So what are the first signs of spring where you live? Here, at least this year, it’s the fact that the snow seems to have disappeared almost overnight. For weeks we saw no discernible difference in the snow cover. Huge piles of snow remained, well, huge. Then one warm day, with double digit temperatures, followed by one or two rainy days, worked a miracle. And bam. Spring had arrived. Not to say that it’s warm outside. Ha. I wish. Just that it’s starting to look like spring. And despite the temperatures, it’s time for spring outfits.

I’ve been dipping my toes into spring fashion this last week or so. The urge to stuff all my winter coats and my heavy cashmere sweaters back into storage drawers and garment bags and pack them away has been hard to ignore.

So, I did as I always do this time of year. I held off packing my winter stuff away. And instead I pulled out my spring coats, some of my spring sweaters, and my sneakers and loafers, and now they all reside in my closet cheek by jowl with most of my winter stuff. I tell you, my friends, my tiny closet is a pretty crowded place. But early spring outfits, and by that I mean outfits that look like spring outfits but are warm enough for late March or early April, require a selection of pieces from both my spring and my winter wardrobes. Early spring requires a kind of hybrid closet.

In spring I wear a lot of navy and white or cream. Especially now that my hair is white. There’s just something about navy with my white hair that I love. In perusing my closet, and thinking of pieces that might freshen up what I already own, I added a new item to my wish list. I’ve been on the hunt for an oversized navy and white or cream sweater to wear with my spring and summer outfits. I settled on this one from COS, and ordered it the other day.

But here’s the thing. Now that I’ve made my choice, I feel like I did as a kid when I couldn’t wait to wear new shoes in the spring. In fact I remember one year, when our yard was still too muddy to allow me to move off the doorstep, I wore them on the doorstep. Ha. I can still see myself dancing around on the step in the sunshine, happy to finally be able to wear my new shoes outside. And then going back indoors to put on my galoshes. Anyway, like I said, I can’t wait to try my new navy and cream sweater with my cream cargo pants, but wait I must.

So on Friday I dug out this old navy and white striped cotton sweater instead. Bought in 2014, it’s still in good shape, and sometimes I wear it under my navy Max Mara pantsuit. It doesn’t look bad with my cream pants, a navy light wool scarf, heavy socks, and my Stan Smith sneakers.

Satisfying my urge to wear navy and white.

But while my sweater is the same navy as my Moncler spring coat, the scarf is lighter in tone and looks a bit off with the coat.

Not loving the scarf with the coat.

So I swapped it for my Burberry scarf which is the exact shade of navy as the coat. In fact, that’s why I bought the scarf a few years ago. I was having trouble finding a navy scarf that was navy enough to go with the coat. You know, that very dark navy which in a certain light looks almost black. The Burberry scarf cost way more that I had planned to pay for a scarf. But at least it will always fit me. And considering I have scarves I wore in university, I imagine that I will have it for years to come. So once I’d changed up the scarf, I began to wonder if the cotton sweater would be warm enough for an early spring in Ottawa. I guess I could layer a white tee shirt under it.

Not sure this will be warm enough on cool spring days.

Or I could just swap the cotton sweater for my Uniqlo navy cashmere turtleneck. Much better. This sweater will supply the level of warmth I need on cool spring days. And it looks great with the Burberry scarf.

This cashmere turtleneck is much warmer.

And with the Moncler coat. This outfit is what I mean when I say that I need both my winter and my spring wardrobes to dress this time of year. Spring on top. Winter underneath for warmth. I’ll probably wear this outfit when I fly home to Mum’s later in the week.

Spring on top, winter underneath.

Here are some of the early spring outfits I’m wearing, have worn, or will wear. I wore the navy walking outfit in the spring of 2020 when walking was the only thing I was doing. Ha. I wore the green Club Monaco hoodie with my black faux-leather trousers and my old black Michael Kors raincoat to lunch last week, and this week shopping. The black turtleneck and red windbreaker is my regular spring walking outfit. How lovely it felt to wear that jacket the other day. And to go without my woolly hat.

I am excited to be able to pull on my navy Max Mara spring blazer over my green hoodie. I love navy and bright green. Last spring, I wore this with jeans and my navy running shoes. This outfit will have to wait a while, unless I wear my trench coat and a scarf over it, which is a possibility. It’s still early to wear the striped ALC tee shirt under my black trench from Everlane. The weather is a bit cool for bare ankles. I could put a layering piece over the tee shirt and wear socks of some sort. But I think I’ll save this outfit for April.

