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Sunday 12 November 2017

Chanelling Coco

My blogging mate, the so lovely Anna of Mutton Style, invited me to join her in putting together some Chanel pearl layering.  After a day sorting our my jewellery into colour-groupings,  Anna's email was serendipitous,  her timing impeccable.  Yes, I'd created a neatly stored stash of pearls in one of my jewellery drawers, so it was game on.

But hold on, pearl layering?  I know about pearls layering my lovely Zara top, but not much else.  Time for a bit of research.  Oh how I do love research!

I think of Chanel and I think elegance and timeless dressing.  I think boucle and braid trims.  I think chain belts. I don't immediately think of pearls, but having spent hours drifting around Pinterest thoroughly researched the subject matter,  I now know that was something Coco did with panache.  She piled them on in abundance, more being more, and it's seems that, as always, many have copied her perennial style.

However, pearly layers alone would look indecent on this blog, so I had to think up outfits to go with my pearls.  There are some styles which are synonymous with the house of Chanel and with its founder, Coco.  Join me on my journey as I match some classic "Chanel" outfits with pearls.

Boucle Suits

I had to dig deep in my archives to find a pink boucle suit from Alexon, from yonks ago.  Time for some 2nd lovin' for this pinkie.

I used the jacket on its own in order to create a black column with a skirt from another boucle suit.  It's black.  You can't see the texture.  Trust me, it's textured boucle!
I teamed it with a Next frill-front blouse and Clarks heels with a errrm, with a  "reptile that shall not hiss speak its name" print.
And I started piling on the pearls.

This is a nice mixing up of the two suits.  Sort of brings pink into winter.

Coco showed more restraint here though, just a doubled-up pearl strand.  Elegant, eh?

Of course, those with Chanel-style jackets can try mixing it up a bit with jeans.  I love these looks and I feel some mixing up brewing in my wardrobe too.  And if I am going this route, I will search around for some braid to Chanelify the jacket.
OK, boucle and pearls, in the bag.  What else? 


Well, you can imagine how excited Lady Leoprint was when she realised that pearls and leoprint look pretty fine together.

Out came my ancient black boucle Marina Rinaldi suit, which has an animal print fur trim.

I decided to do some pattern mixing with my animal prints.  I added a Next leoprint jumper.
I piled on more pearls.  I discovered you just keep adding to the pile around your neck.  Peasy.
Then I had a plan ...

Excitedly I discovered that I could create a muff-effect feature .  Cute, huh?
I like this outfit because the pearls and the leoprint tone each other down.  Maybe the layers got a bit messy, though.

So, suits n pearls, done.


My mate Keira guided me towards longer strands for dresses.

My black base is an Artigiano faux-wrap dress.

I introduced some length.  I realised that it's quite a challenge to keep long strands tidy.

But I think I could work on this to tidy up the layering.

So, LBD and pearls.  Classic.  And done.  I felt TP would want to take me places in this outfit.  And probably leave me there!

Seems like there are two ways to go with layering.  Mess 'em up, or keep 'em orderly.

I chose orderly for my next look, wearing a long Rohan jersey dress.  Black, of course.

I realised that by de-cluttering the neckline and adding a medium length to the mix, it created the orderly look that I was going for.  Graduated.

Oh how I would love to go places in this black and pearl number!
And I read that longer length skirts are the thing for AW17, so here I show you something pretty near to bang-on-trend.


Well what about throwing lace into the mix?!

I felt lace needed something soft-coloured.  Pink.

I paired up the suit as nature the designer intended, skirt and jacket now together in pinky union.
The lace top is from Dotty P.

You can see my jewellery cabinet on the right.  Missed a photo opp here, should have opened it up so you could see my brilliant organisational skills at work with jewellery categorisation.  So proud.

I felt that the model had been right to keep the pearls high around the neckline, which is what I did instinctively with this outfit.  
But, dear reader, do you have any ideas where I could take this outfit?  I felt I was all dressed up with no clue as to where to go in it.  It was a smart step to far for a lady in retirement.


I was surprised to see that Chanel did casual too.

Here's Coco in a cream skirt and cardi.  Well, I don't have a skirt that follows this look so, lucky me, I found a pic in ... black.  And I have an abundance of black, eh peeps?!

Firstly, I decided to follow the model's headless queue for consistency.  
I also followed her queue with the limited layering for this outfit, keeping pearls to just a few twisted strands and slightly away from the neck.  I felt that was a good call in terms of balance.

