Oh my dear friends…. I have been longing sooo much this week to go somewhere to wear my good clothes. Even as I type this my toes are curling, and I want to run outside in my slippers in the snow and yell a bit. So to keep myself sane, and save my slippers from ruination, I have been playing with my clothes. Watching some vloggers, in particular Allison Bornstein, play with their clothes, and finding inspiration to do some winter layering.
A trend that I’ve noticed on Instagram and on YouTube for the past while is the sweater worn as a scarf, outside a blazer or even a coat. So yesterday, taking my cue from Allison’s video, I started with my closet “regulars” and played with ways to change up how I might wear them by throwing on a sweater as a scarf.
I started with my faux-leather pants which have been a regular in my closet since 2014 and my Stuart Weitzman ankle boots (similar.) I added my purple cashmere crew-neck sweater from Uniqlo, and some silver jewellry. This is how I might have added my purple hand-knit sweater in the past. I like this look. It’s… okay. If a bit been-there-done-that.
So instead, I pulled on my old Max Mara black blazer, and put the sweater over it. Now, I love, love this. I love the two purples together. They are very different in texture and weight. I love the black wool blazer over the faux-leather pants. And I love the purples and the blacks together. The bit of sheen from the pants, and the small glints of silver keep the whole look from being too, too dark. The heavy sweater looks great, to me, over the light wool jacket. And keeps the outfit from looking too serious.
The trouble with wearing a sweater on top of a coat or blazer is that it can look a bit silly, I think, and too contrived. It’s a matter of finding the right mix of jacket and sweater. I would wear this outfit, below, and not feel contrived at all. With the jacket buttoned up, the sweater wrapped around my neck, and leather gloves, I’d be warm enough, even this time of year, walking from the house to the car, and from the car to a pub.
And if the pub is too cold, I can put the heavy sweater on over my cashmere one and still look good. And much more comfortable than wearing the jacket inside. In fact, I love this combination. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before.
Here’s a close-up of the two purples together.
Emboldened by my success with the purple and black, I tried a different look. I’ve worn this green Prada sweater under my green Max Mara tweed blazer before. But it’s a look that can be too dark for me now, unless I wear a white shirt or a bright turtleneck under the sweater. Or… I could try the sweater as scarf technique. So I put on my white Vince crew-neck tee shirt with the Max Mara blazer, and tossed the Prada sweater on over the jacket. Ooooh. I love this too. I added white and gold hoops to carry the white up next to my face. Nothing like matching your earrings to your hair. Plus adding one other white piece makes the white tee look less random. Makes the outfit look more finished.
This is how the outfit looks with the jacket buttoned and the sweater tied. I would totally wear this to the pub. Like the other outfit, if I wanted to take the jacket off, I’d pull the sweater on over the tee shirt.
But with the light tee shirt, and not a cashmere sweater as in the first look, I’d need another layer before venturing outside in February. My long green coat should fill the bill. Except the sweater worn on top of the coat looks like one layer too many to me.
This is better. I could wear my new cream and grey scarf with this, if I wanted. But do I want? I haven’t worn a blazer under a coat since I retired. Mostly because I wear blazers as outerwear now. And coats as a feature of my outfit, instead of something that I will take off immediately when I arrive at my destination. Like at work.
Allison sometimes does her winter layering with blazers under her coats, the blazer providing a bit of something extra, a contrasting print, or pop of colour, to be seen because she wears the coat open. But she pairs her coat with a much lighter blazer than mine. My Max Mara tweed blazer is quite heavy. So while I think the green blazer and white tee look marvelous under my green coat, it would be too uncomfortable to wear for very long. Maybe a lighter blazer under this coat is something I’d try.
I’d definitely wear the blazer with the sweater as a scarf, though. And with a white cashmere sweater instead of the tee, the outfit would be warm enough on mild days even now. If I had a white cashmere sweater, I’d be in business. But I don’t. So I’m not. In business, that is.
So you see, even with a wardrobe as small as mine, I can still find new and slightly different ways to wear the same old stuff. And it’s that slight difference which can make all the difference in how I feel about my same old stuff. Which I love, of course. But which I could easily grow tired of, very tired. I’m lucky that I can pack away my winter clothes, jackets and coats, and chunky sweaters for a few months each year.
That’s the benefit of living in such a seasonal climate. When I turn my closet and haul out the new season’s clothes, I feel as if I have a whole new wardrobe. Some slow-fashion advocates recommend that you pack away a selection of your clothes for a while even if they are seasonably appropriate. That way you can benefit when you haul them out again, just like us closet-turners.
Next fall, I will feel as if I am being reunited with old friends after a long absence when I turn my closet. And hopefully I’ll be able to wear these old friends. COVID-vaccine willing. Because I sure as heck have NOT worn my favourite winter pieces since way last March. I have to keep trying stuff on for the blog, and swanning around the house, just to assure myself that I can fit into everything.
And you know, now that I’ve started thinking of different ways to play with winter layering, I think I’ll have another go this upcoming week. Maybe some of my other jackets under some of my other coats. Or with cardigans, and down vests, and hoodies. The possibilities are unfurling in my imagination as I write. I feel some heavy swanning coming on, people.
And since I can’t go anywhere to wear my new winter layering outfits, I have a plan. A dream, actually.
This is my dream.
I’ll organize a big party. At a local pub. With all my girlfriends. An old-style English pub where the food is fabulous, and we joke with the bartender, and there’ll be a small live band that plays all the old songs we love. Carole King, and Abba, and The Beatles. I’ll wear my black and purple outfit with my leather pants and my Stuart Weitzman boots. We’ll sit around a huge table and laugh and sing along with the music. When one of us prances up to the bar to order another round, we’ll all admire their outfit. Because it’s been so long since we’ve been dressed up, and out on the town together, we’ll whistle and catcall. As only good friends are allowed to do. “Oooh, look at Erica’s sexy new pants.” “Joanne! Are those another new pair of Fleuvogs? Looking fabulous, my girl.”
And when it’s my turn everyone will yell: “Work those leather pants, Sue.” And I will do a little jig and win a round of applause. And I’ll feel like a million bucks. We all will.
No… make that two million bucks.
So have a look in your closet, my friends. See if you can come up with some winter layering ideas. Then plan your “new” outfit. It should be dressy enough to make you feel good, and casual enough to wear to a pub. Don’t forget that it’s winter in Canada, and the old pub while wonderfully atmospheric will probably be drafty. We promise we’ll make a positive comment on your outfit if you prance up to the bar to buy a round.
Once you have your outfit planned, take a picture of you wearing it, and send it to me. And I’ll do a party post. All about how we wore our winter layers.
In the meantime, here’s some other outfit ideas that I found. Winter blazers and coordinating sweaters to wear as scarves.
P.S. The clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.
P.P.S. You can watch Allison Bornstein’s Winter Layering video here. And if you haven’t seen it yet you can watch my fall wardrobe edit video here. In this video I review what’s in my closet and drawers for fall, draw some conclusions about what I am wearing and what I need to wear more, and set a couple of goals for myself.
P.P.P.S. Send me your winter layering pictures by next Sunday, February 14. FYI. If your sweetie consents to take your photo, remind them to hold the phone perfectly straight up and down, in portrait mode, with the lens about halfway down your body. If they are taller than you, and hold up the camera up high, angling it down, you will look as if you have teeny tiny feet. Just sayin. 🙂
Linking up with Catherine and #IWillWearWhatILIke over at Not Dressed as Lamb.