Time for another splurge update, my friends. I’ve been shopping, online and in person. And somehow I talked myself into buying stripes for spring. Twice. I did a ton of browsing online, clicking, browsing again. And then, finally, I made up my mind and ordered a striped sweater (similar) and a long-sleeved striped tee shirt from COS. So, stripes for spring for me. Twice over.

COS striped sweater with Max Mara pants and Stan Smith sneakers.
My new oversized, striped cashmere sweater.

I’ve long been eyeing the oversized look that my favourite people on social media like Lydia Tomlinson and Emma Hill wear so well. And I have really come to love that easy, slouchy, over-sized style. Chic, but not too precious. Pulled together, but still looking as if one didn’t have to try too hard to get that way.

But here’s something I’ve learned over the years. All those women we admire for their personal style, women who look as if they have made NO effort? Who look chic, yet not overdone? Just relaxed and happy to be who they are, wearing whatever they’re wearing? All those easy, natural, I was born dressed this way, no-effort looks take, well, effort. At least for me. I have never been able to pull on anything and somehow look cool, or effortlessly chic. When I make no effort, I look exactly as if I’ve made no effort.

When I say effort, I don’t mean in the sense of taking hours to get dressed, wearing tons of make-up, and piling on complicated combinations of scarves and jewellery. I mean taking time to find just the right piece before I purchase, whether pants or top or coat, and then trying various ways of styling said piece with other pieces in my closet. So of a morning, I can throw on a pre-determined combination of these pieces without thinking too much. And be happy with how I look.

Mastering the oversized look is tricky. It’s more than pulling on a great big sweater over a pair of baggy pants. It’s all about balancing proportions between top and bottoms, deciding whether to tuck or not tuck and how much to tuck, choosing the right coat or jacket, and finding the right shoes.

Here are some of the oversized striped sweater looks I saved on my Spring Styling Ideas board on Pinterest. Some of the outfits I pinned because I want to try to interpret them with my own pieces as exactly as I can. Others are just to remind me to try a certain sweater or shirt with a certain pair of pants. And at least one is to remind me of the dangers of oversizing everything.

Here’s how I interpreted my inspiration ideas with my new striped sweater and older pieces in my wardrobe.

First off I tried my oversized COS sweater with the navy trousers that are part of my very old Max Mara spring suit. These pants are the reason I was looking for a navy and white oversized sweater. My idea was that a big sweater might look great with these navy, wide-leg pants and my white sneakers, and give me another styling option for the pants. And I’m happy that the result is exactly what I wanted. The heavier cashmere sweater works well with the flowy, light-wool fabric of the trousers. I love this outfit.

COS striped sweater, Max Mara trousers, Stan Smith sneakers.
COS sweater (similar), old Max Mara pants, Stan Smith sneakers

Most of the similar outfits I’ve seen on Instagram pair a long trench with wide-leg trousers and an oversized sweater. But I pulled on my navy Moncler anorak instead. The anorak is more casual. And I’m not sure I would like a long, full coat with the flowy pants and the oversized sweater. But that might just be me. I think I might feel like my mum did when she was going through menopause, and she couldn’t stand wearing what she called “too many clothes.”

COS striped sweater, Max Mara trousers, Stan Smith sneakers, Moncler anorak.
I added my navy Moncler coat.

I’m happy with this look. The navy of the sweater and pants is pretty much an exact match. And I think the texture of the anorak, with its slight sheen, makes it look lighter in colour and keeps the whole thing from becoming too too navy, if you follow me.

COS striped sweater, Max Mara trousers, Stan Smith sneakers, Moncler anorak.
When the wind stops, my hair will stay that way. Ha.

Next up, I swapped my navy trousers for my Frame straight-leg white jeans. And added my black Everlane trench and my black Stuart Weitzman loafers (similar.)

COS striped sweater, Frame white jeans, Everlane trench, Stuart Weitzman loafers.
Everlane trench, Frame white jeans, Stuart Weitzman loafers (similar)

I’ve been reading that navy and black together are a thing. But I wasn’t convinced. So I was pleasantly surprised that I like this look. The cream sweater with the white jeans, the black coat and shoes with the navy stripes, the proportion of big sweater with slim cropped jeans and long full coat… just works. In my opinion. Plus my white hair matches my jeans. Ha.

COS striped sweater, Frame white jeans, Everlane trench, Stuart Weitzman loafers.
Hair as an accessory?

My last outfit is more in the line of pull on and go. I’ve worn the sweater, sneakers, and jacket with my longer, boot-cut Frame jeans, but I think I like the outfit even better with my high-waisted straight-leg Frame jeans. I rolled the pants and pulled them down on my hips a bit to make them slouchier. Oddly enough, they look almost like boyfriend jeans here, a style which has never worked for me.

This is what I wore yesterday to go with Hubby to our accountant’s office to get the bad news. You know, it being tax time and all. Ha.

COS striped sweater, Frame jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, Moncler coat.
Frame jeans, Stan Smith sneakers, and Moncler coat.

