Marine Drive

Previously, I discussed in spine-tingling detail how I decided to add more color to my closet by allocating a chunk of my fall/winter budget to cool-toned blues and greens. And how I was inclined to shamelessly wear them together.

Last spring I documented a few reasons why blue + green should always be seen. So when Mr Vix and I went for a drive a couple of weekends ago, it seemed like a great excuse to match the very welcome blue sky…plus some leafy goodness.

Now yes: 2005 called and it wants its short-over-long layered look back. But hey, can’t I call it “retro”? Or at least say I am wearing it ironically?

After all, my tongue’s already firmly in cheek from wearing this vaguely nautical cardigan. Though the closest I get to sailing is eating Chips Ahoy, the stripey sweater had me at “perfect colorblocking for those with Rectangle/H shapes.”

But I’m dead serious when I say I’m thrilled with my new deep green pencil skirt—so much so that I’ve been breaking out old and new prints and solids to wear with it.

Including a top that called to me despite my ambivalence about:

  • its scale
  • its rather Grandma’s-Wamsutta-bedspread print
  • the way “tobacco” and “sunshine” defile its otherwise cucumber-cool shades

Having recently re-reviewed Brigette Raes’ suggestions on how to pick a print on behalf of my pal Fizz, I’m pretty sure I look like I’m being eaten alive by my own clothing.

Though its wayward shapes DO match my hair.

I’m thinking the dolman-sleeved 70s silhouette + silk jersey fabric flipped me into Persnickety Bohemian mode. Whatever the reason, I was in loooove the second I saw it, but I resisted for weeks before committing.

Others were not as taken with its charms.

Where did THAT come from?” asked a saucer-eyed Mr Vix.

Me: “Whaaaat?! This is one of my core pieces for fall. I know it’s a little sofa-y, but I think it’s pretty.”

Mr Vix: [Amish farmer silence]

My printed glory and I flounced off to the guest bedroom to read and wait for him to come to his senses. He claims he stopped by to ask what I was doing for dinner, but didn’t see me on the bed.

[Which reminds me: I still miss the guest room’s former deep blue paint. Problem was, it only looked good for 2-3 summertime months. After a few years I ceded that Northern light + gloomy climate + big tree = me on a ladder with a bucket of more-muted-without-the-flash caramel.]

Returning (mostly) to my comfort zone of solids, I decided to match up a denim pencil skirt with a deep blue-green cardigan, another of my new fall pieces. While I usually avoid hosting a hootenanny in my bosom zone, the neckline’s deep V and the ability to break up my torso with a strong inverted V at the bottom were compelling. Which made it easy to turn a blind eye to having a 3-D chest.

Between the floral print and the ruffled sweater, some might say my blind eye is getting a lot of exercise this fall.

Anyway: Thinking about my aggressively warm-toned room reminds me that Pantone may want my butt in Golden Glow this season, but I’m having none of it. Bad enough that despite my fear of yellow walls, I’ve given up and put temporary and more permanent golden shades on the vertical surfaces around here.

But on me? I draw the line. Let others dabble in the sunlight shades; I’m sticking to a different, algae-hued story.

Capelet Kismet

Let me be as clear as Eliza Doolittle post-ole ‘enry ‘iggins: I did not go looking for my capelet. It came looking for me.

Having only just ventured away from my Flat Stanley knits and toward a pile of purple fluff, I was still leery of texture. And added bulk.

So when my pal Ms Madeline asked me if I thought she could carry off a vintage coral sweater–a beaded, sleeveless crewneck–I innocently clicked the link she sent concerning said textile. It’s not my fault that a little pale blue capelet was hanging around the vicinity looking adorable, now was it?

I even took the selfless route when I emailed her back to say that she, being possessed of an athletically-inclined bosom, would probably rock the coral. Yup, I noted that the OH GREAT SCOTT JUST LIKE BABY CHICKS, BUT BLUE number was a safer bet for fit and would be just as lovely with her coloring.

So imagine my surprise when I found out she’d bought it not for herself, but as a belated 40th birthday gift for me. Since I failed to show up in France and all, thus thwarting her original gift-giving plans.

Heartbreak aside, I’d have to say a crazy-fabulous $25 Made in Italy knit is a damn good consolation prize for Not Vacationing in France. In fact, I now think EVERYONE needs a capelet just because the word itself is so fantastic. Especially people who did NOT buy vintage coral sweaters because they caught themselves thinking, “Now why the HELL did I ask Vix’s opinion on style?!”

In an homage to one of my favorite 50s pairings and my closet’s neutral-heavy innards, I put my captivating capelet with head-to-toe espresso and swanned off to work. [Though the shade does look black in my crap photos.]

I mean of course it’s not the piece to wear if you’re trying to be all “Hi, I’m a corporate shark and I smell your blood in my water” but if you want to keep your fins warm on the weekend? Problem solved. Then again, Frank Perdue DID say, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” so perhaps one could extrapolate.

Whatever you do, don’t run off and have a clandestine, capelet’d affair unless you’ve checked on fabric content: mohair sheds.


Confused about what constitutes a capelet? Here’s my extremely biased opinion.

Capelets, Of Course

Classic Americana. No sleeves. Coverage stops around the elbows.

Happiness reigns.

[If we ignore that pesky, institutionalized sexism and racism, anyway!]

Setting a Good Example: Vintage and Modern Capelets

A vibrant flat knit capelet plus a gorgeous, gossamer grey variation.

Again: No sleeves. Coverage stops around the elbows (if elbows are present).

A Spendy Capelet And Some Dubious “Capelet” Friends

Left: a savings-sucking $1900 capelet (minaPoe for CoutureLab).

Center, Kiki de Montparnasse. Right, 2005 Alexander McQueen.

Not really capelets. But not really non-capelets. OMG: CAPELET FUSION

Things Marketed as Capelets That Just Ain’t

Capelets do not have sleeves. Period amen.