Tomboy casual: the cape bomber

A few months ago I scored a cool DKNY bomber with cape sleeves. I love the idea and the wool suiting fabric but I kept not wearing it. Angie's post last week inspired me to finally cut the tags.

If it were warmer I'd have worn sandals as in her outfit idea. I did cuff my jeans at least!

I like it though I feel super self conscious about the "weird" sleeves. I can wear them more conventionally but it turns out I hate feeling the tight, warm cuffs on my wrists. When I got the sleeves shortened I should have gone with my gut and asked the tailor to make a self-fabric gathered cuff. I wonder if I can find matching fabric and do it myself?

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In which I try on pastels and overanalyze things

I'm tickled pink by the pink in my new glasses. I love it. I suppose it's almost a very pale lilac, but whatever the color, I think of it as pink. It is a surprisingly good shade next to my cool-pink-undertone skin. So I'm having a temporary fling with pink.

Shopping this week, with pink in mind, finally made me understand why I chose all black. I suffer, constantly, from choice overload. When I have options, I need to choose the one right choice. The single best. And of course there never is a single best, so I'm stuck! Mired forever in overanalysis. Each choice fits into some larger set of life choices, eventually spiraling into my whole identity. "What does it mean for me to be a person who wears pink?" my brain whispers at the mirror. Or, "this dress is a thing a person in Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2 would wear, and you are a person in Subcategory III.A.5, so that's right out."

So, it goes like this. There are many shades of pink, right? There are so many ways I could fit a bit of pink into my black wardrobe.

Let's say pink sneakers. Should they be monochrome and minimal, like the current trends? Or have a rock and roll edge to toughen up the pink?

And what pink? There's a warm blush that is very trendy in minimalist looks, often paired with black, but cooler pinks look better on me. Pale petal pink might work, but it reads as the most feminine. Lilac looks good, but it is neither rock 'n' roll nor minimalist. Metallic is cool, but also the opposite of my usual minimalism. And so on.

And then I'm reconsidering every aspect of my style before I know it! Chaos. Much simpler to stick with black and free up my brain to do science.

Well. Now that the navel gazing is over, here are two photos of me trying on different lilac-y colors at Crossroads for color analysis.
1. The tee is too big but I wanted to see the color on me -- matches my glasses. Edit: tried on for the color only, never intended to be bought! It's entirely the wrong size and a fabric I wouldn't wear.
2. Madewell shirt, brighter than I want.
I think this family of lilac-pinks is good on me? It doesn't wash me out. But does it bring out the pink in my skin too much?

3. Also at Crossroads, the aforementioned "dress for Strict Fashion Subcategory III.A.2" (Allsaints, with structured darts and origami puffs of fabric, much more goth-femme than my usual, but so lovely! But I never wear dresses... And I'm out of hanger space... But it's only $30...)

And here are finds for some sneakers I am idly considering. The first pair, I bought at Macy's on super sale this weekend, but they are stiff synthetic material (not leather as described) and my feet sweat in them so they will probably go back.

If I try on any other pinks over the next week, I'll update this post with photos.

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My perfect white shirt?

Angie's post is well timed. I've been wearing more white recently and I took photos of yesterday's outfit to post.

Since some movie or other that I saw in middle school, I've had an image of the elusive (illusory?) Perfect White Shirt, the one that looks stolen from your boyfriend yet ultra cool and flattering. They never quite live up to it but here's my latest attempt.

It's a men's oxford from Everlane, their new "air oxford" - almost as light as poplin but with the feel and durability of oxford. I sized up to a men's small. If I were taller I might size up even more to get the right oversized look, but at my height I'd be lost in it. Anyway, when I tried it on in the store, another customer came over and said it was the perfect shirt, so I decided to go for it.

Incidentally this outfit would be perfect with the pink sneakers I don't own! Old R13 boy skinny jeans, new Puma sneakers.

(Pardon the wet hair in the photos.)

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A sneakerhead is born

I've always owned a pair of classic black & white Converse Chuck Taylors. They were my signature look until a few years ago when they fell out of constant rotation. They just didn't quite look right with most of my outfits. Oxfords, refined flat boots, and the like took their place.

But, comfortable shoes are great. And the thing is, I'm really a casual person, just not sporty. I needed sneakers that fit my minimalist aesthetic and had a bit of edge. And I ended up with not one, not two, but four new pairs of sneakers. I can see how people fall into the rabbit hole of sneaker collabs... there's always some new limited edition.

I'm wearing all of these happily but I really need to stop here and NO MORE SHOES until these are worn into the ground. After my moth incident, I tidied up my "closet" (aka half my bedroom) and bought an Ikea shoe rack to contain the shoe situation. With the rack and the white shoe-filing cabinet, I have just enough space for my current collection -- and no more.

1. Puma x En Noir Clyde in nubuck. So comfy. These have become my go-to shoes for travel. A little more casual than my usual. My boyfriend liked them so much that he bought his own pair.

