Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Style Questions Wednesday!!!

Ah, the first of  today's style questions was prompted by Well Fed Fred, raconteur extraordinaire, gourmande extraordinaire and all-around bon vivant!

On Monday, I posted a picture of an outfit that I felt like a million bucks in.  For those of you who missed this thrilling post, or who would just like to see me in all my glory again, here you go:



Yes, I really was that splendiferous, except for the odd angle of the right leg, but why (no - not why was my foot in the picture oddly hidden)?

And then WFF added to this navel-gazing by saying:

"This is such a great "template" for you, correct lengths of jacket and pants, not too much going on at the neck, unified color theme... Well done, you look terrific!" Copyright, WFF, September 17th, 2012, all rights reserved. In God We Trust, yadayadayada...

As we also like to say in the Maritimes, when hit with a piece of critical information that we had not thought too much about before we are known to say: "Jumpin' Gentle Jesus" which loosely translated, means "what dat she said?"  Can you believe I am an extremely well education individual???

So today's questions for you, my delightful and faithful readers, are as follows:

1) is there a formula for figuring our what the correct length of jacket, skirt and pants are for your body and how do I figure it out as opposed to my current trial and error methodology (often reinforced by  "wow, that is a great skirt length WMM!", which I dutifully recall like Pavlov's dog and try to recreate!)
2) is a unified colour theme better than an un-unified?  How will I know if I am being simply "charming" with my colour themes or crossing into Gayle S (JC bedazzler) territory?
3) Did you all know this intuitively?????  How do you learn this stuff? 
4) anything else about this outfit I need to understand better so I can recreate it in constant variations for the rest of my life so I always feel lovely?????

Finally, to cap off today's style questions, I need some help.  I would really like to get another schoolboy blazer.  I would like to get a non-navy or blue colour.  I really like the flannels from JC but would like some assistance in choosing a good colour:

Think of my colouring.  Could i get away with this:

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

or this:

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

Perhaps this?

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

Schoolboy blazer in wool flannel

Think versatility for work.  I am quite torn.

I am thinking the caramel, as I recently purchased a pair of Ralph Lauren woollen wide legged trousers in chocolatey-brown plaid (small plaid). 

or is there a better blazer for my frame?  All advice solicited and welcomed!  Except for the $800 cashmere blazer.  I couldn't, no - really - I couldn't!

Thanks style sisters - I always appreciate your advice!!






41 comments:

  1. Being a small fry I like to dress in a similar colour on top or bottom, as it helps me look taller, similarly jackets that stop at the waist make me look short too so I stick to longer jackets, I guess it's just something I notice from looking in the mirror.

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    1. Hey Tabs - I think I have obviously not been paying too much attention!!! Is that a sign of being too busy, too scatterbrained or simply too something??

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  2. There probably is a formula made up by someone but I think everything looks different on everybody, we have to figure it out for ourselves.
    I think men have the advantage of buying a suit and with alterations it ends up looking perfect and polished on them, a good mens shop employee knows where everything should "hit". When I go shopping with MrBP for suits I always think 'wow that fits perfect' and then the guy comes out with his tape and pins, does his magic and sends away the suit. We go back to pick it up and it is more perfect.
    Of course we have curves to deal with, curves that seem to ebb and flow throughout the month too doyamind. Fred nailed it of course, the lines of that outfit are perfect on you so now we need to deconstruct it: mid-hip jacket, wide pants, tonal blouse. Trying to recreate it with your new RL pants sounds fun. Would the caramel jacket create this effect? What sort of blouse would you wear? What colors are in the plaid of the pants? Is the schoolboy blazer long enough?
    Oh no I've answered your questions with mostly questions!
    xo!

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    1. No - this is good! I will take a pic of the pants tonight and post (say that three times fast!) There is a purple line in the pants. I think I am starting to get it....

      The jacket I wore on Monday (pic above) was a schoolboy so it may be okay. Today, I am wearing the 1035 in superfine cotton. I will update with a picture of that - the jacket may not be right... Oh so much to learn... I feel like I should have learned all this at 30 but I was too busy birthing babies I guess!

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    2. PS - did you see end of post comments yesterday - I am suggesting you start an Anne book club with your younger daughter, getfresh and I! You will laugh!

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    3. I guess we'll have to put Little Miss in charge! Oh she's been really sick all week it's very stressful. :(

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    4. Can only imagine the reading list Ms. Button`s creator will come up with. Does that mean homework...
      More get better stat wishes!

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    5. Oh poor little Miss! She is too spunky to be down for long!

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  3. Hello, thought I'd take a bow, and merci!

    The schoolboy blazer is too short on me, but it came in gorgeous green velvet this year, so I ordered it in TALL which I am NOT, and that length is perfect. All schoolboys are a little boxy on me, I don't like floppy stuff under the arm, but usually having the tailor take in the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the center back seam does the trick. This time I'll also have to have the sleeves shortened, so I'm still on the fence about keeping the thing.

