April Style Sudoku

April 2019 style sudoku — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

This year, I’m challenging myself to do a style sudoku in each season. I put together my winter version in January, and now I’m back with my spring version! Style sudokus are probably my favorite type of wardrobe remixes. They’re fun for me to put together (as I am a huge sudoku nerd) and also fun to wear. I usually end up with a new favorite outfit combination…and I also usually discover a combination that I don’t like so much, but it’s all part of the fun of it. The goal is to play around with what’s already in my closet!

A style (or wardrobe) sudoku is exactly what it sounds like if you’re familiar with sudoku the puzzle. Basically, you choose four tops, four bottoms, four pairs of shoes, and four other items (accessories, jewelry, outerwear, etc.) and arrange them in a 4x4 grid so each row, column, and corner makes a complete outfit. (You can also make outfits out of the diagonals and the inner “squares” of the two middle rows if you’re so inclined!) In my past style sudoku challenges, I shared the diagonal outfits, too, even though diagonals aren’t technically included in a real sudoku. This gives me 14 outfits total.

Striped shirts, light sweaters, blazers for spring — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

This sudoku kind of snuck up on me, so even though I had a few items in mind, it was mostly thrown together this past weekend. Let’s see how that goes! ;) My color palette is slightly lighter than it was in the winter. I kept navy and blue denim as my base, then added in camel and cognac as accents along with creamy whites. The pink, burgundy, and army green give it some more color for spring. I included two patterned tops this time (and both are striped—big surprise, haha!).

My full sudoku is shown below; do you notice any repeats from winter? I tried to select mostly items that I hadn’t worn in January, but I did end up choosing my dark wash skinny jeans again because they’re a staple. I also included my Hunter boots again because, well, it’s gonna rain. Again. I selected a few items I haven’t worn in a while (navy blazer, striped shirt, burgundy hat, green jacket), an item I struggle to style (camel sweater blazer), and a new item (cotton-linen sweater). I unintentionally chose a hat as one of my four “accessories” again. My other “accessories” are a sweater blazer, a regular blazer, and the light jacket.

As I did back in January, I’ll be breaking down what I wear into three different blog posts over the next two weeks and detail what I did on each day, how the outfit worked for those activities, and the weather. And, like January, we have precipitation in the forecast… However, I included my boots in only three outfits this time, which may end up being a poor decision because it looks like we could get rain for quite a few days. Eep! I’m really hoping it all works out like it did in the winter. Fingers crossed!

Below the sudoku, you can find the details of all 16 items. I’ll be sharing a daily photo of my outfit over on Instagram stories (check out my “Style Sudoku” highlight) and then posting them here after a few days have passed.

April Style Sudoku: 16 items, 14+ outfits — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

FIRST ROW

Elizabeth & Clarke ‘The Laurent’ unstainable shirt / exact

Madewell high-rise skinny jeans: tulip hem edition / no longer available; similar by Madewell

Hunter original gloss chelsea boots / exact

J.Crew ‘Sophie’ open-front sweater blazer / exact

SECOND ROW

J.Crew ‘Schoolboy’ blazer / no longer available; similar from Nordstrom Rack

Madewell ‘Billie’ ankle boots / no longer available; similar by Madewell

Madewell high-rise skinny jeans / no longer available; similar by Madewell

Gap striped tee / no longer available; similar by Gap

THIRD ROW

Everlane kick crop jeans / exact (limited sizes) or similar by Banana Republic

Everlane cotton-linen crew sweater / exact (limited sizes) or similar by Everlane

Leith floppy hat / no longer available; similar from Macy’s

Charlotte Olympia ‘Kitty’ velvet flats / exact from SSENSE

FOURTH ROW

Earth ‘Bellwether’ flats / no longer available; similar by Frye

Madewell ‘Outbound’ jacket / no longer available; similar by Madewell

Everlane cashmere crew sweater / exact style

Everlane modern boyfriend jeans / exact (limited sizes) or similar by Everlane

ISO: A practical rain jacket

Practical spring rain jackets by The North Face, L.L.Bean, Patagonia — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I’ve mentioned in a couple of recent posts that I’m on the hunt for a proper, practical rain jacket. Out of all the jackets and coats I have, I don’t really have one that’s great to wear on those seemingly never-ending rainy spring days. I was specifically hoping to find something that wasn’t just a shell because I, unfortunately, do not live in the tropics and when it rains here, it’s chilly! That said, I’m not totally ruling out uninsulated jackets, because those are nice for outdoor activities like hiking or for the random stormy days that do happen to be a little warmer. Plus, it’s easy to add layers to keep warm.

