The difference between something ordinary and something extraordinary is often a small detail. For example, the sporty side stripes on this skirt are what make it for me; they add just the right amount of irreverent WTF? to an otherwise standard leopard skirt. I started thinking about how style can be such a metaphor for life (stay with me here, this is my Philosophy major seeping out on my blog… sorry ’bout that). It is the appreciation of small details that make life LIFE, and not just an existence… in the same way that a small detail can make a coat particularly beautiful, going far beyond functioning just as a layer of fabric to keep you warm. I boarded this train of thought when I was wrapping Christmas presents this year. As I wrapped boxes in the usual department store paper strewn with cartoons of Santa, reindeer, holly, snowmen, and Christmas trees, I thought, wouldn’t it be so much nicer to wrap packages that are enhanced by thoughtful details rather than Christmas cliches? Maybe just simple white paper with beautiful ribbon and a sprig of real holly or spruce tucked into the knot? Every year, we commit to a ‘theme’ on my Christmas tree (one year we did eggplant purple; it was dreadful) so next year I’m going to commit to a wrapping theme as well… a simpler theme, but heavy on small beautiful details.
I’d like to get more into the practice of noticing, memorising, savouring, and filing away joyful details of everyday life. I’m not sure I’m ready to write them down on scraps of paper and keep them in an actual jar, like Elizabeth Gilbert suggests we do… but I just might. We all burn small but important details into our memories on our wedding day, or when our children are born, or at other big events in our lives. My ‘resolution’ of sorts for 2017 is that I am going to quiet my mind, switch off my drive to be multi-taskingly efficient every second of the day, and take note of those small beautiful details that happen around me daily… like the elegant cut of stranger’s coat, the light changing every day with weather and season, or the atavistic joy of being watching a candle flame. As crazy as it sounds, I think the same principle applies to your wardrobe. Noticing and relishing the small details of the things you wear makes you appreciate them more. Today when we took these photos, it was FREEZING, and I made myself take a quick moment to be grateful for the soft warmth of my cashmere sweater. You don’t have to buy new new new all the time to appreciate your clothes. You just have to buy less, buy better quality, and buy things that are rich in details that you love. This black jacket is one of my favourite pieces in my closet. At a glance, its just a black satin trench. So far, so ordinary. What I love about it though are the details— the quality of the thick satin, the way that the big buttons go nearly up to the elbow, the mysterious vibe of a stand up collar, and the dramatic lapels (I am ALWAYS a sucker for a well-worked lapel). The trench is a joy to wear, and it is eight years old. I always feel like a secret agent when I wear it (a secret agent for what, I have no idea. Even that is a secret)! All the little details make it special to me, whether the jacket is ‘on trend’ or not.
‘The devil is in the details’ is the overused saying we all know, but did you know that the original saying was ‘God is in the detail’? ‘God is in the detail’ meant that details are vital, and that paying attention to them and doing them well is rewarding. Instead of keeping up with what everyone else is wearing, I wear things with details that bring me little snippets of joy, and joy to me is always an unexpected (and often very sparkly!) detail.
What little details in your wardrobe bring you the most joy? The nosy writer in me would love to know!
Freezing. But look at those sleeve buttons! Swoon!
Often readers will message me to ask where I got a particular item, or if I can help them find something similar… especially my old Gucci boots in this post; you loved those as much as I do! When I have time, and when I find something special, I’ll start to add them to the bottom of my posts. This is the closest option I could find for the Barbara Bui coat I’m wearing in this post. It has gold grommets, shiny fabric, and has a fabulous stand up collar and wide lapels… all lovely details and at a great price (click on the photo for the link).
I’m also loving this fairly pricey Carolina Issa option; it has an almost tuxedo-like style and combines navy and black, which I love, in a shiny crepe fabric… all special details that set it apart from a basic trench. Maybe it will go on sale soon; I think it is absolutely gorgeous (better photos are on the Nordstrom website).
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