 I wore the black boucle skirt again, with a black M&S cardi.  I added a Next ivory layered blouse. 

I think this is a look that would be soooo nice to wear out somewhere posh for lunch or Earlybird dinner.  But I think what's pulling this outfit down is the a fail in rule-of-thirds dressing.  The outfit would look better with a shorter top, as Chanel and the model demonstrate.  You live and learn, eh?

Again, I see this outfit as having its casual cousin.  Switching the skirt for jeans, tucking in the blouse and keeping the court (pump) heels and I'd have myself a nice smart-casual outfit in the making.

So, what more can I do with my pearl layering?
Well, enough of all these smart lady-wot-lunches outfits, I needed something cosier to slip into so that I could sit in my chilly garret and write up my notes.   So how does this look work for ME-casual?


I took my inspo from this lady.

I threw the lace top over a pair of loose jeans and introduced a bit of gold.  A large pearl pendant on a gold chain.  A necklace of gold and pearl.  I added a loose grey cashmere merino cardi.

And just when the poor Photographer had thought his work was done, I decided to switch cardis.

A shorter Woolovers cardi.

And as The Photographer clicked,

I reflected on the paring back of pearly layering in this outfit, pitched just right.
And I thought, "The Pout did good".  

But not that good, for one last category is missing.


No pearls.  Just this.  Inspo, Miss Monroe.

There you have it, darlings.  I have given you an abundance of pearls, in varying degrees of layering.  And it's been fun.
Through this little exercise, I've learned that one has to play around, add and subtract, to achieve balance that's right for the outfit.  
I've learned that there are times when a mix of pearl sizes and graduation suits the outfit, and there are times when the pearls need some serious mixing up.
Pile it on.  Just like Coco did.

Yes, I've learned a lot on my pearl layering journey.
Did you enjoy the journey with me, dear reader?

So my mind turns to you, dear reader.  
Do you pearl-layer?  More is more?
Or do you think a single strand showcases the pearls, that less is more?
And has my little exercise helped you think up some outfits and how to accessorise them with the pearls from your jewellery box/cupboard or charity shop raid?
As ever, I'd love to hear what you have to share.   There's a comment box below just crying out for you!

 Now, I'm off to Anna's blog to see what styling treats she has for us  here.  Why don't you pop on over too.

A la perchoine.

Pinterest photos were sourced in this post.


  1. You already know how much I love my pearls! Great styling here and my favourite is the leopard print xx

    1. Oh thanks, sweet Laurie. You and me both with the pearl love-in. I liked the leoprint look too. Must work out ways to integrate that work suit into retirement life. Hope you've had a good weekend, hugs for the week ahead, x.

  2. I think you had a lot of fun Mary and discovered some new outfits from your closet. I havent worn leopard and pearl but will after seeing your research and experimentation. I loved reading this Mary and have learnt from your visuals.

    1. Thanks so much, dear Anna. Yes, the leoprint and pearls really did surprise me. It felt so good. And yes, I had huge amounts of fun, shame I can't say the same for the poor Photographer.
      Thanks for a fun collab.
      Happy week ahead, hugs, x.

  3. This was a really fun post.

    Pearls with animal print: Purr-fect.

    Pink suit, lace blouse, pearls = wedding guest?

    Buttoned-down blouse, sweater and pearls. Marvelous.

    Too many necklaces was Coco's thing. They're awfully heavy for you and me. I think you hit on just the right mix.

    1. Hi Jean, Yup wedding guest would be where pink and lace would go. Thanks for liking this post, it was HUGE fun to put together. And now I have some ideas for day to day outfits. Yes, the pearls are heavy, any more and I would have felt like I had a yoke around my neck. Don't know how a frail lady like Coco managed it!
      Hope you have a great week ahead, hugs, x.

  4. These outfits look fabulous on you. Love the pink jacket as it makes your skin glow and the wrap dress with the pearls, even though you are hesitant, I think it looks great and a bit sexy. Thanks for doing this wonderful post.

    1. Christy, you are one sweet lady! The wrap dress seems like a work in progress with the pearls, though I do love the dress and it's been a dependable go-to for posher events over the years.
      Glad you enjoyed the post, I certainly enjoyed putting it together. Hugs, x.

