White Rook/Black Rook

Do you remember that I told you, long ago, that a Substantial Top could stand in for a Smart Jacket under certain circumstances?
It’s true. True that I said it, and true as a statement of fact.
Here, I will show you casual tops of substance standing in for casual smart jackets. Bonus re-fresher: white and black tops are always a good buy.

Do you remember this delicious wedding cake of a top?
Please don’t say “cake” unless you are offering me one

Is she trying to shame people who don’t remember every word she’s ever written?
Hard to say, but this is her 600th post . . . so there’ve been a lot of words

Particularly cake-like in silhouette
This top was first seen in 2016 and last seen in 2018.
It began life as a dress, but I bought it (on sale) knowing that it was meant to be a top.
Last month I realized — emboldened by the voluminous creations of Simone Rocha, Cecilie Bahnsen and Molly Goddard — that it was intended to be a shorter, flirtier top than I’d originally envisioned and asked Fatima to take 3 inches off the bottom.
There’s another lesson there: Never be afraid to keep tinkering.

Here is the second top, in black cotton lawn.
She’s calling on us
Showtime! Follow my lead

This top started life as a top, but it was a shapeless top with a long, sad shirt-tail hem.
Trust me when I tell you that it was not nearly as shapely on me as it appears on the mannequin. It was very straight up-and-down with no darts or seams for shape.
Extremely promising but slightly sad Hache shirt from The RealReal

But it had such possibilities with those wonderful ruffles encircling the neck.
All it needed was four vertical darts (two in front and two in back terminating at the waist to taper the fit and create a bell-shaped peplum), a straight hem, and a skinny belt. This was child’s play for Fatima.
Won’t this be elegant later this summer with a long linen skirt in white or tan?
It will, it will

Come closer so that you can see the ruffles. But not so close that you see the cat hair and lint.
Do see the ruffles; do not see the cat hair and lint

Here are some final notes.
First Note: I finally got my hair cut.
It’s a little longer than I used to wear it (c. 2015-2018), but much shorter than I have been wearing it (of necessity) during the pandemic.
Round, layered bob, according to my stylist

Pools of Light
Second Note: Somehow . . . I really don’t know how, exactly, but it happened during the pandemic . . . I have become obsessed with Pools of Light necklaces. The term refers to a particular type of quartz jewelry that was popular during the Victorian era.
A classic Pools of Light necklace is a 20″-30″ strand of large quartz beads (16mm-20mm) bound and connected by a sterling silver cord.

The quartz has to be relatively free of imperfections and is not drilled so that each sphere appears — when the light hits it just right — illuminated. This particular example is unusual because the beads are set in wide silver bands rather than crossed or looped cord. This necklace is also unusual because it is more like a station necklace than a strand of beads — which I prefer because quartz beads are heavy.
I am mesmerized by these beads

Final Note: This is my 600th post! So many words. So much wisdom. And a few unfortunate choices. Take a look back at the links embedded in this post; they are funny posts.

13 thoughts on “White Rook/Black Rook”

  1. Congratulations on 600 entertaining and informative posts! Keep ’em coming.
    It was fun to review your 2015 post on clothing levels.
    I may have a new appreciation for dresses. Pants are always frustrating for a 5’2″ person like me. Dresses are also problematic, because I am rather busty but have a small ribcage and waist. I am also short (a.k.a petite), but there’s not a great selection for curvy petites.
    And skirts are so annoying, always twisting around, riding up on my waist, whatnot.
    Clothes are making me feel peevish today. Or maybe I am peevishly taking out my peeve on clothes.

  2. Good morning and congratulations on 600 posts, a real accomplishment for you and a real pleasure for us. The white top is much perkier shorter and brings out your “imp”, especially in the second photo.

  3. “Never be afraid to keep tinkering.”
    I like this statement! To me, it feels imperative to experiment, even at the risk of butchering a top or two…

    Kind of brings to mind my favorite Michael Jordan quote: “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”

  4. Oh so many choice quotes from the past…. but my favorite is this one. *Quite* the mix of amusing, accurate, and macabre for the past year and transition back to Real Pants for those of us who didn’t have your dedication throughout…

    “The government should issue vouchers for pants, vaccinations, and cremation to all citizens.”

  5. Gorgeous as usual! And now I have words to describe my office uniform, substantial top + trousers. And yay to tinkering!

  6. Congrats and sincere thanks on reaching 600 posts!

    Despite never having seen one before, I instantly understood your obsession with the Pools of Light necklaces. What an amazing piece! I love how it adds so much interest to the wedding cake top without being heavy or colourful.

  7. That’s quite a milestone! Are we in for a few re-visited posts?
    I think you did a great save on the blouse. I feel like the blouse tucked into a waistband with fullness through the torso would be too girly. The squared hem and belt are a good balance to the shoulder line.
    Reading your fatigue green jacket post I don’t think I have any jackets that color in my closet but I see that you also own pants in what I’d call kakhi green. At last count I had three pants, a skirt and two shorts in that color. It’s a good color for transitional seasons, and into Summer when you don’t want a light colored item.

  8. This is very good advice — a substantial top as stand in for a jacket. My first post-pandemic work trip is scheduled for September, for DC. I’m always surprised by how hot it still is in September, in DC. A substantial top might be the ticket! Now how to find one??


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