Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Style Question Wednesday: Evolving Styles and the H&M Fatigue Jacket

Happy Wednesday All!

Today I am musing about how style revolves based on where we are in our life, the time of year and where we think we are going.

Dani has her uniforms and that has inspired me to think of mine.  Of course, you knew I would partial to her weekend uniform, magpie and lover of colour and bling that I am!

My life has changed with this ending of one career and planning for the next.  And while I will still need dressy clothes in my wardrobe, I will need much less than I used to when I was a CEO and I will definitely not need a new suit this summer.   At present, my plans do not include being a CEO again, but one never knows, and if that does happen, I still have a few suits and will add more if ever required.  However, I am pretty confident that the next phase will involve more casual frocks and I am fine with that!  I have actually given some of it away to my best friend here in town.  She needed some things and I did not need that volume of things and it made me feel great that she would get the benefit of them, especially the more expensive things.

Since the middle of March I have not worn a skirt or dress, save once.  It turns out that at a certain point, I hate wearing tights.  So my uniform at present is pretty consistent:
  • skinny trousers
  • sweater and tank top or tee
  • flowy camisole or similar blouses as in the picture below

The ponte knit pants of March have been replaced by my Jcrew minnies and white jeans, which will soon be replaced by my eyelet pants.  And then, once the weather is warm enough to go bare-legged (and thanks xoxo for the heads up about the St. Tropez self-tanner - am off to order some today), I will be in skirts and dresses.  The two pair of khakis that I ordered from gap have not seen much use - they are a funny width for my skinny legs, which look good in either very wide or very skinny pants.  The british khaki will stay in rotation, while i think the hot pink will become my gardening pants - I needed a new pair and they will look fun with my purple rainboots.  You should see the getups I get into in the garden!

I have realized once and for all that button-up blouses are not really for me. They sit in my closet.  They might get drug out once in a blue moon.  Oh sure, I will keep a black and a white blouse, and my linen ones fron Ralph Lauren for summer, but the rest are being laundered and packed away for my friends or goodwill  They are too much effort for me: the ironing, the impossibility of finding one that doesn't gape at the bust, or if it doesn't gape, that doesn't need major alterations.  And to be honest, they just aren't my style.  I am raising the white flag of surrender and moving on!

I am underground as my button-up is gaping
I now own 10 summer skirts.  Last summer I owned 22.  I did not need 22 and I often felt silly as people would say "you never wear the same thing twice"  Well they were kind of right; once I rotated through them all I pretty much didn't as our summers are so short.  As well, a couple of these skirts are the kind I wouldn't have been able to wear to the office - these will get much more air time this summer. 

I have only kept things that are completely flattering in my closet.  A few things have been packed away for another, skinnier day, but I am limiting that timeframe to 8 months - if they don't fit by then, well, off they go! 

I have found some gaps as you know.  I realized I did not have a short dressy outercoat that would also go well with jeans and voila: the calvin klein one-size-too-big blazer did the trick. 

I also realized that I did not have a spring jacket for walking the dog and running errands that was not dressy (as an aside my spring jacket wardrobe consists of: my icon trench, my short navy blazer, my jean jacket, a north face jacket in white for rainy, sporty days).  I considered ordering the Downton from J Crew, but I was afraid of the sizing and the need to return.  Two weeks ago, I was in our local mall and popped into H&M with my daughter.  I picked up a fatigue jacket for $40.  It is perfect as a completely casual jacket and for the price, could not be beat.



You can see I am back in the bathroom.  The coat fits well and here I have paired it with my blue minnies, a jcrew floral tshirt and my navy Joe Fresh tshirt purchased last summer.  This really is becoming my uniform and in a week or two the sneakers will often be replaced by ballet flats under sandal weather.
A close-up shows that above one of the pocket flaps there is a detachable sequin strip:


So I am pleased with my $40 jacket and it looks as good quality as the $100 one that my son purchased at J Crew last summer!

So how about you?  Is your style evolving this summer and if so, how?  Are you purging any old things?  I am suprised by how much I still have, but am being brutal about fit; I only want things I love and are comfortable, clothing-wise and this is causing me to rethink it all!  Over the coming days, I will be culling some more and trying to put together a good colour story or two.

On a completely positive note amidst all of the darkness of this week's news, when I came home last night, I could hear a robin trilling in the tree above my head.  I stood outside for a good 10 minutes listening and I felt that spring had finally come and at least for that moment, all was peaceful in Wendy-land.

Have a wonderful day and stay safe out there!

