Monday, January 4, 2021

Brocade Flashback and Gold Pleats, and Crochet Adventures

Hello, my friends! Back at work today, was dead. I only had about a dozen actionable emails to deal with all day, but I did get a nice surprise in there. 
The awesome VPs bought me a honkin' Fluevog gift card for Christmas as a show of appreciation. Yay! I am trying to be restrained and either a) wait for bigger sales or b) wait for new styles to come out before I spend it (plus I have gift cards from L and Mom too!).

  • Blazer - Le Chateau, consignment; last worn here in October 2019 with a bookish skirt and mustard
  • Sweater - Tatyana, thrifted; last seen here in December 2020 under another blazer
  • Skirt - Ralph Lauren, consignment; purchased here for $39.99
  • Shoes - Channi B; last worn here in November 2020
  • Leather trenchcoat - vintage 70s, thrifted; last seen here in December 2020

Anyway, I'll figure it out eventually. For now, let's enjoy my first work outfit of the year! 
I had to wear this big swooshy gold/bronze skirt right away. 

I'd been wanting to do a Flashback on this blazer for ages, and it went so well with the skirt. 
I loved wearing the skirt all day, and wished several times that I had someone to swoosh it at! I saw 3 people all day. 

I had to take the belt and jacket off when I arrived in the morning. I've been enjoying the last few months of not having hot flashes, but looks like the danged things are back. LOVELY. 
I like this with just the sweater too - very elegant. 
The skirt did require a bit of wrangling as it really wanted to roll itself into my office chair. 

Masked up - I've barely been outside for the last two weeks. This is one from Mom. 
I felt very fancy and professional, even though no one saw me. This year's motto (if you didn't figure it out already) is "Life is Short; Wear the Clothes." 

Outerwear - it was pouring out on the way to town this morning, but calm and clear by the time I walked home, in the dark both ways, which is why we have no stair picture for you. 
I also forgot to take the picture of my outerwear gear with my "real" shoes on - I remembered just as I was about to head out the door! Hence my lunch bag (all my lunch supplies for the week), shoe bag and purse are sitting in the hall there. 

  • Hat - Edward Mann, vintage 60s, thrifted
  • Scarf - Balmain, vintage 80s, thrifted
  • Gloves - Parkhurst

Boots by Doc Martens (thrifted). 

The stuff: 
I like wearing these shoes with the dragon jewelry - they match! 

Dragon bling: 
Throw it all on! Wear the jewelry too! 

  • Belt - Nygard
  • Pin - Monet, vintage 80s, vintage fair
  • Spinner ring - Twang & Pearl
  • Amber ring - c. 1996
  • Chain bracelet - Club Monaco
  • Earrings - thrifted
  • Dragon bracelet and necklace - vintage 50s, vintage expo (gift from L)

Of course, we're going to Flashback on the blazer. See if you can guess how many times I've worn it - hint: it's a lot! 

Flashback: Cream Brocade Le Chateau Blazer

As you may recall or have seen me mention before, I did a year-long capsule wardrobe challenge, called the "30 For 30 For 12 Challenge" in 2012 and one month of 2013 (summaries here, scroll down). Every month, I pulled out 30 unique pieces of clothes and footwear and made all of that month's outfits from those pieces. 

I picked up this lovely cream blazer in September 2012 (here) at My Sister's Closet for $20.98 and immediately knew I'd be incorporating it into my all-neutral November 2012 capsule.
It is a Le Chateau label, so likely made in Canada. The fabric is woven brocade, it has that nice texture to it. Someone also paid to have the arms shortened to mid-forearm, so it is great for showing off bracelets. 

My outfits with it are split between wearing it as a blazer, and wearing it as outerwear. I also often belt over it, as it's a nice slim fit, and frequently deploy a brooch on the lapel. 
This is the first of three outfits from my all-neutral November 2012 capsule. Only that obi remains from this outfit. 

Seen here as outerwear, also in November 2012. 
I still have the long leather gloves, which are excellent with the shortened sleeves.

And lastly, also November 2012, I wore it as an open blazer. 
The versatility of this piece is one reason why I've had it for just over 8 years. 

I wore it twice in February 2013, here with my leather jeans. 
I almost wore that belt today (Flashback here). 

I had a cream Club Monaco blazer prior to this one - as I'm fond of saying, "Always be upgrading". This blazer was a step up in fabric (brocade vs. plain) and style. The shoulders on it are slightly sculpted, which help keep it from looking dated. 
I still have some of the accessories from this October 2013 outfit, but I let go of this dress and those boots some time ago. 

