara coat, bought way back at the turn of the century.

Midwinter slow fashion initiative. Max Mara coat, Vince turtleneck, Vince leggings, Stuart Weitzman boots. Vintage jet necklace, brooch, and chain bracelet.
Despite the sunshine and plus temperatures, it’s still winter.

I haven’t worn this coat in a couple of years. And I thought about it the other day when I was watching a television show about fashion. A stylist showed the audience how to style leggings. “Do we really need help with how to wear our leggings?” I wondered. But never mind. The first outfit she created paired the leggings with a teddy coat and heavy boots. And I thought, “Hmm. I don’t own a teddy coat. But my alpaca and wool Max Mara coat is pretty fuzzy. And my Stuart Weitzman boots are pretty chunky. I could put together an outfit like this.”

Okay… so maybe I did need some new ideas for how to wear my leggings.

Midwinter slow fashion initiative. Vince turtleneck, Vince leggings, Stuart Weitzman boots. Vintage jet necklace. Max Mara coat. Mackage bag.
I like this outfit even if it won’t set the fashion world on fire.

I have one good pair of leggings, these black Vince ones from 2014. (similar here) I wear them a lot and have over the years. Especially for travel. They are heavy enough to not show every bump and bubble, and stretchy enough to not bag at the knee after a few hours of sitting. I also have an older pair of leggings from Theory which I still love. They are ten years old and getting a bit baggy around the butt and knees, but they look decent enough to be my air travel pants.

Midwinter slow fashion initiative. Max Mara coat, Vince turtleneck, Vince leggings, Stuart Weitzman boots. Vintage jet necklace and brooch. Mackage bag.
Midwinter slow fashion initiative: wear this old coat.

So yesterday when the sun was shining, and it was a balmy +7° C, I donned my Vince leggings, my grey oversized Vince turtleneck, my black Stuart Weitzman boots, and my Max Mara coat. And I felt pretty good. I know this outfit isn’t fashion forward. Not world-beating-ly cutting-edge or anything. But it’s not bad for pulling a bunch of old stuff out of my closet. The newest piece in the whole outfit is my Mackage bag which I bought four years ago.

Midwinter slow fashion initiative. Max Mara coat, Vince turtleneck, Vince leggings. Vintage jet necklace and brooch. Mackage bag.
Max Mara coat, Vince turtleneck, Vince leggings, Mackage bag.

You get a better look at my coat here. It’s charcoal with some lighter grey threads woven in. That’s my Mackage cross-body bag which I searched and searched for in 2016. I like a bag that doesn’t have too many decorative doo-dads. And I love my vintage jet necklace and that vintage plastic brooch with the rhinestones. I wore that brooch a ton when I was still working.

I don’t know if you can tell from this shot, but I’m trying some new colours and products with my make-up and skin care these days. Working towards a less is less, and less is enough look. Ha. If you’re interested, I’ll tell you about that in a later post.

Midwinter slow fashion initiative. Max Mara coat, Vince turtleneck, Vintage jet necklace and brooch.
Love my jet necklace and this very cheap vintage brooch.

You know I never wear my Max Mara coat anymore. Probably because it seems too dressy. But leggings, a pair of chunky boots, and a woolly hat can make it look less stuffy and more casual. I think the coat is just fluffy enough to be able to take advantage of the teddy coat trend. And unlike many brands of teddy coats, my coat is not made from polyester.

I’ve never been a fan of polyester. Especially cheap polyester. But I’m not sure I had much of an idea of the impact it can have on the environment. I did a lot of reading today, about eco-friendly fabrics, and it seems we should be doing our best to avoid buying polyester, and not just for the style considerations. The processing, the dyes, and let’s not even get into the landfill issue. Apparently recycled polyester is okay. Some companies like Patagonia are using recycled polyester to make their clothing. And buying polyester pieces from a thrift shop or consignment store is okay too. But because polyester doesn’t breath well, and is difficult to keep odour free, many polyester shirts and blouses are not resalable as a result. If you’re interested, here’s one of the articles I read today about polyester.

