WWW: Travel capsule

In a few days, I leave for two weeks on business (to France - across the ocean for me).  The dress code will be smart casual (everyone will be in jeans, but I'm the only female, and I don't want to look sloppy).  

I'm facing a similar challenge to the one LisaP wrote about a couple of weeks ago - my weight is higher than I'm comfortable with it being, and as a consequence, I don't like the way my clothes fit.  This makes choosing a travel capsule more challenging, because I'm hoping that the clothes I take fit well enough that I can feel confident, rather than oversized, in them.

Here's what I think I'm taking:
2 pair black skinny jeans (one cropped, one full length)
1 pair cropped white skinny jeans
Possibly my blue cropped flared jeans (shown in pic #9 - should they come along?  They're comfy enough to sleep on the plane in, so they're a serious contender)

Top possibilities:
Navy silk sleeveless shirt ( pic #1)
turquoise pattern shirt (pic #2)
dark grey heathered sweater (pic #3 )
light grey


short-sleeved sweater (too similar to darker one?) (pic #4)
Turquoise blouse (pic #5)
hot pink sweater (pic #6)
cream/black/tan blouse (pic #7)
Black asymmetrical sweater (pic #8) (Should I take the pink polka-dot pants too?  I kinda don't think so)

Toppers (not shown):
black jacket (in finds, embroidered with company logo)
black cardigan (in finds, embroidered with company logo).
Company logo is silver, blue and green

black loafers (not shown in any pictures)
possibly black pumps (shown, are they frumpy?)
possibly black boots (in pic #8 and #9) or another shoe.  I haven't decided yet.

Here are pictures of the outfits (with my black spiegel jacket standing in for the toppers, which will be arriving to me tomorrow).    I'd love your suggestions on which tops to take.


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WTW: The Conference wear tradition (ETA: lots more options)

I joined this forum, it must be three years ago, for help deciding what to wear for a work conference at which I was scheduled to speak.

And I've asked you all for help for every conference speaking engagement I've had since.

So, in keeping with tradition - I'm speaking at my normal fall conference this week.  I have work shirts from the spring conference that I'm not required to wear, but it's somewhat expected that I do (besides that most of my other clothes are still packed from moving).

The conference is three days, but I'm only required to go to two of them, so I may or may not attend the third.  I need at least two solid outfits.  I'm speaking the second day, which means that the first impressions outfit will be different from the speaking outfit.

 I have three possibilities for trousers (light gray, dark gray and black) and two colors of shirts (black and white - but I own two of the black). Here's what I've managed to come up with as possibilities so far.

#1 - black work shirt, dark gray trousers, cognac belt, shoes and jacket.
#2 - same as #1, but with a white work shirt that just seems glaringly bright to me.
#3 - black work shirt with light gray trousers - belt and shoes also black.
#4 - column of black with a white jacket.

New options:

#5 - Narrower black pants with black top (white belt and jacket, black shoes).  I like these better than the black pants in #4, which feel too big to me.  These are also big, but less obviously so, to me.

#6  -Same as #5, without jacket

#7 - Cropped navy trousers, with high-shaft beetle booties, so that I can wear socks.  This looks strange, right?

#8 - Same as #7, but removed the socks and put on the more comfy shoes.  It's summer, maybe I can get away with showing my ankles?  I'm nervous about the frigid A/C, but it's quite warm outside (almost 90F).

#9 - same as #8, removed the white belt.  I'd add a black belt for low contrast.

#10 - same as #9, but with navy ankle pants rolled.

#11 - Navy jeans with black shirt (they're a dressier fabrication than most denim, and would be dressy enough - this is construction industry and Nebraska).

#12 - Navy jeans with white shirt.  I'd add a black belt, or maybe a white one.

#13 - As long as I'm considering bare ankles, why not culottes?  I have a pair of silk long underwear under these, and they were very warm for this try-on.  (Still no guarantee that my ankles wouldn't freeze, but the rest of me wouldn't).

#14 - Culottes with black shirt.

#15 - added the white jacket.  There's no belt loops for me to add a white belt, and I'm not sure the jacket goes by itself.

#16 - totally bare legs and knees.  I think I'd freeze.  And it's not seasonally appropriate to add thermal tights to it, so I doubt this one will happen (besides that the proportions are off, aren't they?)

All of these are dressy enough - that's not a real concern for me.  My real care is to look competent and be comfortable.

What would you suggest?  (Do you see a combo that I'm missing?  I don't think I can get away with a skirt or ankle pants because they keep it 65* in there, and I'll freeze to death).

My current thoughts are to wear #5-6 one day, and either navy trousers, navy ankle pants or culottes the other... I'm not sure.  What do you think now?


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Summer wardrobe naval gazing (June Challenge conclusions, part 1)

June is almost over, which means that I need to start acting on my June Challenge.

My challenge to myself was to photo what I'm wearing, rate the items and outfits (I did this very informally), purge what doesn't work and make capsules from what does.  