  5. Every option is a winner! Wow!! I would give much to be able to hit the mark with everything I tried on in my collection. I am getting there but you have "arrived". Nicely done and thanks for the laughs along with the inspo...I think you deserve a nice tall glass of bubbly even if you just stay home and admire your new looks in your mirror. I would love to see how you organized all the jewels sometime:) Very fun post-congratulations and thanks for remembering my phobia so kindly and humorously!!

    1. Tusinde tak, sode Jules.
      You are so kind, glad you enjoyed the inspo and the laughs. I'll certainly enjoy a glass of bubbly tomorrow! And Jules, never before has someone asked to see my jewellery drawers! Seeing as you asked so sweetly, you will be seeing my organisational skills v. soon, once I put some nice new labels on the drawers.
      We all have phobias, mine's the M word! More on that shortly too. Hugs, x.

  6. Nice look, the jacket is beautiful and the necklaces are perfect. Very elegant with all black outfit, a beautiful proposal. The set in pink is pure delicacy and romanticism, I love it! And I really like your informal proposal, because the blouse is a real cutie.

    1. Lovely to hear from you, J-M. Elegance, delicacy, you're saying all the right words to put a big smile on my face! Yes, I find that blouse is a cutie too.
      Muchas gracias y hasta la proxima, x.

  7. Oh my cuteness. I just love these looks. I always love the look of all the pearls, but somehow I never feel I could pull it off. You on the other hand should be channeling your inner Coco every single day. Now I really do feel like I need to up my game and start a better pearl collection. Thanks for the inspo darling! OH and one of my favorite fragrances is Coco Mademoiselle. XOXO

    1. Sooo sweet of you, darling Lisa, thank you. I would say you might be too young for pearls, but the longest strand have been with me for 45 years! I must have been mature before my time!
      Hugs, x.

  8. Oh Mary, I like all these looks. So pretty! And your hair looks great. Thanks for all the inspiration!

    1. Thanks so much, Susan, so pleased if I've put out a bit of inspo. Maybe in a few posts you'll be showing us a pretty pearl strand?! Hugs, x.

  9. I'd say Lady Leoprint gave Coco a run for her money! So many different ways you styled these beauties! I kept thinking I'd found a fave and then I'd see the next picture. I'm actually hoping you got The Photographer, or as I lovingly call him, Lord Leoprint a drink after this photo session, this must have lasted hours! All your, ahem, research really paid off. Your hair looks marvelous up btw. Even though you may feel like you've got no place to wear these gorgeous stylings I say where them around your island and be the grand Lady Leoprint! I'll be Coco was always dressed no matter the occasion, why not us too?! Let's do it!
    As a final note I really need to start collecting some strands of pearls. I had so many back in the late 80s and early 90s and then got rid of them - what was I thinking?!
    Love them all my sweet friend, you are fabulous!

    1. Such sweet words, Mrs R, big thanks to you. Lord L likes that my special Floridian friend is lovingly calling him something. Spookily, about 30 seconds before I read you're post I'd said that I appreciated the hour he'd spent photographing. "FOUR hours" be replied. I don't know why he was complaining, I encouraged him to do his crossword during the wardrobe changes :-).
      Yes, more and more lately I am thinking that if I WANT to wear something more smart than the occasion calls for, why not? Let's DO it! Err, does that involve more shopping? I want to keep Mr R sweet ...
      Like I said to dear Lisa, my first pearl strand was bought in '73 and many others are from the decades you were ditching the pearls. AND I've put some on my birthday list! Fingers crossed.
      Hugs matey, x.

  10. WOWZERS, You look divine! The long strands have my heart and you nailed the re-creation of these splendid outfits. Pearl layer, yes, yes, yes, but not too many and you wore them to perfection! xo

    1. You're truly a card, Andrea, love your comments! I think you're right, too many pearl strands in the layering would start to take over the outfit ... and me. After all, it SHOULD be about me and not the pearls, eh?!!
      Thank you so much for your kindness, hugs, x.

  11. Fabulous piece Mary - I love the pearls and I've got quite a few hanging in my bedroom, but there's always room for more. Love all your looks, thanks for sharing them. Have a super week Hun. x

    1. Thanks so much, Jacqui. Yes, there's always room for more pearls, that's why some have sneaked on to my birthday list!
      You have a good week too, sweetie, hugs, x.

  12. What a fantastic archive you have, Mary! Out came more fabulous boucle jackets, the looks you created. Pearls a plenty is a winner in my book. I shall put more pearls on my Christmas list!

