Lightening up, late winter

I looked for a good while at a recent photo of Scott Schuman's, posted on his blog, The Sartorialist. This sprite is too young to hang out in The Passage, yet  she offers some lessons to those of us who are older.

The main one is, relax about buying the latest trend. Nothing she is wearing, from the striped wool coat to the booties, is particularly current. And the he/she mix of the fedora with the pink skirt? Familiar enough since Chanel's time. Animal-print scarf, black tights. Is the distressed bag which provides an off-kilter insouciance new? You may know it's provenance, I don't.

As I often do, I scrolled to view the ensemble without her Natalie-Portmanesque face, and I think this would look interesting on a woman of any age (though the boot heel may lower.)  

These items are so classic that they are not hard to reference, if not replicate.

You may swap a beanie or beret for the man's hat (especially till it's warm enough to expose your ears), but you can see it's role as a counterpoint—so if mild enough, why not? Nordstrom's wool felt has a leather bow.

Another lesson: shake those neutrals up. If you firmly resist pastels, a rich damson could provide that chic complement; the version shown is on sale at John Lewis.


 A black and ivory cashmere zebra-print scarf, nicely on sale:

A black-and-white wool peacoat, in a similar casual mood:

 Shorter, lighter, in a knit with cool leather accents: the "Grenoble Jacket":

Over everything, she's added a black and white knit sweater, shrugged off her shoulders. That shot was taken in Florence, where mid-winter permits such effects, but here, in another month or so, we will coax spring clothes onto our backs, and like early-blooming forsythia, take pleasure from their burst of new life.

I will keep this young woman's style in mind, as the days slowly lengthen and shops begin to fill with spring things. 

Maybe nothing new is needed, just a fresh eye, I first thought—but then decided to scoop up a pink v-neck the shade of her skirt, enabled by Eric Bompard's flash super-sale of several styles I wear all winter. 


A fresh eye is more important to personal style than all of the shopping in the world. Thanks for the beautiful (and intelligently discussed) example!
Susan B said…
From the street style shots you've shared, Duchesse, I could picture her fitting right in with that Montréal vibe. On someone short like me these particular pieces would overwhelm, but it's a good reminder to mix things up a bit.
materfamilias said…
I'd need at least four more inches of height to carry off that mix of layers and textures, but I take your point about the fresh eye as a way to renew a wardrobe without necessarily adopting trends. . . (and I have a cashmere zebra-print scarf just like the one you feature. . . perhaps I'll work it into today's mix, inspired by you)
Duchesse said…
Janice: At first I thought so and then I decided to make the purchase I added below, but am confident I will wear it a great deal.

Pseu; It is definitely not a North American upscale mall look, not that you do not see that in Europe, too. You are right, would fit in here. And here I do see petite women in this kind of mix; I think the key is not choosing oversized or baggy pieces.

materfamilias: As I said to Pseu, I see short women here in such mixes, especially young ones who are making their clothes work especially hard... they like to layer no matter their height. They often wear heeled boots which I guess helps?

Barbara said…
I'm 5'5 and would wear this lovely outfit absolutely, and with no heels!
Duchesse, if you added the EB V-Neck: I just got their Mail that a few items are on SuperSale. The item you've shown here is now only € 90, which is a very good deal (of course classic colors like grey, navy etc. aren't included).
LauraH said…
That's the kind of artsy look I would like to pull off, although since I'm not that bold and have a strong practical side, I don't attempt anything quite as layered. The idea of the fresh eye in combining clothes is great - i often get into a rut so I'll try and keep this in mind.

BTW you inspired me to check the Bompard sale again and now there's another package on it's way :-)
I bought an animal print scarf recently as I wear a lot of greys and black but can see how versatile it would look with colours as shown here. Images of outfits, store displays and watching what is worn on the street does help refresh the way we think about dressing.
I am in the short camp so I would shy away from this combination but can see it on a taller woman.
Duchesse said…
Barbara: That e-mail is why I bought it! The sale is for colours from seasons past; some are basic (but not available in all sizes) and they go fast, at that price.

LauraH: That sale is hard to resist when you have as much winter left as we do.

hostess: Here in Montréal (and I am betting when you are in Paris) you will see short women wearing contrast, layers and bold pattern; I don't see it as overwhelming if scaled and well-fitted.

LPC said…
Ah, I think you are right! The skirt is the most current part of her outfit (well, besides the hat) and it's the pleats in part but also the blush color.
Sandra Sallin said…
Love the look. But here in sunny Los Angeles, it just would look....It's rare day that we can bundle up. Then I'd have to know about it 5 days in advance so I could dress for the day. Love the look but just don't think it would work on me. Not tall or skinny enough.
Anonymous said…
This photo stood out to me too, because I happen to own the trendy oversized cocoon style cardigan she is wearing as a top layer. I was excited to see it on the Sartorialist. It is a recent purchase made a few months ago, but I'd have never thought to wear it like this.
Duchesse said…
LPC: That gorgeous, optimistic colour led me to buy the sweater in the same shade, which I am hoping will work well with my newly grey hair.

Sandra: While the exact clothes may be too heavy, the play of pattern and ue may not. As noted to others I have long seen short women dressing like this. That rule is being challenged same as the one that says voluptuous women should only wesr "slimming" darks.

Anon@ 7:21: Thank you! And lucky you, now sold out. The Dex sweater shows that one does not need to buy high end designer; the eye trumps the label. Yes, a sweater over a jacket is a fresh way to wear it.
Susan B said…
OK, I'm accepting the challenge. Look for something with texture and an interesting shape in the near future.
materfamilias said…
This post on Garance seems to capture something of the same spirit, although with pants rather than a skirt, would you agree?
Duchesse said…
materfamilias: That pink/black in the bottom shot of Garance's post is a perfect example of a mix that would work on a shorter woman. The element of "winter surprise" is, to me, a touch more evident in the Sartorialist shot, because of the masculinity of the hat played off the femininity of the skirt, (And hmmm, those two bloggers were a couple, for a good while.)

Thanks so much for contributing this!

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