This November 2014 outfit is full of things I no longer have. 
I went through a heavy phase of mermaid- or tulip-cut skirts - they were all the rage in the early 00s. Only the blazer and belt remain from this outfit. 

My all-neutrals capsule month(s) in 2012 (I did one in June 2012 too) helped me get into wearing creams and browns together more. 
Many of my outfits featured more neutrals after that, like this January 2014 look. 

In February 2014, I wore the blazer twice. This outfit mixes olive greens with bits of colour in the "fruital" blouse. 
Shoes Flashbacked here

I like this February 2014 outfit better. 
I still have that leather dress! I should wear it again soon. 

This outfit is from April 2014, worn to celebrate all our friends' spring birthdays at Spinnakers. 
The jacket was worn as outerwear, with vintage fur pieces added. Vizzini helped. 

I did a combination of blazer in the office and "this is my coat" in September 2014. 
That's one of my favourite skirts, Flashbacked here

There's my Laura Ashley vintage dress again, with the same leather obi as before, only a year later, in November 2014.
I don't miss that dress (it wasn't a good fit), but I do miss my blood-red shoes and boots. 

Another simple neutral outfit, from January 2015. 
I didn't unpack that Gianfranco Ferre skirt this year, but I still have it. Next year! 

This outfit, also from January 2015, was all about the shoes (I don't have them anymore) which were black with pink speckles. 
Skirt Flashback here

A different pair of speckled shoes were featured here in April 2015. 
I look like a Creamsicle. 

This is a very classy look, also from April 2015. 
I think this might be the first time I wore those shoes, which need to be worn again soon! 

I often use this cream blazer instead of white - close enough! - as I did here in May 2015. 
Only the jacket (and the cat!) are still with me. 

This is a rather lacklustre outfit from June 2015. 
Another skirt I didn't unpack this year, my Andres Courreges piece will come back next September. 

Blazer as outerwear in November 2015 - those long leather gloves are excellent for keeping my arms warm. 
We saw those boots in Flashback here

Also in November 2015, I returned to belting the blazer. 
That's such a fun outfit. Skirt Flashback here

Outerwear over my yellow dress in May 2016. 
Not much to that. Shoes Flashback here

I love this outfit from September 2016 - this shade of blue is so pretty. I'm sad that the skirt got moth holes right in the front! 
Shoes Flashback here (although I no longer have them). 

I was thinking of this outfit from December 2016 when I created today's outfit - I was sure I'd worn the blazer with a long swooshy skirt before and I was right! 
I still have the belt and the green blouse. 

You'll recognize this skirt (Flashback here) and shoes (Flashback here) from this February 2017 outfit. 
Sooner or later, I'm sure to wear this blazer with all of them! 

I only wore this metallic striped skirt a few times, here in March 2017. 
Blazer + belt + full skirt = outfit. Easy! Although it took me a little while to figure it out - you have to just keep trying! 

I wore the blazer as outerwear over this look from April 2017.
I have slight regrets at not keeping that skirt, but it was really difficult to match tops to it. 

In October 2017, I wore the blazer as my outerwear for dinner with Tammy. 
Boots Flashbacked here

I really dislike this outfit from the knees down. It's from January 2018, and I wore these new tights. 
Ugh, I dislike white/cream tights intensely. They are not for me. Shoes Flashbacked here

In contrast, I love this October 2018 look. 
Sadly, I let go of those boots - they were just too high! I need to wear that skirt again soon. 

And this is the last time I wore this blazer, with this new-to-me "library"-themed skirt, which I passed along this past year. 
I noted in October 2019 that I had put that blouse and this blazer into the giveaway pile, but reconsidered and I'm so glad I did. The only way I'm letting go of this blazer is when I find the "upgrade" version of it...and it's going to be hard to top! 

Mathy stuff: Today's outfit marks the 31st time wearing this blazer, making it one of my wardrobe powerhouses! That brings me to 68 cents per wear, and it's still in good condition and I still like it, so that should go down even further over time. 

Did you guess 30+? What's your favourite look?

Crochet Adventures! 

I learned to crochet when I was quite young. Mom taught the entire neighbourhood to sew, embroider, crochet and knit - both boys and girls. 

