Friday, 21 October 2016

How Do You Lose a Dress?

My Favourite LBD. Photo by JoyD.
How did I lose my LBD? The last time I wore my little black dress was at the beginning of July on the last night of the river cruise. My husband, who always does a once over as we are leaving hotel or guest rooms, would have noticed a dress. I packed. Surely, I would have noticed. This was not a scarf that fell behind a piece of furniture or a pair of underpants tangled in the sheets. However, I don't know where it is.

Yes, this has happened to me before. Travelling between two homes doesn't help. Yet my husband is not convinced that I have "lost" my dress. 

"Have you checked the foyer closet?"

My response was neither yes or no because in fact, I hadn't checked the foyer closet. I replied with a question, "Why would I have put it in the foyer closet when I was unpacking? I unpacked my suitcase in the bedroom, I would have put it in my closet." He didn't offer any further explanations or suggestions.

Concluding that surely I had left my LBD somewhere in my June and July travels, I began planning a replacement purchase. 

LBD. Photo Source: Unknown
It should be easy to replace it or maybe not. I do have particular criteria.

1. Length - as in the photo here, it should just graze the top of the knee to be the right proportion for my height.

2. Neckline - the last LBD had a simple round neckline with a 5 cm centre slit. This time, I think I will again look for a simple round neck  or perhaps a v-neck

3. Syle - I definitely want a narrow sheath; Not a wrap as in the photo, not a full skirt, and not an A-line.

That's it, that's all. It should be easy.

It became easier. In preparation for returning to Canada, I was sorting through the things in the foyer closet and there it was.

"Is that it?" I heard over my shoulder.

"It is. I found it." There was no I told you so. He's like that. 

"Good. Are you still planning to buy another black dress?"

"It might be a good idea. After all, just in case I do lose it, I'll have one ready and waiting."

"Bon idée." That's why we are still married after all these years.

I no longer "need" to plan a buying trip for a little black dress. 


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

What About Pink?

Pink has been difficult colour in my life. When I was little and had to choose a dress, I recall conscientiously staying away from pink because it had too many princess connotations and I did not want a princess persona. I was 8. I remember shunning pink when I first began my professional life, thinking that it would be considered "too feminine" or rather "too girly". I was 28. I choose yellow or white instead of either pink or blue for baby gifts. Ongoing from my 20's to my . . . not yet but probably until my 80's. However, pink is evolving in my life as simply a colour, a colour that I don't mind anymore. I still do not have many, actually just one pink item in my closet.

When I asked Brian, this blog's ballet flats expert, about pink in his flats collection, he too was hesitant, for exactly the same socio-cultural reasons.

It was 2012 when Brian wrote, 
I love pink flats but as a guy I just can't get through what it takes to wear them out in public. Maybe some guys can pull them off but I'm not one of the (yet!). I've bought lots over the years only to return them later on. Don't get me wrong they are high quality flats but not quite right for me, so - NO THANKS.

YET! has come. After four years Brian is wearing pink in public and I bought a pink sweater. Never say never. I guess that is why I chose "no thanks" as a sub-category rather than "never" since it does really mean "no thanks for the moment".

Brian now tells us,
I guess in the four years since I said, "No Thanks" about pink, my answer has obviously changed to "Yes, please". I'm not sure if I felt I had enough other coloured flats that pink was the next obvious colour to get or if it's more that I think pink is a good colour for me.

Here are a few of Brian's pink choices in and out of his closet. I won't bother showing you my pink sweater since it's just a pink sweater and not nearly as interesting as Brian's flats collection in pink.

A sampling of Brian's Pink Flats Collection Collage created by 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Never Enough

There are two sentiments at play when it comes to shoes. How many pairs of black/pink/white/grey/brown (you choose your colour) shoes do you really need? Or: you can never have too many pairs of black/pink/white/grey/brown (you choose your colour) shoes. I like the latter of the two.

