WIB, My Style, & Some Confusion

I went shopping yesterday with a friend with the intention of trying on black blazers (for replacement of current blazer which is becoming a bit worn looking) and generally to see what is in the brick & mortar stores in my city for Spring. I had a wonderful day and came home with some beautiful items that fit well, are good quality, felt good on and provide my wardrobe with some Spring refreshing. BUT....(oh c'mon...you knew that was coming!) I'm now feeling a bit of buyer's remorse (in fact I woke up at 4:00 a.m. this morning thinking about these items). I dropped a fair bit of coin yesterday for these things and although I'm still within my budget, I'm wondering if these specific items were the right place to put my money.

I'm primarily wondering if these items work with my current style direction and fit the goals I had set for purchases. Remember these parameters I had mentioned:

  • Simple lines.
  • Structured.
  • Quality.
  • Statement accessories.
  • Chic with hints of hard edge.
Below in Pictures 1-3 are the items I purchased - all from Melanie Lynn, a mid range Canadian retailer.

Pic #1 - a navy "drape with structure" soft jacket. Has fabulous seaming which gives shape to this softer jacket and makes me look like I have a waist. It also has small shoulder pads so actually gives me a bit of a stronger looking shoulder, which works well for me.
Pic #2 - a white/navy stripe pencil skirt reminiscent of the B44 tiered skirt. This would work with hose since it is fully lined and gives a bit more "presence" than the black/white striped VC midi tube skirt that I have. Would be a replacement for that tube skirt.
Pic #3 - a mint vest - a completely emotional wild card pick. It was love at first sight both on the hanger and when I put it on. Couldn't stop smiling.

The skirt is very versatile and will work with a great deal of my spring/summer current wardrobe. The mint vest will work well with black and/or white which is very well represented in my wardrobe.

I love all these pieces and feel good in them. But I feel conflicted in how they relate to what I had expressed as my style goals. Are these items too conservative for me? How would I introduce that bit of edge I crave when wearing these items?

Then I look at my favorite eBay seller's site and she has the following EF pieces (pics #4-7) that I know would work on my body and work play really well with what I currently have. Plus she has a black/white BCBG blouse (pic #8) that is the sister to my blush BCBG blouse - that great drapey wedge shape that works well on my apple frame.

Ok...I realize I'm rambling now...maybe I need to try on the new items again with some of my existing pieces to see how they all play together and post some pics for feedback. Maybe I'm just "in a mood" 'cause it's snowing!

Any words of wisdom out there for me???

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • KikiG replied 5 years ago

    Gosh, I'd be all over any jacket which created the illusion that I possess a waist, and I adore that navy jacket and would grab it through my monitor if I could!! That skirt looks like a fabulous workhorse for warm weather and great with the navy jacket for a highly valued suit-like outfit for work.  I like the white vest in 7 better than the mint vest in 3, because I think it would be less unique and harder working for you.  The mint seems casual to me, too, but I must confess that I'm not a fan of pastels, which do not flatter my coloring, so please take that input with that knowledge.   My personal experience with patterns like in picture 8 is that they add visual bulk, which would mess with my mind, because the one place I do not want visual bulk is in my tummy. 

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    Kiki - thanks so much for your feedback! I'm starting to wonder if my obsession with Eileen Fisher has clouded my judgement on other brands...
    The navy jacket and striped skirt are fab together and one my comments to my friend is combined and worn with a simple white top would be perfect for my Board meetings - and I do need to wear a more "corporate" type outfit for those meetings. And I hear you on the white vest being more versatile - I'm lucky in that the mint color works very well for me.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    You know, the more I look at the items I bought and remember how I felt when I put them on, the more I'm realizing I'm being completely neurotic! I bought FABULOUS pieces that refresh my wardrobe and look great on me. Why can't I accept that???

  • replied 5 years ago

    Ha.  What a small world . I have the jacket and skirt too from Melanie Lyne - although I bought the jacket in ivory instead of the navy. I bought the skirt a couple of weeks ago after seeing it on a salesperson there, but have yet to wear it , actually.  I like both of them for your look and current direction - and I know how comfortable and (hopefully) flattering that skirt is. The only piece giving me pause is the mint vest - what would you do with it/wear it with and how?  Curious to hear your thoughts.  I recognized the fitting room pictures in Cheryle's pictures posted yesterday ....sounds like a fun day!  