I spent a few days browsing rain jackets recently, and the six above are my frontrunners. Four of the six jackets are by The North Face. I am particularly loyal to that brand since I’ve owned one of their puffer coats for 8.5 years now (I actually searched my emails to find when I placed that order, haha!) and also own a few other pullovers. In my browsing, I also found a couple of options I liked by Patagonia (I love their mission even though their clothes are a bit ubiquitous around here) and L.L.Bean (yet another high-quality outdoor brand).

Specifically, this is what I had in mind when browsing:

  • Price point / I’m willing to spend some money, but I didn’t want to spend over $150… and I wanted to get something on sale if at all possible.

  • Waterproof / Not water-resistant!

  • Hood / This is an obvious necessity for a rain jacket, but I paid attention to whether the hood could stow into the collar when not needed. It wasn’t a must but I thought it’d be nice to have that option.

  • Adjustability / I wanted the wrists to fit snugly, possibly some way to adjust the hood, and the option to tighten the hem if needed, though I was paying attention to fit…

  • Fit / I preferred a jacket more fitted/slim than boxy.

  • Packability / Not a necessity but definitely a nice option for travel.

  • Color / My go-to is black, but since I have navy rain boots, I looked instead at navy, green, and grey coats.

The six jackets I am considering:

  • The North Face Dryzzle Jacket ($200) / At full price, this jacket was a bit outside of what I wanted to spend, but since the colors are past season, it is currently up to 40% off at Backcountry. The hood isn’t stowable, but the jacket does feature underarm ventilation, which is always nice to have if doing outdoor activities. The modeled photos make it look like the jacket has a more standard fit.

  • The North Face City Midi Trench Coat ($150) / I love the look of trench coats, so I was super excited to come across this waterproof trench coat. I’m a fan of the fitted shape and adjustable wrists, but the reviews mentioned that the sleeves were much too long. Even though I have long arms, I don’t like it when my sleeves are too long, so I’m not quite sure about this one. The hood is also not stowable even though that isn’t a dealbreaker.

  • L.L.Bean Trail Model Rain Jacket ($99) / This jacket isn’t getting the best reviews on the website, and it looks like it’s because the sizing was changed recently. I like the fitted silhouette and the wrists that are easily adjustable. It’s also made from 100% recycled nylon! They have a ton of colors available but I think I’d pick the navy to go with my navy Bean boots.

  • Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket ($130) / I’ve been interested in trying something by Patagonia, and this jacket looked a lot like the Dryzzle jacket mentioned above, with the more standard fit and underarm ventilation. I love how packable it is, but I just don’t like the visible logo as much—is that weird? Ha! Other than that, this is a great option with the excellent reviews to match.

  • The North Face Resolve II Parka ($110) / This parka features a slim fit and rounded shirttail hems, but I’m not too crazy about the side cinching. It’s also more of a shell than an actual jacket, though it is windproof. Not surprisingly, I’m such a fan of the earthy green color!

  • The North Face Resolve Insulated Jacket ($160) / This jacket is actually on sale at most retailers, including Backcountry (and even less expensive on Amazon). I’m particularly fond of how the jacket is insulated, but the varied reviews on sizing make me nervous. It is pictured without the hood, but it’s able to be stowed in the collar. I love the darker grey color.

After all that, I did end up placing an order for…

The North Face Resolve Insulated Jacket

The more I browsed, the more I couldn’t get this jacket out of my head, so I decided to order it after finding it on Amazon Prime with free returns. I mentioned that the reviews on the sizing made me nervous. I typically wear a small in TNF, but one review in particular ultimately led me to order it in a medium. I do wish I was able to try it in a small, so I may end up ordering it just to try (though I could see the small maybe being too snug on my shoulders). The medium fits well over a thick layer as I was hoping but there is some extra room in the torso. I didn’t include a side view, but the jacket doesn’t stick out at all in the back. The sleeves are longer than I would prefer. I don’t think they are so long that they would be annoying but I haven’t tried wearing it out yet. It does feel pretty warm when I wear it inside, and I’m excited for that feature once I venture outside!

What do you think: does the jacket I bought look too big? Do you have a trusty rain jacket? I’d love to hear about it! Since I ended up buying an insulated rain jacket, I’m also now considering buying a second more shell-like jacket in navy. Guess I should make sure I wear this one enough first, ha! ;)

10 outfits to wear again this spring

It’s going to be a beautiful sunny spring weekend here, and we have 60s in the forecast for next week. To say I’m excited would be a massive understatement! Is it starting to feel like spring where you are? I know that winter isn’t gone for good quite yet, but I went through my past spring outfits and picked out 10 favorites to inspire me when I dress myself this spring. I picked a variety of outfits (some with mini skirts, some with jeans, some with sweaters, some with tees, some for work, and some for play) and a few of them have repeating items, so it’s safe to say you’ll probably see those items in outfits again this spring! Which look is your favorite? :) (As always, clicking on any of the photos below will take you directly to the original post!)