Of course, there are all kinds of other facets to this issue of eco-friendly fabrics, but it does seem that buying natural fibres is still the best way to go. I just read that alpaca is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics there is. How cool is that? Here’s an interesting guide from the website Good on You which rates the sustainability of many clothing brands, some you may know and love already.

Midwinter slow fashion initiative. Max Mara coat, Vince turtleneck, Vince leggings. Vintage jet necklace and brooch.
Winter coat clad in greys and blacks, but looking, hoping for spring.

So I guess the adage “choose well, buy less” is the best strategy. For my purposes, I’ve always loved quality clothing. Even when I could barely afford it. That’s how my habit of hanging on to the “good” things in my closet started. Not because I was virtuous. But because if I paid a lot for something, I couldn’t afford to waste my money and get rid of it too soon. Then over the years it became such a kick to watch the trend reports, and find that I already owned a similar piece. I would haul said piece out of my closet with a flourish and announce to Hubby my amazing prescience.

Here are some options for fuzzy, cosy coats. Not necessarily teddy coats. I’d go with a good quality teddy-ish coat, myself. Then, in a year or two, it won’t scream trend that’s not a trend anymore. All the coats here are made from natural fibres, except for the black Fendi jacket which is second-hand.

This is just an FYI if you are ever interested in an item I list in these little pictorial thingies with which I am having so much fun. If you click on the heart and ask for a sale alert, you get an e-mail that tells you when the price on the item goes down, and you can order it right from your e-mail inbox. I did not know that until the other day. I am indeed having fun searching for products to include in my posts. It’s like shopping without spending any money. I try to find things that I would like to buy myself.

You know, it would come as a huge surprise to many of my former colleagues that I’ve become such a fan of the whole slow fashion movement. I think most people thought I was a shop-a-holic, with acres of closet space, chock full of clothes. Ha. But I think that was because I always loved clothes, always talked about clothes, and always, always cared about how I dressed for work. And I usually bought good pieces when I could afford it.

Most of those people never knew that I basically shopped twice a year, with a few forays for “filler” pieces. None of them had ever seen the size of my house let alone the size (or lack thereof) of my closet space. And nobody but me knew about my stash of old, too good to get rid of pieces that I knew (or hoped) I’d be wearing again one day.

So I guess the fact that the slow fashion movement suits me and my fashion philosophy isn’t surprising after all. At least to me.

Now how about you my friends? Any midwinter slow fashion initiatives in your house? Are you looking for ways to make your winter wardrobe more interesting without shopping?

P.S. Thanks to Frances from Materfamilias Writes for our conversation via e-mail the other day. And for putting the idea into my head about polyester coats.

P.P.S. The clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy 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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41 thoughts on “Midwinter Slow Fashion Initiative”

  1. Really enjoy your blog and continue to struggle with adjusting from a work to retirement wardrobe. I appreciate the information regarding eco-friendly brands. I’m looking forward to your post on skincare and makeup. I’m in the process of changing my skincare and makeup routine and trying for a natural look.

    1. You’re most welcome, Mary Lou. My “formula” when I retired was to wear as much of my business wardrobe as I could but in a more casual way. Jackets with a tee and jeans, skirts with a tee and sneakers etc. This enabled me to still wear some of my favourite pieces. The true blue business clothes, suitable only for a meeting or a parents night, I gave to my younger colleagues who were my size. Stay tuned for the discussion of makeup. I wasn’t sure if readers would be interested.

  2. I have a Brora Alpaca coat that I’m going to bring out of hiding. I love the look! So cozy. It’s cold in Ontario today. Brrr.

  3. Another fun and inspiring post — I love to see what you pull from your closet and style anew. You stay attuned to what’s current without being slavishly trendy — brava!
    And I hope we all begin to wean ourselves from polyester and return to sustainable fabrics . . .

