Why do we persist in thinking that effortless fashion is a thing? Why?

It’s not. And yet we still seem to believe that if we can’t just throw something on and look good, then there’s something wrong with the clothing. Or with us. Or that we’re failing at fashion.

Maybe you don’t feel that way. But I do sometimes. Even when I pretty much know what I like and what looks good on me. Even when I know the direction in which I’d like to take my personal style. And even with a closetful of clothes that mostly fit me and which I mostly like.

So earlier this week, when I was struggling to style a new piece that I’d purchased, I was grateful to hear my style mentor Allison Bornstein say in a recent TikTok video, that “fashion is not easy and it is not effortless.” And when we get discouraged, we should be cheered by the thought that “it’s not easy and it’s not effortless for anyone.” I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that reminder.

@allisonbornstein6

Sorry but it aint easy looking this good! and fashion isnt “effortless” for anyone!!! #style #styletips #personalstyle #summerstyle #greenscreen

♬ original sound – Allison Bornstein

I’m sure you know, because I waffle on about her all the time, that I am a big fan of stylist Allison Bornstein. I’ve been following her for a couple of years now, ever since I discovered this YouTube video about her closet editing system.

In her recent video, Allison recommends analyzing an outfit that’s not working, and then using trial and error to find one that does work. She uses the tailored vest as an example.

“Trial and error,” I thought. “That’s what I normally do.” But this past week for whatever reason I found myself uncharacteristically defeated by my clothes. Defeated, coincidentally, by a tailored vest.

I’ve been looking for a vest for a while, and finally found one I liked at Aritzia. By the time I saw Allison’s video, I’d already tried the vest with three or four outfits. And I was NOT in love with any of them. “Good thing I left the tags on the vest,” I sighed, “because it was going back to the store.” Then, after watching Allison’s video, I decided that I’d have another go. All told, I tried and took photos of seven outfits. Trial and error on steroids, people.

Let’s have a look at all the outfits, shall we? The good, the bad, and the exceedingly ugly.

Consider, first, the outfit above. Sadly, these black dress-pants were the reason I wanted to buy a vest. I imagined the fitted vest with a cami underneath, the loose dress-pants, and flat sandals for summer. And in the fall, the vest with a tee shirt or long-sleeved shirt underneath, the pants, and sneakers or boots. But here’s the thing. The different fabric of the two pieces, the way they each reflect the light, means the black vest makes the black pants look navy. They don’t look good when worn together. Plus that old white cami is doing me no favours at all.

So I scrapped my original plan of wearing the vest with the black dress-pants. I own other black bottoms that I wear in the fall and winter. Namely a black faux-leather pair of pants and a black faux-leather skirt that might work, so I wasn’t giving up the black on black idea just yet. I still had possibilities for fall outfits.

But could I find some way to wear the vest now?

Ha. See below the answer to that question.

Those wide-leg Levi’s Dad jeans, above, look dreadful with the tank top and vest. It’s the proportions, the open vest, the tank top… something. I prefer a slouchy top with these jeans. Or sneakers and a blazer. But not this. And the shorts combination is just as bad. Maybe if the shorts were white. Ugh… maybe not.

I’ve learned a couple of things from looking at these photos. My black Everlane tank should now be relegated for exercising and camping only. In its third season, it’s stretched and faded from washing. I need to order a new one. The second thing I’ve learned is that maybe I am not a “Dad jeans” kind of girl after all. I want to like these jeans. But somehow I keep putting them on, and then taking them off before I leave the house. That’s a sign, people. Ha.

The Frame straight-leg jeans, above, are better. With the black Vince tee shirt under the vest. While this outfit is not groundbreaking, nor even very current, I’d still feel comfortable wearing it for a library run, or to meet a friend for coffee. The cream cloth tote bag with the dark grey lettering lightens up the look of the outfit. I bought this bag at Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 2015.

