the outfit that wasn't meant to be

I wanted to look casual but coordinated, but not like I'd fallen into the hands of a stylist who'd untucked my shirt and done up my sleeves like the Flying Nun's coif. And of course I didn't want to look studied. I wanted to look as though I had many better things to do than fuss about getting dressed, and and I wanted to look as if my air of offhand sophistication was purely accidental.


First I ordered the sweaters - sizes appeared and disappeared from a few stores I ran past, and finally there was a 30% off promo on a day when I had returned so much other stuff - mainly chair cushions for the dining room in Flintstone Manor, where seat cushions tend to be short lived - anyway with all these returns credited back, I felt flush, and decided to take a flyer and order shell and cardigan. I thought the colors, mainly a brownish green or greenish brown, would work with some pants from last winter or the winter before. The name of the pants eludes me, but I'm pretty sure the name of their color included the word "elm."

I also thought perhaps a skirt, to be worn with those sweaters and navy tights? I had in mind a particular skirt, which had also been coming and going and disappearing from the merchant's website and then reappeared dramatically in a full run of sizes for one day. I bought it. Thenext day I had the price adjusted. The fabric looked to be a plaid with lines of black (navy?) and wine on a lighter shade of "breen." Packages arrived. Somehow the Merchant Prince had shipped two shells from two different stores and no cardigan. I ordered a cardigan again.


The skirt arrived the next day. For something that has been selling out like crazy, I gotta tell youse, this is some fugly skirt. If you ignore the fussy niceties of sizing, the skirt was nicely made, it was lined, it had an invisible zipper, it had a hem and a waistband. But the fabric. Heavy. Hairy. Shaggy. The itch factor came through the lining. Trying not to scratch the back of one's thighs isn't a good look for me. Fabric colors - total misrepresentation. The line of "blue" was in fact a funny light gray. I had hoped the presence of some light blue might encourage the skirt to coordinate with a "French Blue" cashmere tee from last spring, but no. That sweater had matched up with some full-legged linen pants and its work in my closet was done. The "breen" of the skirt clashed with the breen of the shell. The navy and wine-colored lines were almost indistinguishable from one another. Standing outside on the terrace (sun! For five whole minutes!) made the colors a little more distinguishable, but to no good end.


What could be the purpose of that fabric? It was suitable for wear with heavy corduroy trousers by a distinguished British public figure impersonating a colorblind poet-in-residence. It was miscast as a skirt. Time to waste a morning returning things.

Of course the next morning the cardigan arrived. In a flash of desperate hope, I held it up to navy wool pants. Beyond depressing. Lugubrious. And so I have re-named the color of the sweaters. They are and shall be henceforth -- Mournful Elm.



16 comments:

  1. Oh boy! Another sad tale of wardrobe dreams gone horribly wrong aargh. I've wasted a couple of mornings of my life this past month also returning items... things I never should have bought in the first place.
    I have enough lovely colour (actual green for example) and pattern from the good ole days that I've stopped trying to find more... just did my autumn edit post and my only new items are khaki, brown and camel. No accident after seeing the new offerings in store in August.

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    1. I must remind myself that another 10 pounds will make shopping in my closet less of a challenge and more of a pleasure.

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  2. Oh dear, rolling in laughter here! I'm so sorry. I feel the same way about that tweed - the blazer seems to be a widely advertised hit, but it looks drab up close. The twin set - hmm. Here I thought I'd go and impulse shop. Guess not. Thank you for the riotous reviews! ❤️

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    1. Well, "Ardent Mud" has never really been a good color for me, but some people look good in anything. Shame on them,

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  3. funny i just tried to type j crew and it came out screw...

    hilarious - they need to hire you as a formal reviewer!!!

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    1. Perhaps they just need to find better woven authentic Irish tweeds.

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  4. I always find it disheartening to hear stories about J. Crew's lack of quality and attention to the little details, it was what used to set them apart. Tweeds, cashmere, wool coats, are all things J Crew have no excuse not to do well unless they are continuing to make poor decisions about where they source the fabrics or failures during the quality control phase. Do their stylists test drive these items or consider changing how they are photographed to make sure the color displayed is accurate? I would love to see copies of minutes from their staff meetings.

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    1. TeriLynn13, I think the lack of quality control and the use of a reputable fabric mill's "bottom of the line" goods are part of the same problem- cost-cutting. I don't think JC has reps on the ground checking production at factories in China, it would cost a fortune. In "olden times," if quality from a particular mill or factory dropped, the purchaser or the buying office would be on the phone to the guy in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or wherever in cut-and-sew country, and there would be screaming and threats and the problem would be solved. That industry doesn't exist any more, and new, effective ways of coping with mistakes or cheating at the factory level when the factory is on the other side of the world have yet to be developed.

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  5. Ah Fred - I feel for you. And my 10 lb will likely stay with me until such time as no clothes are in style!

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    1. I hope this doesn't mean you are stocking up on sunscreen.

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  6. Always love reading your comments! You have a cutting wit & sense of humor. I could only think of one word as I read, yikes! Yep, J Crew missed this one & there are more fabric misses for fall/wtr, specifically referencing the lovely pink coat from NYFW as a "poster child."

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    1. Awww, thank you. So kind.

      I can't see me in a pink coat. I'd feel like I was missing my large floppy ears.

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  7. Mr. Hex has a special name for "breen." Many years ago I ordered a J.Crew wool suit in "Chestnut." Looks brown, sounds brown, I mean "marron" (chestnut) is the French word for brown. I was not brown and clashed with anything in the brown family. I tried to make it work for years. Mr. Hex called it my "monkey $h!t" suit.

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    1. Reminds me of the time pop came home to find mom trying on a coat in that color --mom had flaming red hair, had been raised to believe she should only wear pastels, and had decided to branch out. Pop asked "is the baby sick?"

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  8. Your problems with the skirt highlight a lot of why I'm hesitant to order J Crew online. It's hard to return from Australia, and their fit and fabrics have been inconsistent over the past few years.
    No one wants a hairy, drab skirt though. How weird it's been a popular sold out item?!

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  9. Breen is great. RE- the 10 lbs. I always say that just keeping my mouth shut would solve many problems in my life : )

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