December 17, 2021
Not Feeling Festive…
It hasn’t been a festive year for her, and she is really struggling to get in the mood for her holiday trip…
But, assuming that she will be able to travel during the health crisis, she knows that she’s going to have to pack! Her family doesn’t do anything amazing for the holidays – she will spend a lot of days in the house with the older family members, and some time walking outdoors with younger people. Cooking, helping clean up, reminiscing…
She decides to pack mostly neutrals – grey, navy, brown, and ivory – with a couple of pieces in dark green. It will be an interesting challenge to mix things together, and will be somber enough to reflect her state of mind. This is NOT the year for Christmas tree light bulb earrings that light up, at least not for her!
Her wardrobe has a look of somber richness that pleases her; it reflects her feelings of seriousness, but also her feelings of abundance and good fortune:
Her family are not the kind to comment on what she wears unless it’s really outrageous. Still, she likes to be certain that she will be able to assemble outfits to her satisfaction:
At least she’s packing her reindeer brooch!
Many of us are NOT traveling for the winter holidays, but we will be merry, in our own quiet fashion…
p.s. Eight years ago, I shared some of my ideas about how to wear a silk blouse to work, and then on to the after-work holiday party…
Start With Art is one of my favorite launching points.
The striped T is wonderful.
And, noted that Talbots has a superb collection of holiday brooches.
Chris in Indy says
I have a small collection of vintage holiday brooches – mostly snowflakes. They make my outfit look festive regardless of the colors I’m wearing.
I have quite a few rhinestone brooches inherited from my mom. Clustering two or three on my shoulder never fails to get compliments! There’s an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow (Rhinestone Rosie?) who wears outrageous jewelry with conservative clothes and looks great.
You have some lovely jewelry – I can vouch!
I am loving this somber palette. Feels stable. I used to be all about brights but not so much any more.
I find I’m craving a light palette this season. I’m finding it uplifting. Just received a winter white insulated coat from Land’s End although I’m not sure when I’ll wear it. It will be in the 80s yet again today. I think winter is skipping Central Texas this year.
Another Janice says
The wardrobe of a Woman of a Certain Age who has done some traveling and knows herself well — and may have majored in Art History. You’ve hit it out of the park, Janice.
Sandra Behler says
Thank you! This is my mood exactly this year. I won’t be traveling but will mine my closet for similar outfits. You are a blessing Happy Holidays to you!
ok, you just helped me crystallize my holiday wardrobe for the next couple weeks (lots of hanging out with various relatives who span a broad range of dressiness), which feels plenty festive to me without any reindeer whatsoever! some of us feel fancy in neutrals…. ?. those lookback posts on desk-to-dinner are genius!
It’s uncanny – this is exactly the palette I’m packing for Christmas with my family, and for precisely the same reasons. Nice to see it organized for me!
NATALIE K says
I found this to be such a interesting and exciting mix of clothing colors!! I LOVE this Travel Wardrobe!! I sooo wish you would do a large wardrobe like this!!!
I’m so happy that you started with a painting that includes green in the wardrobe palette.
This is the perfect winter capsule wardrobe. Add a denim skirt and a grey sweatshirt dress and this would be my go to for the winter. Thank you!
This is just lovely. I like the idea of it, and the colors. That being said, I’m just not sure I could do the dark clothing unless it was on a limited basis. My bright colors tend to cheer me up on dark rainy Seattle days, especially since we’ve been under modified safety protocols and not able to open our shades. :( Today I have on a mini-top hat with pink and red feathers, a pink reindeer, and pink and red baubles. Do I know how to cheer myself up or what? Have a great weekend everyone!
Beth T says
I’m intrigued to know what you mean by:
“we’ve been under modified safety protocols and not able to open our shades”? Is this something to do with Covid or is the sun too strong? As I live in grey and gloomy Britain, where it gets dark by mid-afternoon, we are pleased to see the sun at this time of year.
However your headgear sounds fun and will brighten up any day and bring a smile to people who you meet.
Beth. Sadly, what I meant was due to threats (involving guns) against one of our students at the school we had to keep all the shades drawn so no one could see in. Yes, it’s a Middle School. The previous Friday we’d been under a full lockdown, last week it was “only” modified safety protocols. Still stressful.
Emergency preparedness is on my mind. I think of it as somewhere between a weekend bag and 1-2 weeks. But how do you pack for changing seasons, but still have what you need if the time comes. I would love to see your take on adding this into my lifestyle. Possibly helpful is that my colours are based around medium denim with light sky blue, oatmeal and of course lots of basic black. And awkwardly navy lol. I truly enjoy your practical yet elegant way of looking at clothing.
I think my plan is going to be to put a note on my calendar every 28th of the month (my birthday is on the 29th, but that would miss February) to double-check my emergency bag for tasty snacks that need to be updated, prescriptions that should be rotated out in favor of newer medicine, and more seasonal clothes.
That’s the best I’ve thought of so far, but I’m really eager to know if there’s any other things to consider…
Linda if it helps I have the same few items year round in my emergency pack. Black pants, 2 white cotton T-shirt type tank tops and a thin black merino wool V neck pullover. I keep a pale cream & pale taupe striped scarf and a pair of “pearl” studs. My thinking is that I can coordinate easily with whatever pants, top and cardigan or jacket I’m wearing at the time. I wear similar tones to you.
