Summing up a little - coats and jackets: some of what stayed and some of what didn't, plus a little of what we've been up to

I'll start with outerwear, since many may still be looking to grab something after New Year's. First, the J.Crew Sherpa-lined Parka. This was a real let-down, because I love J.Crew's Sherpa fabric and had visions of self snugly waiting for busses in nasty February weather. I still have 2 Sherpa-lined hoodies from - 2009? 2010? well, from the year everything seemed to have been colored with dyes made from leaves, nuts and berries and then shortened, and while Slutty Woodland Creature is not one of my favorite looks, I love my hoodies, and was drooling at the thought of getting a knee-length one.

I repeat: What a let-down. Only the hood is lined with Sherpa. The body of the coat is lined with a very stiff and heavy anonymous quilted material. I could hardly stand up in it,
plus while I was sure that the weight of the quilting meant it wasn't stuffed with feathers or down, I wasn't sure what kind of (heavy, heavy) fibers could be inside. If I have to carry handbag, briefcase, scarf - then my coat has to be reliably warm, but also lightweight and water-resistant enough not to get sodden if I lose patience waiting for a bus or cab, and try to hoof it. Pockets are a little problematic, odd angle but still accessible. So anyway this one went back.

Now I'm flirting with the concept of Self as slightly better-tailored Paddington Bear. The  J.Crew Convertible Toggle Coat, on sale, is here on probation. It's made of a wool blend, decent fabric, I got it in black. It fits more like a parka than a coat, not long enough to wear over skirt or dress, but good over pants.  Hood zips off, leaving teeth of zipper bare but hidden by a strip of (poly) satin. Not sure how this will work over time, but since the jacket's appeal is mostly the Bear-ish- ness of the hood, not a real world worry. The hood will just stay on. I shall refrain from trying to find a letter to sew on the back. That kind of parka. As I said, I grabbed it in black but the details show up better on the gray:
Update: Last night I got to the store just in time to return the above Paddington Bear coat before they closed. Whew. Why, you ask? Because we were going to go for a long walk yesterday, and I put on the coat over a wool sweater and cotton blouse, and I WAS FREEZING! Fortunately, I had had the sense to test the coat on the terrace, so I was able to repack it and change into something warm before we set forth. So be warned: coat is adorable but NOT WARM. It was in the low 40's, high 30's yesterday.

Black suede single-breasted blazer, Lauren Ralph Lauren. Keeping this one. LRL (green label) is Uncle Ralphie's bridge line, not as edgy or expensive as Black Label, not as casual as Blue Label, not as Halloween-Hippie as Denim and Trouble or whatever it's called. Thus, dependable, even though you don't have to look too hard to find ruffles every season, on something or other. Anyhow, the lines of my blazer are slender and sleek.
All of its exterior is suede, no nasty surprises, as opposed to say, finding out that the back is corduroy or the sleeves are an elasticated blend formerly sold only to mountain climbers. The lapels are slim and thus flattering. This perfect jacket, with my J.Crew black lace pencil skirt, is a great outfit, I love the play of textures.

I have to decide if I'm keeping the J.Crew silk leather flowers tee to add to the suede blazer/lace skirt combo, as this top represents a serious future commitment of resources. Why? Because it is a delicate though opaque white silk tee onto which are tacked little leather cutouts of clovers and little stiffened chiffon cutouts of clovers, each of these last centered with a bead.
Getting it dry cleaned will be a bear. On the other hand, if you have an Alhambra chain in black or  white or gray, or in pavé, you should get this top. Outrageous. Just eat neatly.

Moving on, I like this blazer, too - a J.Crew pop-back -  and I'm keeping it.
The buttons are an inexpensive knock-off of some Ralph Lauren buttons from the 90's, although the RL buttons had a full back, not just a front shell. If I can find the extra ones that came with a certain jacket, you know, the little white envelope, I may change the buttons that get the most work. Because the fabric is so heavy, I can't wear this jacket over a sweater, and I think unless our heating fails, I'll be using it mostly as a light outdoor jacket this coming fall. I'll like it over an oxford shirt or a chambray. The check is camel/dark winey-brown/green, and for some reason it was shown with a swirly pink and fuchsia blouse. I think that's what put me off initially, but I got a great deal on the markdown/40% off, so it can live in my closet till October 2014. No complaints.

Now let's talk about this year's shoe purchases:

The shoes I got this winter are Chie Mihara, because I've figured out what my Chie size is and can order from sources all over the world with impunity. Right here in the city, I tried on a few pairs at Lord &Taylor, and then waited out the sale. This was so worth doing! Good US web sources that I have used are Ped Shoes, Simply Soles, and City Soles. L&T's selection isn't large, but their sales, promos and discounts happen often.

In a moment of madness and extravagance, I let this follow me home for a  visit during a site-wide promo.
Cute, liked the style, but found it over-priced for the workmanship, and while the sheepskin lining didn't ball up or pill, I tried it on over a black silk blouse and noticed tiny white fibres kind of dusting the blouse where the jacket seams touched it. So back it went, with a sigh of relief from my financially responsible side.

My Escargot sweater arrived from Macy's. Actually 3 Escargot sweaters arrived from Macy's, in separate packages. Fortunately there's a small Macy's branch not far from Flintstone Manor, so I was able to return without braving holiday crowds at 34th Street. The one I kept hasn't pilled yet. I like it. The structure is a crew-neck (higher than the JC crew) and the body is a little longer and more fitted than the JC cashmere tee. It seems to be generally available, at a good price.

