Overcoat overload

LogoOur beautiful fall weather is rapidly disappearing and winter is on the horizon. It’s time to begin bringing out winter coats and boots. As I thought about doing that, I decided that this week would be a good time to purge my wardrobe of some of the jackets and coats that have been taking up closet space and not being worn. I decided to take a similar approach to my scarf edit of a few weeks ago.  

I started by rounding up all my coats and jackets from various closets around the house and hanging them in one place, the guest room closet. There were 25 of them. Yes, 25! Even with four distinct seasons, no woman needs 25 coats! 

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The next step was the easiest. Pulling out the coats and jackets that I wear regularly, I moved the fall and winter ones to the hall closet and those that I only use in the warmer seasons to the hanging rack in the basement storage room. I also pulled out the jean jackets that I wear from time to time throughout the year and moved them to a different closet.

Next came the much more difficult task of deciding what to do with the 13 items that remained. I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be when it comes to getting rid of things which is why I ended up with 25 coats and jackets in the first place!

Two items were put aside to keep for sentimental reasons. The first, a vintage reversible wool cape, originally belonged to my mother. Forty-four years ago, on a blustery October day much like today, I wore it over my wedding dress. Thirty years later, my daughter wore it over hers on a stormy mid December day. Though I’ve only worn it a handful of times, it has become a family heirloom and I won’t be parting with it. Since capes are very much on trend this fall, I moved it to the front closet where I might remember to wear it this year.

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The second item that I’m keeping for strictly sentimental reasons is a patchwork jacket that I made for myself from recycled jeans a long time ago. I made a similar one for my very dear friend, Joan. When she lost her valiant battle with breast cancer in 2006, Joan’s husband returned it to me and the two jackets have been hanging side by side in our storage room ever since. Mine has been returned to that spot and they will stay there, a reminder of an enduring friendship that was cut short far too soon. 

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That left me with 11 coats and jackets to decide what to do with, but I hadn’t got rid of any yet! The next step was to try each one on, stand in front of the mirror, and ask myself, “Does this fit well?” “Is the colour right for me?” “Do I love it?” and probably most important, “How likely am I to ever wear this again?” At that point, the donate pile began to grow quickly!

Soon I was down to just three jackets hanging in the closet; three beautiful leather jackets that originally belonged to my very generous sister-in-law, Sue. She often shares with me when she cleans out her own closets. I’ve had the jackets for quite awhile and don’t expect to wear them again, but I hesitate to drop them off at the thrift store with the rest of my donate items because I know that that they’ll be sold for far less than they’re worth. I thought about trying to sell them on one of the buy and sell sites that I belong to on Facebook, but I don’t really want to profit from them, especially when I didn’t buy them in the first place. Then I had an idea. After consulting with Sue, who gave her enthusiastic approval, I’ve decided to sell the jackets and donate the proceeds to neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) research. The recent CNETS HOOFING IT Across Canada fundraiser that I took part in fell a little short of our $100 000 goal, so every bit that we patients can add will help! 

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A Covid Thanksgiving

If you use social media at all, I’m sure you’ve seen a myriad of memes and posts bemoaning the somewhat bizarre year that 2020 has turned out to be.

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Then there are the “If 2020…” memes. At least some of them add a bit of humour to our current predicament. 

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But has it really been that bad? I see posts from people claiming that 2020 has been the worst year of their life. If that’s the case, I’m thinking that perhaps they’re very young or maybe they’ve just lived a charmed life. I can think of at least three years in my life that have been worse than this one, but that’s not what I want to write about today.

Thanksgiving

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, traditionally a time for families to gather and enjoy a festive meal together. For many of us, it’s a very different and much quieter celebration this year. Here in Canada, we’re experiencing a second wave and many of the new Covid-19 cases have been the result of large family gatherings. Though we live in a rural area where the numbers have remained relatively low, all of our children and grandchildren live in urban settings where that is not the case. As a result, we’ve chosen not to get together to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. In spite of the fact that hubby and I are alone this holiday weekend, I cooked a tiny (8.5 pound) turkey with all the trimmings yesterday. It may be far from an ordinary year, but that’s no reason to completely forgo those things that bring us joy!