Brian, the resident ballet flats expert on this blog is a tad more particular when he says, "a guy can never have too many pairs of black flats." 
The new black patent Minnie's I bought did replace my black patent Eddie flats but the Eddies do have a new home. No, not to the trash can, instead I've left them at my home away from home in AZ (that's Arizona for my European friends).  
Back in April 2013 we posted about another pair of my Eddie flats. These blue ones; Tory recently release a patent Chicory blue (baby blue) Minnie flat. This seems like a good time to replace another pair of Eddies with the new Minnie's. I'll leave the Eddies in AZ with the black pair and wear the new Chicory ones at my real home.  

I guess this means I should modify this saying again. "A guy can never have too many cute pairs of black or blue flats." 

But what about pink?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Fall Dressing in Summer Weather

With children returning to school this week, it is natural to think of fall wardrobes. Yet the temperatures are soaring above 30 degrees centigrade during the day and thoughts of fall wardrobes just seem wrong. 

White is starting to feel inappropriate and yet the base colour of my summer clothing is white. I have noticed French women wearing black more and more over the past week. Mind, black, like white, is a basic. 

My Italian standby has come into use more than once for dinners and even shopping. The cool linen weave in beige has proven to be the perfect transitional outfit for the hot September days. Friend, Patrick, from Bordeaux complimented the look at a recent dinner party. Funny, the outfit doesn't look much more complicated in construction than pyjamas, yet it works.

Loose-weave linen top and drawstring wide leg pants purchased in Sorrento, Italy. Photo by JoyD.

I tend to wear turquoise with this outfit because it just feels right. The night of the dinner party I also wore shoes with turquoise in them. It didn't feel overdone, not too match-matchy yet enough to make it look like I took care to get dressed.

Summer wedge heels purchased in Romans-Sur-Isere at Marque Avenue. Photo by JoyD.

My choices for the September heat wave will be all the beige I can retrieve from my closet along with splashes of colour. I am my mother's daughter, white just doesn't feel right anymore even though it is only the beginning of September.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Sale Shopping While on Vacation

Closet Content Analysis: Lucky Finds


Two pairs of shoes, 1 dress, 1 pair of cropped jeans, 1 striped sleeveless blouse, 4 waffle weave cotton dressing gowns/bath robes (for me, my husband and 2 for the guest room), 1 Amor-Luxe pullover, 1 very cheap blue t-shirt and a royal blue Lancel purse will be making their way into my closet on Rue Onesime Reclus. Blue, white and denim appeared to be my theme for the summer sales. Even though I do buy in colour blocks, this was unplanned, which proves that habit plays a role in the purchases we make. The purchases began in Bratislava, took a stopover in Germany and ended in Romans-sur-Isere.

Collage created using

It is now the end of July and officially the end of the July sales however shops still have residuals left that may be clearing out at 70% or more off. I keep looking but nothing strikes my fancy and I really don't need to add anything to my closet.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

It's a Good Day: A Rainy Day in Paris Turns Sunny and I Got Lucky with Sandro

Closet Content Analysis: Unexpected Find #3


Sunday and Monday: It's not like Paris needs more rain. We arrived in Wissous, an outlying city/suburb of Paris where our friends live, on Sunday evening. The traffic was notable with people returning to Paris after being in the country for the weekend. The rain made it treacherous and slow moving. There had been an accident which held things up as well. When taking our exit to Wissous, we faced a car that was going the wrong direction. How in the world he got there I don't know. We arrived safely but thirsty and just in time for apero. 

What a difference a week makes. Last week a friend was sent home early because of the danger of the Seine flooding. About the same time, the motorway by which we arrived had also been re-routing traffic owing to the floods.Traffic jams abounded and I can only express my gratitude that our trip was relatively normal. 

The rain makes it easy to enjoy the intimacy of our friends' home on our first day here. Since it's Monday I don't mind because many museums and restaurants I would like to visit are closed on Monday. Tuesday, the weather will be the same but it is our only opportunity to visit Paris before we leave on Wednesday. 