I've made blankets (a lot of them), and did the fuzzy-scarf-for-Christmas thing one year, but one of my best Christmas memories as an adult was the 30+ piece Barbie doll wardrobe I created for my two nieces Hannah and Zoe when they were 8-10 years old about a decade ago. I used my football-watching Sundays to create a massive collection of dresses (most very frilly), skirts, tops, jackets, pants, shorts, bathing suits, coats, purses - everything you can imagine! - and capped it off with a wedding dress. I gave it all to them in an 80s hatbox that I covered in tissue and glitter. I remember how big their eyes got when they opened it. "We get to keep all this?"

So, seeing that my fellow bloggers Vix (link) and Senora Allnut (link) have been getting their creative on, I asked Mom if she had any wool she could spare. Thanks, Mom! 
Two shades of green, turquoise, purple and pink. 

I tried making some of these flowers that Monica started. I had thoughts of making a vest like in these snazzy vintage patterns, but I'm limited with the amount of wool I have. 
But my wool is quite thick, and I didn't like the demented starfish look of them. 
So I pulled them apart and started making a striped...thing. 

I didn't even take a picture of that, so yesterday, I pulled it out, rolled up the wool and started over with something really basic: a scarf. 
I used the entire ball of turquoise wool, and I'm pretty happy with it. I made up the pattern (it's a row of single crochet, followed by a row of double crochet + 1 chain, in every other stitch. Totally easy (I always make up my patterns). 

I can't make just scarves out of all the wool (I already have a turquoise scarf, and a pink scarf)...what should I try next? Thoughts? Ideas? 


  1. Hello! The November 2012 outfit is a stunner from head to toe. My eye was also drawn to the red skirt with patterned top for April 2015, and there are quite a few other outfits that caught my eye.

    Wow, so nice that you can make your own patterns for crocheting! My Mom taught me to knit, which I managed fine for scarves and hats. My daughter-in-law tried to teach me how to crochet but I was flummoxed and most likely needed to keep practicing.

    Hmmm, suggestions for crochet projects... mittens, hat, vest, tree ornaments with bells inside (gifts for next Christmas :)), appliance covers or covers for items in storage, pouches to use for gift wrapping...

    This morning I learned about an outdoor challenge of trying to log 1,000 hours outdoors for 2021. Had me thinking of you walking to and from work and town plus your mental health walks.

    1. Hi, Laurie! Thank you so much! I've gotten some very solid outfits out of this inexpensive blazer - what a good buy it's been.

      Yeah, I just keep trying different things and seeing how it goes. I only know the basics: chain, single crochet, double crochet, and a fancy backwards stitch that my mom taught me. I just play with it from there. The key is start with granny squares. Once you can make a granny square in your sleep, you are ready to go!

      I thought of a vest, but I don't have enough wool. Great ideas!

      Oh, wow, what a great challenge! I did a walking challenge here at work for several months, and we logged enough KM to go around the globe. It was so fun. I do about 20 K a week, most of the time, including my Mental Health Walks.

  2. What a lovely swooshy skirt and you are right life is too short, wear the clothes.
    I remember the challenges well from back in the day. I may even try the 30 for 30 but I am doing a 50daysofshoppingmywardrobe at the moment.
    I love the crochet projects. How awesome you make your own patterns up - I am impressed!

    Jane (thesmallfabric)

    1. Thanks so much, Jane! Right? What are we saving our clothes for? Wear them now!

      I don't have the energy for those challenges anymore. I still am boggled by the amount of work that year-long challenge was!

      Thank you! It's a fun way to get creative.

  3. Good morning Sheila, I am thinking of you I have just taken the decs down it's taken ages and I thought how long will it take you?? but I thought instead of rushing I will take my time and put the coffee on and enjoyed the process instead. Attitude is everything. I love the Sept 2016 outfit (love blue) but the library skirt outfit caught my eye too there was, as usual, too many favouriteslol you really "funked" that Laura Ashley dress up too. I cannot crochet so no idea I will leave that too your talented friends. Meant to say I love the idea of a belt with the blazer. Shazxx

    1. Hello, Shaz! Oh, good for you - I procrastinated and spent about 5 hours on Tuesday taking everything down and packing it all away, but I still have to de-light the trees and pack them back in their boxes, which I'll do on Thursday after my Mental Health Walk. I put on some music and made some tea and just rolled up my sleeves and got to it. Yes, attitude IS everything! Love it!

      We were belting our blazers a lot back in the early 00s - it was a "thing" - but I still like that look.