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, this is hard. I would want it all. I think the jacket in #1 has edge with the zippers and you have the footwear to add edge to any outfit. Compare the length of the mint vest to the white one. If the white is EF, it may be the one that I bought last year and it is VERY long. I got it too late in the season to do much styling and hope to use it this spring/summer doing whiteout.
    If you knew if the jacket in #1 would play well with 5 & 6, I would snap them up. I would also get the sister blouse since you wear black and white and know how it will fit. Play with the mint vest in your closet and then make a decision about it.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Please keep the jacket and skirt that you bought on your shopping trip.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    Hmm, it looks like the three pieces you bought are excellent choices and importantly you tried them on and liked them. I actually love the mint vest as a pastel lover myself. Is it an either/or situation. Would those EF pieces be more versatile than the ones you bought? 

  • unfrumped replied 5 years ago

    I don't think 1 and 2 are too conservative since you have options to add edge and trendy tops and accessories, bright colors for time you can be more casual. I recently realized the benefits of having a few more "corporate" items on hand, or at least items that combine that way. No worries there.

    However, I recently also made some purchases for spring, and then when put them through their paces in try-on, found that actually I had some better and similar items, and only a few or the items really "fit" in with the plan in a way that solved dilemmas, e.g, I had found several pairs of flat shoes,  but just one or 2 really helped "make" outfits work, plus focused the color palette even more; a couple of tops looked like one-outfit players and not versatile. Just something about those fitting room mirrors! So back they are going.  Part of it is getting back to "splitting wears". I have some nice things that I want to wear more than just once a month, and if I add more (unless can identify 1 in/1 out), there is no point.

    So, I'd not worry so much about style direction for these items, they look fine, but more about, where are your wardrobe holes ( business better- casual jacket, for instance).  Or, re: the BCBG drapey blouse, have you determined that those are great FFBO-feel good items and a bit of depth there is good? Aiming not to have just myriads of outfit options but focus on what's feeling really good to reach for.   

  • DonnaF replied 5 years ago

    Love the jacket and skirt, and the mint really plays well with what you have?  Chic it is, but pastels aren't exactly edgy, LOL.  That being said, I wear vests a ton, go for edgy more than not, and am disappointed that your vest and other two purchases are probably only available in Canada. 

    If the EF vest is the one I think it is, be aware that the color is oyster which I find can be tricky.  Items can look so different on and styled, but #8 IMHO has the potential to look super frumpy and unflattering due to the *old lady* pattern and cut; I would be leery of ordering it if you have to pay return postage.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    Lisa - get out! You have the same jacket and skirt? Oh that's hilarious. Clearly we both have great taste :) I'll have to play with the vest a bit but I can see it with rolled white jeans and plain white tee, over top of my black EF drape front dress and black sandals; even with faded denim BF shorts and white tank and sandals. Something about it just spoke to me.

    Joy - yes, the white vest is the EF one and I remember Angie mentioning now that it was quite long. Crossing that one off the list! The mint vest fit beautifully and was not too long at all. I appreciate your thoughts on these items  - I hadn't thought about the new navy jacket working with the black/blue EF asymmetrical dress. Will have to think on that.

    Shevia - you just said something extremely important and relevant. I actually TRIED ON these items and liked them. I think perhaps I've done so much eBay shopping in the last six months that I've almost forgotten what it's like to shop in a store. Maybe that's what is throwing me off a bit?  And yes it is almost an either/or situation - the budget does not allow me to keep these three new items plus all of the EF ones. As for what is more versatile, I guess that's the million dollar question!

    unfrumped - wardrobe holes...see, didn't even think of that question while shopping...

  • Kirstjen replied 5 years ago

    I think 1 & 2 are my favorites.  #4 is so basic that I would keep it, too.  It just seems like it would be a real workhorse.

    Maybe it would help (help me, anyway) if you posted some pics of what you think of when you think of the things that you laid out as criteria.  For example, I think these things you chose have simple lines, but they are not necessarily structured, nor do they have "hints of hard edge" in my opinion.  Also there aren't any accessories here.  That doesn't mean that these things are not lovely pieces to add to your wardrobe.  But maybe you need to reassess whether you want those things you listed.  
    Sometimes I think we THINK we want to dress one way, and we really don't.  I'd love to feel comfortable in sophisticated earth tones, but in the end, they drain me of energy.  I need bright colors.  So buying beige will never work for me.  If you like Eileen Fisher and it works for you, keep wearing it, and perk it up with a few statement accessories.  

