This week, my friends, the spring thaw is upon us. And I am excited to embrace spring. And spring outfits. Aren’t we all? But here’s the thing, early spring in Canada means it’s still darned cold outside. And as much as I want to push the season, I need to stay warm. So I decided to take Allison Bornstein’s advice. I added one or two new bits to winter outfits to lighten the look just enough to match my current springy mood. To make winter outfits into spring outfits. Or spring thaw outfits at any rate.

Spring Thaw on the Rideau

On Thursday, I felt well enough to head out to do shopping and run errands. Seriously, this is the first time I have driven the car anywhere in weeks. My darned cold just kept keeping on. And on. But on Thursday the sun was shining and I felt reborn.

Energetic and ready greet the spring sunshine.

So I played around with an outfit that I wore last fall. My navy Max Mara dress pants, cashmere turtleneck, and Veja sneakers. I wore this outfit in the fall with my denim jacket, and in the winter with boots. I like how the vintage flower brooch and my old pearl earrings brighten all that navy, and mirror the white of the sneakers. Actually my white hair and white sneakers kind of bookend the look. If you’ll excuse my using bookend as a verb. Ha.

I added my old black and white Kate Spade bag. I’ve recently developed a new appreciation for this bag. I used to love it. Then it looked too ladylike for me. Now I love it again. Top-handled bags are big this season. And this one is big enough to hold the stuff I need to carry around, and it has a strap that can be worn cross-body.

One of my favourite early spring outfits. Navy cashmere turtleneck, navy trousers, white Veja sneakers, black and white Kate Spade bag.
Max Mara pants, Uniqlo sweater, Veja sneakers, Kate Spade bag.

I toyed with the idea of wearing this navy, white, and red Burberry scarf, but in the end decided to leave it at home. I wore my green Max Mara coat, and I liked the all-navy column under the open coat. Plus the scarf covered up the brooch.

One of my favourite early spring outfits. Navy cashmere turtleneck, navy trousers, white Veja sneakers, black and white Kate Spade bag.
All navy outside on the deck… briefly. Too cold without a coat.

Taking inspiration from my first outfit, I tried the one below. I buttoned this blue and white striped shirt up to the neck and wore it under my navy light-weight cashmere sweater. The sweater has a deep-V neck and I wanted a cleaner look, with less of the shirt showing, so I turned the sweater around and wore it backwards.

One of my favourite early spring outfits. Navy sweater, blue and white striped shirt, navy trousers, white Veja sneakers
MM pants, Vince sweater, Nordstrom shirt, Veja sneakers

I wore my green Max Mara coat again. There’s just something about navy with that bright green that looks so luscious. This outfit pleased me no end. Except of course the deep V in the back of the sweater would look pretty silly if I took off my coat. But I wasn’t bothered. I had no intention of taking off my coat.

One of my favourite early spring outfits. Navy sweater, blue and white striped shirt, navy trousers, green Max Mara coat, white Veja sneakers.
MM pants and coat, Vince sweater, Nordstrom shirt, Veja sneakers.

Below is the final outfit I tried. My black cargo pants from Aritzia, black Everlane cashmere crew-neck sweater, an old black, grey and cream silk neckerchief, white sneakers, and my black and white bag again. I love this one. I borrowed the top half of the look from an outfit I wore last winter with my faux-leather skirt and tall black boots. This outfit will be great for running around and then meeting a friend for coffee.

Gad, I am longing to meet up with friends again. I haven’t had a cold put me out of action for this long in years. And I have not seen a soul since we returned from our week in South Carolina. Well, except for the doctor, and Carmen for a hair cut. I know, I’m shallow. But since we still wear masks at Carmen’s salon, I could NOT cancel my appointment. Hair appointments are considered an emergency in my house.

