Lessons from the Lookbook - une femme d'un certain âge

Lessons from the Lookbook

1. Simple need not be boring.
2. Neutrals need not be drab.
3. Camel and grey are a great mix.

While I wouldn’t wear the “sweatpants” in this ensemble, I love the colors, the clean lines, the long-over-lean proportions (good for my short-waisted, longer-legged physique), the mix of masculine and feminine elements, and the rolled sleeves. I’d probably add another pop of color with a bag or bright scarf. From the weight and drape of fabric, her garments appear to be of good quality. Those boots are awesome, though probably too high a heel for me.

Picture from The Sartorialist, bien sur.
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26 Comments

  1. aaonce
    March 22, 2010 / 1:22 pm

    I liked this picture as well. Immediately, I began to wonder, if this was a version “strict dressing” a la Passage? The tone on tone color made me wonder…
    I like the elements that you extracted; the fall colors would be wonderful on you, with perhaps a straight leg pant, and a gray suede fluevog boot? If had worn these exact colors–I would have expected at the very least a bold red bag 🙂

  2. Anonymous
    March 22, 2010 / 1:24 pm

    Nice pictures and right comments… However this is where I differ; don’t add a “pop” of colour! The “chic” way to wear neutrals is the way she’s doing it – restriction,no compromise.

  3. March 22, 2010 / 1:39 pm

    I love camel and am so happy that the color is finally back in style.

  4. March 22, 2010 / 1:55 pm

    With the rich yet subdued tones, the quiet interplay of fine, neutral fabrics, adding a pop of colour would be a jarring note. That is is a whole different way to dress (and, I asay with good will,identifiably North American). Keep the assured discretion shown here, or it is not this look. Those suede boots make me sigh aaaaahhhh.

  5. Anonymous
    March 22, 2010 / 2:28 pm

    Another anonymous here: I agree with the first of that name that a “pop” of color would interfere with what makes this compelling. Keeping to a very restricted palette is key to looking “put together,” I think. Also, while I think us blue-eyed redheads can copy the lines of this ensemble, I don’t think we can pull of these colors as well as a brunette does.

  6. March 22, 2010 / 3:28 pm

    Pseu, if you say, “I’d probably add another pop of color with a bag or bright scarf” then you need to add another pop of color with a bag or scarf!

    [And FWIW, I think your instincts are dead on…your personality seems terribly unsuited to plus strict.]

    I think it’s worth remembering that one can be drawn to an example’s elements without wanting to replicate it. Hell, *I’m* drawn to the image and I think the camel looks godawful on the woman.

    [As I think it does on most brunettes–guess I’m the inverse of the earlier poster.]

    I hear Pseu saying she likes the color mix, the luxurious-looking fabrics, the clean lines, and the non-classic shoe, but that something (color) is missing for her. Look Book = jumping off point…so jump in YOUR direction!

  7. March 22, 2010 / 3:35 pm

    Hmmmm, while I agree with commenters who point out that the restrained use of colour here is what makes this compelling, I also think that, if Pseu is trying to think and feel her way to her own style (and that’s what you’re doing, Pseu, right?) a pop of colour might be what does that. I do wonder if that might be done more subtly through a scarf — and not necessarily in a bright, but perhaps in subdued autumn colours. Personally, while I admire this strict look very much on others, it’s not me, and I’d have to enliven it through colour in some way.

  8. March 22, 2010 / 3:50 pm

    I love dressing all in one color. Not because it’s stylish per se, although of course it is, but because then I have one less thing to worry about:).

  9. March 22, 2010 / 3:51 pm

    Funny, I’m wearing charcoal and luggage tan today. And yes, I added a scarf, not so much to “pop” but to tie the ensemble together, since the garments are gray and the accessories are tan.

  10. March 22, 2010 / 4:40 pm

    I love those boots but could never wear them. Why is it so hard to find boots like that with low (1-1/2 inch)heels? It seems like the shoe designers have decided that low heels must be frumpy and only very high heeled boots can have nice elements of style.

  11. March 22, 2010 / 6:52 pm

    I love the combination of camel and grey, in fact I’m wearing it right now – honest! I’m with you on the boots, they look gorgeous but I wouldn’t be able to wear them either. Flat ankle boots or brogues would work for me.

