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2019 Fall Fashion: Transitional Pieces

I say this practically every year but fall is really my favourite fashion season. I love all the seemingly endless possibilities that come with layering and being able to play with different textures and materials. Oh, and all the rich colours! There's so many fun ways to pair fall tones.

Unfortunately, fall in Ottawa can be cut short by a cold front that takes us pretty much directly into winter. As much as I enjoy certain fall favourites (like light coats and leather jackets), it's really important to have solid transitional pieces that work well across both seasons so you can get more wear out of your items.

Vintage camel coat (borrowed from mom)
Forever21/H&M chunky scarf (borrowed from mom)
Lilac cashmere sweater from Babaton
Vintage Levis (thrifted)
BP booties from Nordstrom
Fall favourite: Vintage denim
There's something so casual and chic about the washes and cuts in vintage denim that goes so well with the fall colours. A lot of blue denim or even black denim can look too saturated and harsh so I think that's where the softer washes of vintage denim come in. I found this pair of Levis at the thrift store and could not be happier with them. I'm not sure if they were meant to be raw hem or if the previous owner cut the bottom off but they're the perfect length to hit to top of my ankle booties. I couldn't wear this in the winter without feeling too cold on the exposed ankle but these are a definite favourite for those crisp and bright autumn days!

Transitional piece: Chunky scarf
I know I talk a lot about investing in quality pieces but sometimes fast fashion does the job just fine! I genuinely can't remember if this scarf is from Forever21 or H&M even though I was there when mom bought it. Nevertheless, this scarf has lasted a number of years now and still looks great. On lighter fall outfits, it adds extra warmth. On darker winter outfits, the chunky knit and rich coppery tone adds great colour and texture.

Leather jacket from Ted Baker
Turtleneck from Zara
Belt from Gucci (preloved)
Snakeskin print skirt from H&M
Italian suede booties gifted from mom
Fall favourite: Leather jacket
What is fall without breaking out the trusty leather jacket? I wore my previous Danier one to death (I still keep it in Toronto though because I still love it so much!) and am now enjoying my new Ted Baker one. I picked this up at the Nordstrom annual anniversary sale a few years ago. It's an amazing sale in August where new items get dropped at a sale price then go back up after the sale is over. This jacket actually sat in my closet for a while because I couldn't quite fill it out at the time despite buying the right size. I would still open my closet occasionally to admire the supple leather and floral lining. Now that I've been hitting the gym more regularly, it finally looks good on!

Transitional piece: Turtleneck sweater
A turtleneck sweater is a great classic piece to have that carries well from fall to winter. The trick is to find the right weight -- not too thin or too thick. I have a couple of turtleneck sweaters in this weight but this wine red one from Zara definitely gets worn the most (previously seen here). The colour is super rich and lovely and I really appreciate the V design detail on the front that makes it a little more interesting. Some turtlenecks can give the negative illusion of saggy chest due to the extended length between neck and bosom, but I find any visual interest in the chest area will help combat that!

Bell-sleeve blazer from Calvin Klein
Plaid sweater dress from Vince Camuto
Vintage brooch from 613flea
Ankle booties from Aldo

Fall favourite: Black ankle booties
I love black ankle booties and own a couple different pairs! The pair in the first outfit is a dark grey/distressed black pair whereas this is a dressier option with smooth leather and a gold exposed zipper (I also have a lower heel Chelsea boot for every day). Unsurprisingly, these pair well with just about anything and also substitutes well for an office shoe if I didn't feel like changing into heels or flats that day. I used to have different colours in ankle booties but throughout the years, I find that black works the best for my outfits.

Transitional piece: Sweater dress
I love love love this sweater dress and it was such an epiphany when I paired this blazer on top -- double the ruffles! As far as sweater dresses go, I think they're just so cozy and feminine and definitely are a good option for winter at the office. There are lots of bodycon options out there which aren't as office-friendly so I really appreciate this forgiving shift cut. I still wanted to make sure I didn't look too shapeless so the blazer does a good job of providing some waist definition as well.

Vintage Mary Quant bow blouse from Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show
Vintage wool skirt (thrifted)
Guess by Marciano loafer heels (thrifted)
Fall favourite: Feminine blouse
How cute is this vintage blouse?? My friend Joan actually picked it out at the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show and she graciously gifted it to me as it was more my size. At first, I was overwhelmed by the print and wasn't sure how to wear it but it quickly grew on me. The pumpkin-spice tones are perfect for fall and I really just can't get over how cute the bow is! Unlike most modern blouses that are thin and drapey, this one is actually a thicker wool-like material, which is probably why the puffy sleeves and bow keep their shape so well.

Transitional piece: Wool skirt
I don't know if you've noticed but this is the third olive green item in this post (first was the Italian suede booties and then the sweater dress). I think olive green is actually a great fall colour. There are other greens that are more festive and wintery but I love how olive pretty much looks great all year round, but especially paired with the warm rich tones in fall. As it gets colder and colder, I want to wear pants less and less and would rather opt for warm tights and boots. And since I don't have endless sweater dresses, a wool skirt in a pencil cut is a great option for the office as well. It's very ladylike and classy and I love how the vintage ones are super figure flattering. A lot of them have a nice band that really cinches you in right at the smallest part of your waist and bonus: all my vintage skirts have pockets! Major win for sure.