Tuesday: My one day Paris visit included a visit to the Marais (the 3rd and 4th arrondissements) where we had lunch at Pizza Momo. Alain, a cab driver introduced us to the quartre fromages pizza several years ago and each time we are in Paris, we make a pilgrimage there. In fact we told the waiter our story and he told us that we just missed Alain. Domage. After we were well satiated with pizza and wine, we visited the Musée Carnavalet (16 rue des Francs Bourgeois) which depicts the history of Paris. And then, we went shopping.

I got lucky with Sandro; in fact I have often gotten lucky with Sandro. We were walking along without any particular destination when I saw a Sandro outlet store (26 rue de Savigné) in the 4th arrondissement. Déja vue - this reminds me of my recent Max Mara experience in Bordeaux. I am presently on the lookout for a navy blazer however I chose a black one that has an interesting loose weave which should be cool to wear in the summer. My good fortune was that I received 30% off the outlet price. This is basically their pre-sale sale, partial markdowns before they slash prices even further in July. Thing is, I won't be in Paris in July. As well, considering the number of people and purchases happening today, this blazer in my size could easily be gone by July. I will be in Romans-sur-Isere where Marque Avenue has a Sandro outlet but will this blazer be there? In this case I follow my travel rule: when you see it and want it; buy it; and don't lament a cheaper price later. The actual fact is that it will be unlikely that you will find again whatever it was that caught your attention. I have had several friends contact me after arriving back in Canada asking me to check a particular item in a local French shop. Domage.

My husband who was looking for a more "European" look in a dress pant also got lucky; no, not at Sandro. Just two stores away, we stopped to check out the display windows of "Loft design by" . I encouraged him to go in and again, he was able to purchase a pair of black cotton skinny leg pants that will take him to dinner on the river cruise. 

There was a sprinkle of rain at about 5:00/17:00 and we ducked into Féria Café for a "petite blanc".

With 70% predictions of rain we got lucky twice in the 30% range - the weather was pleasant with only a sprinkle of rain and I got a 30% discount. Nice.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Max Mara - what an opportunity!

Closet Content Analysis: Unexpected Find #2


Max Mara Camel Hair Trousers
Photo Source: Lyst
The liquidation sale of the Max Mara store on Cours de L'Attendance in Bordeaux began April 20th and will continue to June 20th, 2016. I had no idea about the liquidation but needed to go to Bordeaux to buy coffee at the Nespresso store. I had to walk past Max Mara and there it was, a "liquidation" storefront. Unfortunate that the location is going out of business but I got lucky. Max Mara makes a particular camel hair pair of pants that are classic. As my friend Aiden Joelle can attest, I have been trying to replace a pair of camel trousers for the past three years. I have told her that if she sees them in my particular size, just buy them and I will gladly reimburse with interest. It never happened.

The key was to think "winter" even though it was May. It was obvious that the store was liquidating last year's stock from summer, fall and winter. What luck! I found the trousers that have eluded me for the past three years.

There is advantage to having a "replacement clothing" list and being prepared to buy off-season. I can now check off the camel trousers. My next "discount" shopping trip will be to Romans-sur-Isere where I hope to cross off more "classics" on my list - navy blazer, royal blue Lancel purse, white shirt. Marques Avenue is not as good as liquidation but it is a darn sight better than designer storefront retail.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Wardrobe Basics for a Month Away & a One-Week River Cruise

Our 7-day river cruise is turning out to be an entire month of travelling. There are friends in Paris, Macon and Lyon to visit before we continue on to Germany. We leave from Passau and travel down the Danube on my first river cruise. I'm not fond of the big ships and many have told me that they have enjoyed the river cruises more so than the ocean cruises. I will see. 

My first advantage is that I will be visiting friends and so laundry will not be a problem. As well, in Germany, if needed, I will be able to leave some clothing behind at a friend's home before the river cruise. Having strategic placement of friends through France and Germany will make packing an easy job.