61 comments:

  1. Why, oh why, am I not your size, Wendy? :)
    I really enjoy donating clothes either to friends or Goodwill. All those great pieces filled with great memories can now build a history with someone else. Isn't that wonderful?
    I moved across the country a couple of times and learned that it is actually satisfying (and easier to pack) to live with less. Bravo WMM for the closet and life overhaul!

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    1. Anthro Blogger - I hope you are feeling a little better today!

      Well I think my purge will be an ongoing one, but I also think I need a couple of suits per season for meetings I may attend, etc. My dream is NOT to work in a 9 to 5 office again, but to write and maybe do freelance consulting, the latter of which can mostly be done at home! It is satisfying to live with less and I have been too quick to bring out some summery stuff and it is driving me made that it is taking up valuable rea estate in my closet! On the other side, it makes me happy as I see the whites and light colours...

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  2. Yes Wendy, I have purged a lot!!! Really a lot and kept only things that I loved and fit... I still have some cleaning to do, you know those things you just hang on and can't let go... But I know I will get there in time... I have now reduce my closet to about 120 items that does not include shoes... If I had the tights, socks, undies, night wear (all counted as one) I am able to stay under 150... My initial goal was to be at 150 including shoes and accessories, but it won't just work... You can read about my 150 project on my blog... I find this process liberating and it makes things so easier to manage... There are much less questions in the morning when trying to decide of an outfit...
    Have a good one!

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    1. 150 for all seasons? That is a good number then, because I think I own about 15 or 20 coats alone for spring, summer, winter, fall. I am so impressed!

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    2. Yes 150 for all seasons... Yes, I found it a good number for me... I started reading on the web and came across the Project 150 as well as the project 33... Bottom line is always find the number that works for you and I think 150 is my number... I do not count sports clothes in this... It really helped me finding what does suits me and what does not :-)

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    3. Oh my gosh I counted what is in my closet right now (and there is still some summer to come out and some winter packed away and I am at 170! If I count shoes and those other things, I bet I am at about 350!!! Oh you are brave, but smart!!!

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    4. I was exactly the same Wendy!!! I had 80 pair of shoes!!! I estimate I gave away about 2/3 of my clothes... And you know what??? I do not miss one single item I gave :-D
      And thanks for your compliment!

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  3. That fatigue jacket is perfect! Such a good Spring jacket, and a great price. Love it with the blue Minnies and that tee!

    I probably need to purge..... I think I probably have way too many clothes in my wardrobe, but I really do love most of them. I also tend to resurrect stuff years later. A case in point is my DVF dress collection. I had a total DVF dress moment about 8 years ago, which lasted a season or two. Then the dresses were put into storage.
    This year I've dug them out again to wear this Autumn, so I'm really glad I didn't eBay them last year!
    Likewise my huge sandal and boot collection. Some pairs get put way to 'rest' for a few seasons, then resurrected a few years later.
    Heidi's reaction to my recent post on my sandals has made me realise I might be verging on the extreme hoarder end of the spectrum, though!!

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    1. HA! I tend to hang on to boots and shoes unless they are either a complete mistake that never really fit me right or are just too worn and cannot be salvaged.

      I love sandals - sadly we can't really wear them here until late May usually. It is such a short season, whereas boots are so long, a good boot collection is a good thing here! have a great day!

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  4. I really like your daily outfit. You've managed to figure out a way to wear a lot of colour without overwhelming yourself. I like the H&M coat.

    My style and wardrobe - no purging at the moment. I have decided to just let things be and see how that feels :)

    This is quite personal, but I'll share because it might be useful to others as well. I've started reading the book, Intuitive Eating, which guides you back to eating for your body - eating for taste, stopping when full, being kind to yourself, and not dieting (formally or informally); no food is off limits.

    I think that a lot of us women have some food and body woes, often minor but enough to cause some stress. I've been working on all of that for a while, and I finally feel "ready" for this book (I've known about it for a long time).

    So, that's where I'm putting my energy for now. I realized that some of my wardrobe woes were due to body woes, and so I'm leaving my wardrobe alone and focusing on bringing peace to my eating. So far so good :)

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    1. Hi Abby - thanks for sharing this.

      I have been doing the same thing but didn't know I was! Because I was so fatigued and stressed, I could not face a diet. Instead, I have been treating my body like gold, listening to it and trying to discover what it is looking for.

      I eat whatever I think I want or need, but just try to be mindful of why I am eating and when and being really present in the moment while I am eating. I am down 7 pounds since Christmas doing this (plus adding in yoga again and daily walks) and I am feeling better. I still have about the same amount to go, but I am not beating myself up about it as I know that I will get there.