Vintage camel coat (borrowed from mom)
Cropped mustard sweater from Banana Republic
Hi-rise jeans from RW&Co
Booties from Aquatalia (borrowed from mom)
(in case you weren't sure, I did get a haircut in the middle of working on the photos for this post)

Fall favourite: Camel coat
Yes -- it's the same coat from the first outfit! My mom has had this coat for years, it was given to her by my aunt (her older sister) and I've always admired it. The warm caramel/camel colour, the super soft construction (pure cashmere!) the cute plaid inner print that peeks through -- it's a really special coat. There are lots of similar simple drapey coats out there in mainstream stores (notably Wilfred and Aritzia) but they all seem to be a bit thicker and also more stiff, likely due to the mix of other fibres, usually wool which is more sturdy. I've been keeping my eye out for a coat like this but this one has set the bar pretty high! In the meantime, I'll just have to borrow this whenever mom's not wearing it :)

Transitional piece: Mustard sweater
I've had this sweater for almost five years now and it's still one of my favourites. It's rare to find a cropped sweater that isn't too scandalously short and this one hits perfectly at the top of my high-rise jeans. The mustard colour is still as bright as the first day I got it and the cable knit is a classic style that will look good year after year. I paired it here with jeans for a casual look but I am looking forward to wearing this with the wool skirt in the previous outfit for a cozy and professional winter office look.

Vintage cloche from Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show (previously seen here)
Vintage black roll-neck sweater (thrifted)
Vintage skirt from Lilynolan Vintage
Italian suede booties gifted from mom
Fall favourite: Cloches and berets
This was my very first vintage head piece I purchased (I have since acquired a couple more, black one pictured in this outfit here) and I'm so glad I did! There was the initial hesitation of "When would I ever wear something like this? Can I actually wear this out and not feel like I'm wearing a costume?" but given the increasing number of vintage items I've added into my wardrobe, it's actually pretty easy to wear! Most of mine have been from the vintage markets but I've seen a number of cute ones at thrift stores too. Quick collage of my hat selfies (please excuse any silly face I may be making):

can you guess which ones I bought and which ones I didn't?

I find that given my head shape and hairstyle, I tend to prefer hats that have some sort of interesting element, like a bow or something, on the side. Hats with no focal point tend to highlight how round my head is (Nick once laughed at me so hard when I came home in a new hat because he said I looked like I was wearing an astronaut helmet! I returned it after.)

Transitional piece: Black sweater
I've gone back and forth on this one over the years but I'm officially back in black. There was a period in my life where I said "no more black" and tried to collect every other colour out there instead. Now it seems I've come full circle in appreciating how timeless and versatile black is. There's something about black that's so un-distracting that it brings your attention to the details of the piece. In this sweater for example, I love the rolled high neck and the diagonal seams at the arms, and those were the first things I noticed about this sweater, not the colour. I hesitated briefly on the colour again but it was this sweater in particular that made me fully flip back to black.

If you've been following my blog for a while now, you may have noticed that I'm buying more and more vintage and thrifted items. It's funny that it's Black Friday weekend and I haven't bought any new clothing from modern stores. There's a couple of reasons for this change, including ones I've talked about in previous posts such as being more environmentally-conscious and eco-friendly and exploring more of my love for vintage style.

On a more personal note, I briefly mentioned it earlier that I've been hitting the gym and seeing some changes. To be honest, it's been a stressful and challenging journey. It feels like I spent most of my life struggling with being too skinny, and then, just as I was finally starting to build a wardrobe with carefully selected items that fit me well, they didn't anymore. I felt the most frustrated trying to get dressed in the morning and feeling like nothing fit or looked good on me. At one point, I went through my older blog posts to try to find exact outfits that worked in the past, hoping to be able to rely on something tried and true -- and then breaking down when I didn't like what I saw in the mirror.

Don't get me wrong, I love going to the gym and I love how I'm getting stronger and healthier. There are some upsides too, like that Ted Baker leather jacket fitting me better, and I feel more strong and confident in leggings and other athletic wear. I'm just very aware of the fact that this unexpected "growth spurt" isn't as simple as sizing up, but that I have to re-evaluate my entire style and what looks good on this new body shape. For example, modern jeans and pants don't really work for me anymore. I spent one day at the mall literally trying on every pair of jeans and pants at all the stores and left on the verge of tears. When did my legs get so thick? Why does sizing up only make the pant legs longer, but not wider?? Am I really so disproportionately shaped? Plus, I wasn't about to break the bank just to replace my pants when I needed to strategically rebuild my entire wardrobe.

Shopping vintage and thrifting has been the one thing that has worked for me during this journey. A lot of vintage bottoms have the "small waist, loose leg" cut that I need. I've also found like-new items at the thrift store (Banana Republic, Aritzia, etc.) for a fraction of the price so even if they weren't a perfect fit, I could afford to get them tailored. It's also been a really positive experience sharing my struggles with the vintage sellers, many of which I've befriended and have been great about helping me find the right pieces to rebuild my style.

I know that the answer to my problems is not just new clothes, but that there's a mentality shift needed as well. I need to come to terms that the girl in the mirror is the new me and let go of my previous mental image of what I'm supposed to look like. It's an ongoing journey so thank you to everyone who has helped me so far.

I hope you liked these outfits and photos! Thanks for reading :)


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