Now, I must tell you about my shopping trip this past week. An unsuccessful, and patently uninspiring trip. I saw nothing at all which I was tempted to buy.

Nordstrom was a disappointment. I don’t know if they are catering to a different clientele these days. Or if the absence of Liz makes it not a fun place to shop anymore. I wandered about for a half hour or so, examining everything, just like I usually do; I looked at prices, held up sweaters to see if the colour suited me. And I swear I was not approached by a single salesperson, to either ask me if I needed help, or just to smile and say hello. And since I didn’t want to try anything on badly enough to chase down a sales person, I left.

Aritzia was next and was wall to wall pastels. Club Monaco was all boring business wear and cropped sweaters. I finally fetched up in Zara. Not my usual habitat, but I had seen some oversized shirts. Bright pinks and greens just like I wanted. But even the exact colour I desired could not persuade me to buy a shirt which fit me everywhere but was two inches too short in the sleeves. Or the one that had two broken buttons already, and one that snapped off in my hand when I tried to unbutton it. I will in future stick to my guns about quality.

Back home I decided that I would, after all, order the pink COS shirt. And they were out of my size. Ha. That will teach me.

Except that it probably won’t. I always like to do a reconnaissance mission before I buy. I need to know that what I have chosen is the right choice. That there is not something better out there. Now that I know what’s out there, or isn’t out there, if another pink shirt the right colour and style comes up I will jump at it.

And if not, there’s always next spring. Like I said in my last post. I’m in no hurry. And I don’t really need anything anyway.

So, yep. Spring is here. More or less. It still might snow. Probably will snow before winter is done with us. In which case I’ll be glad I did not pack away my down coats and heavy cashmere sweaters. You know, it might look like spring, but it doesn’t smell like spring yet.

I remember I wrote a post about spring smells a few years ago. You can read it here if you’re interested. How the smell of mud always reminds me of spring. And spring games of marbles, skipping ropes, and making mud pies. I remember the week I wrote that post I arrived breathless and a bit late for afternoon book club and found all the ladies deep in conversation about what they used, as kids, to carry their marbles around. And what games we all played. I tell you it was way more interesting than the book we’d read. Ha.

Early spring is not an attractive season. Too many browns, and faded golds. Too much dead grass and garbage on the roadside uncovered by the melting snow, as you can see on my walking route yesterday.

Moody skies and forlorn-looking scenery on my walk.

But when I crossed the road and turned back toward home, I began to notice that, while the ditch on the other side of the road had been almost dry, this one was gushing. And the sight and sound of that gushing ditch took me back in time. It did. And I pondered if I should stop and drop a few sticks into the flow. And then run alongside them as they sailed into Manotick.

But I demurred. I do have my dignity to consider.

That’s it for me tonight, my friends. Writing this post, I’ve been moving back and forth from my old computer to my new one, so much that I am going a bit dippy. Time for me to go to bed with my book. Sometimes no matter how much we think we embrace it, change is always hard. But I’ll tell you all about that another time.

How is early spring unfolding where you are? Do you have a hybrid closet like me this time of year? One that is bursting at the seams with spring things you want to wear, and winter things it’s too early to pack away?

P.S. The clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.


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36 thoughts on “Signs of Spring Outfits”

  1. Hands down to navy and white,as well as to navy and (right shade of) green…emerald (I have a cotton cardi)…but I’m looking for years now black watch tartan trousers (IRL,so I could try on) as well. I’ve had two pieces dress in this print,sooo beautiful….
    Spring here means that all is blooming- over night. It is to 20° C during the day,but very cold in the morning (next week it will be much colder). So,yes,I have everything,all season’s clothes,just in case.
    What I’m wearing? COS cotton stripe sweater from last year 🙂 :)! It is quite thick,perfect transitional piece. With jeans or navy or black or winter white trousers. It is actually black and white,but such lovely colours so I can pretend that it’s navy and ecru,if the situation requires it

  2. It’s always anyone’s guess when spring will arrive in the UK . After setting off to Somerset a fortnight ago with a nice selection of outerwear to cope with forecast temperatures of 8 degrees , I ended up wearing some of hubbies t shirts in temperatures of 20 degrees . It’s very nice but we are due more normal spring temperatures soon which will be much better for all the primroses & daffodils everywhere . Yellow is the colour of most spring flowers here , not a colour I wear but I do like a soft lemon . Love all the navy you have going on & I hope the Cos buys work out . I always visit the local Cos store when in Leeds but it can be frustrating . Some of their stuff is rather weird & has me giggling in the changing room but I often find something perfect . It might be my body that is the problem 😁

    1. I love some of the COS clothing. But wow… some of it can be huge. I saw the brand for the first time when I was in England in 2017… their window displays made me want to shop, but alas no room in my suitcase.