  • KikiG replied 5 years ago

    Ok, I take back what I said about the mint vest--I see now you are thinking about it for a "smart casual" weekend look, and I totally support that.  What I wasn't seeing was it going to work or generating multiple work looks, but you aren't going there for it.    I am miserable if I don't have a few "smart casual" weekend looks for warm weather, and a vest over a tee is adorable and helps cammo the tummy. 

    Note to self:  look for vests. 

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Okay, I LOVE the new pieces for you and think they are fab. So that is part one. 

    I also really hope there is enough in the budget for that BCBG top, though, because your similar blush top is an absolute workhorse and this one would work so seamlessly into your closet it is not funny. So, crossing fingers about that for you. 

    As for the EF items, yeah, they are cool...but you haven't tried them on, and that is really key. I think the jacket you bought is in the same general ballpark while also being more wearable. 

    One question, though -- I assume this means you'll still need a black jacket. Will there be space in the budget for that, or can you manage with the old one for one more season? 

  • Susie replied 5 years ago

    I really like all 3 of your new pieces and think you should keep them. I don't see any of them as too conservative.

    I also think that 4 and 5 could be very good additions for you. 6 could be as well. To be honest, I don't care for the black and white top. I understand the appeal since you know the shape works well for you but the pattern reads frumpy to me.

  • trekkiegirl replied 5 years ago

    You can totally chalk it up to a mood because of the snow. It's ruining all my good vibes here too!

    From what I remember seeing of your style, I think these work perfectly, and in combination with existing pieces you have (especially your gorgeous collection of leather jackets) I think you'll be able to pull of the style you're aiming for :)

  • MsMary replied 5 years ago

    Maybe I live a really sheltered life, but I think that jacket is plenty edgy, with the zippers and the interesting way it opens in front. Ditto the tiered skirt, which to my law-officey eye looks quite daring for work. And the mint vest is a breath of fresh air for spring! I vote Keep Times Three!

  • Runcarla replied 5 years ago

    Don't you just love all the navy/ink blue in the stores this spring? And ML stuff is really quite nice...a step up from Laura, I think?

    KEEP the jacket and the skirt. Nothing stodgy at all, and with the zippers, the jacket has some of that 'edge' you are looking for. You might be on to something (re: giving EF a rest, and trying other lines.) Though dependably comfortable, there is a 'sameness' to the EF palette and designs that could lead to wardrobe boredom - IMHO.

  • Peri replied 5 years ago

    I could see you in every one of those pieces as I scrolled through the pictures. I paused at the mint vest, but then I read your feelings about it and I got it...sounds perfect as a wild card.

    I want want want pics 4 & 5 for me! 

    So do you think that maybe you are doubting things because it all felt so easy? You had a wonderful day with a friend, you tried things on, loved what you found, things fit and flattered, and you bought them and came home. 

    What???? Where is the angst? The massive hunt? The sweat and tears? It can't be that easy to be happy!!! Can it? Surely not? I have to work harder! I'm fooling myself. This must all go back because it wasn't hard enough earned!

    A possibility?

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    You're all pretty smart, you know that? :)

    Donna - thanks for chiming in about the EF vest being oyster. Not as good a color on me as bright white.

    kirstjen - I think you're quite right in that we often desire to dress a certain way when in practicality, that style doesn't work for us whether it be due to environment, work wear requirements, body shape, etc.

    Suz - love in bold and all caps? You must mean it then - lol! I will still need a black blazer, correct. But I've been thinking that I will take my current blazer to get dry cleaned again and hopefully that will spruce it up just enough to get through summer. I will make a new black blazer my #1 priority for fall when I suspect the selection may be a bit better since most people do not purchase blazers in the summer.

    Susie, trekkiegrl, Mary - thank you so much for your confidence boosting approval of my chosen items :)

    Carla - yes, ML is Laura's "Big Sister" store. And it's interesting you mention the sameness of EF. I was just scrolling through the EF website and thought that an entire closet full of EF pieces would be luxuriously comfortable but incredibly dull, wouldn't it?

