Okay, in all honesty, I’m not desperately seeking more colour. I’m seeking more colour … just not desperately. My original panic weeks ago that nothing in my wardrobe would suit my new colouring has proven to be slightly unfounded. As one reader postulated, I was responding to my shaggy, grown-out-non-style as much as to my changing hair colour. And now that most of the blonde has been cut off, I am finding that I can wear more of my tops than I thought. But I still needed to establish some easy uniform-ish outfits that I could throw on without thinking, on those occasions when I ventured into the village or the city. Outfits that did NOT include a black or white top.
So here’s what I did. Once again I went through my wardrobe and pulled out all the tops that were NOT black or white, which I already know work well with my hair. Then I did my hair and make-up and tried them all on.
My summer sweater collection is pretty varied in colour: cream crochet, blue and white striped, yellow with white at the neck and cuffs, lilac, and navy. Now that my hair is white the yellow sweater is a bit iffy. But luckily the rest look pretty darned good; no need to seek any more colour there. I have several really casual, won’t-wear-anywhere-but-at-home tee shirts: blue, red, turquoise, blue and white striped. So I’m pretty well fitted-out for walking, biking, or hanging around the back yard. But in my small collection of “decent” tees that I’d wear into the village to run errands, out to lunch or dinner, or into the city colour was pretty much absent.
So I decided to order some coloured tees on-line, limiting myself to tee shirt retailers whose products I like, and which I know fit me the way I like. I tried Vince first. I do love their tee shirts. But… well… much as I love Vince, they do not offer a variety of tee shirt colours. I found a couple at Nordstrom Rack, but only in very small sizes.
Talbots had lots of colour variety, but not in styles I wanted. Their boat-neck tees are lovely and soft, and a good weight which makes them not too clingy. But I already own a couple of these tees, bought last year for travel. They have a ton of colours in their short-sleeve tees, and I like the neckline. But they’re too fitted and too long in the body. Too long to do a half tuck, and too fitted to be flattering worn out over pants. At least for me. You can have a look here and see what you think. The price is certainly right, especially now their summer sale is on.
So in the end, I went back to Everlane, which I seem to be doing more and more these days. I really like my Everlane box-cut pocket tee in white which I ordered a while ago. I wear it a lot. Right weight. Boxy, loose, and not at all clingy. Good length for my short waisted body, and long enough to do a bit of a half-tuck without having too much extra padding in my pants. Ha. That’s what decided me that I didn’t want the Talbots tee. It would have to be tucked way down inside my pants. And let me tell you, my friends, I have no need for more padding around the middle. Plus Everlane had a good selection of colours in my size.
This is the Everlane icy blue, box-cut, pocket tee I ordered. I already knew I loved the style, and the colour is really good with my hair. You can find that tee shirt here. I wore it the other day with my Frame straight-leg, high-rise jeans, my Michael Kors sandals with the little heel, my Theory cream crochet sweater, and my Eric Javits straw bag from last year.
You know there’s just something about my white hair that makes me feel more edgy. That’s weird isn’t it? The cut isn’t much different, a bit longer on the top. So it’s definitely the colour. Or lack thereof. I feel, somehow, more modern. Now that really is weird. Why would letting my hair go grey, let alone white, make me feel more cutting edge? It’s a mystery.
When I ordered my box-cut tee I took a peek at the other tee shirt styles on the Everlane site. And I ordered this tank top in “azalea.” Fits like a dream. It’s made from super soft cotton, in a good weight, with a high neck, cut-away shoulders, and an interesting seam down the back. It’s slimmer in cut than the box-cut style, but not tight. It comes in quite a few colours, most of them not good for me, except the navy and white stripe, which I’m still thinking about.
I wore my new tank the other evening to a socially distanced drinks party on my friend Joanne’s patio. I half-tucked the top into my loose, black cotton pants, wore my flat black sandals, and took my denim jacket in case I was cool after the sun went down. You know, I thought my tank-top wearing days were done. But with my loose cotton pants with the huge pockets, this top seems just right to me.
Below are some of the other tops that made the cut. More or less. I tried that bright green yoga shirt just for fun. It’s years old; I usually wear it cycling or walking if it’s a bit cool. But I like the colour. The cream and gold striped Theory tee, bought last summer, was a bit of a surprise. Because it’s a sort of vanilla, it looks quite lovely with my hair. I’ll wear it under my white blazer, rather than the beige linen Max Mara jacket I resurrected last year. Sadly, my old Max Mara jacket looks dreadful on me now. The navy Talbots tee was no surprise. I already knew that navy works with my new colour. In fact, I like the navy Rag and Bone dress that I wore to our big book party better on me now than when I bought it.