Winter outfit turned to spring outfit with white sneakers, and black and white scarf.
Everlane sweater, Aritzia cargoes, Veja sneakers, Kate Spade bag

But I still needed a coat. I pulled on my Everlane black trench coat. Meh. This was too drab for my current springy mood. Too much black. I prefer this coat with my COS cream and navy striped sweater under it and my white jeans, like I wore in this post last year. You know, since I am always shopping my closet before I actually start spring shopping, I find my old posts are often my best form of inspiration. Not all of them. But some of them, anyway.

Woman in black trench coat, black pants, black sweater, black and white scarf, white sneakers, and black and white bag..
Aritzia cargoes, Everlane sweater and coat, Veja sneakers

The cream Uniqlo down jacket is much better. Much brighter. And warmer too. Plus, the super casual jacket works better with the heavy cargo pants than the light, drape-y trench coat.

Woman in white down jacket, black pants, black sweater, black and white scarf, and white sneakers.
Uniqlo jacket, Aritzia cargoes, Everlane sweater, Veja sneakers

Yep, this week I feel as if I have been reborn, my friends. I’m energetic and ready to get outside and do stuff. I have turned a corner and left my tenacious cold behind. On Tuesday I woke up and almost leapt out of bed. I kid you not. Of course it didn’t last all day. But it was progress nevertheless. I must say that over the past three weeks, I have been so thankful that I am retired. Retired and able to allow my body to do as much as I felt able and no more.

Back in the day I would have been up and about after three or four days at most. I remember so well preparing lessons for a supply teacher while sick at home, trying to spin as much down time as possible, to allow myself to get better. Then returning to school much too soon. I’m sure no matter the job you used to do (or maybe are still doing) you all know that feeling of waking up hoping you are well enough to go to work. But also knowing that by ten o’clock (for teachers the end of first period) you will feel like death again. But going anyway. I’m shuddering as I write that.

But enough of that, my fashionable friends. I can’t be thinking about being miserable. Not today.

The spring thaw has begun. The ice on the river is melting and big sheets are drifting gently in the current. Geese are stalking about on the moving ice as they sail downstream. The sun is shining. Hubby will cook our steaks on the barbeque tonight. Yah.

Spring is here today. Not yesterday. It snowed. And not tonight when the temps are supposed to plummet to -17 C with the wind chill. But today it IS here. And today will do.

And, and … I have three new-old spring outfits to wear this week. Bright and fresh enough to satisfy my longing to push the season, but still warm enough for spring thaw. Oh, please, please, please don’t let it snow.

What new-old-ish early spring outfits are you cooking up where you live?

P.S. Below is a selection of pieces similar to mine that might work for you. All clothing links 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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49 thoughts on “Three Outfits for the Spring Thaw”

  1. Love your post. Here in the Seattle area, we have three seasons in one day right now! Rain, sun, and hail to be precise. I am longing for spring, so have been wearing my cream cords a lot with vibrant cashmere sweaters. My husband gave me a gorgeous long camel toned Pendleton coat for Christmas that I have been wearing with light colored denim. I have switched from black to navy to lighten things up a bit.

    1. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to feel more springy. I’ve also switched from wearing my heavy chunky knits to light-weight cashmere sweaters and a springy scarf. At least this time of year makes us scrounge around in our winter closets and wear more of our clothes. Which is a good thing.

  2. It’s very nice to see you back on form & looking so good in all these outfits . The little brooch is a lovely touch . I bought a new Mack late last autumn by Oska , it’s a similar shape to your MM green coat but in a dusty jade colour . There’s spring in the air here too so I’m going to try it over warm woollens & trousers . I only managed to wear it once last year , so it’s quite exciting .

    1. I’ll start wearing my spring coats as soon as I can. The season for them is so short. I love when I get a new piece and am able to wear it only a couple of times. And then when the weather changes, and I haul it out again, it feels like new. I’m laughing as I type this. Stu is on bird-spotting duty. There are two large vultures perched on our oak tree that hangs out over the river. I am getting minute by minute shouted updates. Wow. Now it’s six vultures. Ha.

