The Necessary Elan for Wearing Men’s Clothing

First of all, I am writing this post from the perspective of a cisgendered woman, so I am referring to wearing clothing that either does not belong to me, or was purchased contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions. Off-label usage, if it were. Ignoring the most very basic rules of traditional fashion with wild abandon.

Mostly, I am talking about stealing Boyfriend’s clothing. He doesn’t mind a pair of socks here and there, or the odd t-shirt for sleeping. But this is about the peculiar style that comes about from wearing his clothing out and about.

The other weekend, for our closing show, I had not had time to do laundry and all my warm clothing was dirty. I had a t-shirt, some jeans, my boots, but no sweater. So I grabbed a sweater from the pile of oversized sweaters that even Boyfriend finds a bit too “relaxed” a fit for him. Needless to say, I was comfortable and warm, which was the main point. I was going to be running around, inside and out, gathering props and costumes after the show. I threw it on with a pair of jeans tucked into my riding boots, and didn’t give it a second thought.

Then, after the show, a friend of mine commented how stylish I looked and how much she liked my outfit. “Oh, this old thing?” I got to ask, cooly, although I did not cop to wearing a stolen sweater. And it got me thinking.

I had just come off the final performance of a fantastic run, where I played the star, and generally got to have my way around the stage for two weekends. I was at the top of my game, and plump with confidence. I think that is what made my baggy sweater and jeans look like something worn with style and flair, rather than just another sad girl wearing an oversized sweater because she can’t be bothered to keep all her stylish clothes clean.

Perhaps that’s true of all clothing; that what is required to look stylish is to simply look like you belong in whatever clothing you happened to put on. But I think there may be something deeper. There’s something particularly stylish about a woman who can particularly choose something that may not have been designed to be flattering to her body, but she chooses to wear anyway for comfort, not as a statement. It’s almost the opposite of the “normcore” trend, where you try to look intentionally awkward. Instead, I wear clothing without consciousness, and that’s when I tend to look at my best.

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Weekend Adventures and Concoctions

This weekend was the last of my little holiday, so I decided to make the best of it. I got up Friday and dressed to go out, only to discover that my boots had a broken heel. So after three years, I would have to go shopping for a new pair of boots. Boyfriend and I ended up at the mall on Sunday, where I tried on nearly every pair of brown leather boots without too much of a heel. I settled on what is essentially the boots I bought three years ago, with slightly updated styling, and in brown instead of black. I am a creature of habit.

Saturday I decided to do some concocting. In addition to bottling the final two batches of mead and cider we had in the cellar, I decided to whip up some experimental cosmetics. I tried my hand at making my own cold cream. While the recipe isn’t quite finished yet, I managed a successful second batch, based on the classic Galen recipe, only with grapeseed oil instead of olive.

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My other experiment is a bit more out-there. Inspired by the brand Vintage Tradition, and also the packet of leaf lard I found in the bottom of the deep freeze, I decided to make myself a lard-based face cream. I rendered the lard, and then mixed it with grapeseed oil to make it softer, along with some sea buckthorn oil, carrot seed oil, and lavender essential oil for skin benefits. The rendering lard smelled pretty awful, but at the moment it smells mostly of carrot seed oil, which isn’t as bad as the lard, but not so great.

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It cooled to a creamy white color, with a nice soft consistency. I’ve been using it for two nights now, but it’s probably too soon to say if it’s having any effect. If nothing else, it’s certainly an old-fashioned way of taking care of my skin.

My other event this weekend was a decision I made. I’ve decided to abandon my stretched earlobe piercings and downsize to a traditional earring style. I think it will fit in more with my current personal style. While out shopping for boots, I also picked up some nice understated stud earrings to help with this. It was an eventful weekend, and a productive one.

Cozy Winter Style

As you can tell by the title of my blog, I love to wrap up in warm fabrics and drink hot tea. I really do like tweed, in all its scratchy woolen glory. And this time of year, my collection of tweeds and knits and scarves really gets to shine.

Monday, I was thrilled to receive my new winter coat, a brown herringbone tweed overcoat from a vintage seller on Etsy. It has nubs of blue and orange in it, and a subtle tartan pattern. Not only did the photographs on Etsy not do it justice at all, it fit perfectly, with just enough room that I might layer it over sweaters. It makes me glad the weather has started to taken on more of a chill.

Holiday Weekend Shopping

Underneath my coat, my cold-weather staples are long trousers and blue jeans, cabled sweaters, scarves, and my wonderful knee-length black riding boots. A pair of leather boots zipped up over a pair of slim-fitting straight-leg jeans, with a cabled sweater and a squishy scarf is the quintessential winter style to me. On the rare occasion I venture out into the cold air in a skirt, I wear a pair of thick tights or leggings, with socks over top, all tucked into my riding boots.

Cozy Workday Outfit

My favorite sweater is a fisherman-cabled sweater in a mottled oatmeal color that I wear most weekends, but it lacks the necessary elan for the office. To that end, I have a cream-colored cabled sweater in a butter-soft wool blend, a collection of cardigans, and two cowl-necked merino wool sweaters. Paired with a pair of jeans on the weekend, or a pair of vintage tweed trousers for work, my sweaters are vital for keeping warm while I walk from place to place. Whether I’m taking a stroll around the lake, or a hurried walk from my car, parked ages away from my building, I need to keep from suffering the bite of winter air.

I’ve put together some sets in Polyvore to show what I mean. Of course, I chose items mostly based on looks, so some are quite expensive, but it is the look of the thing I mean to convey. Hopefully, they will help inspire your cozy winter wardrobe!