Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day Twenty-four: A pseudo suit.

This jacket seems to work much better without a shirt underneath it than it does with one. At least it doesn't work well when paired with any of the shirts, blouses or tops I currently own. I had been hoping that the sleeve length and proportions would allow for lots of interesting layering options but my attempts thus far have been unsuccessful. I rather suspect this jacket really aspires to be a suit and not a separate. It seems happiest with a straight skirt.

I left the top button of the jacket open to make room for the jewelry. I have a few of these greenstone necklaces from New Zealand. I try to pick up a new piece of greenstone jewelry each time I visit but I don't tend to wear  them very often. Truthfully, I worry that these mark me as a bit of a poseur. Half of my family members were born in New Zealand, but I was not. And then there is the significant difference between being a New Zealander of European descent (my forebears emigrated from Scotland in the late 1800's) and being a Native New Zealander. But on our recent vacation to Maui everybody and their mother were wearing jewelry with Hawaiian motifs and not giving issues of cultural appropriation a second thought. So I decided to get over myself (and my, perhaps, overblown sensitivities) and just wear my own Pacific Island jewelry. (It's not like it wasn't created for the tourist trade anyway. It's not like I'm wearing heritage museum pieces.)

I like:

  • The silhouette. Although it is pretty straight up and down- not a lot of waist emphasis- I think it has a bit of a late sixties feel to it. It's slightly boxy but not overly so. That's a phenomenon I associate with suits from the latter half of the sixties- somehow the suits look boxy but the bodies still look curvy. 
  • I'm giving myself points for finally having pressed the damn skirt.

I'd change:

  • The necklace. After all that going on about the jewelry in this post I think the necklace strung on cord is a little to casual for this pseudo suit. And I'd like something fuller and less angular, something that fills up the neckline more.

The verdict:

  • A pseudo suit- a jacket with a coordinating but not matching straight skirt- is another good basic combination for me. I love the look of a suit but I've never had the kind of job that required one. This mixing and matching separates lends the pulled together feel of a suit without appearing fussy, or stuffy, or way more dressed up than everyone else. It is also much easier to accomplish for a dedicated thrift store shopper like me- actual suits that look stylish, are in good shape, and come close to fitting top and bottom are few and far between.
  • It's a 7/10. A solid basic combo that needs something to make it really sing. Not sure what that something is yet but I'm open to suggestions.


  1. I like the lines of this jacket. the necklace is beautiful but as you said perhaps the seriousness of the jacket doesn't quite meld with the necklace. I have seen you in wide legged or bell shaped long pants I think this jacket would work with them and just wear a scooped neck T under the jacket. I wear Nigeria clothing that I got when I was there as a young adult and don't worry that I am not Nigerian or for that matter African, I just like the fabrics.

    1. Funny, I've been 'between pants' for a little while. I'd become too small for the pants you remember seeing but everything I had on hand in a smaller size was still too small for me. But, as luck would have it, I just tried on a pair of black pants with wide legs from my spare closet that seem like they are ready to go back in the regular rotation! I will have to try them with this jacket. I've also been wondering about trying this jacket with a full knee length skirt (I'm thinking Peggy Olsen from the early seasons of Mad Men) what do you think? I'm not sure I have a skirt like the one I'm imagining so it's a bit of a moot point, really.
      Thank you for sharing and reassuring me on the issue of ethnic items that do not match one's ethnicity. I used to lead a discussion section for a class called 'Style and Cultural Studies' and cultural appropriation was one of the big topics of discussion so I am almost certainly over-thinking things.