      1. Crikey , we’ve seen Vultures abroad but not sure I’d want them in my garden ! Hope Stu is safe …..

  3. Just returned from a long walk in the muddy but sunny fields, admiring lambs and celandines and rushing streams, in company of a friend and her five year old. Spring is finally really showing itself. My mother used to love navy and emerald green, such a smart combination. I have been sorting the wardrobe, moving all the clothes I have been making for the warmer months out of the sewing room and all lined up, ready to go. It is colourful in there for the first time in many many years. And thinking of wearing my mum’s wool jacket, smart houndstooth check. And now, if you don’t mind, I shall return to the sewing machine and my new linen trousers. Stay snug.

    1. Oh… I long for a walk across muddy fields in my rubber boots. Soon… hopefully. Stu is still skiing. In fact he’s out here now trying for one more ski before the weather warms up and the snow goes.

  4. You always look so lovely in everything you wear. Glad to hear you are finally feeling better. It seems like the older we get the longer it takes to shake a cold.

    1. Thanks, Valerie. I have always had a problem with colds hanging on and on. But not since I retired and am not around so many sneezing teenagers. 🙂

  5. Love the looks and glad you are feeling better! I find spring the hardest season to dress, because I am sick of my sweaters but it’s still mostly too chilly to wear anything else. I will have to borrow these ideas of adding in some lighter colors to the warmer pieces. And, late to the party but I loved the hair post from a few weeks ago. A friend who is recovering from cancer now has enough hair regrowth for a salt and pepper pixie and looks amazing— in good company with this stylish lot.

    1. The only thing worse than having to wear winter clothing in spring is wearing spring clothing and freezing to death. Ha. Your friend must be so happy her hair looks great. Like Yvonne’s in my post.

  6. It’s good news that you’re feeling better. The glorious beginning of spring is the best medicine. You look so bright and new in your navy based outfits. I remember back when the expression “blue and green should never be seen” was a thing. So many silly clothing rules that have been proven wrong. I have to say it again. The green coat is just the most outstanding thing you bought. It just makes everything look great. Enjoy feeling better and enjoy the bbq steaks.

    1. There were so many silly clothing rules, weren’t there? Back in the late seventies and early eighties when I worked in a big department store here in Ottawa we weren’t allowed go without pantyhose. So wearing a dress and sandals to work in the summer became an exercise for me in trying to keep my sandals on my feet. Plus it looked terrible. But we were told it wouldn’t be appropriate to have bare legs.

  7. Happy to hear you feeling better and up and out. Love enthusiasm for Spring and new outfits. Love, love, love your Max Mara coat with anything and everything. I am officially jealous:) My spring outfit for running errands the other day was my purple plaid shirt and a navy cardi…of course my jeans. A lite jacket on top…huge hurricane force winds blew down out of the mountains, my shopping cart blew across the parking lot as I was trying to load my car. We won’t discuss what happened to my hair. At home unloading was just as eventful. Hubby wasn’t home to help! Needless to say, spent the rest of the day in bed with a good book. Happy Spring all, upwards and onwards. P.S. Love your brooch with the navy.

    1. I am chuckling as I imagine your shopping excursion, Heather. If it were my hair it would have blown straight up in the air and stayed there. 🙂

  8. Many of my friends are just emerging from that nasty cold…it lasts weeks.
    Love that green Max Mara coat…I know I have said it before but it is sublime!!!!
    Spring fashion and warmer weather is on my radar too…looks like you are bridging the seasons and ready to jump into spring. That Kate Spade bag looks great…don’t remember seeing it before but definitely a keeper!
    Take care Sue,
    Hostess of The Humble Bungalow

    1. Thanks, Leslie. That Kate Spade bag has been in and out of my current rotation for almost ten years. Plus it still looks like new. And feels new every time I haul it out.

