Sunday, December 04, 2011

Michigan Avenue Style Lab: Outerwear Observations

This is where I walk to work...

  1. If your coat has a back vent (an opening either in the middle of the back hem of your coat, or maybe two openings, one on each side of a back "flap"), and that vent is sewn shut with a cool little "X" stitch,  REMOVE THE STITCHING.  A vent is supposed to be open, and was sewn shut just to hold it in place in transit.  Nothing accents a bubble butt more than a closed vent.
  2. Fabric content labels on your sleeve are ALSO supposed to be removed.  I'm impressed that your coat is 100% cashmere, now take that label off and throw it away!
  3. Hems that drag the ground are unsanitary.  And unflattering.
  4. If your arms are hanging at your sides and we can see only the tips of your fingers (or nothing at all of your hands), your sleeves are too long.  Alterations are nothing to fear.
  5. I'm a bigger fan of black coats than you could ever imagine, but please consider some sort of accent accessory.  The streets are dark enough.  Unless you're a Goth, in which case, please carry on as you prefer.  
  6. There is such a thing as too much Burberry plaid. 
  7. Belted coats look much more insouciant if you tie the belt rather than buckle it.
  8. If you can't button all of the buttons on your coat, it's too small.
  9. Similarly, if you can neither tie nor buckle your belt because it's too short, you need a larger coat.
  10. Finally, leggings are not pants!


  1. Oh, thank you! I absolutely love this. Has me smiling on a wintery Minnesota morning -- remembering and missing Michigan Avenue. Hope you have a wonderful and (hopefully) restful Sunday.

    Susan M.

  2. All well said. I'm in perfect agreement!

  3. Leggings are not pants...Agreed! But what do you think of this outfit? Is it leggings or skinnies?

  4. #1,2,8,9 and 10 particularly resonate with me. I recall seeing a woman wearing brown leggings at Nordstrom in Seattle and, well, they were thin enough to not only display every lump and bump, but they were actually see-through! I also recall walking up the street behind a lady who had just come from the gym...and her underwear was clearly visible through the fabric of her "pants". If the "leggings" or "jeggings" or what have you are thick enough that those around you cannot see through them even when you bend over then I'm OK with it.

  5. Haahaa!! Made me giggle, and I heartily agree with everything. That "X" vent closure problem and fabric care label problem -- I see them all the time, and it amazes me every time. I wonder sometimes if part of the problem is that so many people are so detached from the construction/design of the clothes they wear -- nobody sews anymore?
    Yes, leggings are not pants!!

  6. Re Burberry: My dissertation director (a classy looking woman) had full Burberry regalia: trench, tote, umbrella, even little hat. That was in the 70s--she probably has them still.

  7. I laughed at the sleeve label - really, why would you want to keep that thing on!

    I've had to instruct friends about the "x" at the bottom of the vent. They were convinced that it should be kept so the shape can be maintained. That only works if you have a flat rear.

    I copied alot of your style labs this weekend to begin my 2012 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge. You have been very instructive in how to put together a core wardrobe that is made more expansive by an unboundaried amount of accessories.

    You are the oracle.