After my rant on Wednesday, I thought a little closet therapy might help my state of mind. It always does. Rummaging around in my closet to see what I can pair with what, that I haven’t tried before. Something maybe with my newish baggier pants that are not jeans. A little non-jean therapy. If you’ll excuse the bad pun.

I bought these tailored trousers from Aritzia last summer. The biggest pair of pants I’ve ever owned. But I try to NOT look at the number. The bagginess disguises my burgeoning middle and the pants feel really comfortable. And anyway, size is just a number, right? I had them professionally hemmed, and I was very pleased with my purchase. Except for pictures for this blog post, I’ve only worn them once, to an anniversary party in the summer. I wore flat strappy black sandals, a black Vince tee, and my black, cashmere, crew-neck sweater around my shoulders. I was comfortable and felt very on-trend.

I’ve been meaning for ages to play around with how I might wear these pants in the winter. But when I decide what to write about on my blog, the topic has to be what is on my mind that day or week. And I guess styling these pants has not been that. Especially when we had a ton of snow a couple of weeks ago, and then very cold temperatures, and then another ton of snow. Jeans, down coats, my ski gear, and what I can wear to wade snow have been uppermost in my mind lately. And styling summer-ish pants into winter outfits has not.

Aritzia trousers, Vince turtleneck (similar), Lafayette 148 sweater, SW boots.

Until this past week. Friday dawned sunny and cold. I needed to run a bunch of errands in the afternoon, so after my work-out and my shower, I had a try-on session with my summer-ish baggy pants. Or a fashion show as Hubby always says. I’ve been seeing women on Instagram and Pinterest wearing their tailored trousers tucked into boots. Both knee-high boots, and ankle boots. My knee-high boots were a wash-out. I felt, and looked, like a nineteenth century Russian Cossack. Or an escapee from the seventies. Which of course I am. Ha. Because I used to wear my dress pants tucked into my Frye boots back in the day, just like Ali McGraw in this photo.

So I went with my Stuart Weitzman ankle boots. And instead of tucking, I folded and rolled. The first time I tried it, above, the result was a bit messy. And I thought that my Lafayette 148 coat sweater, with the quilted front, was not quite what I was going for.

I much preferred my baggy pants with my old animal-print Elie Tahari sweater, below. Once the folding and rolling had been redone to tidy the pantlegs up a bit. Funny. But after my October vlog when I played around with two old sweaters, this one and a Max Mara fisherman-knit cardi, I thought I’d never wear this sweater again. It is quite snug buttoned up. At first I decided to give it away, as I said in my vlog. Then I decided to keep it to wear around my shoulders, like an accessory. I love the colour of the sweater so much, I was loath to part with it. I like it with these pants. No need to button it up. Good thing. Ha.

Plus, I think I can wear this combo in the early fall. Perhaps wearing the pants full-length. Swapping the turtleneck with a tee shirt, and tying my sweater around my neck.

Aritzia trousers, Vince turtleneck, Elie Tahari sweater, SW boots, Nordstrom belt.

Which brings me to what I decided to wear to run my errands. Sadly, the rolling and tucking on my pants did not stay in place well. If I were to wear this outfit again I’d pin the leg of the trousers after I folded and before I rolled. But I didn’t want to fuss on Friday. And besides, the other pair of loose, summer-ish pants I wanted to try were these cream cargo pants that I also bought last summer, and wore a ton. They are definitely suitable for winter because they’re made of quite heavy fabric. So I popped them on with my boots and the old, cream Max Mara cardi that I played with in my October vlog. Nope. The creams are different tones and didn’t work well together. This Gap mock-neck, wool sweater works much better. In fact I really like this outfit.

Aritzia modern Cargo pants, Gap sweater, SW boots.

The Gap sweater is super loose and long. I did a bit of a half-tuck first, and liked it. But in the end I wore it long and loose. Which I also like. I’m comfortable, warm, and taking part in the over-size trend with this old sweater and the loose cargo pants.

Aritzia modern Cargo pants, Gap sweater, SW boots.