  9. I’m so glad you’re feeling better — and that you’re getting a taste of Spring there (tho’ I know you had fresh snow last week). Your three outfits are perfect for the transition; as always you manage to hit the “sweet spot” combination of casual and polished!
    (completely get your recollection of those days of pushing ourselves back to work, even when we knew we were flirting with a relapse by doing so!)

  10. Carmen is great. It’s not just the color, but the cut that makes your hair look so stylish and yet “cool” at the same time. I wouldn’t have missed that appointment for the world! So glad you’re feeling better; you look great.

  11. Your spring outfits look great! It’s amazing how a column of dark color and white sneakers can look so cheerful and so spring-like. I’ve been looking for a short white or off-white puffer for a while, but have yet to find one. Glad you are feeling better!

  12. Just returned from church wearing all navy pants and sweater, white tennis shoes and a scarf (don’t have any brooches). My hair is white and short like yours. Channeling you, my friend.
    Warm and sunny today in So Cal, so no coat.
    I look forward to your writings every Sunday.

  13. All your outfits are so cute! So sporty and elegant! Your hair is a wonder at the moment:). I love how it’s given you license to play with white, like that brooch. Spring thaw indeed.

  14. So happy for you that the beastly cold is finally on the run.
    Your wardrobe resets are now familiar markers of the change of seasons. They are no less welcome for being the inverse of what I experience in the southern hemisphere. To your spring thaw on the glorious Rideau I give you cool breezes on Sydney Harbour, reduced humidity and a welcome sprinkling of camellias in my garden. As you move towards fewer and lighter layers, I with some reluctance and annoyance, move from sandals (are Birkenstocks really sandals?) to socks and closed shoes, and from linen and cotton dresses to jeans and sweatshirts. Change is an inevitable, if not always welcome, reminder of our journey through life. I love your green coat and take my place in the hopeful queue of those who would happily relieve you of it should you ever tire of it. I also admire your chutzpa in combining Max Mara and Uniqlo to such good effect. And that white brooch is everything!
    The recent and by now familiar warm weather retreat of Covid has helped me to move out of a very cloistered life to experience the fun of a trip to the theatre to see Hairspray, and be enriched in the company of 8,999 others, at An Evening with Barack Obama during his recent visit to Sydney. Both were happy and memorable outings, made even more so by sharing them with my daughter.

    1. I just love that white brooch. Plus it reminds me of our trip to the flea markets outside of Paris years ago. “Cloistered” is a good word to use to describe our covid experience. So glad you were able to throw off the shackles, Maria, and get out and about.

  15. Still waiting for spring here on the prairie! It snowed this morning which isn’t unusual for the first week of April. What is unusual is the fact that it was landing on two feet of old snow instead of the mostly bare ground that we usually have by now! So far, my only wardrobe concession to the time of year is wearing sneakers instead of boots as the sidewalks are mostly clear of ice and snow now.

    So glad you’re feeling better and finally able to get out and begin enjoying spring. All 3 of your outfits look perfect for this transitional time of year.

  16. I’m very glad to hear that you’re starting to feel better. What a relief it always is to feel one’s energy returning after being out of commission with illness! I’m sure that signs of spring are helping to expedite this process. I always begin to feel a little more optimistic and energetic at this time of year. Hope you continue to regain full strength this week!

  17. So glad you are feeling better and getting out! Our 26 year old had that cold too and it hung on for weeks. Apparently it has no respect for age! Were you shopping at Rideau before you got sick? He works there and said many employees were down with some kind of non-Covid respiratory thing. Speaking of Rideau..what do you think of Nordstroms shuttering down? Ugh I am not happy but on the bright side more visits to Montréal to shop!! Love, love the navy and green! Navy looks so good with so many bright colours yellow, fuchsia, green without black’s propensity to create a licorice All Sorts moment. I stick to black in the winter but navy it is for spring and summer!
    Your hair looks so nice..100% hear you on the importance of keeping the salon appointments. Husband had to move his colonoscopy to the next week because my long awaited hair appointment was coming takes six weeks to see this guy. Thirty years ago I put off being induced for #1’s birth because I needed to get my hair done because who knew when I would get out again ( it was winter) told the OBS that husband had a cold..;)

