WIW: my signature avant garde layers

I was inspired by Angie's post yesterday to pull out an old favorite outfit that I haven't worn as often recently. I'd love to add a loose-knit tunic to this like she showed from Eileen Fisher.

Photos 1-3: Equipment silk tunic/dress, R13 waxed skinnies, thrifted Theory sweater, Theyskens jacket. New-to-me thrifted Born flats - are these as good for me as my old FS/NY flats that I need to replace? I can return them if not.

Photo 4: One bad shot from my trip to NYC last weekend, bundled up against the polar vortex. I love cold - I decided to walk to the theater (via some shoe stores...) instead of taking the subway, so I'd get more cold weather. Wool J Crew minnie pants, Tsubo boots, Aqua sweater that you can't see, lovely thrifted Club Monaco coat that is too warm for San Francisco.

Photo 5: a repost from a few months ago, another version of the tunic look with a longer sheer Vince silk tunic and the J Crew pants.

Photo 6: a repost with the old FS/NY flats for comparison to the new Born ones.

Looking through all these, it's obvious that my go-to look is silk sleeveless button down (of varying lengths) and skinny pants!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Sara L. replied 10 years ago

    I like all these and think this is a silhouette you wear well.  I really like the pattern on your scarf in #6.

  • Deborah replied 10 years ago

    Love this like crazy. This would be my preferred silhouette for winter. You look great. It's a very streamlined and edgy look. And I love the beanie. I have just bought a black slouchy one for winter. This is for sharing these looks.

  • Debra replied 10 years ago

    Perfect.....I LOVE them all :) you look fantastic :)

  • Suz replied 10 years ago

    A new picture spot!! 

    You look great in these. I think my faves are 1,3, and 5. 

    So...here's something. We are a similar height, similar body type. 

    But I really, really do not like myself in this silhouette. I don't dislike the silhouette. I dislike me, in it. I wonder why? I think sometimes I have tried it with too high contrast pieces -- I need to try it with lower contrast. 

  • Angie replied 10 years ago

    The new Born flats work really well, Queen Hard Edge Avant-Garde Layers. You wear these looks to perfection - your best accessory being your bright red hair and lots of it. 

  • Angie replied 10 years ago

    One more thing. Very few people look good in head to toe black outfits to my eye. In fact, head to toe black is *almost* poison eye for me (it's a very subjective thing of course). But you wear it with the best of them, Greyscale. It's about your skin and eye colour, and lots and lots of red hair, that make the arty picture work. 

  • Caro in Oz replied 10 years ago

    Great looks :) Love the shoes in #5, I'm not a fan of ballet flats but they look good.

  • MuseumGal replied 10 years ago

    Love love love these, esp #3.  I've was actually hovering around a version of this last summer, and will probably dive into it full force this summer.

  • annagybe replied 10 years ago

    I love the first look. May have to copy.

  • catgirl replied 10 years ago

    Huge fan of all of these.... Sigh.

  • Aubergine replied 10 years ago

    You look great in all of these! I think I might actually like the new flats a little better than the old ones -- it's hard to tell from the pictures, but the shape might be a little more elegant or something.

  • Greyscale replied 10 years ago

    Suz, yes, new photo spot! The old empty closet is full of boxes now. This spot has nice even light, but relies on my boyfriend taking the photos because it's not near the mirror. I don't like asking him to do it every day. I should figure out how to do it myself without a mirror.

    I could picture you in summery layers of neutral linen, with your fair hair, for an artistic look. I've noticed that your clothing is usually straight, rather than full, so I'd go for a tunic shirt that doesn't flare out rather than the slightly A-line dress in Angie's blog post. I think one trick for this look, for me to feel like myself in it, is to wear pants that are very slim but not just knit leggings. Not sure why that makes a difference for me. I've also made it work with boyfriend jeans for a less feminine interpretation but that strikes me as less your style.

  • Greyscale replied 10 years ago

    Thanks, Angie! I remember reading some of your comments on all-black on your blog before I joined and suspecting you wouldn't be a fan of my outfits, so I'm very flattered that you think it works for me. I put a lot of effort into texture and/or silhouettes these days. I'm no longer very happy with just "boring black" (say, a turtleneck and jeans) unless it's very sleek or very slouchy in a stylish way, or interesting in some other way. I've been mixing more white and light grey in recently, but I still come back to my classic all-black pretty often.