      Thank you - me too! - and I really waffled over that library skirt, but it wasn't a long-term keeper for me (sometimes you know that right away). I know, I love the look of those Laura Ashley dresses - I have another similar dark floral dress (I upgraded!) that I could pair with the jacket, but I really need some blood-red shoes.

      Thanks, my dear!

  4. Philosophical inquiry: If Sheila wears a beautiful outfit to work and nobody sees it, did it happen? :) P.S., You need to teach me your trick on getting people to give you Fluevog gift-cards. I want one!

    1. It totally happened! Ha ha!

      There's no trick. Tell them. "Hey, you know what I would love for my birthday? A Fluevog gift card!"

  5. Love the blazer and the all the fab flashback outfits. My suggestion for using up the wool - fingerless gloves and/or crochet headbands - great for keeping ears warm!

    Take care

    1. Thanks so much, Vronni! Yes, I'm probably going to make some fingerless gloves or arm-warmers with the pink and the purple. I was thinking of doing the two greens together, so might try my hand at a long waistcoat, as Vix suggested. I am not a huge fan of headbands on me - my hair is too slippery.

  6. Your outfits with the white blazer r stunning. Can’t pick a favorite. For crochet ideas, check out Mizzie Morawez. Her creations r fabulous. Have fun!

    1. Claire, thank you so much for pointing me to Mizzie Morawez - OMG, her work is stunning! Thanks!

  7. Hats, to go with the scarves. You can do basically the same stitches as the scarves, just do a chain to advance to the next row and keep on in the same direction, instead of turning and going back across the row.

    Add some straps to the rim of a hat and it becomes a shopping bag. The possibilities boggle my little pea brain.

    1. Thanks, Lin - I thought about hats, but I actually already have a pink, purple and aqua hat (pink and purple berets, and a Panthers toque). I know the "igloo" method for them, but I appreciate that, thank you!

      The shopping bag is a good idea!

  8. Although it wasn't exactly dead in the office on my first day, it was rather quiet, so that I was able to catch up in no time. How nice of your VP's to get you a Fluevog gift card!
    The swooshy gold/bronze skirt looks even more amazing on, and the brocade jacket was its perfect companion. I'm hearing you on the hot flushes, they do come and go, and I hope I am not jinxing it by saying it's been a whole lot better for me lately.
    Life is short, wear the clothes is exactly my kind of motto, and speaking of which, so many lovely clothes to scroll through in your jacket's flashback!
    I never learned to do crochet or knitting properly due to traumatic experiences with both in primary school. I was a very clumsy and insecure child ... However, if I ever learn how to crochet, headbands as suggested by Vronni would be made by the dozen! xxx

    1. Oh, I'm glad to hear that, Ann - I can remember coming back in previous years and just being slammed for about a week. I'm happy to pass on that this year! I know, isn't that amazing? They are so sweet and very appreciative of me. :)

      I loved wearing this skirt so much! It's just amazing. Stupid hot flashes! I thought I was done with them! Sigh.

      It's a good motto, especially now when we have fewer opportunities to get dressed. I've been complimenting anyone I see in "real" clothes, to reinforce the "good" behaviour, lol.

      Oh dear! My mom was so amazing at teaching us all kinds of arts and crafts. Headbands are not really "me" but would be super-easy to make.

  9. No I didn't guessed it right. I thought less. What a nice gift to give to you, they know you well. I love that skirt, it's a perfect lenght. I crochet two winters ago. I thought it was very relaxing but I only know one way to croch so it was boring after a while. Ha ha, I'm so easily bored.

    1. There you go, Nancy! It was very sweet of them to get that for me.

      Thanks - I love it too! I love the mindlessness of crocheting - you can watch TV while doing it (it keeps me from snacking). I'm also easily bored!

  10. Shiela, how lucky you are to receive multiple Fluevog vouchers for Xmas. For sure, you will pick out a fab pair of shoes and we will be dazzled by them!!

    Love your swooshy golden skirt.

    About the wool... do you have enough to make a crochet halter neck? X

    1. I know, Jess, and I am super stoked to pick out a new pair (or two!) soon.

      Thank you! It was wonderful to wear.

      I probably do...but I would never wear a halterneck (boob wrangling issues, and it feels like a halter top is a little young for me). Great idea, though, if I had smaller boobs!

