Friday, December 16, 2011

Black Skirts and Shoelaces

I'm a 'Wear It Now!' gal all the way, so my jeans have been in obsessive rotation as soon as they were finished. With my smaller wardrobe any new item exponentionally increases my outfit options and i love hopping in and trying them out! But around a week ago i figured i should start to mix it up a little, lest i wear out my jeans tout suite and find i'd forgotten how to wear anything else.

My 'Fairy Godmother' seems telepathically linked to me recently. First, she handed me this gorgeous Kay Unger blouse just when i had been on the lookout for a white button-down worthy of duplication. Then, while trying to create an outfit for a memorial service i realized the big black hole of my wardrobe - a classic wool black skirt. Lo and behold, i find a beautiful a-line wool blend black midi skirt on top of my dryer within the week. Spooky!

I've been seriously reading style advice books, articles, etc. since i was in high school. One constant refrain is the crucial role that a three-season classically cut wool suit, ideally with pants and skirt, will play in your closet. The idea is that you have a suit for business/professional/formal events and you can break up the suit for a variety of uses from dressy all the way through casual. I have seen quite credible illustrations of, let's say, black wool trousers worn with high heeled boots, washed silk blouse, leather belt and sunglasses creating a stunning yet casual outfit. And on and on. I got it in theory, but whenever i confronted an actual black wool skirt or lined trousers i froze.

The instant my eyes fell on my new black skirt I drooled like a conditioned pooch. If i couldn't make a decent, convincing casual look with this skirt i knew the cause was lost.  Maybe i have more experience with style now, maybe all the pictures i've stared at on style blogs have soaked in, maybe i'm just older - well, obviously i'm older! At any rate, i finally did the deed. This look even has a bit of a retro-funky feel, and what's more it worked with out the jacket as well. Mission complete.

Look number two is a standard kind of fall-back outfit for me. The strange thing is that what made it work in my mind was the shoelaces. Yep, the shoelaces. The original laces which came with the shoes (you know you're getting quality when your shoes come with laces at no extra fee) were a faded brown, echoing the distressed leather of the uppers. They were fine, but ho-hum, and the lack of contrast caused the lacing detail to fade into the shoe as a whole.

Another pair of shoes needed better laces a while back, so i bogarted the Bass oxford's laces. The paddock boots i laced with the Bass laces are a very dark brown and i fancied the look of a lighter lace - it really showed off the detail. The next time i wanted to wear my Bass oxfords, instead of using the originals i took a pair of black suede laces out of a pair evening shoes - and wow! It adds a bit of punch that those shoes could frankly use, and the black laces help tie the shoes in with the black skirt. Sweet relief.......

I have to say i'm astounded at times by how affected i am by the smallest details. It is kinda nutty, but once i 'give in' and take the time to fix what is bothering i so much more enjoy myself.  Over the years i've reconciled myself to just going with it and no longer tolerate small annoyances. Do you ever find that an excruciatingly tiny and mundane aspect of an outfit can play a make or break role in your eyes?

Khaki Jacket: Royal Robbins
Grey Henley: Aeropostale
Black A-Line Skirt: Armani Exchange (thrifted)
Belt: ?
Scarf: own design
Oxfords: Bass Lacey
Nice & Warm Wool Blend Tights: Hanna Andersson

Denim Jacket: YMI lets UBU
Tee: Merona Ultimate Tee by Target
Full Black Skirt: own design
Belt: DKNY (thrifted)


  1. I think the black laces are a nice touch. And since I've discovered The Knit Black Pencil Skirt, can't imagine life without one. It's really a go-to piece. Love the scarf too, really a nice print!

  2. okay is it the colors on my computer? The shirt looks to have a cool based gray undertone and the jacket seems to have a warm gray undertone. But with that said the style lines of the jacket top and skirt work very well. I love the brown shoes and the laces are a nice touch.

  3. Thank you Ms. Pesu!! you definitely have an eye for the subtle details. And how nice does a black knit pencil skirt sound! I'm happy you've found yours :)

    Hello Adrienne! uh oh, looks like i've been busted. In the first look that is a cool toned heather grey henley paired with a faded warm toned khaki jacket. i must admit that i do like to mix warm and cool toned neutrals, since it seems to spark up the mix a bit. In this instance the saturation of the top and the jacket are so similar that it could easily run together without some kind difference. But i do realize it will read as 'clashing' to some eyes.

    I like these shoes as well - they're easy to walk in while adding a funky feel.

    Happy Friday Night! steph

  4. Love the laces-switch - great idea that I am going to steal. And your black wool skirt is classic perfection. I still do not feel friendly with "classic" black trousers myself, but I am a skirt-woman all the way.

  5. You know they tell you to break the rules once in a while and I'm glad your clever enough to know how.

  6. I have some really wild shoe laces-purple, red, blue, and yellow and yes they can add a lot to an outfit. I love the little details that make an outfit unique. I haven't been adding them lately and I will have to change that.
    You look really great in your outfits. I especially like the jeans jacket and skirt.

  7. OK, I gotta ask: Are you wearing two pairs of glasses?

    I really like the denim jacket/black skirt combo. Classic. And I'm stealing the pearls over the silk scarf look!

  8. Patti, that is an interesting point - i think it's no accident that i pulled this off with a skirt rather than trousers. There's a lot to be said for knowing one's own self!!!

    oh Adrienne, you're a sweetie :) altho truth be told, sometimes i'm just lazy (!)

    Hi Debbi! that's funny isn't it how we fall in and out of habits...i do the same thing. i'm glad i have the blog to remind me of what else i could be doing when i get bored!! & Thank you!

    oh for goodness sakes, Louise you have busted me again!!! ;) really my blog subtitle should be "..and i'm not kidding about the *eccentric* part".

    Thank you - hooray, i liked pearls and scarf that way a lot too!!!

    Happy Saturday!! steph

  9. photo #1 reminds me of the publicity stills of then current movie stars in the movie magazines I used to read as a kid. You know, where they show you their "real" off-set life and they're just so glamorous.

    I can't think of any detail that would turn the corner of an outfit for me but I sure get antsy about deal-breaker details. I once took a notion I wanted a denim trench. Ordered one from eBay, James premium denim. Fit like a dream. Got compliments on it. I just put it in the pass along pile because I decided I wasn't really an other-then-jeans denim person. But what stopped me from wearing it more while I had it was the bit of distressing they had applied. They broke the fabric at certain seam lines and white showed through. It was so phony to me. I wasn't up for trying to reconstruct it and remove these touches and if I bound the edges then it became a totally different garment. Occasionally I would grit my teeth and wear it but who wants to do that.

    I'm in the middle of another closet purge and stuck at several denim jackets that fit wonderfully but they don't fit my mindset. I don't like the look (for me) of denim jacket over dress. I know this is not a detail but a big honkin' problem. :)

  10. Hello Vildy! heehee, thank you! i did have a little feel of that 'vintage glamour' vibe and it put a spring in me step :)

    I cannot express how much the story of your trench reminds me of my own relationship with clothing. It can make acquiring needed pieces quite vexing, not to mention driving the people around me nuts. i wish i had some great advice - for both of us!!

    Happy Sunday!! steph