That Third Piece

We’ve looked at the concept of layering through a number of lenses — aesthetic, technical, practical — over the years. Now seems a good time to review and consolidate our discussions.

Layering is all about that third piece.
Why do you think I have such a fondness for bustiers, aprons, tanks and printed camisoles, and large scarves?
That is not a rhetorical question. The third piece elevates the simple combination of a blouse and pants. Or, it mediates the relationship between a top and a jacket.
Do you see what I mean?

This black tank may appear simple upon first glance, but it presents lot of visual interest upon closer, 360 degree examination: white top stitching, cut-outs, wonderful seaming that gives it distinct shape.
Cut-outs; in the summer, this will be cute with a white or black tank top and khakis
A little racy, but completely covered up

I highly recommend assembling a little selection of such layering garments: one black, one white (or off-white), one in your favorite color, and a couple in irresistible prints. Et voila! You will have a suite of layering pieces.
Now, on to other business.
I am pre-suffering the loss of this blouse. What will I do when these dotted-Swiss tuxedo blouses from JCrew disintegrate? I bought two in white and one in black in 2012 and I wear them ALL THE TIME. I have no back-up plan.
Here is a better view of the details

When these blouses turn to dust, I may lay down and not get back up
Perhaps The Photographer will plan a nice memorial service for us*

Come closer, my pet, and note the top-stitching, gathering, and seaming.
You needn’t take notes, just observe

And then file in your brain under visualimages/veryveryimportant/smalldetails/isnottoforget.
Despite the volume of the pseudo-peplum, the top is flattering – in part because these cut-outs create the impression of a narrow ribcage or waist.

In early March, I wore this with my sunny corduroy jacket. Some might wonder why I would hide all of these details under a jacket. Well, I know that they are there. And, some of the details are still visible. The top-stitching shows and the volume created by the seams is only partially constrained by the jacket.
I do love black and blue and yellow and white; remember this?
Soon the yellow jacket will be replaced with actual, blazing sunlight

I published this post a day early; stragglers should be sure to read Monday’s post, too. Enjoy the rest of the week and have a great weekend!
Tank: 3.1 Phillip Lim from YOOX (still available, but I paid less for mine and think it will be marked down again); Blouse and jeans: JCrew; Blazer: Rose A Pois; Shoes: Coach; Bag: Orla Kiely; Watch (not visible but I know it’s there): Shinola Birdy
* We have just passed the one year anniversary of the loss that I did not think I could absorb — the death of Harper — and though I miss her very much, every time I think of her I feel happy rather than sad. I find this surprising. Has anyone else had this experience?

13 thoughts on “That Third Piece”

  1. I like that with the bright jacket.
    I’ve seen dotted Swiss blouses around. When I get something like that, an item in a fabric that I wear over and over I don’t hesitate to pick up a substitute. Which explains why I have 5 green sweaters in my drawer.

    I don’t think I’d wear the black tank without something under it!

    • I wouldn’t wear it without anything under it either! Not sure if I ever would have done so, even in my youthiest youth.

  2. I love your creativity and eye for the unique.

    As to the loss of a beloved pet, I feel sad that the memory is fading. Not the love, but the memory of physically having her near and what she was like and how it felt to touch her.

  3. Regarding your closet workhorse, I recently bought a similar (but collarless) blouse at Gap, but it was on clearance so they may be gone by now. I promptly dyed mine a rich yellow as a proof of cencept for a larger, more ambitious dying/alteration project I have planned, and it came out beautifully. Let the more ambitious project begin!

  4. On loss of a pet: Our little family of three retired to Mexico almost six months ago. Then Nieve the cat died of cancer, and his sister Cinza soon followed. Kidney disease. I decided to be cat-less. Easier to explore Mexico that way. Then my neighbor found a starving, terrified feral kitten living under a car. The kitten was desperate to get off the street. Now Bandido lives with me. He loves to be cuddled. He owns every cat toy Petco Mexico sells. He litter trained himself. He’s the smartest kitten in Mexico. Family of two. And I almost feel like Nieve and Cinza somehow sent Bandido to me.

    • Oh Laurel! So much news! Congratulations on your retirement. And for planting a Directrice Global Industries, Ltd. flag in Mexico. I am so sorry about Nieve and Cinza but agree that they used their paranormal abilities to deliver Bandido to you. He is a lucky gatito indeed!

    • My sister had a very similar experience. She lost her beloved cat after 17+ years, and about a month later she found a tiny stray kitten stuck partway up a tree outside her place of work. Although she kept saying she wasn’t ready for a new cat, clearly it was meant to be.

  5. Please share how you keep a white blouse clean for 7 years? I soak I hot water with Oxyclean and still am lucky to get a season or two out of them.

    • O.K. I soak things in Oxyclean and cold water (perhaps I should be using hot) for hours before laundering. I fill a pail with water, add Oxy, tuck the stained bits of my garments in, and let it sit all afternoon. It doesn’t restore them to “new” condition, but it does a pretty good job. I am thinking of switching to an aluminum-free deodorant; aluminum is purportedly the cause of yellow stains.

  6. Re. staining on white from antiperspirant. It’s true… absolutely true. I switched to deodorant only several years ago and voila, no yellowing! My blouses/shirts now last FOREVER. You won’t regret! (I use a men’s brand now, Mennen Speed stick “Ocean Surf” and LOVE IT)

    And regarding a favorite shirt – I actually patched places on it and turned it into a wabi sabi kind of garment. Still my favorite, and it looks “purposefully worn.”

    Love the colour combo Directrice.


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