I've decided that my analysis and ideas should be focused on summer dressing, since we're just beginning the hot parts of summer and that will be the most useful to me in the next couple of months.

My lifestyle and wardrobe needs
Dressing for summer is especially casual for me.  I'm inside and outside, and need to play with the kids and sometimes climb trees or scaffolding (to pick fruit).  I generally dress for the heat, because we rarely run our air conditioner.  Sometimes I need to dress smart casually (and those situations generally have A/C), and sometimes the weather is milder.  I'll address those needs in separate posts, because it'll get long enough as is.

Here's my hot weather casual outfits and items so far that I think have worked: 

#1: This gingham shirt only works tucked, but sleeves rolled, it's reasonably cool.
#1: These shorts are my go-to summer denim shorts now.

#2: This splotch shirt is easy breezy, and just a bit more interesting than basic.  The culottes in this pic are purged.

#3: This dress is a little short for my comfort level, but it fits well and is also easy breezy.  I have two others about this length that I haven't yet worn because they feel short.  I'm currently thinking that with a pair of cotton shorts for underneath, this can stay, and the others can be judged based on other merits than length.

#4: This print top is a little heavy for summer, but with sleeves rolled, I like it.  Same shorts as in #1.

#5: Lime shorts, black tee shirt.  Basics, but they both work for me.

#6: olive shirt (still trying to decide if this is a good color for me?), black and white striped skirt.  Both work for me and stay, though the skirt may be more "mild" than "hot" weather, and really isn't appropriate for some outdoor summer activities (like climbing trees to pick fruit).

#7: chambray shirt (it's rumpled in the pic) - also cool for summer.  There's the shorts from #1 again.

#8: gray pixel-print tee.  This is out of my normal style a bit with the drapeyness, but I've worn it twice this week, and I like how it works, at least with pants.  I haven't tried it with shorts yet.

I have other outfits and items in the "acceptable" range, and several that are "mild weather" favorites.  

I also still have several (4-5) tops and two dresses that I haven't worn to decide whether to keep or toss for this summer.

My current favorite items then are:

  • 2 shorts (apple green and dark denim)
  • 1 dress 
  • 7 shirts (7 woven, 2 tees)

That's not quite enough to meet my hot weather casual needs.  I want to add:

  • a pair of light denim shorts
  • a casual skirt, 
  • a pair of "under-skirt" shorts  
  • maybe another top or two?

I have a few not-favorite-status shirts that are staying around to potentially get added in to the mix too, and the mentioned unworn items to try out yet.

I'm planning on four capsules for summer:  hot-casual, mild, smart-casual, and wedding guest.  This post covers my hot-casual, and except for the olive top with the apple shorts (which now I want to try just to see), I think that everything can be mixed and matched.

Obviously I have a summer FFBO formula:  breezy buttondown with rolled sleeves over long shorts.  I think I'm happy with that.

What do you see that I'm missing?  Any of these items that really shouldn't be invited to stay?

(Note: pants, cropped pants and mesh sweaters will be covered when I think about a "mild weather" capsule.  There will be lots of overlap, but those items aren't "hot weather casual" to me.)


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K/R Moto Vest

Angie's posts this spring convinced me that I should really consider a moto vest.  Following her link led me to this vest at Maurices, and on clearance!

It arrived today, and I think I like it - what do you think?

The fabric is woven and mid-weight.  I would use it as a third piece, though I rarely wear them - I like the idea of them for business casual type purposes.  I would also use it to bring a bit of structure over a sack dress, or similar situations.

I don't think it's terrific zipped - but I'm not sure I'd ever want to zip it either.  Does it otherwise look like it fits properly?  And does it seem like it would be a versatile piece?

It's just slapped on here, over a shirt from the laundry pile, because I had been wearing a dark sweater and didn't think it would show up well over that.  To be honest, I'll probably look about this rumpled wearing it anyway :)  Pictures are lightened a bit so that you can see detail, and vest is unzipped in all except #4.


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Era Challenge - 70s with culottes

What's the difference between culottes and palazzo pants?  Length?  (Obviously).  Is there more?
I'm combining them here, because I found examples of both when I searched pinterest for 70s style inspiration :)

I don't have inspiration pics for all of these, but where I do have them, I'll paste them in.
#1 Culottes with tonal flowy shirt.
#2-3 Same flowy shirt with palazzo pants.  (I rather like this, and think it might work for a dressy event).
#4 inspiration pic for tonal wide pants with flowy shirt.
#5 another, not so successful, attempt at something like the inspiration pic.
#6 Palazzo pants with boxy, flowy top.
#7 inspiration pic for #6.
#8 flowy top with denim culottes (are they too big looking now?  I think I liked the fit better last summer)

These are all intended to look at least sort of 70s, for the era challenge, but I think I'd wear several of them as-is now.  And I'm going to be reading Angie's suggestions for culottes over and over, because I really enjoy wearing these!

