Last Minute Substitution


Sweater: Harrogate by Amy Herzong; elsa wool woolen-spun worsted in white; my notes and modifications on Chalybs
Skirt: Alice + Olivia Milo suede skirt; similar styles by Forever 21, bcbgeneration, and Red Valentino
Blazer: Smythe wool blazer; similar colors (the funky shoulder thing makes the style pretty unique) by Calvin Klein and A.L.C. (and this looks like a pretty good deal if you're in the market)
Shoes: Gucci crocodile peep toes; similar styles by Ivanka Trump, Gucci (with logo), and Ted Baker
Lips: Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel in Showstopper
Nails: Essie in chinchilly with matte topcoat (thanks, pinterest)

Today's post was going to be amazing. I was going to have a new sweater, a new skirt, and new shoes. I was going to be a newness cavalcade. And everything was going to match amazingly well: the nails match both colors in the sweater and skirt, the lips match a color in the skirt, the new shoes likewise. I was going to look like the kind of adult who has her shit together, even if she can't manage to book a haircut (Saturday, it's happening, for seriouses). This plan was totally in effect until 10:15 last night. It was just me, ESPN's 30 for 30 on the Leonard/Duran matchup, and a mere 3" left to go on the turtleneck part of the test knit I'm doing When I looked down at the turtleneck, however, I noticed something very upsetting: somewhere around 3" into it, I had messed up a total of 6 stitches of broken rib. I knit two more rounds attempting to ignore it. Then I realized that since the mistake was on the front of the sweater, it had to be rectified. So I inserted another needle into those 6 stitches before the mistake an unraveled everything above, assuming I could just use a trusty crochet hook to right the wrong. Which I could, but not without mountains of extra yarn and super loose stitches - a phenomenon I can't quite grok, but one which made the time I took to fix the problem (and it took me several tries because I kept missing a row somewhere) completely and utterly wasted. I had to admit defeat. 4" of turtleneck will have to be ripped out. And while there are some souls who, at 11pm can power through, I am not one of those souls. I need a tremendous amount of beauty sleep to emerge even somewhat human. I will very much attempt to finish today so that tomorrow or Wednesday I can show off.

Which brings us to today's outfit. A great number of my Rhinebeck friends sprinted to, and loaded up on, cormo wool, and who can blame them. The stuff is really really soft, makes great cables, and likely has curative powers (the last one is a joke). I know this because I was fortunate enough to make this sweater from cormo wool earlier in the year and simply adore it. I loved Amy's choice of cables too. What I didn't love, was the idea of knitting this in pieces from the bottom up. So I spent some time with notebook and pen to make this sweater top-down and in the round. A surprisingly simple feat, by the way. It's just a question of being able to read numbers backwards. I also think that I might have decided that in the cable vs. lace wars, I come down on the side of cables. This weekend, I tried to wear one of my sweaters with lace and I just don't love feeling that I ought to wear a camisole underneath. Also, those holes in the fabric make me cold. So this warm, cozy, cabled sweater is something I need more of.

The skirt is one of my infamous buy-the-same-thing-in-more-than-one-color purchases. I also have this skirt in army green. I waited until both went on 75% sale and, as a result feel very good about myself when I wear them. The blazer is another sale-stalked item. Smythe is a Canadian company that saw its desireability skyrocket after Duchess Kate wore one of its blue blazers. I originally saw this blazer in a photo spread in InStyle magazine (2011 I think) and ripped the page out to stare at because it was so so cool. It was also so so $700. It is true that I saw the blazer in person at Saks with my dad during the post-Christmas sale that year, but it was still $350 and I wasn't in a position to spend that kind of money that year (we had sort of just blown all our money on a three-week honeymoon). I did, however, ascertain what size I was (and nota bene to anyone who ever wants to purchase a Smythe blazer - they run INCREDIBLY small. I wear a size up from what I would wear (I know this from dress-up, not from purchases) in couture clothing which is 2 sizes up from what I wear at The Gap). About two weeks later, I was looking at the next round of holiday markdowns when I saw that the previously sold-out blazer was back in stock at Bergdorf's (I love you, returns) and for less than $200. Sign from the shopping gods to be certain. Signed, sealed, delivered, and I haven't regretted it a single day. It is amazingly well made. The fabric is of such terrific quality, the lining is flawless, the cut superb. In other words, Smythe has done enough to make me seriously consider, when and if my finances allow, purchasing their goods at full price. The difference between this blazer I got on sale for about $200 and the blazer I'd pay $200 for full-price at J.Crew is like the difference between the chicken you lovingly roast in your house and a mcnugget. Which is my long way of saying (again) that quality is worth the price in instances where the buyer can reasonably afford it; and that it might be worth having only one blazer you paid $400 for vs. 4 $100 blazers.

Finally, I'd like the thank pinterest for my nails. I saw this pop up on my feed last week, taking the beloved Essie color chinchilly and finishing it with a matte top coat. As both items were already in my house, this seemed a no brainer. I did a kind of crappy job, but I like the idea of this and look to incorporate the matte topcoat more this year.


  1. Which matte topcoat do you have? Mine has sporadically stopped working (as in, I apply the polish and only some of the nails turn matte).

    1. I have the Essie "Matte About You" and it's the only one I've ever owned so I don't have a point of comparison, but I feel like if I wanted it to be MATTE, a second coat might be useful. I would class my existing manicure as matte-ish.

  2. "I also think that I might have decided that in the cable vs. lace wars, I come down on the side of cables."

    Oh, I am so right there with you! I get annoyed with heavier-weight sweater patterns with lace elements -- if I'm already wearing that much warmth, I don't want to have add ANOTHER layer to cover up my undergarments!

    Your Harrogate is awesome. And thank you for the tips on choosing to purchase quality items. I am realizing the truth of this as I get older. :)

    1. I should mention that what those items are will differ person to person. It might be a blazer and black pumps for me, but a super warm parka and tailored pants for someone else. I just get really upset when I see very little difference in quality between something that costs $20 at H&M and something that costs $200 at a "fancier" retailer. I highly recommend The Outnet for scoring deals on previous season's higher-end clothing (and by deals, I mean I don't bother looking until we're north of 60% off) - I got my much-coveted Alexander Wang dress there and am delighted with it.