Stylesheet 011: Seven shades of blue • Puffy sleeves and pointed-toe sock boots

Since the lockdown ended in Sydney, we have been able to go out a bit. This outfit does contain some new pieces I bought in the past year, in my efforts to adopt a slightly more feminine style.

image 1: An Asian woman with dark hair in a half bun and half ponytail. She is wearing a dark and light blue floral print top with short puffy sleeves, light wash jeans, and a brown belt. She is holding a gold clutch. In the background is the main road and some green road signs and an intersection can be seen. The sky has some clouds in it and it’s late afternoon/early evening.
Still bright at 6:00pm in Spring.

The light wash jeans are the most standard piece. Over the past year I’ve taken a liking to jeans again, especially realising that while skinny jeans are hard to fit properly, they’re actually one of the styles that look best on me and that I do feel most comfortable in. I used to hate jeans but a few things changed: My body shape has changed a little bit; I shop for better denim brands; I look for better fabrics; I look for slightly different cuts. Denim has also changed over time since I boycotted jeans. 😂 With this particular pair, I wasn’t sure if I really needed another pair of jeans since I already had five. LOL. But I’ve owned light wash denim in the past and worn it very frequently, because I tend to wear more dark pieces up top, and I love the contrast instead of going for a very dark outfit. I was certain a light wash pair would get a lot of use, even though it’s usually seen as more casual and less formal, and it doesn’t flatter a lot of body shapes and skin tones.

The brand I chose to go with is a brand out of Melbourne, Australia (where most of my denim is from!), called Abrand. I had a lot of luck with them when trying on their jeans years ago, with the fit being perfect. I’d just never owned a pair! I’ve tried a bunch of their cuts, from the boot crop flare, to the slim jeans, to the straight cut, to the skinny. This pair is the skinny pair – although I really liked how all the different cuts fit, a lot of them were made from non-stretch denim which I decided just wasn’t going to be comfortable enough for me. I decided that 100% cotton denim and having to break in a pair of jeans has just historically been a pain for me.

image 2: Same woman in same outfit as image 1. She is wearing pointed white sock boots and has round sunglasses on top of her head. She is holding a gold clutch. She is sitting on a round concrete ball sculpture like it is a seat. In the background is a tree and some small shrubs.
Going out on a Sunday night.

Abrand also have a petite range, which is the range this pair I’m wearing is in. That works perfectly for my 5’2/158cm frame. And although I don’t love to subscribe to the idea that certain colours belong to certain seasons – for example, white being a “summer colour” – I’ve worn this pair of jeans many times since I bought them and they have been really nice for the warmer weather here.

The top is really the main standout piece, and the piece I bought most recently from BNKR. I had a couple hundred dollars of store credit lying around from BNKR from a while back when I returned some items. BNKR stocks some of my favourite brands with the most unusual, eclectic, and interesting styles – Keepsake, Finders Keepers and C/MEO Collective. This top is by Keepsake and I actually ended up getting the matching shorts as well, when there was a 30% off sale happening. I was a little bit reluctant to keep both items, as I don’t always love to go matchy-matchy, and as I have mentioned dozens of times: I prefer contrast in my outfits. But the fact that the top and shorts have an interesting print, rather than a solid colour, made me feel that I would wear the matching set more often.

What really drew me to the set were a few things. The first was the colour and print. I really, really love blue, as some of you may know or find obvious! I also have spent the better part of the last two years wearing angular and very geometric prints, and I thought my journey into more feminine clothing could start with a print.

image 3: Same woman in same outfit as image 1, but a closer shot. The woman is standing against a wooden brown fence/wall and is smiling.
These kinds of puffy sleeves are not too overwhelming.

The second thing is the fabric. I’ve already tried a couple of soft and draping fabrics to add femininity, and I haven’t liked that look. This top is more fitted and is in a cut that is only slightly out of my comfort zone. So really, the print is the “experiment” and the thing that adds femininity, while the cut is pretty “safe”. I had been avoiding high neck tops in favour of open neck tops, but I know I actually look alright in them. The sleeves also didn’t look tight at the cuff – normally I dislike that because my biceps are a bit big. The fabric is also a cotton and linen blend, and since I’m actively choosing more natural fabrics, this was a plus. Also a great fabric to have for the warm weather coming up since it’s more breathable.

The puffy sleeves were a bit of a worry… they are slightly exaggerated, but really only slightly. There is a bit of tulle fabric at the top of the sleeve to keep its shape, and I can actually fold them under the shoulder to make them less puffy. I thought I’d prefer it this way but I actually don’t mind the exaggerated sleeve! I’m thrilled.

I’ll likely show the shorts in a future post, but the shorts were also a great fit and very flattering, and they had pockets. The whole ensemble looked great. I don’t often find shorts that are roomy enough for my big thighs and butt, so that was yet another reason to buy the whole set.

