Ah, my friends, I know I am risking reader fatigue by posting yet another summer closet rummage so closely on the heels of the last one. But hear me out. I am NOT done rummaging. I have more to say about my summer closet.
My last rummaging post was limited to what I might wear with a couple of pairs of casual pants. A reader commented that she thought the outfits in that post seemed too warm to wear in summer. Not so, my friends. Depending on where you live, a light tee or tank top, under a light jacket, with casual pants is a perfectly wearable summer outfit. Especially if one is in and out of air-conditioned buildings. Or planning to still be wearing said outfit on a restaurant patio when the sun goes down. I frequently wear full-length or cropped pants in summer. And I usually take a jacket (or a sweater) with me on outings, even in the heat of summer. Jackets can come off and be tucked into tote bags, draped across one’s shoulders to keep the sun off, or folded over a cross-body bag if you’re on the move.
But enough about my last post. For this post I wanted to play around with my A.L.C. striped skirt, which is suitably wafty and light for when temperatures climb. My goal was to identify a few outfits, to have in reserve, so I could just pull them on without having to think too much.
I tried the outfit below a couple of years ago and never actually wore it. A looser, more oversized white shirt might work better, but this is the only white shirt I own. Still, I like the Lafayette 148 shirt tied at the waist of my skirt. It looks best with sneakers to keep it from looking dated, or too conservative. Now that my hair is white, the outfit needs a pop of colour. If I were a person who wears red lipstick, I’d go with a red lip. But I’m not, so I won’t. I simply can’t wear bright lipstick. It makes me feel like Norma Desmond. Besides this little red, cross-body bag I bought back in 2018 is enough red, I think.
This time round, I’m going to test drive the outfit on an errand-running mission into the village. Then I can see if the tied shirt stays in place. Or whether it needs, as I fear it might, constant fiddling and readjustment. If so, I’ll just be ten minutes from home. I dread being somewhere in the city, forty-five minutes drive away, wearing an outfit that as Alyson Walsh says requires too much “faffing about.” Seriously, one is too old to be bothered with faffing. Ha.
My little red bag made me think of this red Everlane tank, below, which I bought in 2020. I really like it with the skirt. But this outfit needs a third piece. Or a pair of flat, strappy, red sandals. And since I couldn’t find anything suitable in my closet in the shape of either a jacket, sweater, or sandals, this outfit idea will be left on the backburner for now.
Now this one, below, is my favourite. Black, white, and red again. I swapped the red Everlane tank top for my black one, and the sneakers for my Birkenstock-style sandals, and threw on this cream, crocheted sweater.
You know, a year or so ago, I almost donated this sweater. Bought in a rush of love for the creamy colour and the open crochet-work, I came to regret my purchase. The sweater is too cropped and boxy for my short, wide upper-body. I tried and tried to find a way to wear it and failed. Until one evening, I just slung it around my shoulders and a new accessory was born. I still get to wear the creamy colour up next to my face. And I don’t have to worry about the shape of the sweater.
This outfit needs no test drive. I love it. And the little punch of red makes it look even better. I feel perfectly myself in this look. My current self. Not a past-its-sell-by-date version of something I used to be, and now no longer am.
I’ve been waffling on a fair bit lately about the search for my new fashion identity. I’ve been retired for nine years. My white hair is no longer a novelty, but just part of who I am at sixty-six. And my body shows no signs of returning to its former svelte-ish-ness, despite exercise and nutritional tweaks. I’ll no doubt talk about those “tweaks” in a later post. Meanwhile, I accept that I have changed. But I’m still playing around with how I want to reflect the new me in my style. And in the past few days, I’ve been trying to think how I would define my new style identity.
For instance, remember the problematic yellow Rag and Bone pants I bought a couple of years ago? They are so comfortable. I love wearing them. But I struggled to find looks that incorporated the pants and still felt like me. The outfit on the left is a perfectly good outfit. But I hate it. Even though it incorporates some elements which I love: the pants, the sweater, the bag. The whole thing is too…. I don’t know… soft and insipid, maybe? Too been-there-done-that? I much prefer the cropped, boxy tee, the sneakers, and the white jacket on the right. More modern. Less ladies-who-lunch. More casual and more tailored at the same time.
Anyway, I’m not looking for solutions to the yellow pant conundrum. Gad. We’ve been down that road, my friends. But I am looking for a way to quantify, or describe my style now.
I wore the outfit below to a physio appointment followed by a coffee date one day last week. I love, love this outfit. The lilac tank from Everlane is new. I was happy when I saw that the new tank matches my old lilac Vince sweater. This lilac sweater has been a much loved part of my summer closet for years, and I don’t wear it enough. My cotton cargo pants with their enormous pockets and my chunky sandals give the lady-like colours on top a bit of an edge. I felt like a million bucks in this outfit. And looked exactly myself. I might even say “authentic” if I didn’t hate the overuse of that word. Ha.
So, lately, besides closet rummaging, and looking for outfits which make me feel like me, I’ve been doing some reading and listening to videos about various ways to define one’s personal style. And the method that interests me most is the “three word rule.” This is not a new concept. Blogger Chriselle Lim described it in an article back in 2016: “Think about your style in three words. Mine are clean, polished, and feminine. When I don’t know what to wear, I just go back to those” (source.)
My interest in the “three word rule” has recently been revived by two of my favourite vloggers Allison Bornstein and Alyssa Beltempo. I’ve been listening to what these ladies have to say about the “three word rule,” looking at lists of words, and thinking how I might go about identifying my own three words. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Oh, I know the whole thing sounds arbitrary. And of course it is. But it’s fun to play around with, as long as we don’t get all bent out of shape trying to follow what are essentially our own rules. I mean we choose the words. And if they don’t work we can just pick new ones. Maybe we can even be rebels and choose four words.
Yep, these days besides rummaging in my summer closet, I’ve been rummaging in my brain. Always a dangerous thing. Ha.
I’ll let you know how the search for my three style descriptors turns out. One way or the other.
I should add that I don’t have outfits planned for those depressingly hot and humid days we get every summer here in Ottawa. Other than old shorts and a tank top I would not wear out in public. Like the wimp I am, I usually stay hunkered down at home with my book on the hottest days. I am definitely a summer party pooper in the heat.
Now how about you my friends? How would you define your summer style?
P.S. Below are some links to clothing I’ve mentioned in this post. Or as close as I can come if the pieces I own are no longer available.
Everlane tank tops. Everlane boxy tee shirt. White Theory blazer. Rag and Bone Simone pants, in black, and checked. I own both a black pair and a navy and white checked pair. Similar Lafayette 148 shirt. I’m tempted to order this Everlane linen shirt in black or white. Birkenstock sandals, similar to mine. Cream crochet sweater similar to mine, but better. Vince lightweight cashmere sweaters here, here, and here. Stan Smith Adidas in original green. Similar red cross-body bag.
P.P.S. All the links to clothing are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.