Without the happy sounds of children and no one gathered around a board game on the kitchen table, the house is very quiet, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have much to be thankful for. In the solitude of this unusual Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve had much opportunity to contemplate how very blessed we are. Even in the midst of a pandemic such as we’ve never experienced before, there is so much to give thanks for. I’m reminded of one of my favourite passages of scripture, Philippians 4:6-7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (emphasis my own)

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Though the list of things that I’m thankful for is very long, this image pretty much sums it up for me. In spite of two cancers and several other diagnoses, I feel great and I’m able to live a full and active life. I have access to excellent, free health care. I have a comfortable home that’s in the process of undergoing a complete facelift. My family may be scattered today, but I’m so proud of the adults that my children have become and the spouses they’ve chosen. Of course, I’m also head over heels in love with the seven grandchildren that they’ve added to the clan. As sad as it was to lose my elderly father earlier this year, I’m grateful that he went before the pandemic struck, that we were able to be with him in his final hours, and that we could celebrate his life together with friends and family. And where would we be without friends? I’m so thankful for the ones that God has blessed me with, both far and near. Finally, there’s food. Along with safe, clean drinking water, food is something that we tend to take for granted, but I’m mindful of the fact that, while I can cook a whole turkey for two people, there are many in this world who don’t know where their next meal is coming from and who may be going to bed hungry tonight. No, for most of us, 2020 has not been that bad! 

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Clothing that endures

LogoThis week, I finally had to admit that fall is here (actually, it has been for awhile) and that it was time to do my seasonal closet switch. As I put away my spring/summer wardrobe and brought out fall/winter, I thought about the fact that some of the pieces have been with me for a very long time while others have come and gone. 

What makes an item an enduring one? I think there are several factors. I’m going to use some photos from previous Fashion Friday posts to explain. The date below each picture is a link to the original post that it appeared in. 

Believe it or not, everything that you see in this photo is still in my wardrobe, but it’s the grey and white Breton striped t-shirt that I want to focus on today. Purchased at Reitmans, it wasn’t new four and a half years ago when this photo was taken, but it continues to be a workhorse in my wardrobe for two important reasons. First, it’s a classic piece, not a trend that looks dated after a season or two. Second, it’s good quality. It’s been worn countless times and has stood up to many, many washings. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was expensive. In fact, it wasn’t. I have t-shirts that are much newer than this one and that cost significantly more that are starting to sag around the neckline. I know that this well-loved piece won’t last forever though, so I’m already watching for something similar to replace it with when it finally wears out.

Animal prints are amongst those things that never seem to go out of style. They’re like neutrals with a bolder twist. Another reason that some items, including this one, stay in my wardrobe for many years is fit. I have the good fortune to have maintained a fairly steady weight throughout my adult life, so changing size hasn’t been an issue for me, but like most post-menopausal women, there’s a little more me around the middle than there used to be. This t-shirt’s body skimming fit doesn’t cling and disclose those bulges. 

Here’s another animal print that has passed the test of time. I have no idea how long I’ve had it, but I’m sure that it’s more than 20 years old! It spent several of those years in storage before I decided to resurrect it a couple of years ago. I try to adhere to the wisdom of getting rid of things that I haven’t worn in the past year or two, but once in awhile a well-loved piece takes up long term residence on the hanging rack at the back end of our storage room and waits for a day when it might brought back into circulation.

The popularity of plaid seems to wax and wane a bit from season to season, but like stripes, animal prints, florals, and polka dots, it’s a timeless pattern. The fact that this shirt is very well made is another reason to keep it in my closet year after year. Look how perfectly the pattern lines up across the front. That’s always a sign of good construction. In addition, there’s a hidden button at the bust line that completely eliminates the possibility of gaping. Again, quality doesn’t have to be expensive. I got this one for $3 at the thrift store! 

This simple lace overlay dress has been in my closet year round for about six years. It’s my little black dress that isn’t black. It’s an excellent traveller and can easily be dressed up or down. In fact, here it is dressed down with sneakers and another classic piece that I’ve had for years, a basic jean jacket. 

So, again, what makes an item an enduring one? Timeless pattern and style, good quality, good fit, versatility, and perhaps most important of all, it has to be something that you love and that you don’t grow tired of!

Do you have anything that’s been in your closet for a very long time? Do you still wear it? Please tell us about it in the comments section.   

My kind of birthday

If the weather permits and we’re not travelling, I usually like to play a round of golf on my birthday, but today I decided that I wanted to spend some more time hiking and kayaking instead. I just can’t get enough of the glorious fall weather that we’ve been enjoying and what could be better than spending it out in nature?