Jewelry - I pretty much controlled myself this year. My fingers have spent a lot of time being swollen and clumsy, so I haven't been tempted by rings. I did bite on a sale plus promo event at, and here's my little treat:

It's 925 silver (sterling), with a rose gold overlay. With its chain, the necklace fits like a 17-inch chain. I'm happy. It's staying.

I showed you my Christmas table before the Huns and Visigoths sat down - there was going to be an "after" picture, but - not pretty. Menu: foofy nibbles in the living room, then Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Horseradish Sauce, roast carrots with chives & cream, sautéed wild mushrooms with shallots & parsley, roast potatoes with caramelized onions, roast balsamic red & white pearl onions, cauliflower gratin. There was a lot of the cauliflower left over, so I won't do that again. Dear friends brought a Bûche de Noel for dessert. Yes, from Balthazar Bakery!
I will certainly ask, no, beg, them to do that again!

Oh, and by the way, when did Roast become Roasted?


  1. Good for you re: your treats and returns! We had the most dandy prime rib for Christmas with a Marsala sauce. Oh the Bunche de noël! Divine!

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      \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 Hi, Wendy, I've been trying to add up if achieving the capture of one or two things I might be able to use is worth the effort. Sometimes it feels like interviewing dozens of subliterates for a single clerical position...\
      Hi, Wendy, for years I made either a B\'fbche de No\'ebl or a Croquembouche, compulsive labor of love, but this year we arrived back from Florida on Sunday night and on Monday morning decided to make Christmas dinner for about 8 friends & rels whose kids/ families were far away. Turned out to be great!

    2. I think the strange language-like text above has to do with a FIOS blip. No idea what it means.

  2. Glad to hear you kept the escargot sweater - he's a cutie! :)

  3. Always a bit depressing to be so excited about the "new" only to see it languish in your closet, money already spent...similar to the one night stand? So glad you used a discerning eye and patience with your purchases. Also glad you had a wonderful Christmas meal. Bottoms up to the New Year!

    1. hi, BB, fortunately there's a (very) nearby JCrew store where they're very patient with returns.


  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful meal and a wonderful holiday! You made out pretty well on the shopping front too so I guess it is smiles all around. A couple of stores to add to your Chie Mihara list are and Both have good selection and decent sales at the end of the season. Chies! I mean, Cheers!

    1. Hi, xoxo, thank you! A new source for Chies is always welcome!

  5. Love the suede/lace arrangement , and you may need that hard to care for top, too. NY has the best cleaners so may as well take advantage ( would be ruined the first time here!).

    Is that tweed jacket RL or JC? I got a very subtle grey/blue tweed from JC on great sale, but not 100% thrilled with it.

    I think outsourcing that confection was brilliant ( fun to make the mushrooms, though).Happy New Year, Fred!

  6. Well, I'm still fussin about the top... Really need it to be marked down sufficiently that I'd buy half a dozen and then have no worries. The fancy dry cleaner I consulted was worried about the leather & bead assembly, I had a horrible experience with the other fancy dry cleaner... Some things are simply not meant to be.

    The tweed jacket is JC, it was one of those early morning grabbits.

    And Happy New Year to you and yours, Lane,

  7. I believe roast became roasted about the same time that worshipping and travelling lost their double consonants. Happy New Year WFF.

    1. Happy New Year to you and yours, KnitYarns, and - wait, there are missing consonants? Where can a lone consonant go?

  8. I've spent the better part of the past 1.5 weeks reorganizing my closets and the experience is about to make me be done with JC. I am also debating about the fussy leather and bead flowers top but I thought it a little too see through for my taste. Also realized it is very similar to another I already have and think the previous one to be nicer. I'll do a side by side tomorrow for the final verdict.

    If you like yoox, you might try its sister site, for another source for Chie Mihara. There are 20 styles of Chie on sale (though broken sizes since the prices are down to almost half now) and if you use IWANTEDSHOES as a promo code, you get another 20% off until midnight on Jan. 2.

    Your escargot sweater is very cute and cashmere is so much nicer than the crappy viscose or nylon or polyacrylic blended stuff that seems to be standard JC fare.

    Drooling over your Christmas menu. Happy new year, WFF!

    1. Hi, tiffany Rose, Happy New Year! I kind of went into a trance on the shoescribe site, how could I not have known about this before? Thank you!

      I don't make New Years resolutions, but I am determined to toss at least two things per week, more if inspiration strikes.

  9. Well you are definitely giving the coats the old college try! I like your detailed reviews very much, you're so funny. Your menu sounds delicious and I don't know when roast became roasted but I have noticed that too. My best shoes are still the Chies I saw in France, not in my size, came home, complained about it, read by Fred who found them for me at Ped Shoes. Thank you!
    Glad you figured out your Chie size, it is very tricky for some reason.

    1. Hi, Dani, I have those very shoes, too, but in the alternate colorway, and I love them.

      Happy New Year to you and Mr BP the world-class shopper and planner of presents, and to the Rascals!

  10. Ha ha! Slutty woodland creature, which hobbit cousin is that? And Paddington Bear on probation. You have a more fun furry other world here than Tolkien (and better dressed). My foot guy told me my bunions are worsening from overwear of jandals (flip flops) and UGG so best I get me some grown up shoes to walk around in this year.

    1. Hey, Happy new Year, Jody!
      Slutty woodland creatures are/were an early medieval superstition, wood nymphs, pixies, nixies, water nymphs... and for some reason Herr Tolkien didn't do irresistible seductive female creatures. I kind of wish he had, I would love to see what language he would have invented for them.

      Don't get me started on feet. I sound like Ratso Rizzo.


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