Idea Log: Perfect outfit No. 1

Idea Log: Perfect outfit No. 1

With everything going on at the time, I had to sit out the Spring 2016 collections, but the good news is that Pre-Fall has begun! I’ve probably said this before, but the Pre-Fall collections are my favorite for lots of reasons. Chief among them may be the timing. These are cold weather clothes that we get to peruse while there are still months of winter and winter-int0-spring weather ahead of us, so inspiration can actually be applied immediately. (As opposed to looking at Spring collections in September, for instance.) They’re just starting to roll out, and there are no significant knits for us to talk about yet, but I’m obsessed with this Karen Walker ensemble up top. For me, it’s not possible to wear denim and khaki together without feeling like I’m about to clock in for a shift at the Gap, but this outfit gets my wheels spinning anyway. I’ve been searching for perfect wide-cropped khakis since seeing this pair on Leandra Medine awhile back (loooove them with that indigo-and-ivory embroidered top). And all I can think about since the day I pulled my favorite sweatshirt on over my linen dress is more short and wide sweatshirts — but in slightly more dressed-up fabrics. I’m still dreaming of the Linden in boiled wool, and so on, and I am totally crazy for the proportions of this Karen Walker top — especially those cuffed elbow-length sleeves!

Bottom line: this top and these pants together make my heart sing. What doesn’t work for me is the shoes, but I’m all about Zac Posen’s approach of putting shiny combat boots with wide-cropped pants. (And culottes, and dresses! Swoon.) (What can I say? I’ve never gotten over grunge.) So that’s my perfect outfit number one right now. My new quest:

THE TOP: I could definitely use the Linden pattern to make a raglan version of this top, but I’m into the combo of the slightly dropped shoulder and the cuffed sleeves. So I’m thinking it might be better to tweak the Hemlock Tee for this. Mine won’t be denim, but probably a speckly black-and-white wool I’ve got in my stash, and yes, the boiled wool idea. This is also what I’m wanting in sweaters right now — this very shape. It’s more or less what I’ve started with my grey wool sweatshirt, and I wake up now every morning wanting one in solid black Lettlopi.*

THE PANTS: I had the perfect version of these pants from J.Crew in the aughts, wore them to tatters, and have been in search of their equal ever since, my longing compounded by the aforementioned Medine pic. But to no avail. I fear I’ll have to break down and attempt to sew pants. If it comes to it, I have a Liesl Gibson pattern in mind: Lisette/Butterick B6183, with slightly widened legs. Anyone got other suggestions, or a source for a really good khaki twill?

THE BOOTS: I’m currently scouring the internet for the closest affordable thing to the ones shown in Posen’s collection.

*By the way, I can’t believe I did a whole post about black yarns and left out lopi. Ever since wearing Kathy’s black Stopover for the holiday lookbook, I can’t get that yarn out of my head! If you haven’t seen all the great black yarn recs on that post, make sure you check out the comments!


p.s/unrelated: The maple hand loom kits are back in stock!


PREVIOUSLY in Idea Log: The mildly folksy tunic

33 thoughts on “Idea Log: Perfect outfit No. 1

  1. Great thoughts here! So your sweatshirt in black Lopi idea stopped me in my tracks. I’m thinking Diana Walla’s Moon Pulls (can I say that here?) in black lopi, without the color pattern or perhaps some dark grey color blocking somewhere. BTW, with the slightly pointed toes, those Zac Posen boots are a bit equestrian looking!

  2. Have to say – love the Zac Posen look, and I think you’re right about the combat boots. I’ve been toying with making a pair of culottes as well, and frankly, they work well in khaki. Takes them out of their late ’70s/early ’80s connotations. I’m considering a make/mend/thrift (a la Katrina Rodabaugh and everyone else) pledge for 2016 and can totally see how this could work within it. Don’t worry; I won’t copy your look entirely!

  3. I actually just gave in and bought myself a pair of Dr. Martens from (Zappos clearance site). They’re the original and always the coolest, I’d say start with them.

  4. Love the site and totally support making the wardrobe of your dreams! My Slow Fashion PSA is that “affordable” shoes often have other costs and good shoes should be an investment, too. CYDWOQ, for example, are handmade in the US and will last way longer because you can replace the heels/soles. Fleuvogs are also maintain-able investment shoes, though they use a global supply chain. I hope you find great boots!

  5. I’ve had a pair of heavy weight denim culottes for about 8 years. I almost gave them away when they seemed “out of style” but I loved the 3″ hem and heavy fabric. I wore them with wedged espadrilles.

    • It occurred to me I have these exact pants in denim — pintucks and all. I haven’t been wearing them because they’re too long/wide for my current mood, so I may be lopping them off!

  6. I love the whole outfit as well! But I think a bit taller half boot and a tiny heel would be stunning. Sort of like these (on sale too!)
    As for the wide culottes or wide pants that can be made into culottes. I have been sifting through everywhere and I found that Burda site has the best resource for styles and details of those. Currently, I am on a hunt for a pattern to use with the suiting type wool to make one of those.
    And this last pattern comes as 3-in-1 deal

  7. love- to me the pants are the jesse kamm sailor pants that i have been admiring… but they are quite pricey…but so good!

  8. I love the current J. Crew patio pant. Wide, but not too wide, cropped, but not too cropped. Affordable too. Comes in a thicker weight stretch cotton and a woold.

  9. Frye boots make boots extremely close to these. I just got them a month ago. Way more affordable and very well made.

    I am wearing them with everything as I also have a bit of leftover grunge in my aesthetic too.

  10. I have some Frye lace up boots (no zippers because I want the real thing) that look a lot like the boots pictured. They are incredibly comfortable and took virtually no breaking in. They aren’t as heavy as Doc Marten’s and they look less like combat boots (somewhat sleeker). I am lauding these boots because I searched for over five years to find the perfect boots to replace a pair that I bought in the 80’s (yes, I am rather older than others who may be commenting).

    And, BTW, I really enjoy and appreciate your blog and your website. I recently placed my first order and was delighted with the attractive packaging and even more so with the items that I ordered. Thanks!

  11. Karen, do you know Pauline Alice sewing patterns ? If not, you should have a look at Pauline’s Sorell Trousers. They are high waisted, with wide legs and fly front, it seems to be the perfect match.
    I have made a muslin for myself and the fit is great. Moreover, there is a booklet sew-along on her website, with a lot of pictures, so it is really easy to make.
    Pauline is french and lives in Spain, but you’ll also find her patterns in English. I think her webshop is only in French, but I’m sure she will be happy to help you if you need.

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