  12. Sal
    March 22, 2010 / 1:42 pm

    I can totally see you in a variant of this look.

  13. metscan
    March 22, 2010 / 2:06 pm

    I agree with Anonymous and Duchesse. No extra colors are needed. I also think that this `look´is as it ´s best on the bold and beautiful. The clothes must be of high quality too.

  14. March 22, 2010 / 10:45 pm

    Materfamilias, and Pseu does say she intends to do that and I read her intention. I and others are pointing out that the look will change. I think this is a very important lesson. Adding your own preferences will take you to a different place.

  15. Rubiatonta
    March 22, 2010 / 11:20 pm

    I loved this look when I saw it (though not the style of the pants so much). I think what makes it so elegant is how unadorned it is, which as Duchesse so rightly points out, is not so much a N. American instinct.

    What if, rather than adding a pop of color (I’m guessing you’re thinking of a scarf), you played with other accessories? You can just barely see it in the photo, but she is wearing a stunning ring on the hand with which she’s holding her bag. I can also see this working with a few mixed strings of vintage costume “pearls” or amber beads. It’s interesting to layer texture, rather than color.

  16. March 23, 2010 / 2:00 am

    aaonce – yes, the autumnal colors work well for me, and I’d love to find a grey suede boot.

    Anonymous @ 624am – perhaps, but I’m not thinking really bright color but rather something more complementary, like my dark olive Lancel bag or an ochre scarf perhaps (one or the other, not both).

    Belle – me too! I’m tired of the washed out beiges, and hope to see some really rich camel colors in stores this fall.

  17. March 23, 2010 / 2:06 am

    Sal – thanks, me too! 🙂

    Duchesse – As I mentioned above, by “pop” of color I’m thinking something related but subdued. I’ll have to play with it myself to see what works. I decided a while back I can’t do full-on “strict” but do love the subtlety of this.

    metscan – so true about the quality…this really needs superior fabrics to work well.

  18. March 23, 2010 / 2:15 am

    Anonymous @ 728a – I’ll definitely try it both ways (with and without a touch of subtle color). Right now my haircolor is somewhere between light reddish brown and blonde (a glimpse in tomorrow’s post) but I generally find that camels, rusts work well for my skin tone which tends to be quite warm.

    Vix – you’re correct, this exercise isn’t so much about replicating a particular look as really honing in on what I like about an ensemble or image. In this case it’s the simplicity, the colors, the proportions. I’d want to keep any accessories equally simple and subtle, but can easily see adding some subtle color with a bag or scarf.

    materfamilias – yes, I wasn’t thinking bright color so much as something else in a soft autumnal hue. I could also see doing a leopard print scarf with this. I can’t be totally serious! ;-p

  19. March 23, 2010 / 2:18 am

    LPC – generally I love dressing in one color too, as long as it’s black! But I’m tired of that and love the idea of mixing up my neutrals.

    Nancy – that’s another great way to go with scarves, using them to tie colors or pieces together.

    Rita – supposedly kitten/lower heels are coming back into vogue, so we can hope…

  20. March 23, 2010 / 2:21 am

    That’s Not My Age – yes, I would SO wear brogues with this!

    Tiffany – let us know what you find!

    Rubiatonta – you have some great ideas. A single strand of amber beads would look smashing with this, IMO.

  21. March 23, 2010 / 4:13 am

    Perfect I think and I love the colour combination of grey and camel so much… Wish I could wear this heel – sigh…

  22. March 23, 2010 / 4:20 am

    Semi Expat – me too on that heel. But I have my antennae out for something similar with a lower heel come fall. Hope springs eternal.

  23. tiffany
    March 22, 2010 / 10:33 pm

    I copied this picture to my file as well! I’ve got both grey pants and a camel coat on my shopping list …

  24. March 23, 2010 / 10:36 am

    Hello, love the camel coat but remember you’re sposed to be sourcing frocks in colour?? Meanwhile can you please read the Privilege blog about WASPs and then read my response and get back to me? THANKS x

  25. Sister Wolf
    March 23, 2010 / 7:48 am

    The boots would help me to fall and break my other hip!

  26. karen
    March 23, 2010 / 2:30 pm

    I would wear those sweatpants for sure.

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