I use my kit as my spot for fresh spares of makeup and Rx meds. As I need a new one it comes out of the kit, and a fresh one goes in. Mascara, skin care and my thyroid meds have good turnover that way. A couple of times a year I go through and check for outdated over the counter meds.
Sally in St Paul says
I have a question to throw out here to the commentariat: What do you guys think about pants lengths and heel heights? Our heroine has a pair of flat moccasins and a pair of ankle boots with a 3″ heel in her capsule. Will both pairs work with all 3 pairs of pants? When I clicked through on the links on the pants, I was surprised to see how short the models were wearing what appear to be intended as full length pants. Perhaps it’s old-fashioned…or a remnant of my personal history as a tall kid…but I think pants that are short enough for the mocs will look like high waters with the 3″ heel boots unless they are a skinny-ish cut or are clearly intended to be a cropped length. I’m also curious where you all land on pants lengths and heel heights generally.
A lot of women are wearing their hems higher than they used to. Personally, I like the longer lengths and feel a little uncomfortable with the ankle length pants. I think they “cut” the leg and make them look shorter (the legs).
I still can’t fathom how someone wears a parka, mittens, a scarf, and then has bare ankles. It’s just illogical, regardless of how unflattering I personally find the look…
That said, I never see a woman over the age of 40 with bare ankles! We are wise…
Suzanne S says
I’m 52 & the majority of my bottoms are ankle length skinny/slim pants & jeans and my ankles are almost always bare. I live in the south so I never wear a parka nor deal with mittens. The slim ankle length style looks best on my round body shape (no waist at all + my tops are 2 sizes larger than my bottoms). It’s nice that fashion seems to be going in a direction where there are styles for every body shape.
I have my pants hemmed to fall to the top of my heel in the back – i.e. they cover the leather “body” of the shoe in the back. When I wear loafers, they cover the back of my shoe, and my heel shows. When I wear boots, they cover the back of my boots, and the heels show. I’ve never struggled with this the way I know so many women do…
Every piece is my type of wearable. All I would change are the two navy pieces (I think the ombre is grey? If it isn’t I’d get one in grey) to a maroon/burgundy sort of red.
I wouldn’t bother with the accessories, but that’s me.
Beth T says
My family try to jolly me along at Christmas. I’ve just lost my love for it over the past 10 years as it is has become more secular, tawdry and marketed so we should all strive to achieve the “perfect Christmas”.
However, this palette is a bit gloomy for me. I am wearing pastel colours as well as rich pinks, purple and teal. I also have several Christmas and seasonal brooches and various sparkly necklaces and bracelets. Inexpensive but they catch the light and uplift an ordinary outfit.
After last year’s “cancelled Christmas” I’m not holding out much hope that it wont happen again as cases of this new variant are rapidly increasing and people rush to get boosters (I had mine today). So my Christmas dinner is in the freezer or will keep, just in case we can’t meet up till Easter.
Oh dear if this Debbie Downer appeared at my door as a house guest over the holidays I would pray that she leaves Boxing Day morn and takes that less than festive wardrobe with her. Maybe leave the accessories. If you don’t come to celebrate, Darling please stay home. The world is far too gloomy to inflict one’s ennui on others this season. Have a glass of champagne, a bite or two of foie gras and loosen up that corset!
michelle delloch says
You know, on paper this does look a bit gloomy, but all the outfits work, and work well.
They all look smart, and are practical for visiting relatives. No fancy dinner clothes, but perhaps these aren’t fancy people (like us)!
Maybe the heroine has a really lovely ivory coat and hat…
I agree. For a person who is soft and muted this would look lovely. On a bold and bright person it would look drab. And I like that it is a little bit cool and a little warm. Neutral. The ivory outerwear would work well. And I see a pair of elastic waist pants in case there is a big dinner.
Those of us with muted coloring recognize this wardrobe! I can’t do the brown in that shade—I need more grey in it—but I love the muted blue and green. I’m wearing my muted holiday cowl sweatshirt today to church, a lovely soft burgundy from LL Bean that I saw first on this blog and enjoy every year. I hope this heroine, and all of us, are surprised by more beauty than we expect this season.
I think those who say this is a gloomy wardrobe may not be making enough allowance for how different it looks on the page as opposed to on the person. Many years ago, when I was for various reasons at my parents’ house to support them, I asked my sister to pick up a couple of extra long-sleeve T-shirts from a supermarket on her way to visit. She kindly did so, but apologised on arrival that due to the limited colours available in my size, all she’d been able to get for the 2nd one was a light olive green. Our colourings are very different, but she was still staggered when I put it on: she said she would never have thought that colour would look good on anyone.
Anna Harris says
I am intrigued by the mood implied in this colour combo, given that it’s my colour scheme for my 4 by 4 wardrobe. I don’t wear a light colour like ivory, so mine has a beige instead. I adore grey, but it only shows up as an accent. The other accent colour I include often is red – a colour that would have pepped up this dear ladies mood. I am aware that red can be bold, bright and overwhelming – which is why I only own one red dress and people accuse me of looking like Santa when I wear it. Thank goodness for all those other colours in the pallette to tone it down.
Thank you so much for sharing these colours,… I’ve been watching your site for the longest time and needing help on this colour pallette. ?
nina t says
The “in transit” photo had me at a dead stop, clicking the link to that scarf before I could go any further. That one is absolute!