  11. What a shame more people couldn't have swooned over that glorious pleated skirt, Sheila! it looks wonderful and the choice of teal for footwear was inspired.
    How exciting about the Fluevog gift card (all of them!) I bet you'll have loads of fun deciding how to spend them.
    What a shame you got rid of the skirt that was hard to match up with anything, I loved the print and shape but some garments are just too much like hard work.
    I'm in awe of your crochet - the Monica inspired flowers are gorgeous! I love the scarf, I bet a maxi length waistcoat in the same stitch would look amazing. xxx

    1. Eh, I'll wear it again, Vix! It will be appreciated. :) Thank you! I love the teal shoes as the pop of colour.

      I am super-excited, and spent some time on the site looking at all the possibilities.

      I know...but I did wear it a bunch of times, and then got stymied by the colours (very difficult to match), so just let it go.

      Aw, thank you! I liked the flowers, and had thought of doing a waistcoat in them, and that's actually what the unseen striped version was going to be, but it was not looking great, so both the flowers and the unseen stripes were torn apart. I'll probably make some wrist warmers out of the pink and purple, or a purple scarf (which I don't have).

  12. That's such a beautiful skirt and I am going to try do that more often this year - dress up and wear the clothes! Already I've worn a proper outfit most days of the year (and every day this week!) so I hope to continue that! :)

    I wish I could crochet - you are very talented to have made them, and I like that scarf! :)

    1. It feels good to get dressed, others love it, it's good for our mental health - but it takes a bit more effort. Totally worth it, in my book! Way to go, Mica!

      Check out some tutorials online, it's not that hard. Thank you!

  13. What a seriously cool present from your VPs. More companies really and truly should take a page from their books, especially when it comes to rewarding their best employees accordingly.

    Have a blast, when the time goes, putting your GC to awesome use, my sweet friend!

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. I know, right? The first year I was there, I got a MUG and I was so annoyed about it. They've gotten better the longer I've been there, as now they know exactly how much work I do (I'm very transparent in what I do - managing people is hard!).

      Thank you - I will!

  14. rats, my comment went haywire again. In short: I love the skirt with the black top in photo 4 and 5. Not a fan of the jacket but I don't know why. Oh well, you cannot please everybody all the time right?

    1. Shoot, sorry about that, Greetje! Thank you so much - it's okay, not everyone likes a fitted jacket. You tend to more boxy styles, I think.

  15. Firstly, You Rock this cream jacket and make its neutral colour look fabulous and interesting!. So versatile!. Love the way you wear jacket with belts over your skirts, so inspiring!. And totally agree about the 'upgrading' idea!, it's a fab tip!.
    And I'm so happy to see that you're into crocheting once more!. I always have to undone my crochet projects (at least twice!) until they make sense. This flower was made with a 5mm crochet hook and it took me the whole evening, because of the so annoying instructions (not a pattern!), so I made the damn thing 'my way' finally. Your demented starfishes don't look that bad, I think you can give them another try!
    I'm so sad that I still can't crochet!

    1. Thanks so much, Monica! I love how well it's worked in my wardrobe for so long. I'm always looking for "upgrades", especially on basic things like jackets and skirts.

      I'm loving crocheting - it's very soothing. I used a 5mm as well - I didn't mind the demented starfishes, but they just didn't work for me for what I wanted to do. I might try them again another time with some different wool. Aw, you can! You did a great job on yours! You inspire me!

  16. A Fluevog gift card - your bosses know you well and clearly really appreciate you. Whenever you spend it, you're sure to get something amazing with it.

    I'm hopeless at crochet so will make no comments at all about demented starfish. Any making is good making as far as I'm concerned.

    1. They do! I usually get a gift card from them for my birthday and Christmas - they take good care of me. I've been scouting for the new styles - I have my eyes on a couple.

      Aw, that's cool, thank you, Mim!

  17. What a nice thing of your colleagues to get you a gift card from Fluevogs, they know you!
    I love how the skirt fits and the way you are wearing it with the back top would have been my first choice too - it looks splendid.
    I think with the starfish you could sew them on to a vest that you already own or even pillows, they do not look demented to me at all.

    1. They do, and they are very generous, Lorena! Thank you - I like it with just the plain top.

      Eh, they are not my style really. I'm glad I pulled them apart.

  18. I rather like your "demented starfish" but that's just me. They would be cool sewn on to a denim jacket or a pair of jeans. You look so very elegant in the cream blazer and gold skirt. Skirts with small pleats like that move so beautifully when worn.

    1. Yes, I can see them sewn on a jean jacket, etc. - great idea, Shelley! Thank you so much! I loved wearing that skirt!


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