  3. I too went to Nordstrom recently and found their service non-existent. I also found the selection uninspiring. Much of it looked poorly made and/or silly. I’m just not going to be inspired by the puffy and long dresses and tops that seem to be the rage. Oh well, this too shall pass.

    1. The Ottawa store seems to have gone totally teenager… or rich old-lady style. And they were overflowing with racks of winter clothing on sale.

      1. Never even get an acknowledgment in the Vancouver store. Super snooty and pretentious.

        The selection is as you say. For the very rich or the very tiny.
        Used to love going to the Seattle flagship store but haven’t been in years.

  4. I feel the same. way about Nordstrom….where is MY department…I do not want body con dresses or clothing items with tons of cut outs or cheap fabrics but I also do not need $300.00 dresses to wear at home everyday. Do I have a department? Do I have a store? I am a size XL so COS is my taste but they do not go to an XL so cannot buy there. Open to any suggestions…I live in the US. Love your blog!

    1. COS makes many of their garments oversized. So a large might fit you. It’s so hard to know how a brand fits. I always order XL in Uniqlo and it’s just large enough for me. I’ve tried Large at Massimmo Dutti and it’s too small, and sometimes I take a Small in Vince and sometimes a Large.

      1. Thanks. You confirmed my thoughts on Uniqlo sizing,…way too small for me. I might try something from COS…if it looks oversized.

      2. Still a bit of an iceberg sitting in my front yard…but it’s a nice warm day, though snow expected mid-week. I don’t “need” anything for Spring, my “want” list is huge. I spent a lot of time online last night looking for a new dress. No where to go, or reason for a new dress, but after two years of covid, political unrest and now a terrible war in the Ukraine, a new dress seems reasonable. Free shipping, won’t be here for a couple of weeks, fingers crossed….good fit and good weather, and a reason to wear it.

  5. My closet is a little more “psychotic” than “hybrid” these days, as I started the seasonal closet turn last weekend, but didn’t finish, and then this weekend involved 7 hockey games to spectate, and my parents came for a visit, so now I have a closet with some tank tops, a few sweater coats, 2 heavy sweaters (that I never even wore because face masks negated any need for additional warmth this winter!), blouses, capri pants, jeans, shorts…’s a hot mess. But it’s something to pick away at as I take breaks from marking essays, so it’s a welcome mess.

    Sue, a thought I’ve had recently: you are better dressed in retirement than most people in the world of teaching these days. I wonder if this is the result of the pandemic – people lost the energy to fuss with their wardrobes? Or clothing became an afterthought because many people didn’t see others, or need to ‘present’ themselves for others for much of two years? Or is just the current evolution of dressing: one’s work wardrobe is the same as a weekend wardrobe? I often seem overdressed at work – which doesn’t bother me, nor does it bother me that other people don’t seem to put their energies into clothing. To each their own!

    1. I was thinking of you the other day, Jo, when I was getting dressed to go shopping. And how when I wore the same outfit to lunch the week before, my friend made no comment about my leather pants, or the green hoodie. And I thought that if it had been you, we would have had a grand old discussion about my outfit, and yours, including which Fleuvog shoes you were wearing. I miss not having anyone to talk clothes with. So I just natter away on my blog. Actually, there never were very many people at work who were interested in clothes, especially in the last few years. I remember being teased one “casual Friday” when someone said that in my blazer, boots, and jeans I was more dressed up than most people were on a normal teaching day. Sigh. I have to admit I do like to see people put in a bit of effort when they work in a professional capacity. Gad that sounds pompous. But I don’t mean dressed up. But some days I wanted to ask people if they had just rolled out of bed.
      P.S. Good luck with the marking. Possibly 4U ISU essays??