One Vince tee shirt lead me to trying my other Vince tee shirt. See above. I think the white tee works with the cream cargo pants when they are separated by a black belt. And keeping the accessories (like belt, bag, and sandals) chunky works with the heavy cargo pants. I tucked the tee shirt in tightly because a slim, neat tee seems to work better under the neatly tailored vest. I like this outfit. I’d also wear it with sneakers instead of the sandals, or maybe even black ankle boots in the fall.

The outfit above is a work in progress. It theoretically works. The vest buttoned over the dress pants is a look I like. But I need a better black camisole, or perhaps my Vince tee. And the pants are heading to the tailor this week. They’ve always been a bit too large. I’d sized up when I ordered them back in 2021 because I had gained a few pounds. But now that I’ve lost those same few pounds, the pants are falling off me. So I will get the tailor to take them in, and hem them again. I should have had them hemmed shorter the first time. Not sure why I didn’t. When the pants have been altered, we’ll see if what I believe will work in theory does so in reality.

Above is the outfit I tried last. And which I wore shopping earlier this week. This is when the tags finally came off the vest. Ha. The black vest works with the black cargo pants, even though they are slightly different blacks. I like the Everlane lilac tank top under the vest. I rolled the cargo pants to make them a bit more slouchy, and went for the more delicate sandals instead of my chunky Birkenstock-style ones. Somehow the chunky sandals threw off the proportions, and made the outfit look bottom heavy. For jewellery I wore my big silver hoops, a small silver chain, and a black cuff with silver trim. The straw bag lightens up all the black a little.

I felt great in this outfit. Effortlessly chic, one might even say.

I mean how hard can it be to throw on a tank, with a black vest, and black cargo pants, then buckle on flat sandals, and grab my favourite straw bag? And it only took six failures to get an outfit that I wanted to wear and in which I felt most like me.

Oh, it’s so easy to bandy terms around like effortless fashion, effortless style, effortlessly chic, isn’t it? It’s so easy to envy the women who look as if they just rolled out of bed, reached blindly into the closet, and pulled out a fabulous outfit in which they look great.

I’m not talking about the women who wear head-to-toe designer looks, accessorized by Cartier or Tiffany. Like the ones you can see on IG lately, in all those “street-style” posts. Ha. I have no idea where these streets are, but they’re not in my neighbourhood.

No, I’m talking about the women who look chic, but a teensy bit thrown together, in just the right way. Nothing too overdone, or fussy, with the proportions just right, and the fit just right, mixing oversized with tailored, the pieces not too matchy-matchy. Looking wonderful. Effortlessly wonderful.

But like Allison says, let’s not forget that achieving those effortless looks takes effort. Sometimes more effort than at other times. For all of us.

Of course, fashion can be effortless. Sometimes. Eventually. Once you have done all the trail and error, and put in all the hard work. You’ve done your research, and purchased something you love, that fits, and which you’ve tried and liked with several other pieces in your closet. Once you’ve found a few outfits that you love, then it’s effortless to pull those pieces out of the closet, throw them on, and head out the door. Easy peasy.

But this time, for me, fashion felt anything but effortless. I know there are other looks I could have attempted, different camisoles, more jeans, different sandals, different tee shirts, whatever. But trial and error is, well, a trial. And tiring. Usually by the time I’ve tried a few outfits, my hair is stuck up, my mood has plummeted, nothing looks good, and I long for a nice cup of tea and a good book. On the second day, by the time I had hit on my final combo I was done like dinner.

I have a theory as to why I seemed so short on patience with my clothes this week. I’ll share that with you another time.

But, let’s not talk about me anymore. Let’s talk about you, my friends. What is the most onerous thing about fashion for you? The most effortful part of your style journey to looking like you want to look? Have you purchased a piece lately that you love, but which required hard work to style?

P.S. Here are some vests that I like, that I didn’t buy. Have a look if you’re interested.