    Peri - oh my goodness, you made me laugh! And I suspect you're right. I usually don't have the kind of luck where I walk in, like an item, try it on, fits perfect and I go home with it. Totally threw me off!

  • celia replied 5 years ago

    I can visualize you with your new purchases on so it must be something that is your style.(How about this one for convoluted logic?)
    I love the jacket but I am suspicious because I have being eyeing a pink one like that at Reitmans(see pic bellow)
    Regarding the last top ( the sister of the other BCBG one) it is my experience that whenever I have an item that is a workhorse and I try to duplicate it in another color for some reason it never has the same appeal to me and it is not a workhorse like the first one.
    Almost forgot, I think the Mint vest will be killer for you, even for business casual.

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    I really like #5 - the blue/black dress. The mint vest is an interesting wild card.

    I'm not sure about the zipper jacket and bandage skirt - unless they're flat replacements. I don't see anything like a new direction, stylewise, about them. I mean, they're not really simple...

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    So you bought 1/2/3 right? 

    Love it!  I think it is perfect for your style.  Love the colour and the drape and will look amazing over structured bottoms (I am wearing something similar today so may be a little biased.)

    The Skirt is nice.  I feel that particular detail (the diagonal layers) is a little over.  But keep in mind I don't love stipes or pattern at this time in my life :)  I do realise you are coming into Spring but I am wondering about a solid tube skirt?  BUT if you love stripes keep:)


    The mint vest is a fab wildcard for you.  Love the colour.  It is one of the few colours that I find 'edgy' and I think it should look great on you.

    I think you might be in in a 'mood' because they are great items and very consistent with your developing style.

    I adore #4 - #7.  Would need to see#5 on to be sure but that would look awesome in Spring worn over #6 is the tones worked.

    #8 is pretty but it is not nearly as stand out as your other BCBG blouse.  I don't feel the pattern on this one is 'cool' enough for you.

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 5 years ago

    I love the jacket and really don't think it is conservative with the zippers, seaming, and draped front.  The fit is absolutely lovely too.  There is an inset piece at the waist in the back and it aligns beautifully with the natural waist and the designer used angled seams and zips to emphasize the smallness of the waist.  It is subtle angles and curves in back with the more obvious zippers in front to offset the unstructured drape.  I really think the draped front is the only aspect of the jacket that is not structured.

    I think the skirt must be the Canadian equivalent of the magic dress because I bought one too so all three of us from this city have them ready for spring (assuming it gets here).  I have the striped tube skirt, animal print tube and black ruched VC skirts and this one is a much nicer fabrication in my opinion.  It has a nice  width waistband so will work for tucking and the fabric drapes really well over my lumps and bumps magically making them disappear.   

    Deborah, I wonder if the diagonal stripes feel over used by YLFers because the Bailey 44 dress was SO popular here.  I have rarely seen that look on anyone outside of the forum.

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    Dianthus, I think you are right:)  Here on the forum we are so exposed to many styles that I guess we can be over them before they really begin.  I had this skirt also and moved it on this year:(

  • columbine(erin) replied 5 years ago

    I can't recall specific mint pieces of yours right this moment, but I can remember liking how you wore it; not too sweet, and fab with your hair cut, footwear, and choice of accessories. So I can easily imagine the vest working well. I'm not sure it's an edgy item on it's own, but you can make it so with say some of your black items and boots. The jacket and pencil skirt seem like fab items for you as well. I know you like EF, but then, these pieces seem like they could mix very well with what you have. 

  • lisaflex replied 5 years ago

    lovin that skirt. and the jacket. super cute

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    Celia - you know, you're quite right. Duplicate items tend to not get worn as much as the original item.

    Rachy - I guess the jacket and skirt aren't simple in and of themselves but I think I'm referring to simple as "uncomplicated" in style and not wearing several items with lots of pattern and accessories. In other words. The jacket with the skirt and plain top would still fall into my definition of simple - if that makes sense.

    Deborah - I could totally see that vest on you! Have you tried mint? I agree the skirt isn't cutting edge but the fabric and fit is rather fabulous. I've also found that our wee Canadian prairie city is about six months behind the U.S. in trends. Many items that Angie posts do not make it to our retail until a bit later. But I hear you :)

    Dianthus - thanks for chiming in as someone who has seen these items on me in person.