My boot scootin’ baby is driving me crazy (is that how the song goes?)

image 4: Same woman in same outfit as image 1. She is sitting on a wooden street bench painted with every colour of the rainbow as well as the colour pink. She has her hands in her lap with her gold clutch.
🌈 Rainbow bench for pride 🏳️‍🌈

I bought these white boots before lockdown, thinking I would be able to wear them during the winter. I wore them only a few times and only to go grocery shopping (yes, she’s extra), since I was working from home and didn’t go anywhere. This was my first time actually taking them out! I had been looking for a comfortable white boot for at least a year, but so many styles were not pure white, or had very, very high heels. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Y’all know I’m just a sucker for white shoes in general. I didn’t think the chunky combat style boot suited me and when I tried these on I really liked them. The height was perfect, too – I don’t really wear high heels anymore. Some people think the sock boot is a trend, but meh. I prefer a tighter shaft on my ankle anyway. Nick thinks these shoes look like dancing shoes, and I find the look even funnier with my flared jeans that I wore in 70s kid, because I look like I’m from ABBA or something. But I don’t really care. White boots are very much in the realm of my style. 🤩

I fucking hate my hair, in case I didn’t make that clear in my weeknote a few weeks ago. I managed to book an appointment with my hairdresser but it isn’t until 16 December. 😢 I’m so freaking bored of my hair and annoyed at how long it is. I can’t wait for it to be cut shorter. To stop myself from going mad, I’ve been trying different hairstyles that aren’t a pain in the ass. I created the illusion of shorter hair in this outfit by doing a half bun and leaving the excess hanging. My mum used to do something similar when I was younger and my hair was this long – she would basically tie almost a knot in the hair, and use hair screws (screw-shaped hair pins) to hold it in place. It was honestly kind of cool, and I don’t know where she learned it, or if she even made it up herself, but I remember it as a nice technique I learned from her. 😎

Belt trick

I probably did it wrong, but I saw the belt trick on someone’s YouTube video and tried to copy it. I chose to go with my brown belt rather than my black one, because black would make the contrast with the light jeans just a bit too harsh for everything else going on in this outfit.

image 5: Same woman in same outfit as image 1. The woman is standing against a peach-pink painted wall of a building, with some brown accents on the nearby windows of the building. She has one hand resting on her thigh and the other holding onto a gold clutch.
Loving the crisp details in this top.

I am feeling some cowgirl vibes here. Nick did ask me if tying my belt would ruin the belt, but my belts are made of soft, full-grain leather, and the end has always flopped out (lol…) and not stayed in the belt loop’s place because of how soft the belt is. So this doesn’t actually bend it out of shape and I almost prefer it because it means I don’t have random excess fabric being awkward as hell.

Hand details ✨

The nails are a bit of a mix of nail wraps I have that don’t match. I went with a mostly plain-and-geometric-pattern mix. I didn’t intend on them matching this outfit. I usually don’t try to match them! I usually purchase whatever nail wraps I like, and every time I need to put on a new set, I try to choose something quite different from what I had on before, so that I don’t get too bored of the same design.

image 6: Same woman in same outfit as image 1, but a closer shot of her hands holding her gold clutch. She has some bracelets on one wrist and an Apple Watch with a dark blue leather band on the other. Her fingers have some rings on them, one with a squiggly shape and another with a curved c shape, and a wedding and engagement ring with a diamond stone. Her nails have colourful striped art on some nails and plain mint colour on other nails.
I forgot how much I like accessorising with rings.

I purchased these rings from Sydney-based jewellery label Saint Valentine. I was pretty impressed with their basic sterling silver rope bracelet I bought a few months ago, which has held up even though I’ve worn it to the gym and in the shower and basically never taken it off. It has been a while since I’ve worn rings, since I’m mostly working from home, but I wanted to add some new rings to my collection since the ones I have are many years old and not really my style anymore.

I had stopped wearing rings for maybe four to five years, since it had become too bothersome to wear them while typing, and I often bought cheap costume jewellery so they didn’t last a long time anyway. I thought about the squiggly ring and the wide banded ring for a while before I bought them. I liked that they came in a small size for my small fingers, and that they were simple and not unwieldy. They are also not likely to get caught on clothes. I ended up buying them with a $50 voucher I got for being a return customer, which knocked about half the price off. 💎 Score!

The gold clutch is the only “small fancy handbag” I have. I don’t have a lot of handbags and I got this one a while back since I didn’t have a nice small bag for a Christmas party. I’m not usually one to purchase things just for an occasion, but I decided I would get a versatile bag that I could use over and over again beyond the event I planned to wear it to. Since no one’s really been out much in 2020 and 2021, this bag hasn’t had a lot of use, but I think it’s still a good one to keep around. 😊

Outfit retrospective

I have rambled enough about this outfit, haha, but I did want to summarise a bit. I really love the look of this whole outfit and how everything goes together. It makes me keen to see how else I can wear the top. I have tried it with many other pants and bottoms but I don’t think any outfit I have created has looked as good as this one. 😅 This outfit made me want to try paying a bit more attention to accessories and to experiment more with putting outfits together. In the past, I feel like I never really thought about the way I put outfits together, or at least I didn’t really experiment with any combinations beyond what felt “safe”.

image 7: Same woman in same outfit as image 1, but a closer shot from the waist up. The woman is smiling.
I’m not wearing a mask since we don’t have to wear masks outside 😷 But I still do at least most of the time.

Outfit details


📸 All photography by Nicholas Cooke. (on my iPhone 12 mini)

We took these photos in Newtown, Sydney. I named this outfit Seven shades of blue because I was honestly just trying to think up something creative, and I did feel like something clever would be pointing out the many shades of blue in this outfit. I do think there are seven – there’s one shade that could be interpreted as more green, and another shade that might be somewhat similar to another one. But let me know if you can spot them. 💙

I think my ability to creatively think of names for these outfits is dwindling. 😆 I used to be very inspired by song titles but it seems I am losing my touch. 😅

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