Oldest Woman in the Bistro: Back on the terrasse

I 'm spending  as much time as we can at bistros with outdoor seating. In one of our favourites, I am nearly always the oldest person, never mind woman.

That's neither here nor there; the only age limit bistros apply is our age 19 requirement for alcohol sales. Visits offer lessons in, as Mom always said, "What they are wearing". Walking past was a slim blonde in this, except her crop top was white:

Photo: Zara.com

Across from us, two twenty-something women peered into a laptop; below is a close approximation of their outfits:

Left: Pink cotton tee-shirt dress; H&M

Right: Sleeveless tank, mini and black cowboy boots, Aritizia. (She did not wear a shirt.) It was the cowboy boots that caught my attention. On one of the hottest days of the year, she wore black leather boots. I thought, Why would you jam your feet into those? but as they say, it's a look.

I show these three outfits not to mourn (well, hardly) that I no longer wear the bare and abbreviated. But I also reject the awful term "age-appropriate". It's just that women in the Passage are grown women, and not one whom I know will wear a teensy bra top on its own.

What would look current, but not jeune-fille?  In today's windows, ideas to wear while convivial terrasses are open. Specific pieces may no longer be available, but you likely have some versions.

1. A shorter top

The pieces below hit  just below the waist, for a bit of tolerance if you lift your arms. The shirt is wide as well, which (provided there's a goof fit across the shoulders) is a relief to women who have long battled gaping buttons. Long drapey tunic tops stay home with a movie.

Left: Everlane organic cotton boxy oxford (boxford?) shirt

Top right: Cotton knit top, COS.  Short does not always mean wide, and that yellow is pretty!

Bottom right: Seed-check boxy shirt, Toast. Good season-spanner piece.

2. Slightly cropped trousers and jeans

Even an extra 1.5 in/4 cm off the length moves the mood into a looser realm. In summer, I saw countless pairs of '40s -style wide, flared shorts, but as the evenings cool off, women are choosing slightly cropped jeans and trousers. 

The extralong paperbag style that puddled on the ground had the life of a quart of milk, all that fabric dragging.

Left to right:

Tapered high-rise jean, COS.

Linen pocket pant by Grizas at Sahara Clothing.

J. Crew D-ring chinos in Cypress.

Notice the range of shoes: loafers, sneakers, mules. In cooler locales, the length also looks fine with a flat ankle boot. 

3. Polish returns to the table

Last fall's athletic sweats are on the bench, as women dress up a smidge—and look mighty pleased.  Women in the Passage tell me they don't want awkward cap sleeves.

Three that look look assured, current and comfortable—and are not made of fleece:

Left to right:

Silk twill "Elsa" dress ;Veronique Miljkovitch. Beautiful colour that is not a repeating print.

Blue Cotton smocked shirt dress; COS. A sleeve detail makes a difference.

Dark navy cotton (with a shot of elastane) jumpsuit (surprise!); COS. A feminine take on the LBD, and navy is better on some women than black.

So, Oldest Woman in the Bistro hauled out her ça va de soie linen-cotton cardie bought several years ago, and wide-legged cropped jeans.

ça va de soie "Sylvette" cardigan

 Nothing is new, the closet comes through, and who knows where we will be sitting as fall unfolds?


Laura J said…
Ah, those waning days of sitting outside without a blanket, heater or parka! So nice!
I had a chuckle at “ look assured, current and comfortable—and are not made of fleece:” as I am bracing myself for the return of The Fleece…it seems to be ubiquitous here…the new Canadian tuxedo. Lol. And of course fleece is terrible for the environment…all those tiny fibres washing into the water!
Barbara said…
Welcome back, Duchesse! I so missed your wise and witty Blogposts.
After a summer with unusual lot of rains in Germany, the pre Fall is so warm and beautiful. And it's a great pleasure to sit al fresco.

I also rediscovered Oxford Shirts and ordered two from "With Nothing Underneath". After Brexit it was a bit of a hassle, but worth it. I wear them constantly with blue or white Jeans, a bit cropped as you describe. At 72 I feel modern and current this way. When evenings are getting a bit cooler, I throw on a jacket or biker jacket.

Since you first wrote about, I am an Eric Bompard Fan. Their oversized V-Neck with a good pair of Jeans and shoes are a good look, I think.
Abigail said…
Wish I had seen that J. Crew Cypress sooner. That is a lovely color and style. I'm glad to find out about the different brands of oxford shirts. I haven't worn one in a long time and that would be a refreshing change. Nice to see some updated "adult" clothing.
Barbara, unusual lots of rains in Germany (also Netherlands and Belgium) is the understatement of the year...

Duchesse, 19 in Ontario, 18 in Québec. Prost!
I was very happy to read about the 'slightly cropped' pants. I have a pair of pants I made that I really like, but they shrunk in length after washing even though I had pre-shrunk the fabric. I was disappointed that they were now a tad too short, but instead, I see that they are now fashionably 'slightly cropped". Merci!
Royleen said…
Lovely to see you back! If I was buying, that Cos sweater would be mine.
Duchesse said…
Laura J: Generally fleece does not move me but I understand it.

Barbara: It's so true, clothes can remind us of what we wore 40 years ago but the proportions change. That's why I'm leery of "timeless classics". The cut of an armhole, collar or sleeve changes, even though the fabric and overall design such as an oxford cloth shirt stay the same.

Abigail: Sometimes they restock but you can never count on that. Everlane also sell bay green chinos.

lagatta: I should know that because guess where my sons were the day they turned 18?

Gisele et Nadine: I just returned from a terrasse and saw pants anywhere from just grazing the ankle to mid-calf, and ranging from loose to skin tight, so you can do exactly as you please.
I can't really guess where they were for their shared grown-up (majeur) birthday: Toronto, Montréal, somewhere in-between?

I never got carded as a kid.

I've certainly been taken back by the teeny but decidely unsexy bras, but also know quite a few very young women hereabouts who never dress like that. At that age I was a 30D... Unpleasant memories.
LauraH said…
As a short waisted person, it's very gratifying to see shorter tops making a bit of a comeback. All those long cuts that hit at my hips give me a pain. And if I had my choice, I would go for your lovely pink cardie, it's perfect.
Jane in London said…
Crop tops have been much in evidence in London this year - that ship sailed some time ago for me, but I fondly remember flaunting a tanned bare midriff back in the day. Ah, well...

I love that pale blue shirt, just my style. I have a white one that is very similar, bought some years ago from Pure Collection and still going strong.

You are quite right about a slightly shorter leg length being more modern; my daughter taught me to tuck a tiny pleat on the front of the leg then turn up just a very narrow amount, twice. This produces just the right length for wearing with sneakers and the tuck/narrow turn up stays put all day. I probably haven't explained it very well, but I'm sure the internet is full of bright young things demonstrating how to do it :)

Jane in London

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