A Big Tent

I was having breakfast with my best friend last weekend and she told me that she marvels at my continuing ability to develop content for this blog. “So many outfits, so many ideas,” she said. I warned her that at some point, the well would run dry.

But we aren’t there yet, mes amis!*
No, we aren’t. Check out my extreme shirt.
Note: It was unseasonably warm in D.C. on Saturday, making this outdoor shoot at Soapstone Market possible.
Perhaps from this angle, as you sit back in your chair, the shirt looks pretty ordinary.
You might want to lean in now.
You didn't think we were done, did you?
Big cuffs? Is that your game?

You think I would characterize oversized cuffs as extreme?
Non. There needs to be more.
Do you have an inkling now? A sinking sense?
Do you have an inkling now? A sinking sense?

Feel the fear
Feel the Fear, Photographer
The Photographer says that he finds this outfit a little scary.
He is, however, a little intrigued.
I think his reaction was shared by many of the people who walked by while we shot these photos.
But who cares about them. What do you think?

If you are thinking, “For the love of all that is holy, Directrice, do not wear that striped circus tent to the off–”
Too late. That ship has sailed. We’ve been to work. How do you think the back got so wrinkled?
The shirt is a promise, not a threat
The shirt received many compliments at work; some of my colleagues may have avoided eye contact

Stripes and floral mixed
Stripes and floral mixed
From top to bottom, we have:

  • a pale blue and white striped shirt, gathered with a grosgrain tie at the waist;
  • a floral camisole, peeking out from the hem of the shirt;
  • navy pinstriped pants;
  • a glossy blue tote, and;
  • black shoes, because I don’t own blue shoes.

In large part, the genius of this shirt appears in motion. Thus, I will show an unusually large number of photos taken at rapid speed.
The Photographer asked me to twirl.



And stop, flutter, rest.

For those who want more, we made a short film, The Directrice: Walk This Way.

We’ve popped into Soapstone Market, after taking advantage of their outdoor seating as a backdrop to the photos.
I love this place; they have a section of shelving devoted to s’mores. It’s exactly what a neighborhood market should be: everything you need to bake brownies (from a mix or from scratch); everything you would need for a cocktail party; a dozen kinds of jam; wood floor cleaner; wrapping paper, and: a soda fountain.
neighborhood market
Ingeniously-stocked neighborhood market

Shirt: Palmer/Harding; Camisole: Theory; Pants: JCrew: Bag: Coach; Shoes: Lazio Collezione; Sunglasses: Elizabeth & James
*Pere Directrice wrote this morning with a correction on my use of the possessive in French. I studied Spanish in school. I have left the noun in the masculine form because I have male and female readers.

30 thoughts on “A Big Tent”

    • Hi Di! I was working on this post and unwittingly “published” it for an hour or so on Saturday — so you got a sneak peek. It will be back up on Monday. Thank you for the approval!

  1. I think you should not wear this outfit on the metro or any place where it could get caught in any sort of mechanism. Aside from that concern, the photos and the video were fun. Be wary of car doors also! Love to you and Michael.

    • Ah, Cookie! I read your comment and it was like looking in the mirror of my mind! Several negative outcomes occurred to me, too. No factory tours while wearing the big shirt. When I wore this to work, I wore an overcoat outside and so it was kept closer to the body. I will be very careful.

  2. Love the twirling — and, IMO, the sunglasses seal the deal.

    But what I found MOST intriguing was your comment that you don’t own any blue shoes. What??!

  3. I deny ever saying you might run out of ideas! So I have three thoughts about this outfit to put to You and Your Readers:

    1) Might it look even better with slimmer black pants? (You know you have the figure for it, Directrice, so go for it.)

    2) I find myself wishing that the back were gathered like the front.

    3) So pleased that the Readers who do not know you got to hear your lovely voice.


    P.S. to Cookie and Jeanie – never fear, you have taught us well!

      • These are legit suggestions, Susan — but I fear that the shirt is too short in the front for me to wear it with leggings. But someone bolder than I could undoubtedly pull off leggings with fun sneakers. I am realizing from the suggestions people have posted that this shirt would look great with white, cropped denim in the spring and bright shoes. Agree/disagree?

        • Oh definitely too short – I should have suggested to wear the top as a jacket over a tunic length tee plus the leggings. Leggings are not pants and should never ever be worn as pants except by toddlers! As for white cropped denim and bright shoes – sounds like a winner too!

          Fun sneakers you mention … this seems like an opportunity for another posting. What is your opinion on sneakers? When walking distances, there is nothing like wearing sneakers, but I always feel frumpy – what to do?

  4. My first thought oddly was of catching in a mechanism like another reader; thusly, you know my age. The look is clever and definitely wearable art. No escalators! Kate

    • Ha! I’ve been a catastrophist since I was in high school; I think it’s a state of mind rather than age. I identified with the sapper in The English Patient.

  5. 1: yes, slim black pants please, possibly with a smidge of ankle showing
    2: I vote for the loose back, not against it – I think it’s one of the delights of the outfit.
    3: yes, yes, I so enjoyed hearing the Directrice.

    Two out of three ain’t bad?


  6. Hi, Directrice. Your latest sartorial audacity really made me laugh! I wish I could have seen your colleagues’ reaction vis-à-vis the suspicious garment. Would you have pulled this off as a second-year associate? 😉

    • I think this bizarre ensemble is a privilege of age, Caroline! Equally important, though, is the fact that when I was a second-year, websites like MatchesFashion and YOOX did not exist, and I therefore would not have had access to directional pieces like this.

  7. I’d encourage slim cropped pants too, but white rather than black, plus lighter-coloured bag and shoes too. The fabric, colour and flowy-ness of the shirt says ‘spring time’ – pairing it with darker colours seems like mixing metaphors to me. Overall though, I can’t love this. The volume and the back are great, but the odd bits dangling at the sides seem somehow … without purpose ?

  8. It’s a bit “Grande dame” to me, like a teacher at Juilliard would wear, but this gives me utter hope to try new things!

    You’re not convinced about the legging look… I can just feel it.

  9. Maybe the top with slim pants, I’m a no-go about leggings as leggings aren’t pants, the shirt is fairly short in front and I’m not keen on crotches, even covered up in leggings. I have a blue slip-dress with a fairly straight skirt portions in my closet waiting for warmer weather to set in and I would consider layering it under something like this for an underskirt.

  10. The best post EVER! I love the blouse! I loved the “teacher at Juilliard” comment someone made—yesssss! I like it the way you wear it, but it would also look great with slimmer black or dark blue pants or even slim khaki-colored pants with a bit of ankle showing (for springtime.) The video is hilarious, and I needed that laugh. “And. . .CUT!”

  11. Love the swirling pictures and the video. Question: why the camisole? Is the fabric see through? Such a tiny bit of it, I missed it at first.

    • The camisole was not necessary; the shirt is opaque. I just liked the idea of adding a little something extra. Gilding the lily!

  12. I think this shirt-dress-sail-tent would look amazing with olive colored pants. Not skinny or tight but not as baggy as the pants you’re wearing in this photo. Add Vans/Converse, esp with a superhero print.


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