P.P.S. The 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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82 thoughts on “The Effortless Fashion Myth”

  1. Sue – I enjoyed this post! So often we have to try different combos. Sometimes an outfit that I think will be great in my head turns out terribly! Nothing for it but to start pulling out other combos until something looks right. Sometimes I give up too. I like your final outfits and I think the dress pants have a lot of potential once they are altered. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Sue. I just wanted to reinforce what Allison was saying that sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. 🙂

  2. Waistcoats. I have tried them in my time and oh dear. I really would like to wear them but I am not the right shape at all, probably because they are such a traditionally masculine piece of clothing and cut to fit a male frame. They pop up in fashion every now and then and I personally blame Annie Hall for me wanting to wear them. A very brief dalliance with one in 1982 was the last time I gave them serious thought. One of those styles that definitely got away, like the boob tube and maxi coats.

    1. No, there isn’t a link to the Aritzia vest. I used to put Aritzia links in my posts as a courtesy to my readers, but not anymore. Aritzia doesn’t compensate me for the free advertising. And doesn’t appear to want to work with bloggers. I sent them a few emails but they did not even reply. Hopefully you can find something you like in the links I have provided. But if not, the Aritzia vest is called Babaton Curio.

  3. Hi! I think the problem with your waistcoat is the colour. Waistcoats are a lovely idea and I think if you’d chosen a cream or a taupe one instead of the black you’d have been happier.
    Just my humble opinion, hope you don’t mind my suggestion. I’ve totally given up on black.

  4. Love your blog! It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in trying out 6 combos before I get out the door. I think your vest looks great with a sleeved top underneath. The sleeveless top is a problem as an A shape is created which is less flattering. Sleeves even in white give more visual width at the top and a desirable V silhouette. The sleeveless look might work using lighter colours but not in black. Pamela

  5. I have tried the vest look over the years, but something is just not right, so gave up on that idea. Even yesterday, I thought I had an idea of a great ‘effortless’ outfit, but ended up changing 3 times before I got out the door. Something happens between the idea in my head and the actual look on me… could be the extra weight around the middle lately and my minds’ eye still sees the old shape LOL. I do agree that maybe a lighter colour would work but then again, I am another one that gave up black a few years ago and that is just me. I do love the pants and I wear mine at a longer length.

  6. Carol Larochelle

    I think the slimmer jeans look much nicer on you than the wider leg ones, and I love wide leg pants. This is JMHO OF COURSE. Also, I think if you put a 3/4 sleeve tee under that vest it would look much more balanced??? I struggle with juggling outfits just as everyone seems to. I follow the fashion bloggers but still don’t look like them. My sense of style is changing and I love the jogger look.

    1. I like the straight leg jeans too. I was trying to expand my horizons with wider-leg jeans. Which only works if I will actually wear them. 🙂

    2. When I see a vest worn over a tee shirt (a la look #4) it always conjures Art Carney as Ed Norton on The Honeymooners. Still, it’s a great look! But I agree that the final outfit is the hit.

      “Effortless style” is as infuriatingly ludicrous as “timeless kitchen design!” There is no such animal! Thanks for doing the hard work for us.

  7. Loved your article. You are right dressing well takes an effort. I too love vests and never know what to do with them , I ended up buying a rich medium caramel leather one from the sun dance catalog because it’s leather I’m thinking it may give me a few different options,I recently bought a red Skort and spent weeks trying to find a top. I realized red is not in but orange and pink are so I’ll wait until red returns. I’m determined to find something to wear with the Skort, patience something I tend to be short on . Thanks for your great article,

    1. Bonita both orange and pink can look great with red. Have a look at Trinny Woodall’s YouTube channel where she mixes colour with great results.

  8. Great article and found the Allison Bornstein video extremely helpful. I’m always seeing items I like, perhaps even purchase and then wonder how to wear the item or disappointed that it didn’t work as I had imagined.
    I’m inspired to reorganize my closet and especially move out items I never wear.
    Her editing process is simple and genius at the same time. I think this will up my confidence. I’m excited to revisit my favorite pieces and see how they might work with the “how to wear pieces”. I love the use of unexpected combinations.