    Columbine - I'm going to play with combining my existing wardrobe items with these new pieces this weekend and see what I can come up with.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I have to chime back in to attest to the niceness of the diagonal stripe skirt.  I'm admittedly the first at being over things before they've even begun, which is a hazard of being obsessive about fashion and reading about and seeing it well in advance of it hitting retail , but in the case of this skirt - it immediately struck me ( I have it too) as super flattering and so wearable. I first saw it on an SA who treated it as if it were black (it's navy) , and wore it with high black boots, black tights and a black sweater - (it was still full -on winter ) a good 6 weeks ago now.  It is so forgiving and comfortable, and I felt that the diagonal striping was a lot less "club wear" looking than those Alaia knock-offs that BCBG still sells. I have no idea what the Bailey dress was as it was before my time here, but regardless, this skirt struck me as a true modern classic.  It's substantial, lined and a good length .   I haven't worn mine yet, as I intend to treat it as a new spring piece for it's first season  - but I sure am excited to see it on Shannon and Cheryle and to see how you both style it!  I bet you we all will treat it very differently !

  • Debbie replied 5 years ago

    I know I am late here but if you were to keep only one of these items please keep the the blue jacket. A jacket that give waist definition is magic! I love the new pieces but when we actually change styles,designers ect. I think it is normal to second guess ourselves.

  • Karie replied 5 years ago

    OK girlfriend, #1 and #2 are gorgeous AND edgy! Double slanted side zippers + drapey hemline = edgy jacket. The tiered skirt looks super sexy and I love the tiered lines. The mint green vest will look spectacular with just about everything - I'm picturing it with faded BF jeans, a white button-down, and cute shoes. 

    The EF and BCBG items are nice but in no way compare to the fabulous items you just purchased!

  • Marley replied 5 years ago

    I don't view the items as having any "hard edge" to them - but to me, they look really nice - and if you love them, then why not?  You can add other things to the outfits to up the edge factor.
    As far as the EF pieces go - I love both tops - the patterned one has a neckline that I think would be great on you - and I love the dress - I mean love!  
    I see the EF items as matching up more with your goals this year - but I also understand the need to get some backbone pieces (like that jacket) to make other things in your wardrobe play nicely with each other!

  • fuzzylogic replied 5 years ago

    I think you have chosen some great pieces, TS!
    The zips in the navy jacket certainly give it 'edge' to my eye.
    If you are after more 'edge' how about wearing some 'tough' accessories?
    it sounds as though, despite intending to go in one direction, you feel you have reverted to the comfort of what you know? Perhaps this path doesn't need to be forced but will evolve?
    Looking forward to seeing these in you WIW!

  • rute replied 5 years ago

    I don't think these pieces scream conservative. They are trendy, clean, but with a bit of an edge, they fit so well on your style!!
    I have remorse all the time, for me the problem is not only if a piece fit into my style but if i really need it or if I have in my wardrobe already enough items for the following season

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    Lisa - it is kind of a magical skirt isn't it? I tried it on again last night and really felt rather spiffy in it. The fabric is forgiving and girdling all at the same time. Like you, I'm interested in seeing how the three of us wear it. I like the idea of pairing it with black boots and sweater as you described...

    Debbie - I suspect you're right in that as we shift a bit in our style, it makes sense to feel some unease and trepidation.

    Karie - you're so sweet :) and I love the outfit idea for the mint vest - thank you.

    Marley - my choices in clothing and styles these days almost feels schizophrenic, you know? Like I'm trying to marry two different things. But when I think about it, I'm not really. I've always had a fairly substantial component of classic in my wardrobe and then I amp up some edge with what I add to the outfit.

    fuzzylogic - maybe that's precisely what I need to do - relax and just see where the current takes me...

    rute - remorse is so annoying isn't it?

    So Marley's comments really have me thinking about what "edge" is exactly. I'm realizing that edge is different for everyone - and there are gradients of it. What I find edgy, someone else may find more conservative, and vice versa. And I think sometimes I want to be more edgy and other days, more "soft". Perhaps my style is more eclectic than I thought.

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