    1. Oh dear Gail, my archives are embarrassing. So much of it is businesswear and black tie stuff which I can't bear to throw out, because it's well made and I spent a small fortune on it. So I try to integrate as much as I can but integrating beautiful ball gowns into retirement life is perhaps a challenge too far!
      My top tip is if you want to avoid this dilemma in retirement, start easing off buying both from your 50s onwards.
      Thank you for your sweet words. Oh, you've just missed out on putting pearls on your birthday list, but they're on mine 🙌. Fingers crossed you'll get some for Christmas!
      Hugs, x.

  13. In your archive, Pout, do you have the Chanel quilted bag and two tone flats?

    1. Oh Jean, I do have both. I should have worn them. They're not Chanel, of course, just immos. Do you have those Chanel classics?
      Hugs, x.

  14. I like this look on you, Mary, You are looking very glamorous and elegant in all of the outfits and you have clearly had a lot of fun doing your research and dressing up!

    I've got loads of pearl necklaces - all charity shopped of different lengths and sizes.

    Have you tried a denim shirt with pearls? Maybe with a smart pair of trousers and a jacket or a 'Chanel' jacket...

    1. Why thank you, darling Vronni, and yes, this was one of the most fun posts I've done, and it's opened my eyes to so much more I can do with clothes in my archives.
      I haven't tried that denim pearls look yet, though I had a stab at it with khaki in my pearls and roses post back in August/September. Thanks for reminding me, I need to revisit that look.
      Hugs, x.

  15. i adore it all dear mary! my favorite is the last one with jeans - no surprise there. i would love to see it will all your pearls piled on top of the lace blouse and possibly with a black cardi (if you have one.) i'll meet you for lunch!

    a few years ago i took all my costume pearls and mixed them with a couple of strands i had from my mother. i took them to the jeweler and had them combine them all into one big heavy mess. i love it but tbh, after about an hour i'm dying to take it off! i recently cut off one strand and it's a bit lighter.

    i love coco. she has so much self confidence, you can see it in her photos. i wonder what she'd be like today on instagram! i think a lot of her look is based on her boy-like figure. i adore those short jackets but i look horrible in them. i'm too boxy up top.

    also, i think your all pink and lace outfit would be perfect for a baby shower or wedding or tea with the ladies. :)


    1. Well, I'll certainly wear the black cardi with the jeans when we meet up for lunch next time I'm in Utah!
      Having them placed all together sounds like a great instant elegance solution, but I can see how that would feel like a bit of a yoke around the neck after a short while.
      Such a laugh, imagining Coco on IG! And yes, the afternoon tea with the ladies idea for the pink and lace sounds just perfect.
      Thanks for all the lovely ideas, Janet. And, FYI, I'm on the case with the white wrapping paper/black ribbon idea, so thanks for that too.
      Hugs, x.

  16. Oh my, the pearled-up animal print outfit has my vote any time!! The boucle mix comes in second but not so keen on the mix of pink and lace together. Too sweetness and light for this here Dutch girl. So.....what combination will you be sporting when FWAFV takes you out for your birthday dinner??? :o) Wishing you a fabulously pearly birthday, also from his royal dogness, sir Percival. La Duchess signing off.x

    1. So glad you like that outfit, LD, it felt so good wearing it, and I'm pleased it appealed to your Dutchness!
      I have no idea what I'm wearing for my birthday dinner so am giving myself a two hour head start to choose! Thanks for your birthday wishes and give Sir Percival a big squeeze from me! Hugs, x.

  17. You ladies both did such a great job styling your pearls! You have inspired me to dig my own out!

    1. Why thank you so much, sweet Amy. It's surprising how many of us have the odd stand or six of pearls lurking so it's good to give them an airing now and then.
      Hugs, x.

  18. You look fabulous in all of these. I couldn't pick my favorite. When I turned 50, I went pearl crazy. Love them!!!!

    1. Oh thanks so much, Terri, you are too kind. Wow, love the pearl party that's going on in Meadowtree Manor - remind me to pack a case of pearls when I come a-visitin'! Sweet hugs, x.

  19. Thanks for linking up your awesome outfit post at the Top of the World Style linkup party. Your interpretation of Coco's look is great. You look stunning in all outfit inspirations.

    Nicole of High Latitude Style

    1. Thanks, Nicole, Coco's look is so classic so she's a good role model to crib off.
      Hugs, x.