So that’s it for the tee shirt edit. That red tank and the blue tee add much needed colour to my casual summer closet. And give me some options to pull on with my blue or white jeans. And with my other summer bottoms, particularly my navy and white checked Rag and Bone pants.
Now, let’s digress for a moment. I’d like to pause and chat for a bit about “ethical” fashion in general, and Everlane in particular.
As you might know if you’ve been around this blog for a while, I’ve been trying to move towards being a more ethical shopper in a number of ways. Having an organized wardrobe, knowing what I own and what I need, limiting impulse buying, and buying quality over quantity, these aspects of being a wise and ethical shopper come naturally to me. Not because I’m such a wonderfully ethical person, but because I’m anal about organizing, and I have always preferred quality garments.
Slow fashion, keeping garments a long time, wearing pieces from past seasons, and recycling outfits year after year is also pretty easy for me. Because I’ve always worked that way. If I buy quality, I know I will hang onto it as long as it fits. Period. Otherwise I’m wasting my money. Plus being able to haul out an old garment that is on trend with a current season has always given me a kick.
But I’ve found some of the other aspects of being a more ethical shopper to be a struggle. Especially finding ethical, sustainable brands, which I can afford, and which fit my body and my style. My goal in the past year or so has been to look for brands that are more ethical than the ones I was currently wearing. Then I would be able to recommend brands because they were ethical and also because I was wearing them myself. But I’ve found that’s not so easy to do.
Writing about cashmere sweaters last winter, I found an article that recommended the best cashmere brands. One of them was Everlane. Hmm. I’d heard about Everlane. A couple of Vloggers, who ascribe to slow fashion ideals and to whose channels I subscribe, wore Everlane and were raving about their clothes. I started exploring the Everlane website and liked what I saw. My friend Jeannie and I chatted on messenger about Everlane. She ordered a couple of things and reported back. Eventually I ordered a couple of things too. I liked how they fit, the quality, and the price. I ordered a couple more pieces.
Then all of a sudden, it seemed everywhere I looked on social media “influencers” were tripping over each other trying to back away from Everlane as fast as they could. Followers were chiming in to call out “influencers” who were still talking about Everlane. It seems that bandwagon-jumping-off is as rampant as band-wagon-jumping-on these days. So I started doing my homework. Most of what I found was repetitive. The same headlines with little detail, restated and rehashed over and over: union busting, toxic work environment, more union busting. As a longtime member of a teacher’s union in Ontario, union busting is something I could not countenance. But trying to trace the sources used by posts and articles I was reading was like running in circles. They were all quoting each other. Over and over, I found a lot of outrage and not a lot of hard facts.
This article in Vogue is the most comprehensive one I could find. You can read it yourself here. Everlane describes itself as an ethical, transparent company with sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices. A self-described “progressive company” who cares about people and about the earth. But as Emily Farra says in her article in Vogue, being seen as a company which takes advantage of the economic hardship of the pandemic to get rid of a union it didn’t want is not doing much for Everlane’s ethical reputation. But you should read all about that in Farra’s article. This was the line that stood out for me:
The bigger takeaway is that for all its efforts in transparency, ethics, sustainability, and workers’ rights, Everlane is a business just like any other, and in the face of a pandemic and economic distress, it’s probably going to behave like one, too—even if it means contradicting its values and disappointing its customers (and devoted employees).
So, is this whole palaver a matter of simple economics or the result of morally corrupt behaviour by the company? I don’t approve of union busting of any kind. But it sure is hard to figure out what to believe.
I guess my quest for an ethical brand that I love continues. Lots of wonderful ethical brands are out there, I know. Many of them based in the UK, or Scandinavia, or Germany. Ideally I like to be able to touch and try on a garment before I buy. Or have someone personally recommend it. And if I buy on-line… if the company even ships to Canada… I’m not ready to order something unless the brand website provides lots of detailed sizing information. And so few brand websites do. Everlane is really good on that front. And on price and quality. So I’m not sure I’m ready to totally abandon them yet. Not that I’m necessarily a supporter of Everlane… I just happen to have bought a few tee shirts, and a blouse, and liked them.
So that’s it for me today, folks. I intended to write a much shorter post. But then I thought I should address the whole controversy around Everlane. Maybe you already knew all about it. I seem to be a little late to the party. I guess I’ve been too busy with my socially distanced book club meeting and a socially distanced drinks party. Two events in a week! Amazing. Plus I’ve been reading some lovely, engrossing books which I’ll tell you all about later in the week.
Hope everyone is well and staying safe. Trying to wring as much enjoyment as you can from summer. Unless you live downunder, that is. In which case I hope you’re still safe and well… and enjoying the cooler temps. 🙂
Now it’s your turn, my friends. Tell us about any wardrobe changes you’ve had to make when you changed something big about your appearance… like hair colour. Or just weigh in on anything, really. We love to know what you’re thinking.