    1. I’m not surprised that Nordstrom is closing. Their stock for the last couple of years has been depressingly boring. And I though the exact same as you… Oh well… must go to Montreal more regularly. P.S. You are a girl after my own heart when it comes to hair appointments. 🙂

  18. So glad to hear you are finally on the mend with a ‘spring’ in your step. Love the navy combination with your beautiful green coat.
    Like Maria, we are moving into autumn with the end of daylight saving and cooler evenings. We even managed a touch of ” mist and mellow fruitfulness” at the weekend. This summer has been a bit of a non-event with so much rain.
    Went for a browse at the local shopping centre last week and it was depressing to see all the black clothing. Surely some bright colours would perk up dreary weather during winter?
    Perhaps I will just have to shop my wardrobe this winter.

  19. So glad to hear you are starting to feel better. I’m with you on not missing a hair appointment. I actually drove through a blizzard many years ago for a haircut. Luckily I only drove about 10 km and could take the subway the rest of the way.
    It’s starting to feel spring like in southern Ontario, and my winter coats and boots are put away. Yikes – I hope I didn’t jinx it. 🙂

  20. Lovely outfits,Sue! It is great that you are feeling well again and that the spring is in the air.
    Navy trousers and turtleneck are my go to combination nowdays,too (today is 4° C,cold for the lighter baby blue coat I’m wearing,but last week was warm,for the leather jacket,so one never knows what to expect). Love the way you are wearing your v-neck-I love to wear it the same way during colder summer evenings,with a little of skin exposed on the back. I’ve got the idea chez Sezane
    The white/ black bag is really nice,too

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. I must check out the Sezane website. Several You Tubers I follow like their clothing. We never see it here. But sometimes websites give good styling ideas. My favourite are COS and The Frankie Shop. I get the Frankie Shop emails and they always inspire me.
      P.S. I’m back from their site. Quite excited about the bags they have. 🙂

  21. Glad to read that you are feeling better and that you had a sunny spring day!
    Love your outfits. I really like the white brooch with the navy and I agree that the navy “column” under your green coat (or without the coat) is very good looking. I cannot pull off a turtleneck these days, but you look great in them.
    I’ve been admiring your Aritzia cargos for some time and you’ve spoiled me for others. I’ve ordered two other brands and sent them back. One of these days I’ll have to drive into Boston and search for parking (shudder), so that I can try on their cargo pants. I like the tailored look of them.
    As usual, I seldom get out of my tee shirts and jeans. I did have an outing on Sunday and was feeling the need for some spring colors, so I wore a Talbot’s blue long sleeve tee, a new J Crew quilted jacket with a green background and little blue flowers, a pair of jeans and my navy Dansko clogs. It felt just right for a sunny, but cold day. I am a big fan of the Dansko clogs and have them in a few colors.
    Here’s to more sunshine ahead.

  22. Fantastic post Sue! I love all things navy and these outfits are great. How do you decide which sneakers (Veja or Stan Smiths) better suit an outfit?

    1. My Stan Smiths are pretty old now, bought back in 2015, but I still wear them. The Vejas are a bit more substantial in the sole, and neater, so I like them better with dress pants.

  23. Some colds can be a bugger to shake alright ! I’m glad the worst is behind you and your spring is finally underway 🙂

    I laughed out loud when you said you wore your V-neck backwards and a coat to cover it up ! I would have just gone with a turtleneck skivvy or a lightweight knit version underneath 😀

    1. I know… it was a weird choice. But I wanted to wear the shirt under the sweater and have it look like a crew neck. In front at least. 🙂

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