2. Puma x Stampd Clyde in perforated leather. Uh. I know I don't need two pairs of Pumas but these are all I've ever wanted in a minimalist sneaker. They're more refined than the other pair, with unlined leather and a pared-down look.

3. Converse Modern Lux. They were stupidly expensive for Converse, but the minimalist touches really called out to me. And they're perfect with all my new cropped wide-leg jeans. Unfortunately they're a little narrow, but I cut the tags and wore them today with no real discomfort. (While creating the Find for this post, I discovered the price had dropped from $140 to $70, and I got a price adjustment from Nike!!)

4. Atelje71 Emerald. These were probably a mistake, bought from Gilt a few months back. I like the retro 90s style but they're too big (I was between sizes) and my heel slides up and down. They don't work with cropped jeans the way I was hoping, but they're cool with skinnies or boyfriend jeans.

No more sneakers allowed. (But if any of you are looking, the Puma Stampd shoes also came in a dusty rose that might still be available in some stores, as well as white-ish and light grey that you can still get at Puma. Sizes are men's/unisex.)

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New glasses!!

Even I am wearing pink!

I say that my current glasses are a key part of my look. And I do love them -- the color makes me really happy and I think they flatter my face shape. I've had them five years, and the lenses are wicked scratched. I was going to replace the lenses in the same frames.

Then, at my favorite eyeglass store (Eye Gotcha on Castro St), a sales guy with a knack for choosing the right frames completely sold me on the idea of something new. These frames were the first ones he thought of, and the boldness of the black frame with icy pink sides just called out to me.

I was there on a day that the designer (Anne et Valentin) had a trunk show with all the frame color options (the shop was so crowded!). For this same frame, I could have gone with a color theme similar to my old glasses, warm tortoiseshell in front and a vibrant purple-blue on the sides. But it was time for a change, and the trunk show designer rep also said he preferred these because they were a little edgier and matched my style better.

I hope he's right! It's always hard to adjust to a new look but it's exciting, too.

My one aesthetic dilemma, photo #3: I've been wearing lime green eye shadow occasionally (no mascara, going for a sort of weird Tilda Swinton effect). I'm not sure it really goes with the pink frames. What do you think?

ps - as a bonus, these stay on my face so much better. My old glasses always slid down my nose, with no nose pads. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the main source of my forehead wrinkles, a lifetime of scrunching up my face to move my glasses up my nose.

pps - these photos are from the day I bought them, without prescription lenses. My eyes look so much bigger! I don't have good photos yet of the final version, but it's too bad that my strong prescription will always shrink my eyes (-6 plus -3 astigmatism).

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Moths invaded my keep/return pile!

So yes, that happened. I think it's ok though. No damage. But I should decide on this vest!

Every season for the past two years, my wish list has had VEST!! at the top, but I never find the right one. Long but not too long, tailored but casual, wool but not heavy. This is by Alexander Wang via Nordstrom Rack and it's tailored beautifully from lightweight, unlined woven wool. (Almost the same texture as the lightlaine fabric from Ann Demeulemeester, a hint gauzier than suiting.)

Downsides:

  • Expensive ($250) so it would have to become a central part of my look. 
  • The racerback cut is actually a little tight on my back (not too small, just not the best cut for me).
  • I don't love how the a-line cut emphasizes my new wider hips (I just haven't gotten used to that silhouette on myself yet). 

But overall it's so close. What do you think? Will I wear this a few times a month?

Ok, but here is the moth saga: I brought the vest home a few days ago and hung it neatly on the back of my bedroom door, my cat-hair-free holding zone for purchases I might return. Then I walked in yesterday and saw a moth flutter off the vest, and little lines of tiny, tiny spheres (eggs?) on the vest and on an Everlane silk shirt I also might return. F#*$! So I jumped into action.

  1. Used a clothes brush to brush off the eggs. Checked every square inch. Then folded it neatly, put it in a giant ziploc, and put it in the freezer just in case.
  2. Assessed my wardrobe. Damn but I own a lot of wool. Photo #4 is all my wool wovens. I am carefully brushing & checking each one and bagging them all while I sort this out.
  3. Bagged all my wool sweaters and tops (photo #5) and put them all in the freezer (#6) to kill any larvae. Luckily we got a new fridge just last week so the only things in the freezer were one bag of frozen edamame and a bottle of vodka (for making pie crust...)!

Did I mention I own a lot of wool? Oy. I keep finding more. Scarves, gloves... my Pendleton blanket... so far, the only serious damage was to this old wool scarf at the bottom of my scarf bin (photo #7). I never wear it (it is not black!), so I don't know if this damage was recent or ancient. I did find one hole in my interview blazer a few weeks ago... but so far the damage is mercifully light.

I ordered pheromone traps (one day Amazon delivery, so I already have them!). They'll catch the adults, and tonight I'll do a thorough vacuuming and clean inside my drawers. I decided not to worry about all my silk - I hope I don't regret that!