    1. I love Allison’s idea of pairing a “maybe” that you don’t know how to style with something from your “regulars.” I thought that was brilliant.

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sue, you’re such a style inspiration and the voice of reason. Life, age and an ongoing medical condition has taken my body on a different path. Trying to find something that fits, feels like me and is comfortable is a constant challenge. Now I can feel normal with my on and off changing til I find the right one! So glad you got to take the tags off!

  10. Hi Sue, I’m very sorry to say that I didn’t like you in the gilet in any of tge photographs. I thought that it made you look big and round, and I know that you are anything BUT. I can’t wear those kind of sleeveless tops, I look awful in them and I think they are very unflattering on most figures! However, I like your first photo of you wearing blue jeans and normal t shirt. That definitely looked good on you, I think it looked more balanced on you.
    To be honest, you have such a great figure along with a beautiful classic face that anything looks good on you, but this style of waist coat/top didn’t ‘rock my boat’. By the way, googled the manufacture GRAE COVE which you wrote about, wow, I love everything on their website, but how long would an order take to arrive to Spain? I m thinking of ordering a beautiful pink linen dress. Thank you Sue.
    Lynne

  11. Wow good for you in trying to make this best work for you. My problem is I tend to get in a rut and wear the same looking clothes all the time. I grab what is comfortable but also a little sloppy. Tee shirt worn out with either jeans or wok out pants. Then I see something on someone else and want to try something new. I really like the look of the vest. I could add that easily to my wardrobe. I was just in a store last week and saw one much like yours but passed it by. I now wish I hadn’t. I do t live near that store or I would rush there this afternoon.
    Good ideas are found here. Thanks.

  12. Margaretanne Clinton

    Sue !
    Every time I see you in the camel pants you look like a magazine model. They look fabulous on you every single time. Upscale yet casual elegance. Yet, could be anywhere event. Unbelievable.
    Thanks for the post.
    Margaretanne

    1. Thanks, Margaretanne. Much appreciated. I’m not really feeling the love for fashion this week. Or maybe it’s just me in my clothes that I’m not loving. 🙂

  13. I like the idea of vests, but as you illustrate, I think they are hard to wear. When I was much younger, I had a denim vest, that I wore alone and a few years later I had a kind of tapestry vest that I wore to work in my professional job, usually with a long-sleeved blouse and skirt. I don’t think vests suit my style anymore. I like your looks with the lighter pants, with the darker pants, especially the black, I am reminded of a restaurant server look. I admire your perseverance in finding outfits that work for you!

  14. This was so fun and I do it all the time! One more suggestion… I think you should try the vest with the white t-shirt and the wide-leg Levi’s. Leave it open and add a really cool belt. To me that would be an edgy yet classy look, and that epitomizes your style! Thanks for all your hard work, truly enjoy your blog!

  15. Thank you for another very interesting and useful post!
    I love vests and have been thinking of trying one, but I haven’t yet because I was worried about making it work. It’s so difficult to integrate a new type of item into a wardrobe! I return at least 75% of what I buy for this very reason. I love vests and have several, but they are all sporty… puffers or fleece… and not at all like the kind you are styling today. Your vest is much dressier, the kind that a man would wear under a suit jacket.
    Maybe that’s part of the problem. Have you considered trying your vest with a button-down shirt tucked in with the sleeves rolled up and the collar popped, and perhaps with the vest unbuttoned, or partially unbuttoned? Perhaps with the cream cargo pants from look #5, and with a small, bright scarf tied at the neck? Just a thought, but one that might work for me, if not for you.
    So back to the difficulty with trying new styles. Dressing was so much easier 30 or so years ago when we just went into a store and bought a coordinated outfit… jacket, skirt, pants, sweater and blouse, all designed to work together. But it wasn’t nearly as much fun!