  6. Sitting here watching it snow. We have several trees in the back yard that are still holding onto dead leaves from fall. I’m watching them nodding and bowing with the wind. Hoping they hang on and refuse to drift away! I like the underdog, the odd one who refuses to conform. The temps dropped last week again so I stopped rooting around in my spring clothes and have not played with new ways to style my existing clothing. I looked on line at a few stores whose merchandise I like but the mature women modeling are 40-45 tops. I’m 65. That’s a stretch for me. So…I put on a sweat pant outfit and have decided to call it a day…nap time then back to my book. Spring outfits maybe by late April…….

  7. We’ve had two weeks of wet weather here in Portugal, which is entirely welcome after no rain in January or February – I swear I didn’t pack the drought from California! But it’s been glorious the last 3 days (today we were up to 21 degrees and sunny, and the latest Sahara sand is almost gone). I wore a lightweight wool tee-shirt for my walk, but had to roll the sleeves to my elbows, so it’s probably time to break out the short sleeved version. The tree outside our sunroom is leafing out, and the house down the street has wisteria in bloom over the gate. Spring has sprung.

  8. It’s been a roller coaster here in the West lately with snow one day and double digits and running water the next. I have noticed Canadian geese flying overhead so that gives me hope!

    My Spring/summer clothes are still packed away and winter clothes are still prominent in my closet but I am itching to start the transition. I was able to wear some summer shoes this past week as the sidewalks and parking lots are drier. It is so nice to leave the heavy snow boots behind.

    April is on the horizon so fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be kind this year and give us an early spring!

  9. Love all your reminiscing which reminded me of my special childhood friend and I making rivers, and islands in her muddy backyard. And playing hopscotch, and jacks…I was quite the jack champ. Wish I could still hopscotch but that is no longer a choice. Ha, just lucky I can still move around for hikes, and walks.
    Our spring here on the California central coast has sprung and the gingko tree has sprouted many new leaves, as have the avocado branches. The climbing roses are all in bloom, and also the native plants, lavender flowering geraniums, sage, and wooly blue curl.

    My light down jackets and vests get worn year around, and there are only a few months when I can wear my cashmere sweaters. Your winter/into spring outfits are lovely.
    Yes, change is good, and I just got a new hairstyle ala Ana Wintour (sp?) after 2 years of growing my grey, silver highlighted hair longer. Commenting for your blog helps me keep up my grammar, punctuation, and proof reading skills. Thank you for an always interesting ramble.

  10. Can you share the name of your navy running shoes?
    On the hunt for a comfortable pair.
    I love every outfit!
    Look forward to hearing about your new sweater.

    1. They are Asics, Dee. Bought a couple of years ago.I must admit I bought them partially for the colour. Ha. But they are good for walking ect as well. Ha.

      1. I have ASICS as well. And mine are blue.

        I was thinking more of fashionable running shoes….haha.

  11. We, too, have been enjoying the first signs of spring! Our snow was melting rapidly, but a couple of days ago we woke up to winter again. It looked like Christmas! Thankfully, that didn’t last and we’re back to melting. Water is running, geese are flying overhead, and though I haven’t seen one yet, the gophers have come out of hibernation. Yes, it’s that season where we have to borrow from both winter and spring wardrobes. Sneakers are lined up beside winter boots and the coat closet is stuffed with every possible level of outerwear.

    I’m with you when it comes to change too. I spent most of last evening trying to set up the new printer that I had to buy because my new laptop isn’t compatible with our old one. I finally figured it out, but it really shouldn’t have been so complicated!

    1. Much as I love my blog, it’s been stressing me these past few months, finding tech support, and then buying a new computer that isn’t as easy as I thought it would be to use. Still, I am pressing on. Of course the snow last night and today doesn’t help the mood. Ha.

      1. Hi Sue, I’ve never written you before, however, I’m a retired educator also and have enjoyed your ramblings about clothes and books. I recently moved to Hawaii from Washington and am going through a bit of a wardrobe change. (Understatement). I thought I’d let you know that you have influenced me! I recently bought a great skirt from aritzia and some things from Everlane. Both of these stores I heard about from you! Also your musings about sustainability greatly effected me. This is meant to be a thank you and a bit of encouragement just in case you, like all of us, need that occasionally! Thank you for your efforts!