So, it’s stripes for spring for me this year. Oversized stripes. My new tee shirt from COS is oversized as well. COS does big very well. But be warned, take into account the sizing recommendations before you make a decision. I bought my suggested size in the sweater, but think I could have sized down one size. I did size down, as suggested, with the tee shirt and am glad I did. Plus if you’re Canadian and order from COS online, be prepared to pay through the nose for duties. I was shocked at the amount when I was contacted by UPS that there were duties owing. Next time I browse COS will have to be in a bricks and mortar store, and the closest are in Montreal or Toronto. Pity.

Then again… it’s a good excuse for an overnight shopping trip.

If you’re thinking of oversized stripes for spring, here are a few other sweaters that I saw and liked. I included a few which are shorter and less wide than mine, for those of you who feel as if you might be overwhelmed in a sweater that is too oversized. We all have to find our own proportional sweet spot. Plus we don’t want you to feel like Mum, that we’re wearing “too many clothes.” Ha.

You know I was in my fifties before I understood how Mum felt about the “too many clothes thing.” How she began to feel swamped when she had to fuss with her clothes. How layers were an anathema. And why, when she and I were out shopping or something, she’d say she couldn’t wait to get home and get out of her clothes.

Get home, get out of our clothes, and make a nice cup of tea. Yep. I totally get that now.

How about you my fashion friends? How do you feel about stripes, or the oversized look, or whatever? Did you find that menopause changed your relationship with your clothes?


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46 thoughts on “Stripes for Spring: Splurge Update”

  1. Love all these outfits and, as always, admire your analysis of why/ how they work. My current “capsule wardrobe” — under 8 kilograms in a carry-on case, thanks so much Lufthansa! (their carry-on limit is 4 kilograms less than I’ve ever been constrained to before!) — includes two striped tops, one long-sleeved linen-cotton white/aqua, the other short-sleeved cotton white/burgundy.
    Loved (and was moved by, and laughed at) your last post, but couldn’t have commented without going on about my experience with my father’s last years, especially, and my mother’s. And I’m trying to limit visiting and commenting online while travelling. But it was a lovely post. thank you. xo

    1. I love to analyse outfits… like doing a critical analysis of a poem… without the essay. 🙂 Hope the rest of your trip goes well, Frances.

  2. You know that chair we all have in our bedrooms? The one where we leave clothes, dump things?
    Me in oversize.
    I will have to pass.

  3. Ah yes , Cos sizing . The times I’ve stood in their changing room thinking ‘ Too big ‘ & then I’m a little girl again hearing my mum say ‘ Stop complaining , you’ll grow into it 😄

    1. 😂Me too! (My mother was English, so that voice in my head sounds like the Queen!)
      Don’t want to grow into anything now!!

    2. Ha. I remember Mum saying that too. Sometimes I think the oversized pieces have to be seen with the right jeans or whatever. I almost balked at the tee shirt I ordered until I saw it with my jeans and sneakers. That’s why I loved shopping with Liz because she’d hustle off and find just the right coordinating bits to make me see how something could be worn.

  4. Can’t do oversized. I’m only 5’2” and have an apple shape. But I do love stripes and wear them quite a bit. I can’t wear cashmere except for a couple of weeks here in California and like your mother I don’t like wearing a lot of clothes. But I may size up on the next striped top I buy to get a slightly slouchy look. I love the sweater with the white jeans and black trench. Very smart yet casual. And it looks effortless. Ha ha.

    1. Love how you can wear it. I’m 5’2” and look like I’m trying on grown up clothes! We are finally In Ireland! Dublin this week and saw a Cos store and May have to pop in if hubby is feeling generous. It is spring here, green, no snow, flowers, trees budding and leafing. Gorgeous. We took care of my FIL at home for 3 months before he died right after US Thanksgiving, and is a strange transition. My parents are 82 and 89 this year. Tough to see them age. I love your looks! I brought stripes to wear and love seeing the fashions in Dublin. I have so missed this. We both had our 2nd booster before traveling and hope the next couple of weeks go well.

  5. Love oversized and love all of your outfits
    It is interesting how we all style,similar, but quite different, our pieces-it could be piece of cake or more difficult indeed,how we make it work and be individual
    So,I have Cos ,not so oversized-but it was the largest size- striped knitted cotton sweater and it was a real workhorse last year (and it will be this year as well). Believe it or not,I’ve forgotten if it was/is very dark navy or black,it works with both colours and I can’t tell at all now
    I’ve ordered Cos striped knitted(NAVY-cream-beige) t-shirt last week,sizing could be tricky,but I’ve ordered L
    Love their minimal esthetic,have a couple of dresses too,luckily, here I pay only the prize,but all the duties and shipping costs are the reason that I don’t usually shop on US sites any more(after two very bitter experiences)

    1. I was amazed that I liked my navy stripes with black. And the cream sweater with the white pants is yummy, IMO. I wish that some of the brands I want to try could be accessed here without so much palaver and duties etc. So many of them are in the UK. That’s what I get for watching mostly British influencers.

