Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wearing Black In The Heat

 I do not possess a photographic memory for outfits i've worn, unlike a few lucky fashionistas. In fact, one of the reasons i started this blog was so i could have a record of outfits i liked. I'm prone towards forgetting what i wore even the day before, so frustrating when i liked that look and want to reproduce or riff on it!

But a few looks have stuck in my mind. I sported one in the early 1980's, when i was 23 or so. It consisted of a merino wool knit straight skirt which hit just below the knee, and a sleeveless rib knit tank - both in black. I wore this 'dress' with kitten heeled black pumps, strong orange lips, sunnies and gobs of pearls and chains. My hair was a curly blond-streaked mop. In essence, Miss Ciccone meets Coco Chanel. This was in the few months before Desperately Seeking Susan hit the scene. As soon as i saw that movie, i set about an emergency closet purge, but that's another story.

 What i loved most about that look was the minimal, classic background set off by eccentric accessories, and the sheer contradiction of wearing black in the summer. My love of summer black continues all these decades later, but i'm now living in a much hotter climate (+15-20F). Wearing close-fitting black clothing is just too hot out here! But this practicality has not stopped me from trying to find a workaround.......

.....for the past twelve and a half years.  My dogged efforts failed to yield any acceptable results - until about a week and a half ago. I present the successful result to you today. Both top and skirt are loosely fitting cotton, allowing for plenty of cooling breezes. The ivory print of the top helps deflect a few sunrays, as does the cream of the sandals. My new prescription sunglasses help me look cool as well as see cool, too. With blue irises, cataracts, and dry tears my eyes score the trifecta for sun sensitivity. These huge, dark lenses transform sunny days into pure heaven. And i've distilled the gobs of jewels to pearl studs and a chain belt.

If genetics and or the creatrix blessed you with a photographic memory, you may recall that these sunnies appeared once before on this blog - back in February of this year, when i first contemplated buying them. I finally picked them up earlier this month. Last weekend i finally acquired a piece from Extasia's outlet store in Nevada City, after almost two years spent in various states of lust, scheming, and maneuvering. Thus, the theme of 'taking forever to bring items into my orbit' is on my mind recently (and these two aren't the only examples).

I can't say i'm against this method, as i'm enjoying these wardrobe additions immensely. I am trying to discern the instances in which i took my time needlessly, though. May as well get the fun going as soon as possible! But honestly this patch of 'closet philosophy' still remains terra incognita for me. When it comes to 'love at first sight' acquisitions I'm still discovering who i am, what i want, what works best for me. Right now, I wonder if i'm truly eccentric in this pattern of long-term stalking when it comes to the wardrobe. Do any of you do the same? Or do you snap up any to-die-for items the instant they hit your cornea? All insights and personal stories are very welcome!!


  1. You made me laugh as I envision telling Dear Hubby I did not go shopping but simply brought items into my orbit :) Having a limited budget, I do stalk items. It took me forever to finally order my first new Fluevogs, and when I then found a great previously owned pair on eBay, someone smarter than me snapped them up.

    Those sunnies are really quite magical, and I love the cool black in summer.

  2. Wonderful stay-cool-in-black look. And the sunnies are great. I also defer purchases (stalk them? debate them?) and rarely buy quickly. But when I have, I often end up *really* liking the item -- so maybe I can trust my instinct more than I have been? Like you said, why defer the fun? : >

  3. Love the pattern on the hat with the pattern on the blouse.

    I definitely don't stalk things but occasionally have kicked self for not buying on impulse... and then checked eBay sporadically over the next year or two. :) I'm happiest with intuitive, unplanned, unpredictable purchases. Those are the ones that I stay in love with longest.

    Sometimes only a period of a week or two cooling off during which I contemplate or look again is enough that it should have indicated to me that I was going to end up purging it.

    Have been moving toward a complete style change. Thinking I need to go in this direction
    and about ready to ditch my three unworn pantsuits. I'll be the princess and let someone else be the warrior. :)

  4. There are some items I've stalked long term--a camel coat, my bowling shoes. I believe the wait makes those finds even more precious.

  5. I have a hard time holding off waiting for things to go on sale because I have such bad luck and often end up never seeing the piece again. If it's an item I've been dying for for years and I finally find it, if I can afford it I'll just grab it. Mostly because I really don't shop all that often so I figure I better get it while I can.