Big Knife Provincial Park on the Battle River is one of our favourite places within an hour of home, especially at this time of year. The campground closed in early September, but the park gates are still open which means that the hiking trails and boat launch are still accessible.

For today’s hike we decided to take a path less travelled. In fact, the trail that we chose doesn’t even appear on the park maps. I think it’s really just an animal trail that is occasionally used by humans. We first discovered it several years ago when we were doing some geocaching in the park, but we hadn’t hiked it again since then.

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The trail begins with a fairly steep climb to the top of the bluff shown above and then follows along the ridge. 

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Apparently, I took more photos looking back than ahead!

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The path eventually leads to The Hoodoos, a mini badlands area, and then joins the River Flats trail system . 

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If this is what 68 looks like, I’m good with it!

After hiking part of the River Flats trails and having our picnic lunch along the way, we headed for the river and launched the kayak. When you’re on a hiking trail, a river, or a lake, there’s no Covid, no politics, no racism, no hoaxes or conspiracies. There’s just you and nature; just beautiful peace and quiet!

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We spent three hours paddling. Every time we’ve been on the river in the fall, we’ve seen a blue heron. I always hope that we’ll be able to get close enough to get a good photo, but they’re very elusive, taking flight as soon as we get anywhere near. Today, it was almost as if the heron was playing with us. Every time we got close, it flew a short distance upriver and then appeared to be waiting for us to catch up. We never did get close enough to get the picture I was hoping for though!

This muskrat, on the other hand, was quite unconcerned with our presence. He was sunning himself in this same spot when we passed by on our way up the river. He slipped into the water and disappeared, but when we returned, he’d obviously decided that we were no threat and continued to sunbathe while we stopped to take his picture. In fact, if you zoom in, you’ll see that his eyes are even closed! 

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We got back to town in time to clean up and go out for supper. That’s definitely my kind of birthday… a day in the great outdoors and no cooking! 

Anniversary getaway

Hubby and I celebrated our 44th anniversary on Friday with an overnight getaway to Wapasu Lake, a tiny dot on the map just an hour north of home. We started our day with a hike at Wapasu Conservancy Park. While our wedding day was cool and blustery, Friday was a perfect fall day. The trail was absolutely gorgeous with the sun shining through the canopy of golden leaves. 

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We started our hike with a climb to a high point that offers a view of the lake and surrounding area. 

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Wapasu is a Cree word meaning white swan. When the trail took us back down to the lakeside, there was a large flock of Canada geese and one pair of swans swimming some distance from the shore. While I didn’t get a very clear photo of the swans, I did manage to capture some of the geese taking flight.

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Further along, we enjoyed a peaceful picnic lunch overlooking the lake.

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After about two and a half hours on the trail, we returned to our starting point and took the kayak out on the lake. There was a strong breeze blowing that whipped up some significant waves. I got pretty wet when the occasional one broke over the bow of the boat, but it was fun! The lake is small so even contending with the waves, it took less than an hour to paddle our way around it.

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After changing into dry clothes, it was time for the next part of our anniversary getaway and we didn’t have far to go. Beachside Bed and Breakfast is located just outside the park boundary. Though the B&B has three guest rooms, occupancy has been reduced to one family group at a time to ensure safe distancing during the Covid pandemic, so we had the entire guest portion of the house to ourselves. After settling into our lovely room, we relaxed with a glass of wine on the deck overlooking the lake until it was time to go for dinner.

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The only restaurant in the vicinity is a truck stop at the nearby village of Innisfree, but it’s located on a hilltop with a beautiful view and, as is typical of truck stops, the food was tasty and plentiful. The sun was setting over the lake as we returned to the B&B. After another glass of wine on the deck, we went for a walk along the sandy beach in the fading light. 

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That brought the outdoor portion of our beautiful anniversary day to an end, but there was still a jacuzzi tub and a king size bed awaiting our return to the B&B! 

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Styling an old favourite

LogoI don’t wear dresses very often, but since our church reopened its doors in early July, I think I’ve worn a dress or a skirt every Sunday morning. I sometimes dress more casually for church, even wearing jeans on occasion, but since we haven’t been going very many places in recent months, it’s been nice to have a reason to dress up once a week. 

Fall has definitely descended on us here on the Canadian prairie and it was quite chilly this past Sunday morning. When I went to my closet to choose something to wear, I realized that almost all my dresses are better suited to the warm summer months. Then I spotted something in the back of the closet that I’d totally forgotten about.