        1. Thank you, Mollie. I do need encouragement every so often. I’m so glad you found a great skirt at Aritzia. And at Everlane. I’m imagining how my wardrobe would change if I moved to Hawaii. Ha. Goodbye tweeds.

  12. I LOVE that navy-and-cream top. And it’s cashmere! Will be so gorgeous on you — very classic, very cool. . .
    A very apropos post for me, as I beginning to think about packing for five weeks in Rome and Sicily, mid-April to end-of-May. My daughter texted the other day that we shouldn’t bother packing coats — none will be needed in Rome. . . and since it will be non-coat-season when we get back home, I’m doing some serious closet cleaning and organizing in a hurry right now. Washing and storing all the winter woolens and speaking magic charms against the moths (okay, not really, but I’m evoking whatever forces the Universe cares to lend to keep my gear hole-free). But our (relatively) cold wet March means I’m not surrendering all my woolen sweaters yet — also making it hard to correctly imagining weather where I’m going. Fighting a powerful urge to fill a case with summer-weight linens, visualizing myself wafting around in them. . .

    btw, my packing has skewed entirely navy — perhaps it’s your tasteful influence 😉

    1. I am hoping to wear that new sweater with my loose Max Mara suit pants and white sneakers. I think that will look great. But I’m worried about the COS sizing. We’ll see, I guess. What with the wardrobe double shuffle this next month and the work on your building… lots of moving stuff around for you! Hope that Italy is fab. I’m sure it will be.

  13. Love your early spring choices. I am a big fan of your emerald green hoodie and I have worn navy in preference to black most of my life..
    We are now in autumn down in NZ and apart from a few days of wild weather as the remains of a tropical storm passed through, the weather has been lovely. Warm clear days in the 20°C and cooler nights so sleep has been possible.
    I’m thinking it might soon be time to roll over my wardrobe to winter weight clothing. I do find I have to keep a “just in case” selection in the wardrobe all year round – items which can go either winter or summer as we can have some very changeable weather as the seasons change. Have to admit I’m quite looking forward to wearing a woolly jumper again.
    Enjoy the arrival of spring (my favourite season) and have a nice time with your Mum.

  14. I think all the stores are a bit depressing lately. I imagine they are still struggling after years of people were working from home and staying in pajamas all day. Retailers must be trying to figure out what people will want to buy. A lot of our local stores went out of business and the remaining ones have scant offerings. Online shopping also remains popular.
    I placed my first order from COS, and was very disappointed in the quality of the fabric and workmanship. I hope you have better luck!

  15. I’ve never had good luck shopping in Nordstrom. They’ve always ignored me. Secondly, I’m with you. I like to gather info before I make purchases, but then what I decide on is sold out, case in point, I need a new blue and white striped button up shirt. With Nothing Underneath has the perfect one, but sold out. As far as making seasonal transitions I’m slow to do it. I rarely make strict transitions from winter to spring because in the southeastern part of the US temperatures can range from 75 degrees one day to snow flurries the next. In general, I rarely do strict transitions from season to season, except summer which is hot, humid, full of mosquitoes and can last well into the last part of October.

  16. Hi Sue,
    I’m catching up as I was away two weekends ago and then very busy with a spring project last weekend, and then there’s work. It was lovely to read about spring and your winter/spring crossover wardrobe. You nailed it with the Burberry scarf, the turtleneck and your winter coat. The colors match so well.
    I’ve been reveling in the signs of spring. We’re ahead of you, but I felt so behind Brooklyn, NY when we visited recently. I captured so many photos of things in bloom.
    I’ve been digging in the vegetable garden, emptying compost bins and getting ready for planting. It’s backbreaking work, but the smell of fresh earth and the sounds of birds is wonderful. So, when not sitting in front of the computer, my wardrobe has been muck boots, sweatpants and a torn black shirt.
    I put away my winter coat, mittens and hat, only to have to pull them back out when the temperatures dropped recently. That will teach me.
    Last week I embarked on my closet changeover earlier than usual. We have a number of commitments for the next few weeks and I could see that I’d be stuck when I really needed clothing for warmer weather. I will layer a lot for the next few weeks.
    I hope that you see daffodils soon.

    1. Hubby is anxiously awaiting garden season. I am anxiously awaiting him not anxiously awaiting. Ha. Wore my winter hat walking a day or so ago and Saturday the temperature will be double digit. Spring is the season for wardrobe pivoting. 😊

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