  4. I love that outfit . The coat is fabulous but MaxMara coats always are . I’m sure I saw one in the same fabric this year but in navy which was beautiful . I think the woolie hat is the finishing touch – seriously . I’ve always been a jet jewellry girl & have often done the float or sink test in water to check it really was jet ( comes from near here but you know that ) I don’t like man made fibers either – remember the dreaded crimplene ? Like wearing a plastic tablecloth . Difficult to think of an alternative to fleeces though . Perfect for outdoor holidays & easy laundering . But we don’t use private jets & have planted a lot of trees 😉

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I was kind of waiting for someone to chide me that black and grey was boring and that I need colour. I do need more colour in my wardrobe. But I still love the black and grey. Besides… what about all those Scandinavian bloggers who live in grey and black? I’ve never done the jet test on my jewellery. I know some of it is probably fake. But I have a lovely black jet cameo brooch which I love and which I’m pretty sure is genuine. No molding marks, matte finish, and a clasp is a pre-1900. But if it isn’t real will I love it any less?

  5. The weather here is not exactly ripe for stylish dressing…there is a great deal of water, water everywhere and most days I am bundled up and wearing the same old boots to keep warm and dry. Or sitting in and looking out. But today is crisp and cold and, at least, dry. Out with the trust fake fur that is about 20 years old and still doing sterling service! I haven’t worn my knee high suede boots once this year because of the rain so they will remain snug for another few months. But I did take my needle and make some pre-spring repairs to a mini-trench and try on a short black-and-white jacket that I have had for about 8 years. However, because I have had to adjust my diet so much over the past months, I need new clothes for the spring and summer. A cheering thought. Just took possession of a long, pleated dress for the upcoming holiday, should coronavirus permit. But the stuff that will come out again and again has already been in action for years, proof that you can maintain cheaper end clothing if you look after it.

    1. We have more opportunity for suede knee-high boots here with the cold temps and dry snow. But you do have the early spring. Trade off. Ha. Hope your holiday comes off.

  6. I hope that more and more people will follow this path,buy less,more consciously,wear,love and keep their clothes for years. I love my clothes and care for them . Thumbs up for natural fibers!
    Your coat is wonderful and “mother of all teddy bear coats” :-). I have one similar camel “no name “coat ( as I don’t keep labels attached,it maybe was something I didn’t know 20 years ago) and still wear it,when the weather is bad.

  7. Great post Sue … and a really gorgeous coat! Definitely preferable to the many teddy coats that I’ve seen this Winter …in my opinion. I love the shades of grey and black on you and the hat and chunky boots transforms a more formal coat to on trend casual … with more than a touch of class!
    Plus it means we’ll get more wear from our smarter coats and jackets with a little thoughtful styling.
    I try hard not to buy polyester at all … I’m fairly sure my fleeces are made from recycled plastic bottles!
    I’m enjoying wearing my “Swiss wardrobe “ once again … to which I’ve added a new wool/cotton mix boxy style sweater in deep plum shades ( a like not a need! ) and a similar shade merino polo neck for layering. At home, like you, I’m enjoying some new combinations by mainly shopping my closet. With all the rain we’ve had, umbrellas, and anything waterproof has had lots of wear!

  8. Love your outfit and think it is a stylish look…cold weather requires coats and bundling up with warm woolies! I shop my closet many times in a month and while browsing the stores notice that much of what I am attracted to already has a ‘twin’ in my closet…therefore no purchase and no guilt! Since black is the staple in my wardrobe no matter the season it is rather easy to change up the look with the addition of accessories…therefore I shop my own closet again for scarves, blazers, boots, shoes, handbags or jewellery that is already here at home. Thank you for encouraging us all to keep doing that!

    1. You’ve inspired me, Alayne. I’m thinking I need a bright scarf for winter. I love the ones I have but none are bright. That would make my coat less sombre.

  9. Love this post as I, too, am determined to get maximum wear out of my winter pieces before spring (that’s April for us) finally pokes her head out. It’s rained more days than not the past month, and the skirt or dress outfit I have laid out the night before and whatever suede shoes or boots get swapped out in the morning for trousers and black boots – again!
    I love the forays into the vaults of your wardrobe for classic pieces that you make look so current, and a testament to investment buying over a lifetime.

    1. Well…. as I said in the blog, my investment buying was as much indulgence as anything. But the indulgent pieces really did turn out to be an investment.