I have no idea how long I’ve had the long, faux suede, sleeveless shirt dress, but it’s probably been in my closet for 20 years or more. It’s one of those pieces that I never got rid of simply because I’ve always loved it. It actually appeared on the blog almost exactly eight years ago, three and a half years before I started my weekly fashion feature! Here’s how I styled it then. The olive colour, very much on-trend this fall, is actually truer in this photo than in the ones we took on Sunday.  

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So, back to Sunday morning. I looked at this old favourite and wondered how I could style it for a chilly fall morning. Clearly, I would need to wear it over something with sleeves. I pulled out the Garden Blouse from the cabi Fall 2018 Collection which you saw earlier this year on this post and decided that it worked. Though the dress has a matching belt, I thought it looked better unbelted. 

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As I mentioned, it was a chilly morning and though you can’t tell from the photos, the wind was blowing. We snapped a few very quick pictures and headed back indoors! 

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Covid-19 continues to keep me out of the stores and shopping my own closet, but I do think I need to add some warmer dresses to my fashion wish list for the day when I’m finally able to go shopping again! In the meantime, I’m going to be looking for some more ways to style this old favourite with pieces that I already have. 

Hitting the Covid-19 wall

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Do you feel like you’ve hit a wall where Covid-19 is concerned? Have you simply had enough with all the restrictions imposed by the pandemic? I know I have!

I admit that as retirees, we’ve had it easier than many. We don’t have jobs or a business to worry about or children at home. My father, our last remaining parent, passed away ten days before the World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, so we don’t have elderly parents in care facilities to worry about. Nevertheless, I’ve definitely hit the proverbial wall. Like many others, I’m tired and frustrated.

Experts tell us that this isn’t unusual. Dr. Aisha Ahmad, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto who has has conducted fieldwork on conflict dynamics in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Lebanon, Mali, and Kenya, recently summed it up this way: “The 6 month mark in any sustained crisis is always difficult. We have all adjusted to this “new normal”, but might now feel like we’re running out of steam. Yet, at best, we are only 1/3 the way through this marathon. How can we keep going? First, in my experience, this is a very normal time to struggle or slump. I always hit a wall 6 months into a tough assignment in a disaster zone. The desire to “get away” or “make it stop” is intense. I’ve done this many times, and at 6 months, it’s like clockwork.”

With the pandemic dragging on and no end in sight, it’s easy to become discouraged. In our part of the world summer is over. The days are getting shorter and the hours of darkness longer. We’ve enjoyed beautiful fall weather throughout the month of September, but the long cold winter is just around the corner. People will soon feel more shut in than ever. Add to that the fact that Thanksgiving is almost upon us (we celebrate it in October in Canada) and not long after that, Christmas. Those are times when families usually come together to celebrate, but much of the spread of Covid-19 over the summer has been the result of family gatherings. There’s a lot of uncertainty in many families about how to observe these holidays this year. 

One of my greatest sources of frustration is the urge to travel. It may not make sense to a lot of people, but wanderlust (a deep, uncontrollable desire to travel and explore the world) is real. With interprovincial travel discouraged and international borders closed, I’m beginning to feel trapped. Yesterday, I jumped in the vehicle and drove down country roads just to try to appease that feeling! 

Then there’s frustration over the divisiveness of this thing. With more than 1 million deaths due to Covid worldwide, there are still those who believe that it’s a hoax or a conspiracy cooked up by “the” government to take control of our lives. I still haven’t figured out which government they’re referring to or why they think that all the governments of the world would come together to destroy their own economies! I was actually told yesterday that it’s all a plot to derail the upcoming election in the United States! What ever happened to calamity drawing people together? It certainly hasn’t happened this time! 

Anyway, enough of my ranting! Thankfully, Dr. Ahmad also offers hope. “This is my first pandemic, but not my first 6 month wall. So, what can I share to help you? First, the wall is real and normal. And frankly, it’s not productive to try to ram your head through it. It will break naturally in about 4-6 weeks if you ride it out.” I sure hope she’s right! 

In the meantime, what can we do to help alleviate that hitting the wall feeling? Nicole Haughton, a registered psychologist based in Toronto, suggests that that maintaining a proper diet, exercising regularly, going out for fresh air, and engaging in spiritual practices or mindful meditation can be beneficial to mental health during this time.