So off I went. I added my black down coat, my old cross-body bag from Holts, and stuffed my long list into my pocket. The driveway had been clear since the morning. And the municipal plow had just come down the road. So I didn’t have to point my car towards the highway, gun the engine, and try to make a run for it. Ha. Those days are over my friends. The days when we had a big storm, and the plow did not clear our little road until some time in the afternoon, long after Hubby and I had muscled our way up the unplowed road to the main highway, to get to work. Now if our road is not plowed, well, I can always decide I don’t have to go out.

Adding my old Holt Renfrew bag and my Aritzia down coat

So that was a fruitful session of closet therapy. I found at least one way to wear those dress pants for winter. I like them tucked and rolled. But since the pantlegs are so loose and puffy, I think the outfit needs a fitted sweater to balance off the bagginess below. And that Elie Tahari sweater fills the bill. Plus I love my cream cargo pants with my cream sweater and black boots and coat. Such an easy peasy look. I know I said that jeans are in my fashion DNA. But that doesn’t mean I have to live in them, right?

Nothing like a sunny winter day when you’re wearing an outfit you love.

Now I must go. We are expecting our neighbours over for dinner tonight. And I still have to set the table. And then decide what to wear, and get dressed. Actually those tasks should probably be completed the other way round. Because if I’m dressed and ready and still setting the table when they get here, who will care. But the other way round might not be so good. Ha.

By the way. In case you didn’t see my comment on my last post. Thanks so much to everyone who waded in on the trucker blockade issue. I couldn’t answer all the comments individually. But I sure appreciated the deluge of good will when I finally logged onto the blog on Thursday afternoon. I’m grateful every day for the wonderful community of virtual friends I’ve met through blogging.

P.S. You may have noticed that I used the expression “fills the bill” in this post. Instead of “fits the bill.” I could NOT get a definitive answer on any grammar or style site about which is the correct expression. I think I always use “fill the bill,” but I’ve been thinking about it so much, now I’m not sure. Which iteration of that idiom do you prefer? Asked the slightly pedantic, former English teacher. Ha. Now you know why it takes me forever to write a post. I go chasing down idioms, and weird comma and usage rules until I can’t put one word in front of the other.

Your turn, my friends. Care to comment on the value of closet therapy? Pants tucked into boots? Winter dressing challenges? Weird English idioms? The floor is yours.


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From the archives


Smells Like Spring

Spring smells like mud where I live. The glorious, much anticipated smell of melting snow and bare ground. The harbinger of marble season.

Wearing the Jeans I Already Own

I've been watching the spring denim trends for 2024. And looking for new ways to style the jeans I already own.

Escape to the Wilderness

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

55 thoughts on “A Little Non-Jean Closet Therapy”

  1. Some fresh ideas there Sue . I’ve always tried to keep winter & summer fabrics separate , thinking solid fabrics can make lightweight fabrics look cheap . My eye seems to be changing though . Perhaps it’s the move to more casual dressing . I have some loose trousers in a very heavy cream cotton which I’m going to try with my grey herringbone wool coat & tan ‘chelsea’ boots . Not today though , it’s a howling gale out there again so I’m hugging the fireside.
    I’d say ‘ fit the bill ‘ but I’ve noticed there are differences between the Canadian & English languages . Languages evolve anyway don’t they . Not sure if that’s good or bad ?

    1. I hear you. That’s why I can’t wear my white denim jeans in the winter. I think they look all wrong with boots. But the heavy cream ones feel different. Same with really light-weight pants. They feel wrong with winter coats and boots. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t like the tan trousers with the heavy black sweater. The fabric weights are wrong for each other.

  2. Fits the bill, for me. I wonder if it means – will go onto the bill poster rather neatly? I don’t think we call them bill posters any longer, but they did in 19th century. That’s my two-pennorth. Re trousers – I have been musing on exactly the same leg-related conundrum and browsing possibilities. Last weekend we were at a youthful birthday party (30) down in Sussex and the styles represented were very fashion-forward and interesting. Over-sized, blocky, baggy, definitely not something I could sport though I like it as a look. Time for a change, I think.