  6. heehee Lynne! " I envision telling Dear Hubby I did not go shopping but simply brought items into my orbit" hahahahah!!! you know i didn't think of it that way when i wrote it, but your re-telling just cracks me up!! oh man.

    oy, that's a p7ss3r about the johnny f's. but then that's part of the challenge of this planet - limited resources. i like to think it makes us craftier ;) and thank you!

    Hi Patti! it sounds like you and i are at a similar place. maybe we can 'experiment' on less-pricier items? report back with results!! ;)

    Hullo Vildy! yes, i like that too :) "...occasionally have kicked self for not buying on impulse... and then checked eBay sporadically over the next year or two. :) " yeah, that's happened once or twice here too! you definitely strike me as a 'strike while the iron is hot' shopper, it fits in with your whole personality and philosophy as it comes across online. your personal style seems to be more impulsive and 'riskier' as well (pink patent scuba jacket, anyone?)

    LOVE that pic of Liz! she looks so happy and mischievous!! very nice style look, practical yet very femme. now to find the entourage in uniform short pants......... ;)

    Hello Terri! "I believe the wait makes those finds even more precious." i agree. but in some cases with me, i come across exactly what i've been looking for (quite a while in some cases) and have the opportunity to buy......but i put it off for some reason - maybe i can find it cheaper, i might have to spend ten minutes more than i planned, etc.

    but i don't find it cheaper or whatever and end up going thru more hassle than if i'd scooped it up in the first place!

    Hi Joni! "If it's an item I've been dying for for years and I finally find it, if I can afford it I'll just grab it." i have bad bad shopping luck as well, which is what's making me think that this strategy you lay out is very much worth a try!

    Enjoy the day!! steph

  7. I do "riskier" because it cuts through all my fears plus hubby says I'm one of those Purloined Letter people who can't see the obvious if I happen to be looking right at it. I often call him to find things that I've become exasperated looking for. And yup, right in front of me. Since I believe that I'm bound to miss something important, I just pounce and trust in the universe. (the pink jacket is matte - I always avoid large expanses of patent as being inclined to outshine my face :D )

  8. The things I believe will work as total anchors for my wardrobe, you know, those pieces that really encapsulate what you're all about? Those I patiently and relentlessly stalk, looking for *just* the perfect item. (Currently on that list: perfect black leather moto jacket, and perfect cashmere or cashmere blend black slashneck jumper.) The rest is all impulse and thrift-and-clearance-rack predatory pouncing.

  9. I have two plans of action! If the item is pricy but I am having a mad passionate love drool over it I will stalk the item until it goes on sale. The sales people will recognize me and say "Not Yet" as I go to see it almost daily. If it is a cheaper item I will pounce because I want to get my size and usually my size sells out first. So I have a split personality when it comes to shopping.

  10. A very summer chic look!
    I tend to stalk items of clothing I'm interested in, I even google to see people wearing them. If it's an in-store purchase, I sometimes go visit the item a few times, but usually tend to make my mind up quickly; but if it's online, I can take months or years - I am almost up to 4 years now of contemplating an All Saints cardigan!

  11. Hi Vildy! that's a nice explanation. and it points out how so much of our personal style arises out of personality traits and no case is style a strictly 'aesthetic' decision!

    Hullo Adrienne! anohter great strategy that takes personality, body shape, production patterns, etc. all into account. weigh all the relevant factors and then place your finger on the scale - genius!

    Thank you elle :) "...I am almost up to 4 years now of contemplating an All Saints cardigan!" W.O.W. !!! i didn't realize that any place actually kept an item in stock that long :) if it's not too much trouble, i'm dying to know what it is!

    Happy weekend, steph

  12. Nothing too exciting, I'm afraid! Just a regular wrap/waterfall cardi:
    They seem to have it in stock most seasons, with minor variations in colour and/or fabric. Currently sold out but pops up on British ebay often :D I know I could get a similar one elsewhere, but somehow I'm hung up on the AS version. I actually did buy it in black back in 2008 because I was on a quest for that sleek'n chic all-black look... unfortunately I neglected to notice the fact that black next to my face is not at all a good thing, and as a result I never wore it much though I did really like it otherwise. They have also made it in grey, taupe, and cream, and either of those would be much better.

  13. The shades are awesome.

    You look great in that outfit, and it's absolutely appropriate for warm weather. Lucky that you can pull off black so well, too - regardless of the heat index.

  14. I love that gesture hat and with that classy jacket.

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