This year black, white and beige will be the base of the travel wardrobe. It's two weeks before we are off but it has been difficult to plan for sunshine when our "Port" has been overcast and rainy for the past two days.

My husband's bone of contention is the "jacket" requirement for the captain's dinner on the river cruise. However, I am hoping that he will have opportunity to wear it more often than that. 

For him it's shorts and t-shirts, a pair of blue jeans, his North Face jacket and this time, a "suit" or whatever combo he puts together for a more formal dinner. Shoes will simply be his black leather sandals but now he has to consider taking a pair of loafers.

For me, it's a little more complicated . . . 

Wardrobe basics for a Month Away

2 pairs linen pants: one black, one white. I'm leaving behind the camel coloured linen trousers and taking one pair of beige shorts instead.

Three pairs of linen pants in the necessary colours. Photo by JoyD.

1 pair skinny jeans
2 pairs knee-length shorts: one black, one beige
5 t-shirts: 2 white, 2 black, one colour (Pantone 2016 Spring Colours: this year for me - peach echo)
2 cotton shirts: 1 black, 1 white
1 black blazer
3 dresses: 1 LBD, 1 geometric print (black & white), 1 floral print (pinks with turquoise)
1 black sport jacket
1 tan all-weather "car coat"
1 shawl (camel cashmere heavier weight)

Cashmere Shawl (heavy weight) purchased at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver. Photo by JoyD.

Square Equestrian Motif Scarf.
Photo by JoyD.
3 scarves (1 square white, red & black; 1 patterned colourful with peach, pink & turquoise; 1 rectangular, red, blues, & black). I intend to buy more on the trip.

Pyjama set including t-shirt and capris with bed jacket (functional and modest as a houseguest)

5 pairs of Shoes: my black and white Semler sneakers, beige Jimmy Choos, beige loafers (walking shoes), black loafers, beige sandals and these don't count - rubber flip flops for in-house wear. I will be buying shoes along the way - that is a given. 

The loafers with the tassels will be the ones I am taking since the centre ones are now delegated to the garden and the ones on the right are in Canada.

Three Pairs of Beige Loafers. Photo by JoyD.

Underwear for 7 days - there will be time and opportunity to wash along the way. Panti-liners also help stretch the wearability. My husband's trick for underwear is to take all that should be thrown away and he does just that - wears it, throws it away and then buys new as he needs.

This is my basic start for packing, I'll let you know what I actually took (with a "wearing" analysis) and what I bought along the way.

Linen loose top and draw string pants purchased in Italy ages ago. Photo by JoyD.
I'm already thinking of adding my "Italian linen combo" to the basic plan . . . and then there's my jewellery favourites, although that's another "buy along the way" that's necessary when you don't take any with you. The hat is in Canada. Thank goodness.

And of course, I must take at least 2 Armor-Luxe striped tops, this one which is white and black and another that is black and white.
Armor-Luxe, white with black stripe pullover. Photo by JoyD.

The packing has already begun . . . 

Packing my Armor-Luxe striped pullover with my wide leg black linen pants. Photo by JoyD.

Purple Lug bag. Photo by JoyD.

I forgot to talk about other bags . . . and maybe these loafers would be better? What did I say about adding to my basic list?

Lancel Shopping bag. Photo by JoyD.

I do need a small bag for dinner . . . 

Lancel mini bag purchased at the Lancel factory outlet store in Romans-sur-Isere. Photo by JoyD.

I have the jeans, do I really need a skirt?

Blue jean skirt. Photo by JoyD.
. . . . . .