  3. So, I’m English and would say ‘fits the bill’.
    Another thing I notice is that use of punctuation seems to be changing. My daughter is doing a university degree and often asks me to read her essays with punctuation in mind. I tend to put in more, rather than less, commas, full stops etc. However, when I look through some of her study books, there seems to be an absence of punctuation – certainly in the way I was taught at school. Is it me, or is it actually changing I wonder?
    Anyway, love the outfits. I am definitely going to have a play with my clothing to see what interesting combinations I can come up with!

    1. Punctuation is changing. Comma rules in particular, the idea being to make them less intrusive and interruptive in a sentence. My problem always arises with restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, or when listing adjectives or adverbs. How many commas are too many? A friend used to work as an editor on Parliament Hill… making the politicians sound grammatically correct in the official record. Back in the nineties their comma rules changed too. She and I used to have many complicated discussions over dinner about comma rules. Ha.

  4. So glad you decided to keep the sweater. It looks perfect with the loose pants. I think my favorite look is the Gap sweater and cargo pants. Just the perfect mix of stylish and comfortable. I have decided to not purchase anything from now until April and see how that goes. There really is no need of any more things until I can get a handle on what I have and what I can put with what. There is a box being filled for donations with a nod to what is it that I really like and want to keep. Time can really get away on you when in the closet playing so I have to break it up into managable time chunks. As for the term, I have always said ” fits the bill”, so not sure if it is the English background in the family or what, and never really thought about it before. As for the tucking or not, it seems to go back and forth with me, but right now with a few feet of snow I would prefer to keep my legs dry so tucking into tall boots for now will work. When dry weather returns I do like my hems to be on the longer side.

  5. Fits the bill for me also. Hmm, summer pants vs. winter? I guess I am jeans mostly year round. My other pants options are what I refer to as dress pants, black or grey. Unfortunately I haven’t had a reason to wear dress pants in a bit over two years, literally living in jeans and lots and lots of cardis.

  6. I love the Aritzia trousers with the Lafayette sweater! I especially like the way the change in textures on the sweater falls even with the beltline. And, I think the longer length makes it look a bit dressier.
    However, every outfit is great!
    I’ve always said/heard “fits the bill.” Meaning, “suited for the intended purpose,” but never wondering where it came from.
    So, down the Wikipedia rabbit-hole… one idea, the theatre, makes sense. As in finding acts that will round-out the show, the bill being the announcement or poster for said show. That also works for fill the bill. Thanks for a great start to the day! XO

    1. You’re right about the longer sweater. I might save it for fall when it can become outerwear, though. Not that I will be getting a ton of chances to wear it before then. Ha.

  7. I love both outfits. You must be the most stylish lady in your small town.
    I didn’t reply to your post on the convoy but did support your views. I’m pleased to see something is finally being done to move the convoy out.
    I’m originally from NS but live in BC now. I’ve always said, Fits the bill.
    I’m off to Costco this morning. I like to get there at opening to avoid the crowds. Have a wonderful Sunday!

    1. I have heard both. But I’m so confused now, I can’t remember what I normally say. Like when someone asks you if you say “roof” as in “rue”, or “roof” as in “woof.” Once I am offered the choice, I can never remember.

  8. “Fits the bill” is the phrase I use Sue. I love how you styled all your outfits and my favourite is the outfit with the Tahari Sweater. So glad you hung on to it. Enjoy dinner with your neighbours tonight. We had friends over last night and it is so nice to be welcoming people back into our home. Hmmm 🤔 I wonder what Stu will be cooking for dinner.

  9. Since I am a us person, I will go will fill the bill! Nice to know what it originally meant. As a former,vintage English teacher, I would say that we used more punctuation in the previous years, than is currently used now. Let the good times roll! Along with everything else,language is dumming down. Too hard to remember all those rules!I do like the black and beige outfit better. Although it is between 60/70 here in NE Fla. so am think more in line of spring /summer clothes and getting ready to purge the collection again. Stay warm,healthy and safe,yo’awl. If you have not gotten the shots be sure to! Better for all of us!