    1. Yep. I had planned to try the button-down shirt for a fall look. But sadly, I didn’t have enough energy the other day to include it this time. Don’t think I ever bought a coordinated outfit in its entirety. A suit maybe.

  16. Wow!!! The comments are so good. IMHO I like the camel pants and black vest (altered). I like vests but not waistcoats. I do have a black vest similar to the Nordstrom but a tad shorter and I wear it a lot whilst travelling. You also look good in the slimmer jeans but I am not a fan of sleeveless anything. You look great in most things you wear but I do get the frustration when something just doesn’t “look right”. It happened to me last week going out for dinner casually but nice. Hubs says “did you change your mind again” after the 4th or 5th try.🤔. Like the last outfit, btw.

  17. Thank you for this informative and reassuring post. We may have put a lot of thought and effort into our clothes and still find it tough to look “put together”. I have a vest. It was expensive, it’s leather and it’s pink. I have to work very hard to wear it. I do still like it, but it is challenging. Perhaps it’s good to have a few “challenging characters” in our closet. They make us think and work harder. I don’t usually wear black near my face, but do like the vest on you. It is interesting how adding this new item highlighted that one t-shirt had done its work in the fashion wardrobe and now needed to be in the camp/exercise rotation. That is a good reminder as well. Not all clothing will last for years in a like-new quality. Thank you again for this interesting post.

    1. Thanks, Mary. Yes, I hadn’t noticed how faded the tank top had become. Too many washings, which usually happens for summer tanks and tees.

  18. Back in the mid-80s when I was twenty pounds lighter and still had presentable upper arms, I bought a Barbie-pink satin vest at a Holt’s sale. I wore it with a tuxedo-style black blazer and pants. Every time I wore that outfit (which was quite often over the Christmas season) I felt like Super Woman. Sweet memories of the good old days. I have longer vests these days but for some reason always feel frumpy when I pair them with a shirt or sweater. Sigh!

  19. Sue, I have enjoyed your newsletter for a couple of years and have ordered and loved a number of items you linked to. When you featured Grae Cove, I ordered a dress that is not a win, unfortunately, and I’m having a difficult time returning it and thought you should know. Grae Cove first emailed me with an offer to discount it by 40% if i would keep it. I declined the offer and said I would prefer a full refund. That was on July 14. I have sent two more emails with no response at all, and they don’t have a phone number listed. I hate to think they are a ‘fly-by-night’ company, but it’s weird. Just FYI, because I don’t want you or anyone else to have to deal with poor customer service.

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Susan. Thanks for letting me know. I’m wondering if you also might try to get in touch via an Instagram message. I hope the situation is resolved to your satisfaction. 🙁

    2. I just received a GC top I ordered after I saw Sue’s post about the company ( they had been appearing in social media ads for awhile too ) . I tried it on today and am not really impressed with it . The quality is ok but not special -and I found the fit a little skimpy . I haven’t yet gone to their website to check on returns but I’m already not hopeful. I hadn’t realized they ship from the US until it was too late to cancel – the order took almost 2 weeks to arrive and by that time I was over it . Sigh .

  20. I have much less patience than you at trying on different combinations of clothes. On the rare occasions that I manage effortless, it’s more coincidence than design. I’ve always thought of “effortless” outfits in terms of the results looking like they were meant to be, that they make sense and it’s easy to understand why and how they work, rather than being easy to put together. From my earliest exposure to fashion magazines, aged about 13, it seemed that quite a bit of work went into making clothes look good, especially when the results looked “effortless”. It’s easier to achieve effortless with dresses than separates.
    Many years ago, inspired by Saturday Night Fever, I rocked a white vest (with no tee underneath) and white trousers, all tailored by my amazing mum, out of the same fabric, and made to fit me. Oh, they were the days!
    It’s really hard to get different black pieces to work together. I love your vest with the lilac top, which makes the vest pop, in a very good way 💜

  21. Virginia Stewart

    Hi Sue
    I absolutely adore the vest! Always reminds me of Dianne Keaton in “Annie Hall” back in the day.
    Black T under the vest would work for me, but it’s so difficult to match the blacks isn’t
    It. Not that that is a fashion necessity, but it is for me! And I would wear them with my wide leg cream and black check pants, or your milk relaxed jeans which are gorgeous and I love them.
    It is comforting to hear other ladies also have issues with styling outfits, some days it can be very frustrating and yes! Very tiring!!
    Love! Love! Love! Your blog, by the way.