      ANything that I love that is a little tight is still here with me so I have no regrets when I do get there! ANd I am like Ruth - some things I put away and discover later!

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    2. Hi Wendy, good for you for listening to your body and being kind to yourself. Gosh, this break (turned life change) has really been what you needed, eh? I am glad that you are feeling better.

      Yes, I'm not purging anything too big or too small. I want to wait a while and see if I can find a natural set point for my weight, and then boy will I purge :)

      I love discovering things later too.

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    3. Thanks Abby - I also think that being good to ourselves and listening to our bodies is often better than listening to someone else's idea of what we should or shouldn't eat and there is no one-size-fits-all in bodies, so why would there be in diets? I will say I have been craving healthy foods, but still love my cheese and chocolate!

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    4. Yes, every body has its own wisdom. And for many of that includes chocolate and cheese :)

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  5. Wendy,i love your outfit with the floral tee and the fatique jacket.
    The jacket def looks much more than 40$!
    I found the olive color of my jacket also really works well with pink and jc's neon violet(in case you have a tee in that color).

    I have sorted out most of the stuff that i dont wear anymore.A lot of it i have sold and reinvested the money in more clothes,haha.
    Like ruth,i keep my shoes and often i found after years i was happy to rotate them back in my wardrobe.

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    1. Hi Ina - yes i was quite pleased with this little jacket. Can't be too polished all the time! I have a lot of pencil skirts at consignment right now and am expecting a tidy sum in a few weeks. It will help pay for a couple of my purchases!

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  6. My style has also evolved into something more casual. I never thought I would own a parka and a fatigue jacket, something that would come from a Salvation Army pile. I found myself wearing these so much in the past year. Somehow it is the right jacket to wear with skinny jeans and those Isabel Marant-like booties. I did ask my husband to lock me up if he sees me wearing holey jeans.

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    1. Holey jeans! I think my gardening pair are holey! i agree though - we all have our comfort areas and we need stick to them, but go out of the box now and then!

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  7. That jacket is perfect, love the little sequin detail, it's so Wendy and it looks great with blue!
    Thanks for the link, I had to chuckle reading that post, that Cocktail dress is on the frock rehab pile, I think it deserves a new lining so it can continue partying on.
    The whole uniform thing, I've been thinking about it. Mine has changed and it is definitely a bit more casual and less fussy. I also get to that point at the end of winter when I find it difficult to wear tights, I've been wearing jeans, a tee shirt, v neck sweater and loafers during the week, with a trench coat over. I'm still wearing dresses on weekends but I've really calmed down my colour palette there, it's all navy or black.
    I have joined Steph in her 150 project though I am tackling it very slowly. I like the idea of it and it is simpler to have less things. It's sort of calming.
    I still really like the uniform concept, and I like that it can adapt to different stages of our lives.

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    1. I think it is nice to have a set uniform of looks that you know look good on you - it does make it easier! I just need the temperatures to go up to about 13 or 14 and then I can start wearing my ballet flats out without socks! We have a beautiful sunny day here for our drive to Moncton this afternoon. Am looking forward to the drive with friends and driving along the river!

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    2. Brrrr! I had to laugh at this! At 13 or 14 degrees I'm wearing my thermal tights, boots and coat! It was 15 degrees this morning and I had to wear tights!! I'm such a light-weight with regards to the cold!

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    3. I have to laugh about the socks; I am here in jeans, blue perfect T, olive cashmere cardigan AND socks with topsiders, against the Law of the Universe. Someday soon...

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    4. Ruth - when it is 13 or 14 here in the spring (or less) I know the university students will start sunbathing - we will get so excited! Apparently, the temps are getting there next week! And Lane - we gotta do what we gotta do! Every once in a while in the house, I wear socks with ballet flats!!!! Of course no one sees or can judge me!

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  8. Buttoned downs are not attractive on me either, so I rarely buy them. That is why I walked past the Lodden(my favorite print) on sale- sigh. I like your new jacket. Is it warm enough to wear that now?

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    1. Hi Knityarns - I have worn it outside twice and it is good as long as I have a cardigan. It is beautiful here today, but I think I will wear something a little nicer to the lecture tonight - maybe my icon trench. I loved that Lodden print as well!

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  9. Well WMM, I don't have a lot of out of sight out of mind, since there are only two closets in our flat. I have been in a variation of your uniform for a while now (minnies/ capris or jeans; silk shell or often stripey tee; cardi, jacket, scarf, a bracelet; boots, tennies or ballets). I do still luff my button-downs under jumpers or jackets in fall and winter (unlike other stuff they are an easier fit for pancake moi).

