what i wore - blended days

The outfit posts have been scant this year, because, lazy.

But still, I try. I like writing about clothes, and miss it, and in recent months, it felt like whatever skills I once had in doing that had gone rusty from lack of use. I no longer feel like thoughts about clothing flow coherently from me, even if my romance with personal style and dressing remains.

I was nudged into writing this post when the newsletter from Elizabeth Suzann announcing the launch of their Warm Weather Collection landed in my inbox. Her clothes interest me, but it's the way she writes about them that moves me. Her designs are practical, but her words lend romance:

"Forgetting travel altogether, sunny spring days are when I clean my house, shaking the dust from the rugs and unearthing forgotten artifacts from dark closets. Purging the unwanted, reliving fond days passed, familiarizing myself with my possessions, shaping what I want my tomorrow to look like. Even the most mundane springtime Sundays spent here at the warehouse are a romantic sensory experience - the quiet whir of a fan, bare feet on the cool concrete floor, the hot asphalt of the parking lot. It seems, in my mind, that there is simply more real living to be done in the bright, warm, light of day.

Comfort, first. Fabrics that are light, breathable, and look good worn and perhaps a bit dirtied. Shapes that stand away from the body, for those hot days when you just don’t want anything to touch you. Cuts that move with you, breathing and flowing with airy ease. Pieces that let me feel the warm touch of sun on my back and shoulders, but that don’t make me feel uncomfortably exposed. Something I can wear loose and big, but that I can also cinch at the waist and change the silhouette if I choose. Annie Hall with a smidge of Sophia Loren, right?" -- Elizabeth Suzann

Something about what she said brought me back to the carefree days of salt and wine in Margaret River back in March, when I spent a week there. The scorching heat of high summer in Australia had relaxed into something more amiable, though still prone to sharp swings - bitingly cool mornings and nights, fierce sun beating down waves of heat during the day. Cool cellars and the fresh, bright green of vineyards. Velvety reds and crisp whites. Cheese and nectarines.

We spent entire days taking long walks on the beaches, sometimes stripping down to our swimmers to cool off in the sea, sometimes wrapping ourselves in layers to fend off lashes of wind and fine, misty rain. We retreated into the shade of towering karri and tingle trees, breathing in the rich, nourishing air. We gawped gracelessly at the star-strewn night skies, tripping on the uneven ground in the dark, in awe of the night.

I packed all manner of things, but my favourite outfit was the one above - a cotton tee that worked for day and night, a hat to keep off the sun and also keep the hair out of my face when the wind picked up. Loose jeans that were easy to roll up when I stepped into the sand or let water lap at my feet. I could wear swimming things under this outfit, but also quickly pull on a sweater and a scarf to stay warm. Above all, I felt myself, and this made me ready for adventure, quick to melt into my strange, new surroundings.

It's been well over two months, and the city has absorbed me again, pulled me into its frentic rhythms. But I won't forget the clear, bright light I left behind, the endless sky, the restlessly changing blues of the sea, the creamy white sand, the silvery peeling bark of the karri trees, the coppery red earth that seems everywhere in Australia. The careless charm of jeans and a white tee.

In the steamy haze of the tropics, I yearn for the quiet, cool calm I felt in Margaret River. White is a difficult colour to keep fresh over the years, but looking at my wardrobe, I can't imagine not having a small army of crisp, white pieces to add a cool breeziness to my outfits. Blue continues to be a staple, while pops of clay and coral perk up my days.

So that's my little style story, to sum up what I've been wearing this year so far. What's inspiring you lately?


Pret a Porter P said…
the coral color block skirt is a stand out piece. Very nice.

ramadan has been inspiring me in the evenings. Its the time of year my more dramatic pieces get worn, and the last hurrah for some pieces that will be tucked away until fall/winter.
MC Bontemps said…
I for one greatly miss good writing on fashion and style by ‘amateurs’, for lack of a better word, as in NOT professionals with something to sell or promote, but mere private individuals on the subject of choosing and wearing their own clothes. It used to exist in magazines like Vogue prior to say 2010 but those times are long gone, on- and off-line. Do please keep your hand in with your writing, there’s not enough like it around !

Only tangentially inspiring fashion-wise but I recently went to the military museum at les Invalides in Paris for the first time and found much to interest, including an enormous collection of fighting outfits from medieval to modern (well, up to WWII anyway). So much to think about in terms of functional design, how these garments enabled their wearers to move, to intimidate, to protect their vulnerable parts and of course, to inflict as much violence as efficiently as possible. Some of it is remarkable for its beauty – plenty of royal armour decorated like fine jewellery, some of it is being happily mined for modern fashion inspiration, like the WWII infantry jackets, bags and boots, but I reckon all of it would be of interest to someone who thinks about clothes.

The extent of their preservation and their current display as artifacts is also remarkable; I emerged disturbed and it will take me awhile to digest my wider feelings about this strange monument.
Although I've yet to personally get to try anything from Elizabeth Suzann, from following their Instagram, I really like how thoughtful the founder seems to be about the design process (and how they keep revisiting and adjusting their designs and chosen fabrics, even if I think I would have liked some of the things they've discontinued), and I like the philosophy behind her brand. A lot of her line wouldn't work well for my lifestyle, given the industry I work in, but for my weekend wear, I'm partial to the type of clothes she designs.

As for myself, I often am more ruthlessly practical about my choices. I've been thinking that, in a lot of ways, I'm a very "function over form"-type consumer of fashion; I have aesthetic preferences, some of them very strong, but for the most part those preferences are flexible based on some practical concerns. (Something for casual/non-office-wear that looks perfect but is made in the wrong/less breathable fabric will definitely not work... There are certain designs or shapes I like the look of, but can't wear because I don't like how they look on me. I'm not inclined to get creative or experiment at all with some things like pants silhouettes because I find the process of finding a pair that fit well and are close to the right length to be so excruciating... etc. etc.)

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