First off, thanks to everyone who convinced me that using the gray buttons was the correct move. They definitely add something to the shirt that otherwise would be seriously lacking.
I've finished the shirt except for the hem, and have you every had a project turn out perfectly well but you're just not satisfied? I can't figure out what it is with the sleeves on this - they don't pull at the top, they're perfectly comfortable, but something just doesn't seem right. And if I don't know what's wrong, I can't fix it so ... I'm making a vest to wear over it. Since there's nothing visibly wrong, the vest isn't necessary but it will make the little questioning voice in my head go away.
You don't want to know what the living room looks like after tearing through 3 years worth of BWOF looking for a vest pattern, other than the really cute one from the 2/2008 issue with the ruffled shoulders, which I liked but didn't think would work. Well, 30-some issues later, I traced out the vest from the 2/2008 issue, minus the ruffles, minus the peplum, minus the welt pockets. I didn't want a lot of detailing on the vest, I wanted the fabric to shine.
BTW, the fabric. I stopped in my local thrift store last night after I got the vest idea at work, and headed straight for the skirt aisle. I figured someone out there would have gotten rid of the perfect gray or black plaid skirt that would be waiting for me to cut it up. And they did!
Behold the Willi Smith herringbone skirt with printed roses. How cute is that? I wish it had been slightly larger than a size 4 - my first destination in that store is always the plus section in the hopes of extra fabric - but I figured there would be just enough. This morning, I took it apart and pressed it, and there was just enough fabric for me to cut out fronts, backs and (by a little strategic piecing) the facings. Somewhere in the workroom I have a roll of black leather piping, and I'm going to use that to trim the vest. I may go a little further and use some leftover black leather for the ties in the back and also (possibly) for faux welt pocket bands, but then again I may not. It depends on how it feels as I'm putting it together. I don't want the effect of "too much leather" to detract from the piping, which is my favorite part.
So the gray wardrobe is moving along. At some point I might even cut out the gray pants that started the whole thing.