For me, writing about my feelings is cathartic, but here are a few other suggestions:

  • Give yourself something to look forward to. I can’t plan a major trip right now, but I can plan an overnight getaway for our upcoming anniversary. 
  • Step back from social media and limit the amount of news you consume. I definitely need to take this one to heart!
  • Clean out or reorganize something. It could be the kitchen cupboards, a closet, a filing cabinet, or the garage. The simple act of bringing organization to chaos where we’re able to can be very freeing. I did a lot of this back in the early days of Covid-19, but it’s been awhile. Now it’s time to do my seasonal wardrobe switch and reorganize my closet for winter. Having some “new” clothes to wear might also be a pick me up. 
  • Start a gratitude journal. It’s easy to spiral into negativity, but even in these strange and somewhat difficult days, we all have much to be thankful for.  

Finally, psychologist, Dr. Heather McLean, asks her clients to rate themselves on this scale and tells them, “If you see you are on the low end of any of these these, get busy and problem solve, think outside the box, and ask others for help on how to fix it.” 

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Though the pandemic is likely going to be with us much longer than anyone hoped or predicted, I do trust that it will come to an end. For now, I just need to focus on getting through this blasted six month wall instead of bashing my head against it!

Emanuel Ungaro scarf

LogoAs I mentioned in my last post, I buy most of my scarves in thrift stores. Thrift store shopping is always a treasure hunt, but once in awhile you’re lucky enough to find something particularly interesting. Everything I purchase second-hand is washed before I wear it and it wasn’t until I was ironing one of my latest purchases that I realized what I’d bought. Sewn into the edge of the scarf, visible but not obvious, was the name emanuel ungaro.

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Emanuel Ungaro (1933-2019) was a French fashion designer who, after working for famed couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga, went on to found the fashion house in Paris that still bears his name. He attracted celebrity customers known for their good taste in fashion including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Adjani. Second-hand Emanuel Ungaro scarves sell online for anywhere from $15 CAD to several hundred dollars. I bought mine for 50 cents! 

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It was the colours in the scarf that caught my eye and caused me to add it to my bag, particularly the olive green which is a favourite of mine and on-trend this fall. I also like the clear violet and light lilac, both part of my Spring colour palette. They remind me of the little flowers that are so prevalent along the hiking trails that we love so much at this time of year.

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These purple colours are sadly lacking from my wardrobe. In fact, they only appear in these favourite earrings, a gift from my sister-in-law. Perhaps I need to remedy that!   

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Depending on size and fabric, there are numerous ways to wear a square scarf and plenty of tutorials online to show you how. Here’s the super simple cowgirl style which shows off the colours nicely. I’m wearing it with a plain white Uniqlo t-shirt and the olive green shirt/jacket that I showed you here. It was also thrifted.

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And here’s another very simple option. 

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Do you enjoy thrift store shopping? Have you found any treasures?

Scarves, scarves, scarves!

LogoFall is a beautiful season, but bittersweet because it means that our long, cold winter is just around the corner. At this time of year, I’m always reluctant to put my summer clothes away because I keep hoping that there will be a few more truly warm days and that I’ll still need them. Realistically, however, the days are getting shorter and cooler and I’m wearing mostly transitional pieces. While I haven’t switched my closet from spring/summer to fall/winter yet, I have started making some small moves in that direction. A few summer clothes that weren’t used at all this year have already been dropped off at the thrift store and this week, in preparation for fall, I decided to take a serious look at my scarf collection. 

IMG_1449I have a few warm, wooly scarves for outdoor wear in the depths of winter, but for this exercise, I was addressing only what I’d call my fashion scarves. I started by gathering them all together in one place. There were infinity scarves, rectangular scarves, square scarves, and even a few very tiny scarves. There were animal prints, polka dots, stripes, and a variety of other patterns. As you can see, there were lots of earth tones, some blues, greens, and greys, and a few pops of other colours. For a woman who doesn’t wear scarves very often, I seem to have a lot of them! A couple were gifts and a couple belonged to my mother-in-law before she passed away, but I picked up the vast majority of them at the local thrift stores over the past few years. Some I’ve never actually worn! It was time to decide which ones to keep and which ones to move along. A scarf doesn’t take up much space, but getting dressed is so much easier when your wardrobe is pared down to only those items that will actually be worn.  