    1. Thanks, Virginia. Frustrating and tiring… you got it. And I agree that it’s hard to wear different blacks together. I think my faux-leather pieces might work because the texture and the sheen of the faux-leather is so different from the vest. I’ve had good luck wearing black wool jackets with black faux-leather… so I’m hopeful. 🙂

  22. Actually, I figure that “effortless” fashion is much like “effortless” writing—the ease is in the mind of the reader (or, in the case of fashion, the viewer), not the doer. The writer perspires, so the reader sees only the image, devoid of the grunt work it takes to create that illusion of ease. Thanks, Sue, for having the guts to draw back the curtain so we see the labour behind the illusion.

    And I’m glad you finally found a way to wear the vest that made YOU feel great, which is really the point of whole exercise.

    As for my own efforts to “style” outfits which please me, I have come to realize that stretching my fashion urges always requires considerable behind the curtain work. Nothing effortless about it, but it’s the price I’m willing to pay when I’m in the mood to jump out of a rut. Stepping out of my comfort zone almost always leads to some interesting discoveries.

    My current obsession (at 74) is playing around with newer silhouettes and shapes which forsake conventional figure flattery for shapes and drape. Not everyone in my social group gets my enthusiasm for this look, but I’m getting good at ignoring “helpful” advice designed to push me back into more conventional looks for a mid-seventies woman. More importantly, I’m inordinately pleased when an outfit I like emerges from the trial and error because I helps me move my closet in new directions. I’m not the same person I was a decade ago so why stick to my old ideas about what “works for me”?

    1. Thank you for saying that, Marily. I remember telling my students that “good writing” means the reader cannot see the “scaffolding, the bricks, and the mortar” that went into building a piece of writing. I agree about the challenge of trying to step out of our comfort zone with a newer silhouette. I’m still working on that with baggier jeans, loose pants, and pieces that are not as trim and slim as I have worn for years. I know that many of the outfits I wear now are not as classically flattering as what I was wearing ten years ago when I strove for more polished looks.

  23. Hello Sue,

    Many of your descriptions during your fashion struggle made me smile and chuckle. Particularly the comment about street fashion and “not my neighborhood”. It makes you wonder where those people were actually heading off to when they snapped that photo – probably not the library or their local coffee shop. They too, likely spent hours, (and also lots of money) curating those looks. Gone are the days of only having the catalogs to compare our looks to…
    I think the the “happy click” of an outfit comes from the reflection in the mirror of this new wardrobe piece we’ve chosen (for whatever reason or need), melding with our own sense of style, while synthesizing with our awareness of our proportions, and ultimately, our comfort confidence. We know what makes us feel good, as we well know what does not. As I get older, I find life is working like that in several areas. I am grateful for this clarity.

    I think effortless style is an extremely outdated, or ridiculous term in our (developed country) society – with the multitude of choices that we have access to at the click of a button and a visit from the delivery driver. Effortless style is more suited to pre industrial revolution – and having your daily clothes, -maybe one or two sets, a solid par of shoes if fortunate- and your Sunday best.

    Thank you for your post and sharing your experiences with fashion – and the smiles and chuckles.