Saturday, 21 May 2016

ITSO . . . In the Style of . . . Judith Richardson


Teenflo top under Lida Baday suit, 2011.
Shoes: Jimmy Choo. Necklace: JoyD.
Charles Le Pierrès and Judith Richardson first started their design life for women's wear twenty years ago under the brand Teenflo but have since morphed into Judith & Charles. Of course, I am enamoured because theirs is a Canadian brand with an international reputation. The name change was necessary since the word "teen" is not what one is looking for when one is in "classic" buying mode. However, a young sales associate at Holt Renfrew in Calgary brought me a top that was perfect with the suit I purchased. It's the cowl neck off-white top in the photo with the Lida Baday suit. It carried the name, Teenflo, in 2011. Even then I found the classic styling and the name incongruous. By the time the Spring Collection for 2012 was ready, the company was rebranded into Judith and Charles. Smart move.

Judith Richardson and Charles LaPierres of Judith & Charles.
Photo Source: Vancouver Sun
The clothing they produce reflects the style of Judith Richardson because every piece I see on a model, I also envision on Judith Richardson.

In 2014, Michele Marko in the Vancouver Sun, summarized Charles LaPierrès' description of the clothes they make in the following way: 

La Pierrès describes their collections as chic modern or modern sophisticated, an esthetic that fits their working woman and stylish urbanite clientele. He’d rather not use the word classic which for him evokes stodginess.
“The pieces are very subtle. They keep evolving. They’re very fresh,” he says. But he acknowledges there is also a timeless quality to them. 
(Retrieved April 12, 2016 from the Vancouver Sun)
His description of the line sounds pretty "classic" but for me the last thing classic connotes is "stodgy". I also see the clothing as "adaptable" which doesn't sound very appealing either. I can see a 20, 35 or 60 year old wearing many of their pieces. So, yes, it is definitely "modern sophisticated" or "chic modern" or any one of those three . . . modern, chic and sophisticated. And that top I bought in 2011 can still be worn in 2016 with the feelings of modern, chic and sophisticated.

Photo Source: Judith & Charles 
This collage was made using

Thursday, 19 May 2016

In the Garden: First Week Back

It has been a week since I have arrived in France and the only clothing I have worn for 80% of the time are my gardening clothes. It's a jungle in my garden. Our neighbour mows the grass areas while we are away and we pruned before we left. However the warm winter allowed the weeds and other unknown plants to take root amongst my irises, daisies, roses and peonies. We had a tree cut down in February and that has left a bit of a mess even though the tree cutters did a fabulous job at cutting wood for our fireplace and mulching the twigs for ground cover. We left the stump waist height to be the centre of a future garden "bar".

I have no special "garden work" attire. What becomes my garden clothes are rejects: things that have a tear beyond repair, a mistake with bleach, frayed ends, pilled polyesters and stuff I wouldn't dare being seen in public. 

Speaking of daring to be seen in public . . . on the first Saturday of the month in May, there are those who choose to celebrate World Naked Gardening Day. No not me. And yes they weed, plant and trim in the buff. Yikes! It's a scary proposition with all the creepy crawlies one disturbs when pulling weeds, snipping, digging up the soil, and transplanting. Not to mention all that buzzes and bites, albeit only occasionally. There are places I prefer not to be bitten and places I prefer to keep covered if not for modesty for health reasons. I suppose one does not have to worry about  the gardener's tan lines after the fact. 

The only true gardening clothing item I own is a pair of rose gardening gloves. With their rubberized palms and fingers, they are meant to protect the hands from thorns but in fact I find them the perfect all-round-work-in-the-garden glove. For actually working with the roses I hope to purchase the gauntlet style that protects up to the elbows.
Photo Source: Manufactum

One trip to the hypermarché and dinner at my neighbour's forced me to wear my usual comfortable casual look in France - linen cropped pants, a striped Armor-Luxe "pull" and my new Semler sneakers. I'll definitely be packing these for my vacation to the east of France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and my river cruise on the Danube. But that's another post. 

Packing my Armor-Lux "pull" and black linen pants.
Photo by JoyD.

Semler sneakers purchased at Traxx
Photo Source: Traxx.