  6. Love the sweater on you with the white jeans the best. ….tres chic. I do think oversized tops are for certain body types and you are one of those who can wear them.

  7. I’m short, alas I can’t pull off too much slouchy but it looks great on you. Enjoy your fre time with fewer posts, we’’lol Be just fine.

    1. Thanks, Deanne. Since we are currently getting things organized for a reno, I’m liking only doing one post. Plus I look forward to it so much by the time Saturday rolls around.

  8. Oversized can really be a balancing act, can’t it? I love the slouchy look and think it looks awesome if you can get the proportions just right. My middle age middle doesn’t like anything clingy but I also don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard to camouflage. I think you have found the sweet spot in all your outfits so I’m going to do some experimenting today to see if I can emulate. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Love all of the outfit options but especially the black trench coat and black shoes. Classic yet trendy in my opinion. I love stripes and just bought two 3/4 length sleeve tops from Ralph Lauren. I hope they carry me from spring thru to fall by laying. As always trying to get my monies worth. Oh yes, menopause (which is actually womanopause to spite the Latin origin) changed my relationship with my clothong, waistline and sanity simultaneously. I ‘grew’ out of my clothes and everything shifted. I had to and still am trying to dress my body which doesn’t quite match how I’ve always seen myself! Such a struggle….but also an opportunity. Lovely post as always…

  10. Love your oversized looks, and especially appreciate your comments on dressing. They are helpful and help me in figuring out what to buy and wear. Alas, I’m only 5’2″, partly due to age-related shrinkage, and have yet to find a true oversized look that looks good on me.
    Sue, thank you for recommending Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner in a recent post. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while. As I think you said, it’s a quiet book. No car crashes or whatever, but with so much happening in the mind. Thanks again.

  11. I love all the looks with your new sweater! I’m a big fan of stripes, so I’m delighted to see that they’re on trend this season. I recently scored a lightweight striped sweater at Goodwill that’s just like new and oh, so comfy, but I’m also hoping to replace a couple of older striped tees while they’re readily available this year.

  12. Love all the looks but especially the one with the navy jacket. I’ve always been a big fan of stripes and recently bought a navy and white striped jacket with a navy fleece lining ready for winter.
    Ah menopause – when your best friend is a loose cardigan in order to facilitate a quick change!

  13. Love love love the oversize COS sweater. The last pic with the jeans is awesome. I also like that the sweater isn’t all stripes.

  14. Love all your looks with the new sweater! Definitely a worthwhile splurge. Cos is a new band to me, but there’s a store in Lisbon, so I see a shopping trip in my future.C

    1. I first saw them in London in 2017 and was mesmerized by the shop windows. I didn’t dare venture inside… I had zero room in my suitcase.

  15. I have always enjoyed reading Vogue but never really knew how to interpret those runway looks into something I could wear. But your fashion blogs are really so helpful to me, more like tutorials. Your explanations showing how you put an outfit together and what works and doesn’t has helped me tremendously.
    And yes I also never understood my mother wanting to shed clothes at the end of the day but now I am right there!

  16. I really like the striped sweater and jeans. . I’m working on attempting the oversized look, too. Since, I’m 5’4 I definitely have to work on balancing the pieces. Also, I think oversized is a shape that’s new and it takes some getting used to. Emma Hill left a reply on YouTube reminding her viewers that Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are petite and wear oversized clothes, but they have the cool factor I lack. Please keep doing these outfit break downs. Seeing someone of a certain age’s interpretation of these styles is very helpful. Yes, COS is very oversized.

    1. The Olsen’s have been doing oversized for years. I forgot that. But I’m not sure I have always liked their personal style. Even though I love The Row clothes… or I would if I could afford them 🙂

  17. Hi Sue,
    I love your new sweater. I like the fact that isn’t entirely made up of stripes, rather it has them starting part way down the torso and further down the sleeves. It looks great on you.

    While I like the oversized look, I feel a little um, oversized, to pull it off. I have a few oversized button down shirts to wear over leggings, but since I’ve gained a bit of weight, I’m not as fond as the look on myself right now. Motivation for doing something about that?

    I’m a big fan of navy and black. Years ago I treated myself to a splurge pair of navy suede kitten heels with a black suede bow on the front. I don’t use them often, but I love to pull them out for the infrequent dressy outfit. That’s been a while thanks to Covid.

    As usual, you have pulled together some great outfits and I am sure that you will be able to throw them on in the morning and enjoy them!

  18. I’m so impressed. YOu have it all together. I’m a mess! Not organized in my closet or my mind. So kudos to you!! I buy impulsively. Want to come and organize my life and closet?

  19. That sweater is PERFECT on you, IMO. Love the stripes, love the outfits. It aligns with your classic looks, but, more swagger!

  20. Speaking of menopause, it was years before I went back to wearing pullover sweaters . During that time I had to have a cardigan that I could rip off immediately!

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