    -Danelle B

  24. Lovely coincidence that you’re writing about “effortless fashion” the same week that we’ve said goodbye to The Icon of Effortless Style, Jane Birkin. . .
    Hard to imagine that she also would have tried on combinations and torn off a top in frustration, searching through her closet for a better choice, but I’m sure there was planning involved in that apparently “just thrown together” elegance.
    As for me, I too often settle thoughtlessly or hurriedly or impatiently for the “throwing together” . . . sigh! Probably too late to reform, at this stage, but I’m always impressed and inspired by your organization — and by its great results.

    1. I think that Jane Birkin found her style when she was young and never deviated from it. I’d love to be able to wear some of the things I wore in my twenties because what I like has not changed that much. But my body has. Ha.
      P.S. I love your “thrown together” style, Frances. It’s so current and very you.

      1. “What I like has not changed that much. But my body has.”
        There’s the rub! I’m packing today for a 2+ week trip, and finding just how much I have changed from that 20-year-old. Now, I have this middle (or lack of definition in the middle.) I try not to leave my waist unprotected and visible to ridicule, and a vest — I have several, a collection, sort of — are meant as camophlage in my wardrobe for that vulnerable spot.
        Some days I can tuck in a shirt and just go with that, but it’s often the reason I take one thing off and put on another, over and over, which I find a terrible waste of time.
        My greatest comfort is, most people probably are NOT interested in looking at my middle anyway. Still, I ponder over this top and that bottom, and one of my much-loved vests. Here in Florida in a major heat wave, I can’t wear a vest until sometime in November anyway.
        Thanks for the imagination and, yes, the comfort you offer in this blog. I go to it early on Sunday afternoon and have taken until Tuesday to complete reading it.

        1. I feel your pain, Eva. Not sure what I would do if I loved in Florida with your heat. Come the middle of September I am SO happy to get out my fall clothes.

  25. Happy to know I’m not the only one that struggles with outfits looking “like I imagined!” Fashion is not easy, unless you wear the same everyday. Neither is makeup! Trial and error
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  26. Love the black vest best with the white T shirt. As someone pointed out it fills out the upper body and has that cute Annie Hall, Jane Birkin (RIP) vibe.
    IDK effortless always conjures up throwing a raincoat over my pyjamas to drive the kid that missed the bus to school or tossing on the scrubs to hit the floor to round patients and if the outfit was less than pristine putting on an oversize lab coat. Effortless!
    For the life of me I cannot love the vest worn sleeveless … it brings back memories of a bar we used to frequent in the ‘70’s that I believe was going for a Playboy club vibe with the waitresses ( they were all lovely young women) wearing a slightly longer vest ( just SLIGHTLY longer) over black fishnet tights, black satin hot pants and black stilettos …and a black bow tie! I think they wore some kind of bustier under the low cut vest..there was a lot of cleavage on display! Sexy serveuse!!! Oh là là…geez my fiancé loved to go for drinks there…48 years later it’s a beer on the deck with THIS sexy serveuse! Ha!
    Keep with the T shirt…Art Carney be damned!

    1. There used to be a bar in Hull in the late seventies that had waitresses dressed very skimpily. This New Brunswick farm girl was a bit gobsmacked.

  27. I love your enthusiasm for fashion & staying current . I often find myself feeling at odds with the latest trends . It’s great when trends in style coincide with my own taste but sometimes they just don’t & I flail around a little . At times like that I tend to stick to tried & trusted brands or stores but even that can be tricky . I have just one waistcoat that I wear regularly . It is almost hip length & cut straight in a heavy navy twill . It has buttons to the neck & a collar to flip up . I like it as an extra layer under coats but is it fashionable ? I don’t know .

  28. When you do the three color combination, such as the white, black and khaki is when the vest outfit looks best. The all black with a silk blouse underneath would look nice for a dresser occasion. I do think there can be effortless looks. This year I’ve moved away from trends and fashion and moved towards finding combinations I like and relying on them. Picking out outfits isn’t fun anymore. It isn’t something I enjoy doing. So, I have tried and true outfits and generally rely on them. At times I’ve not gone somewhere just because I didn’t want to think about what I wanted to wear. Having ready to outfits helps me with this problem.

