If you’ve done anything outdoors in Canada, especially Western Canada in the 1980s and later…you know about MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop or just “meck”).
They have an amazing line of outdoor clothes and gear, and have always prided themselves on knowledgable staff who actually use their stuff, don’t work on commission and provide helpful advice to help make the best decision whether it’s a hiking boot, a jacket or pair of socks.
I don’t buy much online, sight unseen, but MEC is the exception. And their marketing works on me. I am proof positive that emails about clearance items are very likely to turn into sales.
But this past weekend, I went to a new store in the next city. It’s a dangerous trip for me. I actually told myself ahead of time “you don’t need anything.”
I just bought things I needed…
While I was there, I was impressed again by their rock solid guarantee. While trying on boots, the staffer told us that if the hiking boots didn’t work out, they could be returned…even if they were covered in mud from testing driving them on the trail. Wow. Kinda made me want to buy a few pairs.
But I showed great restraint and just bought their Nola rain coat (for the as-yet-unplanned trip to Shetland), a great lightweight travel towel and some layers for the cold weather on its way.
MEC is a great Canadian success story that will continue to get my support.
There’s an interesting shift happening in our closets.
We have focused on what to wear for ever, like most of you. From the matching outfits our mother sewed for us, to Friday night’s spent sewing a new summer dress pattern. Some of them were flattering. But mostly I think of long, flowing, shapeless outfits. We probably liked it that way – don’t want to draw to much attention to an actual shape. Oh no.
And by the time we get comfortable in our own skin, we’re into our 4th or 5th decade and we look around the closet and realize that what really works is a few good pieces. A cut of pants that work. Tops of a certain length. Sweaters. Jewellery. A dress or two. Repeat.
It’s kind of what men have done for centuries. A suit that fits, a few white shirts and accessorize with the tie and socks.
But it’s not plain. It seems to be stylish and smart. And takes so much of the angst out of wandering through online pages or heaven forbid, the mall!
Here are some of favourite few pieces right now.
Krazy Larry pants and capris, just about anything from Lilla P , and everyday Ts and undershirts from UNI QLO
So I am taking a break from clay and getting back to knitting. A perfect summer project is handmade socks. They aren’t too hot to have sitting in your lap and it’s an easy thing to take in the car on road trips.
I know you can find hundreds of options for free patterns online but I stand by my Ann Norling pattern for socks. It will cost you a few dollars for the pattern but it’s worth it. Between my sister and myself, we have probably made 50 pairs of socks using the pattern. Our paternal grandmother was a knitter and always had a pair on the go. Her socks were the only ones our dad wore. I have made quite a few pairs for my sons and they seem to enjoy them too!
I decided to make a pair for my too-cool-for-school nephews from LA. They have been everywhere, have everything, need nothing. I really wasn’t too sure how a pair of brightly coloured, handmade socks would go over. They are both reluctantly heading to sleep-away camp so I told them the socks were magic—they would drive away insects and homesickness and keep them warm at night. Let’s hope they work!
I have a love/hate feeling towards boots. Love them. Hate trying to find ones that fit. This year, I think I hit the jackpot.
Burgundy Blundstones – stylish enough for work, practical for winter travel wear. And these Portuguese-made Bos & Co wool lined beauties. Great for deep snow and dog walking. I love the knitted patch on them.
I love a good pair of gloves, especially ones I’ve owned for awhile that fit perfectly and mold right to my hand.
I bought a pair in Rome at a little shop on a side street. It was a small store with boxes of gloves and ties from floor to ceiling. Behind the counter was an older woman who looked like she had just stepped out of the kitchen.
She had me place my elbow on a circular cushion with a dent in the middle and turn my hand around like I was the Queen. She studied me for a moment and then announced what size I would wear. Of course she was right. I slid my hand into the buttery leather gloves, lined with cashmere and declared my love for them!
Never mind that I saw a similar pair at a local off-price department store when I got home for a third of the price! I bought those ones for my sister and smile when I wear my expensive gloves from Rome. Take a look at Sermoneta Gloves for some eye candy.
Stitch Fix is so fun, and sorry Canadian readers—it is not yet available across the border, much to my sister’s dismay. She only gets to see the selfies I send her of my new outfits.
What is it?! It’s a personal shopper who sends you five pieces of clothing whenever you ask them to. You fill out a style profile on line, select the amount you are willing to spend and then pick a date to receive your shipment.
It costs $20 for a ‘fix’ but if you purchase anything, the $20 goes towards your purchase. Once the package arrives, you have three days to decide what you are keeping. Whatever you don’t like gets shipped back in the prepaid envelope! So simple. Plus it comes with pictures of what to wear with the piece they sent you, for those of us who need a little help!
I am not a very patient shopper so this is perfect for me. Plus, I try things I would never even glance at on a rack.
If you want to give it a try click here for my referral code.