I decided to start by separating my scarf collection into three piles… ones I’ve worn regularly in the past, ones I don’t wear and probably never will, and ones I’d like to wear but haven’t figured out how yet. This method can actually work well for everything in your closet, but for now I was focusing only on scarves. The don’t wear pile was set aside for my next trip to the thrift store. Hopefully someone else will enjoy those ones. Next, I went through the favourites pile and took a closer look at each of them. One of them was badly worn with lots of little catches in the fabric. It was time to let that one go too. The rest of that group went into my closet on handy scarf hangers purchased at the dollar store. 

Over the next while as I do the rest of my seasonal closet switch, I’ll play around with the final few; the scarves that I like but haven’t quite figured out how to wear with my existing wardrobe. Hopefully they’ll result in some new looks for fall. 

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And finally, here’s my newest scarf. Infinity scarves are so easy to wear and when I saw this one in the thrift store last week, I knew immediately that it would look great with a jean jacket, in this case a basic one from Gap that’s been in my closet for several years. Perfect for an early fall day! 

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50 characteristics of an elegant woman

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Pamela Lutrell, writer of the blog Over 50, Feeling 40, has been writing a series recently on cultivating elegance. Before she started, she asked her readers how they would define elegance. That led to a very interesting discussion and started me thinking a lot about what it means to be an elegant woman. 

What is elegance? Is it an old-fashioned concept gone the way of the dodo bird or is it something that today’s busy woman should aspire to?  

The dictionary defines elegance as the “quality of being graceful and attractive in appearance or manner.” It’s the “or manner” part that caught my attention. Elegance is much more than what we look like or how we dress. It’s the whole package, inside and out. 

With that in mind, I think an elegant woman…

  1. Dresses appropriately for the occasion.
  2. Doesn’t dress to impress.
  3. Knows her style and dresses accordingly. 
  4. Practices modesty and moderation in all things.
  5. Chooses quality over quantity. 
  6. Feels free to be herself. Is authentic, not contrived.
  7. Uses makeup subtly to enhance her natural beauty, not hide it. 
  8. Maintains good posture and moves gracefully.
  9. Doesn’t compare herself with others.
  10. Exhibits self-confidence. 
  11. Looks to other women for inspiration, not competition. 
  12. Practices good manners. 
  13. Accepts compliments gracefully.
  14. Has a heart of gratitude.
  15. Isn’t a complainer. 
  16. Engages in intelligent conversation and appreciates an intellectual debate.
  17. Is present in every conversation giving everyone her full attention. 
  18. Isn’t judgemental.
  19. Doesn’t gossip. 
  20. Practices discretion. Doesn’t share everything with everyone. 
  21. Is kind with her words about others. 
  22. Speaks eloquently and thoughtfully.
  23. Is never loud or obnoxious.
  24. Doesn’t always have to be right. 
  25. Doesn’t always have to have the last word. 
  26. Is comfortable with silence.  
  27. Stands up for what she believes in, but does it graciously. 
  28. Doesn’t lose her cool in public, but gracefully and calmly stands up to people who are disrespectful. 
  29. Thinks of others and puts their feelings ahead of her own. 
  30. Doesn’t try to control other people. 
  31. Doesn’t take other people for granted.
  32. Practices patience with everyone and everything in her life. 
  33. Admits when she is wrong and seeks to make amends.
  34. Apologizes sincerely. 
  35. Doesn’t speak down to children, but engages with them at an appropriate level. 
  36. Respects other people’s time and avoids being late. 
  37. Enjoys learning new things. 
  38. Recognizes her own areas of weakness. 
  39. Isn’t wasteful.
  40. Appreciates all that she’s been blessed with. 
  41. Takes pride in what she does, but isn’t a perfectionist.
  42. Isn’t boastful. 
  43. Appreciates hard work. 
  44. Lives passionately. 
  45. Isn’t afraid of getting dirty working in the garden, making mud pies with her grandchildren, or hiking a rugged trail. 
  46. Knows that life is about small and simple pleasures. 
  47. Persists when life gets tough, which it inevitably will. 
  48. Doesn’t obsess over the “what ifs” and “if onlys” in life. 
  49. Knows that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence and when it looks as if it is, she waters her own yard. 
  50. Radiates inner peace. 

LogoDoes this list make elegance sound impossible? I hope not. Remember, no one is perfect. None of us gets it right all the time, but I think these are qualities that we can all aspire to and that they’re just as appropriate today as they were in our grandmother’s day. What do you think? Can you add any others to the list?