  29. Please, can some kind person who follows Sue’s Blogs tell me how long an order from GRAE COVE clothes company would take to arrive in Spain?
    I believe this Company is based in USA?

    Best regards,
    Lynne

    1. Hi Lynne. The company has a headquarters in San Fransisco, but the clothes are shipped from their factory in China. Sorry for the confusion. I thought I mentioned that in my earlier post. My friend here in Ottawa received her items in a week. Perhaps if someone has had items shipped to Europe they can also reply.

      1. Thanks Sue for your reply.
        I am very tempted to order a few items from GRAE COVE as I love most of their collection. But, I need to understand that it may take at least 6-8 weeks to receive the parcel and by that time, our Summer may be at an end!

  30. I have a camel vest in wool (I was sure it would be very versatile,but nope, I have only a two or three combos and it is the best with the white t-shirt ) and was looking for one in linen last summer,as well as this one(also with the white tee in my mind). I wanted to try it in the store,because the cut is everything,it can make or break this specific item and outfits. Didn’t find anything though
    Love my effortless combinations :), found after (not so disciplined as you,but still) trials, errors,and sudden inspirations. Love,love,love wearing something on repeat when I find the sweet spot-and I think you’ve found yours with your vest
    Dottoressa

  31. This is a great article and helps me not feel defeated by my endless attempts to come up with an outfit I like. Thank you for providing some context. We’re all working to come up with our preferred outfits.

    I like your outfit with the lavender tee shirt and I like the vest with the brown slacks.

    I think that you keep up the search for the perfect outfit for your wide leg jeans. They look good on you and you might find a combo that you enjoy wearing. Have you tried cinching them with a belt and tucked in a fitted tee shirt?

    I love vests. When I was young and thin, I had a couple vests that I wore often and looked good in. This spring I ordered two vests from Target after reading a rave review of them. They were on sale and inexpensive. I figured that I could return them if I didn’t like them. The quality was good for the price and seller. They are a cotton linen blend and nicely lined. They fit. However, I haven’t managed a single outfit with them. I want to wear them buttoned, without a tee or cami. I think if they were slightly longer, they would work for me – something I didn’t notice when I tried them on. With pants that have a mid-rise waist, my tummy shows. Not a good look. I think that they will look good with the right high-rise waist pants, but I haven’t figured out if I have a pair that will work. I tried a pair of high-rise waist, wide leg jeans, but the stretch in the fabric, combined with the short vest length showed a rounded tummy under the jeans. Back to the closet for more tries…

  32. You’ve nailed it in your last combos! Good looks for you. My latest challenge is styling an EF dark teal midi length tank dress so that my upper arms have cover. I have lots of tops that could go over it, even a few complimentary scarves that I could wear shawl style, so I think I’ll keep it. Not that I have anywhere to wear it!!! Thanks for your inspiration

  33. Your article is so informative and I like the style comparisons. It gives me incentive to look at my clothes closet again. Thank you.

  34. I’ve had a vest on the brain all summer . I haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet – haven’t even tried one on – but I’m now rethinking the whole idea after reading and seeing what you went through trying to make it work . My fav of your looks is with the cream cargo pants and white t ,btw . I really now wonder how much wear I’d get out of one . I was thinking of a cream or olive linen or wool though , if such an animal exists .

    1. I recently wore my vest with my new cream Levi’s 501 jeans, rolled up a bit, a black tee shirt and flat black sandals. Not the chunky Birkenstock ones, but slimmer, more strappy ones. And it was my favourite look of everything I tried.

  35. Hi there, I happened to see your blog while looking for reviews of a certain Aritzia vest. I think the first outfit would work if you wore it without a cami or a v-neck cami. The one with the brown pants are my favourite and I think as long as you stick with straight leg pants that loose-ish but not too lose, you will crack this waistcoat wearing code. 🙂 Good luck x

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