    This summer I am definitely going to try and wear more easy dresses, outside of Friday nights, since I have some that have not gotten their wear, and inherited some other lovely ones.

    I think my challenges are a variation of yours and Abbys - how much do I want to abstain and gym for my health, self-esteem and to fit into the smallest-sized J Crew stuff from 2008 that I adore as well as my very few designer duds, like a teeny DVF dress? And along Steph and Dani's process, how much clothing is enough? Lately I have found myself acquiring summer items I don't really need. But at same time I am lacking discipline to save for a couple of big items I really do - like a good trench.

    BTW, a certain pair of burgundy pointy-toe shoes were all over the TDOT yesterday, West Queen West, Bay and Queen's Quay. Three compliments, including a bloke. And I think the powder blue Joe Fresh sneaks will be mine (see lacking discipline above.)

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    1. WMM, happy tripping to what DH always refers to drily as "sunny Moncton". If was home turf of great-aunt I am named after and my gramps. And I have broken out my ballets in rebellion, even though its cold enough when I first leave house to curl toes.

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    2. Am also lacking the discipline to save up.

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    3. Oh, GF, you a brave one!

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    4. GF - I wish I had teeny-tiny button-ups, would pass them on! You and Dani always look so good in them, as does Miss AJC, whom I was thrilled to see is blogging again as I have missed her!! Good for you on the no socks - am hoping this means the concrete has warmed up? One thing I have picked up are a couple of blazers that go with more casual or dressy attire - I am not one to typically wear a dress suit blazer with jeans, but am I being too rigid? I only have access to half of one closet in my bedroom and half of another in my back room, so I can relate. But I still seem to have too many things!

      And yay for our shoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Discipline - sigh. I am not worrying about weight now - have decided to focus on health and assume weight will follow!

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    5. Lane, not brave, stir crazy and Canuck. Also, when I got to college in MA all my new friends would laugh at me. I was used to knee socks with my loafers etc. since boarding school rules and Canadian cold. Even the weekend boys were wearing bucks and oxfords sockless. Given I had grown up barefoot in warm places and I wanted to fit in with the American Girls, I became a "conformist" and haven't gone back, decades later.

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  10. WMM, how clever of you to find that jacket for such a sweet price! I like it with those bright blue pants and T.

    Yes, the redefining the wardrobe is going on here too coinciding with the tremendous change in schedule. I have things on consignment for the first time-- I was too busy to notice the shop 2 miles from me--including a blue seersucker-like sundress from JC with the tag on c.2007 that has never been worn. I don't do Ebay etc as I don't know how and sounds like a terrific hassle. I love blazers so I'm keeping all those ( I did part with ancient LLB cashmere/wool boyfriend types, big shoulders, that I was saving on the advise of a friend IN CASE SHE TEACHES ME TO HOOK RUGS I COULD CUT THEM UP. Your crazy of the day). I have faced reality, and it does not include hooking.

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    1. Okay, that is hilarious! Thanks for the smile.

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    2. Lane - I have been surprised that between H&M and Joe Fresh, you can find the odd item for a fabulous price!

      Oh the rug hooking cracks me up! I do crazy stuff like that too!! I am glad I am not the only one!

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    3. Lane, I am reading from phone, bottom to top and got the word "hooking" out of context, as in "I should hope NOT". My silly giggle of the day.

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    4. I could envision myself hooking rugs - how weird is that?

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    5. Actually, it is quite fun looking to do and with your artistic talent, you could do something awesome. We do have a group of ladies at our Common Ground fair who call themselves the Hookers, yes, we do.

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    6. We have some happy hookers here as well. My cousin's wife is one and she loves to call herself a hooker for the effect! And I bet you would be fabulous at it Kathy!

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  11. Living in LA, I always have an army green fatigue jacket and a denim jacket in my wardrobe. You found a great one, and a fantastic price. I bought a new one last year from Club Monaco that is still nice for this Spring/Summer. I only like button up shirts that are sort of "boyfriend" style - big and slouchy. I find them a bit too prim otherwise for me.

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    1. That type sounds like the ones I kept! I don't do prim really well - well, I can do it, but I do not quite feel like me!

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    2. OH and PS - will we hear about the road trip soon???

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    3. We had a good time, but too much driving and sitting in the car. Neither of us had been to San Francisco in many years, and the city has changed, for the worse. It's totally lost it's charm for me. However, Sonoma and the surrounding wine country is beyond gorgeous. Just found out they have flights from LA to Sonoma, so absolutely will be returning there.