  10. I agree with Mary Lou on the difficult transition from dressy to formal. I’m not retired but I work from home. Today I am in sweats and have not set foot outside the house.
    Your gray sweater with leggings might not “set the fashion world on fire” but you look put-together in an active, sporty way that hints at having things to do. And that is perfectly fine.
    The question about recycled vs. natural can be difficult to pin down, but what is for sure is that more wearings are better than fewer.

    1. Pulled together but still casual or sporty is what I’m usually going for these days. The whole natural fabric issue is way more complex that I’ve addressed. Whether viscose is man made or not because it starts out as organic cellulose. Versus polyester which is 100% synthetic. Then there’s bamboo, which is touted as sustainable but which uses the same harsh chemicals to process as viscose. etc etc. It’s difficult to wade through all the variables.

  11. That coat is STUNNING! Far superior to any trendy teddy coat. I share your concerns about disposable fashion. As I retired teacher, you might enjoy my latest blog about “Home Ec” on Love the way you articulate your thought processes as they relate to fashion.

  12. I came to the conclusion long ago that anything you put on looks great! I admire your approach to fashion and the idea that you have maintained the ability to wear clothes from 10 years ago. Sadly, I cannot do the same. 😅. Well done! You are an inspiration.

    1. Thanks, Pat. But that’s not quite accurate. I can still wear old jackets and sweaters. Some of them, not the ones that were originally too fitted. And forget about pants and skirts.

  13. Like Pat, above, I’m envious of your ability to wear clothes from 10 or more years ago. That coat is beautiful, doesn’t look too dark or too formal, I think the broach and beanie (Aus for toque) keep the look more sporty and casual.
    Inspired by you and a few other bloggers, I’m trying to shop my wardrobe and sometimes surprising myself! I’m also working towards buying the best I can afford and definitely avoiding fast fashion. Thanks for the inspiration, you’re always a welcome sight in my mailbox.

    1. Thanks, Jules. I am having so much fun with that hat. I picked it up at the bookstore in December. Chapters/Indigo has launched into hats and scarves, and when I went Christmas shopping for books, I came home with a hat. 🙂

  14. Cristina Margarita Gomez Sarabia

    Oh, Sue, I will try to read your blog in the morning. I usually read it at night, in bed. I get so existed with your posts, that I want just jump out of bed and try my vintage closet cloth, as today. As you, I thought that I should wear some of my winter cloth that I have not wear, before winter is over but here temperatures vary in a range between 15 C – 30 C!. You look great in you coat and with your new makeup. Please do share.

  15. I think you’ve demonstrated style, as opposed to mere fashion, very clearly. And you look fabulous!

    Wanting to explore resale (partly in the interest of sustainability, ha) I took a good look through a popular site this week. My eyes were opened when I realized that many of my favourites were already hanging in my closet: perfect in both fit and condition. I am talking identical items. Huh. My most sustainable shopping destination is now my closet. Smile.

    Fashion currency can be achieved through styling, which can be a lot of creative fun. Especially in an Ontario February!

  16. I love my coats, and like you I’m anxious that they get plenty of outings before the end of winter, and have to go for dry-cleaning. That is a thing with wool coats, if you only wear them a few times it’s asking for moth infestation if they don’t get cleaned before being put away.
    I have a beautiful black alpaca coat that I rarely wear now because it does seem too dressy.
    I also have a fuzzy coat I bought a few years ago, and have worn and worn. It is very light and unlined and yet surprisingly warm, probably because its 50-50 wool and polyester. I do try to avoid polyester but I wear a lot of fleece around the house. At least I’ll be wearing it until it falls apart, I never chuck anything wearable !
    Your MaxMara coat is gorgeous !

    1. Thanks for the reminder to dry clean my good coats, Maisie. I’ve read as well that fleece is very bad. Trying to avoid buying any more fleece tops. And like you I wear the ones I have to death.

  17. I’m glad you finally got some wear out of something you’ve kept in the closet for so long 🙂

    …PS: Your scrunched and not folded poloneck collar set my OCD off somewhat !!

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