Suggestions for improvements?


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Era Challenge - 70s lovin'

What does a software developer do when her computer is in the shop?  Why, play in her closet, of course (never mind the assigned reading, ahem).

I had fun too, making 70s inspired outfits.  I wasn't ambitious enough to do twiggy makup or straighten my hair (or add a headband even), and all my hats are packed for our upcoming move.  So you get the lazy hippy variety of outfits today.  

#1 red turtleneck tucked into tan skirt (about as "mini" as I get). Mary jane shoes, and bummer that I purged my red tights.  (inspiration pic in #2)

#3 purple western shirt, unbuttoned as far as decent, with tan skirt.  Same mary jane shoes, and bummer again about the red tights. (inspiration pic in #4)

#5 double denim, top worn tucked in to high-waist bootcuts (sans belt!), that aren't wide enough to cover my shoes, and need to be hemmed an inch up.  I swear these fit me last week - why do they look too big now?!  (#7 is inspiration pic)

#6 double denim attempt number 2.  Somehow I liked the idea of a denim dress over flares as a 70s idea, even though I didn't have an inspiration pic for that specific silhouette.  Does it work?  (I think I'd wear it over skinnies today though).

#8 - continuing the 70s theme by wearing a turtleneck and flares for working from home today. Or, make that playing around while my computer is broke...

#9 a failed attempt at flowy-top tucked into high-waist bootcut silhouette.  I think these jeans are just too roomy for it. (inspiration in #10)

I played with my culottes too - I'll make that another post.  Then I really had better do some work....

All comments - especially suggestions for improvement!


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WWW Easter?

I suppose, since it's tomorrow, that I'm a little late in thinking about what to wear for Easter.  Last night I tried on all my dresses, and picked these two as fitting well enough and being a little bit dressy for the occasion.  These pics make me see that I need to wear my other bra (it's a bit better fitting at the moment).

The pink dress is, I think, a bit more bodycon than I want.  The other dress makes my kids call me a dalmation, and I think the paint splash print is a little weird (and maybe dated?)

Is one of these a clear winner?  (And shoe preference?)

#1 paint splotch dress with navy sandals and shrug
#2 paint splotch dress with ballet flats and shrug
#3 paint splotch dress without shrug
#4 pink dress with shrug and ballet flats
#5 pink dress without shrug
#6 pink dress with nude-ish loafers


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The annual conference-wear post

I've done this several times now, but still find that your opinion is more valuable than my thoughts on conference wear :)

This year's Spring convention shirts have arrived. They're wide and short, and entirely disappointing after last year's attire.  

The suggested dress code is the company shirt (two days black, Friday white), with "nice jeans" (blue or black), and cowboy boots are encouraged (it's a western them, in Nashville).  Jean skirts are permitted for us women.

Here's my first pass at options.  Coming up with jeans that I feel comfortable in for presenting (I'll be presenting twice, on two different days), is weird...

#1-#3 - Jean skirt option:  two with shoes (sheer black vs. opaque hose - sheer is baggy and I'll be picking up a replacement), one with boots (not cowboy, but as close as I have on hand).

#4-#5 black bootcut jeans.  I think this is my best bet for professional looking jeans, but it's a lot of black - how can I mitigate that black-ness?

#6 black shirt with skinny jeans and boots.
#7 white shirt with skinny jeans and boots (one with necklace, one without).

#9-#12 - both shirts, with and without a statement necklace in company colors.  Does the necklace improve anything?



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Worth fixing? Elie Tahari jacket

I picked up this jacket at GoodWill last month.  It had three holes in the sleeve, but I thought it might be worth trying to repair because of the brand.

I've now started the repair, and think that with some careful attention, it'll be a success.  But before I put in the time to finish, I thought I'd ask - is it worth the effort?

It's an immaculately-made jacket, but not young.  It's silk-lined polyester (why?!), and black with pin stripes.  Is the shape outdated?  The length? The style?  Does it fit me properly? Are the sleeves a current width?  (Didn't really get a good shot of them though...)

Worn here over a shirt and a shell.  I'd most likely wear it over something of similar weight and thickness.

I lightened all the pictures to try to make it so you can see detail

#1 from the side, buttoned.  The three (partially repaired) holes are on this sleeve.
#2 open
#3 close up of collar shape
#4 from back, open
#5 from back, buttoned
#6, buttoned

Thanks for your help and thoughts on this potential project!


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Recommendations for long, warm tights?

I bought a couple of pairs of fleece lined tights a couple of years ago, when I first joined ylf.  They were a bit short, so I was always hiking them up, but they were wonderfully warm.

This year, I cannot find my black pair, and have decided that's all the reason I need to look for a better replacement.

I'm just barely on the brink of "tall" at 5'9", but I want tights that stay up (and probably have a high-ish rise.  I want feet on them - leggings are less versatile in my mind.  And I want them genuinely warm.

Any recommendations?