  10. Sue, I have always said and heard it “Fills the bill.” Makes perfect sense to me because it rhymes and that gives it extra punch! I am in the states so we may be different than our good northern neighbors.

    1. I think it’s so interesting how English idioms are slightly different around the world. Like how they call sausages “bangers” in the Uk. And “snags” in part of Australia.

  11. I’m sorry I missed your original “rant” but thank you for repeated it again. I live outside of Chicago Illinois. Our news coverage here is only about the truckers and their plight. I have wondered how the people who live and work near there are fairing. You brought a human touch to the problem. Last year the BLM protesters blocked streets and made travel impossible. I believe in protesting, but not inconveniencing the general public. In my case, it made me turn against the protesters. It looks as though your government is finally moving in the right direction and all this mess will soon be over.
    Thank you for giving me the other side of the story.
    Thank you for your blog. I so enjoy reading & traveling with you.

  12. I am also a former English teacher who has always enjoyed grammar and punctuation. Although many of the current “acceptable” changes continue to annoy me, I think perhaps the one that wins the title of “Most Annoying” is the continued use of “Me and …” Heightening that annoyance is when this wrong pronoun is also coupled with the wrong order by professional broadcasters/journalists.
    (Note: this is often my rant!)

    1. I remember teaching kids about standard English versus colloquial. And how they must use standard English in “formal” essays. Kids never usually had a problem distinguishing between what they could and couldn’t say in a formal essay. Wonder if that still holds true. After all I have been retired for nine years now. Gad. Can’t quite believe that!

  13. “Fits the bill” for me, but it looks like either one is correct.

    I wouldn’t have thought to roll those pants, but I like the look! Now I’m wondering if it would work with a black pair that have been hanging in my closet for years. I must give it a try.

    1. I quite like the look if I can get it to stay rolled. Looks like sweat pants in a way, which I like with ankle boots. The problem is that the fabric slips.

  14. Fits the bill is what I am familiar with and how I use the term. I read your “rant” post and as an American did not feel knowledgeable enough about the situation to comment. I only see the media presentation of the situation. That has to be consumed slowly and with a lot of wine in hand. Only Canadians who are there and impacted know the dynamics of that situation. I felt your anger and frustration in the post and honestly, it’s your right as this is your platform to express yourself. In have learnt when sane, thoughtful, good persons lose their s**t as my kids say….there is just cause. I hope things are better all the way around. I respect your passion and commitment to truth.
    I too am a 70’s child and was birthed, raised and lived in jeans forever! It does take a conscious effort with retirement to utilize my former business attire in everyday dressing. I’m working on it! As always you motivate me to wade into the depths of my closet and begin creating. So glad you didn’t give away that lovely sweater. It’s perfect with the pants! Because I am petite, cargo pants add volume to my legs. I tend to avoid that style. Any input on brand or what I might do to address that would be appreciated.

    1. I am planning a post on my search for tailored trousers. I have seen brands where the legs are slimmer, but not skinny. More tailored and less fluid. Same with cargo pants. If I find anything good, I’ll put it in that post.

  15. I think your idea of turning up your Aritzia pants is interesting but not sure I could pull it off. Think I would spend all my time “adjusting” the hem. I have several pair of pants with wider hems that have been languishing in my closet because I can’t wear them with my tall winter boots and they don’t look right wth my slip on boots. I need the stability of grips for the ice and snow so I guess they will have to stay in the closet until spring.

    I love both of your outfits and glad you decided to hang on to the Elie Tahiti sweater. It looks so good on you with your white hair!

    1. I agree about fussing with the hem of those pants. Next time I will try pinning them. If there is a next time. I hear you about boots. I tried to go out the other day to a friends, and planned to wear my knee-length sweater dress with my Chelsea boots. Ha. I had to go back in the house and change to my furry winter boots with the good treads because walking was too treacherous. Good thing I took my boots off at the door because it was not a good look. Ha.