    On the question of skirt length, one of the JCAs who has a background in retail/design posted a link to an analysis on her blog of skirt length, the key was whether your shins were longer than your thighs or vice versa. It was on one of my Bear of Little Brain days, so that's all I remember about it.

    My judgment: you need straight, not curvy, pants or skirt, singlebreasted jacket, narrow to medium lapels, if collarless, neck should touch collarbone. Shirts: create a high tailored V, avoid ruffles as they fight with curly hair. Avoid turtlenecks except in bad weather.

    Sorry to be brusque, have to run, haircut lady arrives in a few!

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    1. Fred, brusque I like - no beating around the bush is more helpful than not! But... high tailored V - you mean button down that is more fitted but with the V at the top to draw attention away from the ample busom and botticelli-like mid-section? :-)

      I wondered about turtlenecks. I don't think I actually have enough of a neck for one so I avoid like the plague...

      I like the idea of the schoolboy in green velvet. the one above is a regular schoolboy, not petite. I find the petite jackets too small. I think I am a tall short woman. You figure that out!

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  4. GIV'N'R thought WMM, but in the meantime an initial jacket jump-in. The camel schoolboy, which I have from fall 2011 and closely inspected this year (long story), is actually a bit hard to wear IMO. It looks very good with navy, but muddy with some browns and not the easiest hue to do tops with, especially for a fair skin/ dark hair combo. In JC's line I think the grey is the most versatile for fall through spring and the purple the most rich, on trend and not "Barney". But I wouldn't pick it unless you already have several tops and scarves etc. you could pair with it.

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    1. I wondered about the Barney factor. The purple could be quite lovely. I don't really have a purple top, but the ralph lauren trousers have a lovely purple line running through them....

      Thanks for your advice!

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  5. SKIRTING THE ISSUE WFF I half-remember that blog post too, happy haircutting...Here is the formula I was taught in a school sewing class, although I think boots vs. shoes and heel height as well as overall body proportions also make a big difference. So I do find it best to eyeball good lengths from photos and then measure that skirt for future shopping/ online reference/ alterations of similar styles (shortie here so almost always have to hem skirts and dresses).
    Use a cloth measuring tape to get two measurements > from your hipbone straight down the outside of your leg to the middle of your kneecap, and from the middle of your kneecap (outside edge) straight down to the middle of your ankle bone.

    LONGER LEG LENGTH minus SHORTER LEG LENGTH divided by 2 = X
    X is the number of inches above or below the knee for your "ideal" skirt length. If your shins are shorter than your thighs, raise your hem X inches above your knee. If your thighs are shorter than your shins, lower the hem X inches below the knee.
    The tailoring goal is to visually balance the length of the upper and lower leg.

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    1. Holy Toledo!! GetFresh - you amaze me! Wait till I get home tonight!

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  6. First of all, WMM, I have enjoyed your writing both as a commenter and now as a blogger, for so long, thank you!

    So many tenets of design are really the same no matter which subset you are addressing, so the basics of proportion, color, texture, suitability, etc. cross over from art to interiors, clothing, and so may other things. To me, you appear to have a longer lower torso, and a shorter upper body, so you would want to balance this by wearing clothes that lengthen your upper body just a bit. You are also not especially tall :), so clothes that shift color dramatically in the middle can cut you off, and visually shorten you, while a fairly continuous color line visually lengthens your body. I think these are some of the reasons that outfit is so terrific on you. In terms of the jacket,color is a BIG story, but start with the undertone of your skin--pink or yellow--and lean towards warm or cool colors, especially around your face, to flatter your skin tone.Hope this helps!

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    1. Thank you NB! I am learning so much today! I definitely a pink undertone girl. I am a hearty girl of scottish descent!

      I laughed when you said I was short!!! I am so impressed with your knowledge!

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  7. Oh WMM, you are hilarious... As for the skirt length post, here it is. I found the post very helpful and she has some more that are great.
    Visually, I think it is all about creating pleasing proportion. When you wear a skirt I tried to have about the same above as below, or the same amount of legs covered as exposed. For me the ideal length is about an inch obove the knee or right at the knee when I wear heels. With boots I like it longer because I don;t like to deal with the gap between boots and skirt.
    I think you look great with skirts slightly above the knee and fitted tops and I think the widelegs have the lengthening effect on you and they are great with structured, short jacket. I also love the mod dresses on you. I also agree about v-necks and simple necklines because of curves up top and curls.
    Shoes can change the proportions significantly. I know you don't like high heels but how about wedges? I think an extra inch in leg leght (added by shoes) sheds 10 visual lbs sometimes.

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    1. Oh good lord! I am going to buy more heels or simply a good looking man who will lift me up high all day! Thanks - I will follow up on the post!

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  8. Oh, and I forgot to answer your jacket question. I woudl look elsewhere but I just don't like the schoolboy. The lengt is good for you (it is too short on me) but I think once you size up to fit your chest they are too wide in shoulders and will overwhelm your petite frame. I would look for thinner, more fitted, narrow in shoulders and nipped in waist short dark jacket (maybe even with not exagerrated peplum?). I found that it is tricky to find a good fitting jacket and best if you can try in store. I love Theory jackets but not sure how they would work for petite. I actually had better luck with Madewell than J.Crew and I bought two blazers from them last year.

