I was down in Marin and decided to do a good deed by stopping by SAX, the consignment store my daughters own in San Anselmo, and returning the lipliner that belonged to Erin but somehow got into my purse three weeks ago. My intentions were to walk through the front door, hand her the lipliner right there at the front counter, and leave.
I walked in the store and a black, orange and tan print jacket was hanging on the hook right behind the counter. It was on the hook where all the latest aquisitions get hung before they’re tagged. It started talking to me.
I’m not even sure if I said hello to Erin. I pointed to the jacket and said, “That’s mine.”
“Yeah, Mom,” Erin said. “I thought it looked like you.”
It was a 100% linen jacket in the mildest of tie-dye prints. I was never much of a hippie, but this seemed like a hip, fun jacket that I could wear all summer in the heat we’re expected to have sometime soon. The color combo was bold, but soft bold. It was gently dramatic which is the right kind of dramatic for me.
I tried it on. “What do you think?” I asked Erin.
She was busy with other people. I decided to take a chance. It was $48.
But styling it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
Some things seem like they’ll be easy but they aren’t
This jacket seemed like a no-brainer. You guys know me. I like to take something I bought and style it and wear it within 24 hours. Russ and I were going to our favorite place on the square, Oso, for the best coffee and small bites on Saturday. I’d wear the jacket!
“Ready to go?” Russ said. “Yup, just five minutes,” I replied.
First I tried mixing patterns
The jacket was a bold print so I figured I could pair it with tops that had a smaller print and shared at least one color with the jacket. My first try was a Babette knit top that actually was pretty much in the same color scheme. It’s a snakeskin print but it looked too busy with the jacket. My next try was an Equipment silk blouse, also an animal print with shared colors, black and tan. But it was the same thing. It wasn’t interacting the way I wanted it to.
More than five minutes went by. “Just a minute, Hon,” I said.
Next I tried a white shirt. Everything goes with a white shirt, right? I showed it to Russ. He agreed that it looked better but wasn’t quite fabulous.
My fourth and fifth tries were solid black tops. I know these pics make it look like they are both navy blue but they are black. The #4 choice is a Babette crinkle top. It was not interesting.
I went back to my closet. I was beginning to wonder if I’d purchased a lemon. I don’t usually work this hard putting an outfit together!
Since nothing was really working, I decided to go out on a limb and try an asymmetrical top by Simpli. I had purchased this knit top years back while shopping with the Bellas. It too had seemed like a no-brainer top but I ended up having a hard time working into a single outfit I liked. Wouldn’t it be curious if these two misfits were a fit?
It turned out that I liked it! The asymmetry added the interest I wanted. This looked more artistic, unexpected.
Jewelry turned out not to be easy either!
I pulled out all kinds of necklaces to try with this top and jacket. I tried layering necklaces; I tried wearing one strong piece at the neck; I tried a beaded necklace in cinnamon colors. Nothing worked. I’m not quite sure why I reached for my gray pearls but I did. I liked how they filled in the bare skin portion of my neck. And then, because the tunic top was longer, I decided it needed a long necklace to keep it company. I chose my handcrafted cross that I’ve been been hanging off a multi-beaded and gold chain. I liked the way the sheen of the pearls related and played with the shiny beads in the long chain. The jewelry seemed elegantly organic.
I considered adding a black bangle or a cluster of gold metal bangles but again, it tipped it over into being too much going on. I got excited when I saw my Lanvin bracelet. I put it on and was thrilled. It was one bold shape that related well in color to the teabag-white stripe in the jacket.
But then I had to find a handbag! Okay, 30 minutes have passed for sure. I’m glad Russ is a patient man!
I pulled out my basket of small bags. (I’ll have to show you one day how I store my handbags!) There was my vintage python bag on top. Gosh, the color was great and again, it added interest without overpowering the jacket. I loved the scale of it.
It took a few tries to find the right shoes but these platform sandals that are over five years old were perfect. I liked how they gave me height. I added my woven black J.Crew hat and guess what? I was ready to go! Yes, go ahead and say it … FINALLY!
Quite a range of styling emotions went into this outfit
In the time it took putting this outfit together I had quite the range of emotions. I started out high and excited because I really liked the jacket and how useful it could be for me. And, let’s face it, scoring it for $48 was exciting too. To me it looked like a Prada or Marni jacket, a more expensive label than Michael Kors. Then I got a bit disappointed at how it wasn’t coming together very easily. Then I went hit regret (Why did I buy this?). I felt like I’d fallen into the trap that my clients fall into sometimes when they buy something that they think will work so easily and it doesn’t. Then I even had a moment where I wondered if I’d lost my talent altogether!
Hey, but in the end, all those ups and downs made the glory that much better. Russ and I did go to Oso. We sat at the bar in the high stools. Meg, the bartender, knew to start the French pressed coffee for us. Two ladies came in and sat next to us. They looked like out-of-towners. I asked them where they were from. San Diego. And then one of them said, “You are such a fashionista! Look at this cute outfit you’re wearing!”
I said, “Oh, thank you!” I didn’t add another word. Was I going to confess my difficulty and doubts? No, I just let them fade away and enjoyed the afternoon with my honey in my new outfit.
Have you had the experience of working so hard at styling an outfit? What was the outcome? Do share!