  16. Sue, I have long looked, to no avail, for high-waisted wide-leg trousers in a material that flows nicely as one moves and drapes well when one sits. After checking out your Aritzia
    High-Waisted Wide-Leg trousers in response to your original post about them, I liked them so much that I bought a pair for myself. Although I do not have your gloriously long legs, I am fairly tall (5’7″), and I love wearing these trousers at their full length (with their high waist, front knife pleats and fluid material), along with a belt and upper garments that are quite close to the body. I can only hope that the crepe fabric retains its flow after being laundered a few times.
    I assume that you explored the tucked-in and fold&roll options for these trousers for fun (and to get the trouser legs above the winter/spring snow and slush?). Having tried tucking several of my winter pants into high boots as well as folding and rolling them above ankle boots, I know I will always wear my wide-legged trousers at their full-length. Tucked-in or folded&rolled trousers or pants simply do not stay in place if I move around much at all (which I always do).
    I’d love to see a photograph of you in your Aritzia wide-legged trousers at their full length, now that they have been hemmed for you. I bet that with the smashing upper garments and belt you have chosen, you look wonderful (and the trousers really show off the length of your legs). (Is it not possible that you appraise your appearance in a more critical way than anyone who looks at you?😉)

    As a writer, I too pay attention to grammar and punctuation, as well as idioms. To me, a person raised in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., “fits the bill” rolls off the tongue a bit more easily than “fills the bill.”

    1. I did try the folded and rolled, and the tucked-in looks for fun. And because I couldn’t wear the pants down long with all the slush and snow we have. Tucking them into high boots, though, was too much of a flash-back for me. Once we lose our snow I’ll wear them long. You’re right; they do look best that way.

  17. Like how you rolled and folded your pants,brava! Great idea!
    I’ve seen wide pants tucked in boots,too and it is not a bad idea,to utilise chunky boots,but didn’t try myself yet . I have Tod’s patent (old) ankle boots ( almost “v “shaped ) that go very well with my bootcut houndstooth wool trousers (and wear it with black turtleneck and black down coat or black coat and Sabina Savage’s scarf- my uniform this month!). I’ve waited for snow to try it tucked in chunky boots but ,luckily,no snow so far
    The other combo is lovely too

    1. I like the look when I can control the tucking. But I fear I would be messing with them all the time. If I had chunky bots that went a bit higher on my leg (but NOT knee high) I’d try tucking them in. I love boot cut trousers better than the wider ones like mine.
      P.S. You don’t have snow? I would have thought you did.

      1. Nope,not this year! Only a little bit for a couple of days-maybe I’ve mentioned it……there are years we have a lot of snow and sometimes we have not so cold winters without snow at all

  18. Of course I did a Search….my curiosity made me do it. Apparently “fill the bill” came first and “fits the bill” came along later.
    And it depends how cold and crispy it is versus warmer and slushy what boots I choose and what I do with pant legs 🙂 and of course it alternates in the part of Canada where I live LOL

  19. “Fits the bill” for me (another vote from the English).

    Have you watched this person’s posts/reels on Instagram as she has lots of very good advice about how to combine items to make the right shape/colour/line etc. @lydiajanetomlinson

  20. I always thought it was “fits the bill,” but apparently “fills the bill” was the original expression and it meant to fill out a theatrical program with a smaller second act. But, either way it nicely describes your closet therapy. The pants (both of them) are very smart and I like the tan ones with the Tahari sweater. What a nice sweater! You were smart to keep it.

  21. I always enjoy your fashion posts and I agree your last outfit is a winner. Regarding the Katharine Hepburn’s pants, I’m not convinced by the roll/tuck look and I would even be afraid it might damage your new pants. However, I was thinking they could work well with sneakers, as shown here by Hélène Legastelois (a French influencer) :
    (she’s 51 and I see some similitude with your style – check her instagram)

  22. Hi Sue,

    In Germany we say “it is worth the penny” (den Pfennig wert”), when something fits the bill!
    Sunny spring regards into your snowy world,

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