  • Angie replied 10 years ago

    I'm glad you started to post your killer looks, Greyscale. I have very, very few poison eyes, and on top of that - my opinion is just another opinion amidst a whole slew of subjective opinions. It does not hold more weight than how you feel in an outfit. Nothing holds as much weight as how fabulous you feel in a particular look. 

    I love the addition of white and light grey into your style too. You clearly get how to make an all black look flattering - and in this phase of your style journey, please do not cut off the mop of red curls. 

  • E replied 10 years ago

    I love your style! :D It's so fun seeing how you layer, and as I'm starting to explore dresses/tunics over trousers, it's inspirational too. The Born flats look good to me: very similar to your old pair.

    (And I feel similarly re: the cold. It always makes me walk more just to be outside and enjoy it.)

  • Liz A. replied 10 years ago

    oohhh those minnie pants are full length on you.  jealous... love the look.

  • Greyscale replied 10 years ago

    I know, isn't that funny, Liz? One of their recent catalogs said the Minnies were lengthened for this year, and I groaned, because the old ones are so perfect on me!

  • JAileen replied 10 years ago

    I like #1, with the different lengths. The scarf is pretty, too.

  • Sarah A replied 10 years ago

    I really like each of these. You have very much nailed the textures and weights to keep lots of interest in you monochromatic looks.

  • Diana replied 10 years ago

    You look great in all black!  I think the key is that you have different textures in each outfit - sheer, soft silk, tough leather, and sturdy denim.  It's monochromatic but not flat.  

  • Jaime replied 10 years ago

    Love these! The new flats are great substitutes for the old. But what shoes are you wearing in #5? You say #4 is a bad shot, but shoe store shots are always good in my eyes!

  • Greyscale replied 10 years ago

    #5 is these Fluevog oxfords:
    but they seem to be sold out in black, now. I wanted more masculine oxfords but I ended up loving these, which feel more like soft dance shoes.

    The new Born flats are a stiffer leather than the FS/NY ones. The sole is infinitely more comfortable but I'm not sure I like how structured they look. I think I'll get used to them, though.

  • Ariadne replied 10 years ago

    As usual, I love all of these.  #1 and #5 are my faves.  I wore something similar to #1 using a burgundy silk tunic and burgundy coated skinnies earlier this week, but I want to try it again now with grey oxfords and my black moto.

  • Neel replied 10 years ago

    Love these! Perfect avante garde layers interpretation IMO! Ylf!

  • Elly replied 10 years ago

    I love this look on you--- I'd love to do something similar but something doesn't seem to work with my different proportions.

  • Susie replied 10 years ago

    I love these outfits on you, so much. The mix of textures adds such interest and your go to look is definitely a winner.

  • Greyscale replied 10 years ago

    Ariadne, your burgundy outfit sounds fab.

    Elly - makes sense - body types and avant garde styles have been big topics on the forum this week. So, in the spirit of that discussion, I went back and found one of your WIWs. I'm guessing that a straight-down tunic style top would seem boxy on your hourglass shape? I was thinking about how I have five or six sleeveless black silk tops, each a different length (three are in these photos: low-waist length in the photo with the scarf, thigh length in today's WIW, and the knee length sheer tunic) and those different lengths would work better or worse on different proportions. The knee length one feels too long on me, but it's sheer so I think it works. I also usually wear it with a short cardigan that nips it in at the waist. I think a hip or waist length loose silk button-down gives almost the same effect as the tunic, so I bet there a lot of ways to interpret this idea on different bodies and different style preferences. Angie's blog post showed a longer, a-line dress that I'd probably feel lost in. I'd be curious to see if you can find an interpretation that works for you.

  • Beth Ann replied 10 years ago

    Beautifully done, and a fab illustration of Angie's post!

    I love your attention to texture, too.  I think it gives a certain "warmth" to minimalist looks, if you know what I mean.  You're also doing a fab job of balancing structure and movement/flow.

    Keep posting! 

  • Ornella replied 10 years ago

    I love your outfits and they always had an artsy vibe to me, but now we have the name for it thanks to the recent blog post. I say stick to your formula because it works and for as long as you are happy wearing it. I'm happy seeing it.

    The bundled up photo is super :-) That bag looks fantastic.

  • Hil replied 10 years ago

    I love your looks Greyscale. The amount of edge that you portray is just too cool!

  • gryffin replied 10 years ago

    Greyscale - you know I am just dying.  Such fantastic looks.  I don't even have language to tell you how fabulous I think these outfits are!!  Just doing the happy dance for you amazing style!!

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