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    1. I will check out madewell - never even looked at their blazers - thanks for the tip!

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    2. I am thinking the JC peplum knit that you tried AJC - that might work nicely..

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    3. Would that be the same navy peplum knit as DBP's petite sis guest blog like and brought home? I saw it briefly jetting through a store in US but didn't try as jackets not on list. And of course navy doesn't help with the current RL trousers question.

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  9. AJC, thanks for finding that actual post, must bookmark. Re. Theory jackets on a petite, I had to try several of there more traditional styles before I found a shoulder and stance that worked. And at 5'2" I've always had to take the sleeves up. But their fabrics, shaping and waistlines are definitely great. Will revisit Madewell next time I am looking too.

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    1. Make that their, smartie auto-correct phone, bah.

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    2. don't you just love auto-correct????

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    3. the same brilliant author of the skirt length post has another , you'll find it in her sidebar, called "Tips & Tricks," in which she beautifully lays out the science behind what I was saying about "high vee" necklines. Well worth the reading.

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  10. I agree with GetFresh above re: the camel schoolboy. I have it also and find it a difficult match with some colors. I like it with navy and dark jeweltones - emerald green, rich purple. Maybe try your RL trousers with the camel schoolboy and the tie-neck blouse in manchester purple? (Do you have this blouse?) Or a purple tippi with a gold necklace?

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  11. PS: I also have the gray schoolboy and really like the color for it's versatility - wore it several times a week all last winter.

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    1. Thanks Anonymous! I do not have that blouse,but I bet it would like good with the red hair. I am even contemplating the purple as well now. Oy vey! :-)

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  12. Oh WMM...this outfit is perfection on you! I love everything about it! :)

    As for figuring out which styles, cuts, colors, etc. flatter you...have you ever heard of, or watched the original version of What Not To Wear with Trinny and Susannah? It used to air here several years ago on BBC America and was SO much better than the current American version. Anyways, Trinny and Susannah have written a couple of books that help women figure out the clothing that suits their specific body types. I have two of them, and have found them to be quite helpful. They are still available here and here on Amazon.com. If you can find any of their shows to watch then definitely do. As I said, they were much better than the ones now with Stacy and Clinton.

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    1. I haven't read this one, but it looks as if it would be quite helpful, too.

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    2. love the original WNTW! it dwindled into psychobabble in more recent years, but when it was good it was wonderful!

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    3. I did love them - they were so cheeky! I find Clinton and Stacy want to dress everyone identically! I will take a look!

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  13. I don't think there is a formula because I think everyday is a different challenge. I definitely believe that fit is everything, and that it is a confidence game. I think we always reach for our most comfortable clothes, and feel better in them. The perfect length pants in the perfect color that pull when I sit down are going to stay in the closet. I have a few J Crew "Perfect" shirts that are in my favorite colors that look nice on, but I always feel like they are stretched at my midsection, so I never wear them. One of the things I like about your Hepburn-esque outfit is that it is tailored and elegant. But, you also look great in many other outfits, so I don't think I would drop everything and just replicate this one!

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    1. Thanks Knityarns - you are right and I could not drop everything anyway, as I love too many different styles! However, knowing some of the principles will help me in choosing wisely within the variety of choices, which is always better than not!

      I hear you! I am about ready put my 6.5 valentinas in patent leopard up at the JCA exchange. I have hardly worn them and they hurt my feet! Just not worth it!!!

      I have a completely different outfit for tomorrow, which I will be anxious for some feedback on!

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  14. Thank you so much everyone! I SOOOO appreciate you all - you will never know how much fun it is for me to have people to discuss this with! You are all just wonderful! I am hoping that there are some lurkers who are learning from you all as well as I can't imagine I am not the only one to not know all of this intuitively! Or maybe I am...

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  15. I agree that the top outfit looks great on you!

    I am also thinking the caramel and the red would work well for you. I would stay away from the light grey.

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    1. Hey rose! Do you know if that is a poppy red or a real orange-y one?

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    2. If I remember correctly, 'modern red' is somewhere in between orange and poppy. The colour in that photo is lighter than IRL. I will pop into the store soon and will let you know. ;)

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    3. Thanks so much! As I said, some oranges I can wear, others are meh! I bet you look great in all orange shades!

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  16. These tips are so wonderful! Love your new posts with questions, WWM--growing up with a brother, and now being the only woman in my household (with husband and sons), I, too love hearing from other women about these topics.

    I would also warn about seeing the camel (or is it called caramel?) color schoolboy in person before you try it; the shade is unusual. A fellow J Crew-ophile in my community wore it a lot last winter, and something always looked 'off' to me about the color (and she's a lady who wears clothes very well). I think the purple would be lovely on you. Just my 2 cents :)

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