But what a tedious way to spend a whole Sunday...

And here's a stray WIW outfit from last week (photo #8): Uniqlo IDLF silk shirt, thrifted J Brand boyfriend jeans that I love SO much more now that I chopped and cuffed them, and Steve Madden block heel sandals that I never wear but are actually perfect so maybe I'll hold onto them and work them into the usual rotation.

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My stripes (wiw)

A month ago, Angie wrote about the versatile, essential striped top. I always like the idea of stripes, but I struggle to fit my striped tops into my look. Reading the post, I realized that the black and white striped tops I own are higher contrast than I prefer, and black and grey stripes might work better.

I happened to find this Rag & Bone tee at Wastelands, my favorite used clothing store. I think it works! Amusingly, almost every element of this top is something I often avoid:

1. stripes
2. heather grey - I prefer solid grey, but here the heather grey gives a nice visual texture.
3. boxy - my mid-sized chest and broader shoulders mean that some boxy tees don't sit right on me, but this one works. 
4. linen - by all rights I should love linen, but I rarely reach for my linen tees, maybe because the black tends to fade.

I also found my ideal cotton cardigan at the Gap this week. Lighter weight but still provides some warmth, cropped at the perfect length for me, and the sleeve design leaves space for bulkier short sleeves like the cropped tee. Score! There is a thinner version, in black linen, that I might also snap up. (I'll return that Brandy Melville wool cardigan, because this is more what I was searching for.)

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A mini-trend I'm loving: fishnet ankle socks

For years I've wanted a pair of fishnet ankle socks, and suddenly they're all over the stores. I grabbed a pair at Nordstrom Rack, but I've also seen them at Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. I'm not sure why I like the idea so much -- fishnet tights are a little too va-va-voom for my usual look (though I wore them all the time in college).

I wore them last week with cuffed straight jeans and my Dr Martens sandals, and I got a compliment walking down our most hipster-filled street. I don't think they looked too extreme, more like just a little detail to add edge to my outfit. (I didn't think to take a photo.)

What do you all think? Would you wear this?

Next I want a pair in skin-tone or pale pink. And I also like the related trend of ankle socks with block heels.

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I think this sweater is a failure? Now with photos.

[Edit: photos added! I had to log out and back in.]

At Nordstrom last week, I found a light, drapey cardigan, something I've needed for a while. I snapped it up full price, but I'm having reservations.

Now that I've seen photos, I think it's too big. It's one size fits all, from this apparently trendy teen brand Brandy Melville that makes all their clothes in "one size fits skinny teens." I think that's practically unethical, with all the pressure to have the perfect body that kids face these days. So I'm not excited about the brand for that reason, but then also practically speaking, I'm petite and it's clearly meant for someone either larger or more slender and angular than me. What do you think? I do love oversized things but it's just not looking as cool on me as on the models.

It's really nice though, a very light wool that I could wear year-round, and affordable, too. I planned to work today, but then I decided to take photos before I cut the tags. Now I'm sort of chilly without it but I don't know if I should cut the tags and commit!

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WIW: Tweed, with musings on style, androgyny, and thrifting

Like Aida, I didn't really go for spring or pretty. But Angie's post reminded me that this Zara tweed jacket is practically a closet orphan. Pairing it with a white graphic tee really helps! The tee is from J Crew Crewcuts and I think I should buy a few more boys' tees - I like the fit. Sneakers are new Atelje high tops that I thought would be my HEWI but are just a little too big for perfect walking comfort. Still useful.

I went to Wasteland, an awesome upscale secondhand store, this weekend. I ran into a woman whose easy, dramatic style made me feel like a total amateur at all this fashion stuff - but I'm sure she feels that way some days too. Her look was sort of dark Scandinavian minimalism. Very androgynous (oxfords, men's tees) -- she was tall and broad shouldered with long dirty blond hair and pulled off that look perfectly. I think the androgyny is what I envied most, and I'm just not the right shape to do that. But this boy's tee reminded me that a lot of the problem is just sizing and I'm sure I can work around that. Still, I'm sad about "the one that got away" -- I found an amazing Comme des Garcons men's grey pinstripe wool buttoned shirt at Wasteland. I fell in love with it but a men's medium is just too big everywhere. So I handed it to her and I'm pretty sure she bought it. I'm glad it found a worthy home.

ps - I can't think of who this might apply to, but if you are near SF and a women's large / XL and like minimalist designers, the Crossroads Trading on Haight St has an amazing collection of Vince, Helmut Lang, etc, in that size range. Gorgeous simple silk shirtdresses and such. They put their nicer pieces on hangers up on the wall and the set of items was so cohesive that I had to ask if they all came from the same seller. The manager explained that sadly, an older woman with an amazing wardrobe had passed away and her daughter had sold all the pieces to them. She sounded really happy to pass them on to people who would appreciate them.

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