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  12. Cute jacket! Me being me, well, I just love the sequin strip. :)

    I'm in the "shopping" phase of my closet life-cycle. I am in desperate need of new tops. My MIL, bless her, went to a sample sale last week in NYC and is sending me a box of clothes. Have no idea what's inside or if any of it will be my size (she always thinks I'm smaller than I am). Hoping there will be some items that work in there. I'm also going to brave the crowds at the Trina Turk sample sale in L.A. this weekend. *fingers crossed*

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    1. Oh good luck! What styles are you looking for? I love Trina Turk!

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    2. I have no idea what they'll have there. The sale starts Friday, but I won't be able to get over there until Saturday, so who knows if things will be completed picked-over by then. Hopefully, I'll be able to snag some work-appropriate tops or sweaters.

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  13. Very nice, Wendy! I hope you get more sunshine soon. It is 24 degrees and sunny here -- absolutely beautiful, but by next month it will already be unpleasantly hot and sticky.

    I have been cleaning out my closet in anticipation of moving -- packing away wrong sizes that I still like and know I will use again as my size fluctuates, and giving away anything I do not love or routinely wear. But I also still love acquiring things -- I really love shopping and doubt I will stop any time soon! Plus, I feel like (or so I tell myself) while I am still here in the States for a few months I should take advantage of the plethora of online shopping possibilities + easy shipping and returns.

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    1. Michelle - I would NEVER tell someone not to shop - I enjoy it too, even just window-shopping! I think you will be smart to do that re: the shopping, though your new home may open up all kinds of brands to you!

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  14. xoxo's post about donating some of her really nice clothing to charity really inspired me. I was going to take what I have left to a consignment type place, but I decided to donate it all instead. Why not? Someone will get a huge kick out of finding designer jeans and brand new clothes at the salvation army store. And I get a tax write off, so it's not like I am totally throwing away money, something which I cannot afford to do. It's liberating!

    Button down blouses are not my friend either. Slowly getting rid of all but a few liberty prints, a white, and some chambray. It's impossible for them to fit right at the bust most of the time, I totally hear you on that one!

    Love your new H&M jacket. My spring non dressy is from J.Crew factory and was a similar price. Love to find a deal that is exactly what you need!

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    1. I love giving away, too! It is so much fun! I usually only consign when something is really new - it makes me so sad when I make mistakes and then wait too long to return!

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  15. About donating clothing - of course everyone should donate where they like, but I like to donate to battered women's shelters. The clothing goes directly to the women, without an exchange of money, and these women often have left home without clothing and are in terrible need, with low self esteem, etc. Some new clothing for them, can help so much, and also give them something to wear as many are trying to find jobs as well. Just a thought.

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    1. We do that here - there are so many charities who need it, isn't it - and helping women get back on their feet after such a terrible experience is so important!

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  16. Look at you you looking all cool cat there!
    Hubs takes his stuff to the 'down and outs' - I bet you wouldn't even get away with that term over there but last time he took down an old worn suit and when he handed it in, one of them picked it up and said " Naw man, ah'm nae wearing that," Hubs had been wearing it the week before! We nearly died laughing.

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    1. Okay - this story has made my day! That is just too funny!!!!!!! A few years ago, I got rid of an old winter coat. My friend said "thank god, you looked god awful in that and we were hoping you would get rid of it!" I would have cried except it was pretty funny!

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  17. Big fan of the St. Tropez self tanner...like the mousse. I must admit I have been in H&M with Em several times but never bothered to look for things for myself. I guess I have been missing out. Your jacket looks every bit as nice as J Crews.

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    1. BB, same - only looked around this time as she was trying thing on!

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  18. Hi WMM, your uniform is totally what I usually wear and, as BB said above, the jacket is just as nice as the J Crew one.

    My daily uniform at the moment, however, is a t-shirt and old leggings with knee pads - I am cleaning the grout in all our tiled floors. I can only do a bit at a time as I'm using bleach and baking soda (tends to give me a headache), but it's going well.

    I love your story above about your old winter coat!

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    1. Oh patricia, come do my mine!!!!

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  19. Love the jacket. Remember when Ema mixed it up with a bright liberty shirt. I'm going to copy that. The Joe Fresh looks great on you. I've never bought clothes at the grocery store. Must give it a try.

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    1. Thanks Marshs! I never try stuff on there, to be honest! I bring it home and then do s return later, but they only give you 14 days!

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  20. Drat. Forgot to check H&M for a fatigue jacket. I'm so used to looking online. I should've stopped in the store. Oh well. Hoping the J Crew Factory one I found via phone works well. I like yours. The cost/wear will be pennies in a matter of days.

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Kindness is a virtue...