Monday, February 3, 2014

Day Twenty-one: I belt a cardigan and I am not convinced it is a good idea.

This black cardigan is the dark sister of the grey one I wore on days two and ten. I also have a blue one which is not included in the 30 garments I selected for this challenge. These cardigans are fairly boxy in shape which makes them, perhaps, not the best choice for someone with my figure. I attempted the 'add a belt for waist emphasis' maneuver here to try to counter some of the boxy-ness. I have never been the biggest fan of belts. I think they tend to make me look like I'm crimped in the middle like two sausages. I've picked the very best of the photos here (ie the least sausage-y ones) but I don't know if I like the sweater with the belt anymore than I like it without.

My decision making is not being helped much by the fact that I look absolutely exhausted in these photos. Do I look like a woman who needs a vacation or what? These were taken right before we left. My eyes look like they are trying to exit out the back of my skull. But back to the belt. I tried several of varying widths and contrasts before settling on this one. I didn't hate wearing it, even though it was not the most comfortable outfit I've had on, but I'm not convinced the belt improved the look.

I also turned up the sleeves on the cardigan a little. I'm convinced I look wider when my sleeve hem  hits at the same height as the hem of my top. Since the sleeves of this sweater aren't ribbed they turned up nicely and I think that little bit of height difference helps the overall look.

I like:

  • The idea of this outfit- the sweater and skirt combo is usually a very comfortable on for me both physically and psychologically. 
  • That I've attempted something new that I might have otherwise rejected out of hand. Yay me! This is kind of the reason for attempting a challenge with self imposed limitations, right? 
  • The mixed metals heart necklace. I don't wear much/ own much yellow gold. This silver and rose gold heart was a gift from Chris. It's from the jewelry store in my home town in New Zealand where my dad shops for his girlfriend. She has impeccable taste, in my opinion, and she has instructed my father that anything offered by this store would be an acceptable and highly appreciated gift. Chris decided that high endorsement would likely apply to me too, and he was right. I don't wear the necklace often enough, mostly because of the length- it's too long to wear in an open neckline without a good bit of cleavage on display (not my style at all!) And it needs a very unfussy neckline if it's going to sit on top of a garment.

I'd change: 

  • The belt- I'm not sure how, or with what, but this one just didn't do it for me. I'll keep trying. Maybe I need something softer like and obi wrap belt? Or something thinner but not thin-thin?
  • I'm contemplating having a couple links removed from the chain of the necklace to allow it to fall at a more wearable length for me. I often hitch up my necklaces in the back in various ways to shorten them but the design of this one makes that impossible. I think I'd wear it a lot more with one or two links removed from either side of the chain.
  • I still need to re-hem the lining of this skirt so that it doesn't peek out but more than this I need to commit to pressing it before I wear it. It would improve the appearance of the skirt significantly and very likely improve my own mental assessment how much (or little) I am well put together. As it is I spend a few moments every time I don this skirt berating myself for, yet again, wearing it without pressing it and, seriously, how difficult can it be to run an iron over a straight skirt? It's not like it has tricky pleats or huge amounts of volume. And I have a sneaking suspicion that once I do press it I'm going to discover that I don't actually need to alter the hem of the lining. 

The verdict:

  • I guess it's a 7/10. There is room for improvement but there's also lots that I do like about it.
  • I need to make a firm commitment to clothing care: pressing things that need to be pressed before returning them to the closet, making sure sweaters aren't full of pills when I want to wear them, polishing my shoes, stuff of that nature. 
  • I will keep experimenting with belts.
  • I will look into options for shortening the mixed metal heart necklace.


  1. First of all I agree with you that a skirt and sweater combo is good. Secondly I do like the belt. Maybe a skinny belt would be better. "I'm crimped in the middle like two sausages", come on you're being too self critical you don't look like that at all.
    The most intriguing thing you said however is that you are originally from New Zealand. So do you have a cool accent? Funny when you only see a person on a blog and don't hear them speak I never imagined you were from anywhere else.
    I do like the necklace and shortening it is a good idea even though it looks fine the way you are wearing it.
    Going on a vacation have fun any hard working woman needs a vacation.

    1. Hello Adrienne! I was shooting for self aware- I try really hard not to be self critical. Seriously though, some of the other photos taken at this time really do not do me any favors. I have a large chest and a short waist so I always feel like there is not a lot of room in there for a belt (especially as my chest seems to be getting lower by the minute.) I used to have a teeny tiny waist but I'll settle for fairly-small-by-comparison, which is what I have now. I think, because of my lifelong effort never to call any attention to the size of my boobs, that I'm not used to seeing myself with a defined waist and so I see sausages where other people see a fairly ordinary chest/waist/hip ratio.
      I do not have a cool accent. I was born in California and I moved to NZ just before I turned two so I was already starting to talk. I came back to the states when I was 14 and I did have a very strong accent then but it went away after a couple years. My sister was born in NZ and she also lost her accent pretty quickly (Our mother is American.) I was also required to have 3 years of speech therapy in high school for a lisp that no one ever noticed in NZ and no one has ever heard since. I think that might have contributed to wiping out my accent. When I visit I can hear my vowel pronunciations change but they never do so much that people in NZ wouldn't notice that I have an American accent, though maybe if I were there for longer than 2 or 3 weeks at a time I might get my accent back more. Occasionally people will ask me where I'm from due to the fact that I use some words slightly differently- (been pronounced bean not bin for example) but otherwise I sound totally like a California girl, right down to the over use of the words 'totally' and 'like'.

    2. You are so totally charming. I was so amused with your response. I too am a short waist ed big boobed lady but my waistline is really not defined at all. I am more of an inverted triangle body shape and get it totally what you mean about belts. I grew up in western PA and had a distinct Pittsburgh accent. I have lived in Northern VA for over 30 years and catch myself pronouncing school (skool) and other slightly southern articulations.

  2. I agree, you're being way too hard on yourself. I rarely put my negative thoughts out on the blog about my outfits - it's not fun for readers to read me being down on myself! I think this looks great on you and I really like the belt. I think you are just not used to seeing this look on yourself. I do agree that a one-inch wide belt might be better, but this wider belt is still good. My eyes go right to your (still) little waist!

    1. Is it because I used the word sausages that you guys think this sounds so negative? I didn't say I look like a big fat disgusting sausage in this (nor do I think that!) It's just that a belt seems to create bulges that I don't otherwise see, and sausages were the first analogy that came to mind. All I wanted to say here is that something about the combination of sweater, belt and skirt didn't please me as much as I'd hoped it would. I think some of the reason is there's a lot of bulk being contained by the belt- not ME so much, but medium thick sweater and upholstery weigh fabric in the skirt. I swear I am not being negative. I guess I wasn't being altogether positive either but it was more in the spirit of "Why don't I like this?" than "I don't like myself." Mostly I'm pretty darn pleased with myself.

  3. I love a crimped waist and you do it wonderfully with this belt. Only because you ask, I would stick with this particular belt. You have a fantastic shape. And the shorter sleeve is a great idea too for the reason that it's a little more sassy than a plain sleeve.