The start to 2021 for me has been a combination of non-stop hustle at work and living a little slower, a little quieter when I’m off the clock. Despite living in a colder climate, I’ve always tried to remain active in the winter months, filling frigid evenings and weekends with art shows, dance classes, restaurant dates, live music, and other forms of merrymaking. Now, with these options no longer available, I’ve been focusing on appreciating more modest delights: cold, brisk walks; an occasional whiskey (or two); and being wrapped up in a comfy indigo jacket.
In Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo, the lyrics go:
You ain’t never been blue,
Till you’ve had that mood indigo.
That feelin’ goes stealin’ down to my shoes
While I just sit here and sigh, “Go ‘long blues”.
In some ways, I do feel that indigo reflects the colour of my mood these days, but in a less melancholy way. With the ongoing pandemic, at times I have felt lonely, cabin-feverish, lethargic, and blue. But for me, indigo represents finding something else in the solitude and stillness: letting yourself feel a sense of serenity in the slow-tempo days, knowing that brighter, warmer hues will return once more.
Purchased from: Salvation Army, 2020
Wears counted: 9
This chambray kimono-style jacket is a relative newcomer to my wardrobe, purchased from a thrift store early last year. The material is a tightly-woven, lightweight chambray in a rich indigo colour. From the construction, I can tell that it’s handmade; there are a couple areas of wonky stitching, but it feels sturdy and the imperfections fit with the artistic, wabi-sabi quality this piece exudes. The material is soft, a little wrinkly (more wabi-sabi points) and hangs well on the body. When I first saw this jacket, I was immediately attracted to its interesting shape and cut: the front is open with two opposing triangular panels, making it wide and flowy on the sides. The way the fabric drapes also shows off the lighter inner side in a lovely cascading way. I like that the sleeves have enough width to balance the overall shape of the garment without impeding on practicality. The only thing that would make this garment better would be the addition of hidden pockets on the inside, where I intuitively want to stash a field notebook and a pen or two.
The look of this piece reminds of something from Eileen Fisher or even the closet of Georgia O’Keeffe, whose style I’ve been obsessed with for years. When I put it on, I feel like I could be an artist who lives in a minimalist cabin and reads Murakami novels. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s also a pretty good dupe for Atelier Delphine’s denim patchwork jacket which I’d coveted, but thought was too oversized for my stature. This jacket suits my body and my existing wardrobe well. It goes with pretty much everything that I own, from cashmere sweaters to summer dresses, and complements the blues, creams, greys, and browns that make up much of my colour palette. I especially enjoy wearing it in combination with a thin turtleneck and some tapered pants. While I haven’t had the opportunity to be more experimental with how I style it (since I have nowhere to go), I can see this piece being extremely versatile and transformative. For instance, I think it would look great as a wrap top with a belt. I’ve also thought about adding some ties to the front so it could be worn closed or perhaps wearing it with a cool brooch like O’Keeffe.
Lately, I’ve been wearing this piece more frequently, even though the weight of the fabric makes it feel more like a spring/summer layer. I like to throw it on while I’m working from home; it’s an easy way to feel more put together, especially when the desire to stay in pyjamas all day wins. I can’t wait to wear it beyond the pandemic, when “dressing up to go out” might be a thing again. This piece has also helped me accept that structured jackets like blazers are not really my thing, no matter how hard I try to incorporate them into my wardrobe. Relaxed, soft-edged, open jackets definitely feel more true to my style. Whether I’m feeling indigo or not, I can see myself wearing and loving this jacket for a long time to come.