September tracking - week 3

It's finally summer! SF summer, that is, right on schedule. We've had a few days in the 80s, so sunny that it felt warmer. It's been chillier than usual this summer, so it was nice to have some heat.

Sunday: breakfast at a cafe with a friend in from NY, then we went to SFMOMA (we have memberships - quite affordable - but rarely go).
Uniqlo tee dress, Laer leather jacket, Dr Martens boots

Monday: woke up feeling really out of it and barely got myself together in time. Threw on an outfit with messy hair and a giant zit on the tip of my nose - perfect for my first faculty meeting in my new department! :(
Madewell slim straight jeans, Uniqlo tunic shirt, Everlane jean jacket, Allsaints flat ankle boots.

Tuesday: back to normal.
Everlane faded boyfriend jeans (new), Gap cotton v-neck sweater, Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats

Wednesday: no meetings, so I wore a denim mini skirt.
Madewell raw hem mini skirt, Everlane u-neck tee, J Crew cotton/wool sleeveless duster cardigan, J Crew boys' oxfords

Thursday: gave a talk on my research to the new grad students. Possibly showed more midriff than ideal for the context?
Everlane faded boyfriend jeans (new), Banana Republic cropped
short-sleeve shirt, Dr Martens sandals

Friday: meant to go out in the evening but didn't, again.
Madewell slim straight jeans, Zara chunky cotton sleeveless top, Rag &
Bone velvet jacket, Dr Martens boots

Saturday:
 a good friend's art opening! One of those fantasy lifestyle events, and everyone looked so cool.
R13 crossover jeans, Everlane u-neck tee, Free People asymmetric flats, Laer leather jacket

Of note:

  • Not one but two dress/skirt outfits! 
  • A few of these outfits had favorite tops that are getting faded -- I know of an excellent fiber-reactive black dye that I could use to re-dye some things, but it require hot water and works best on raw/organic cotton. I wonder if it's worth trying.
  • I bought another pair of Everlane faded jeans -- this time the boyfriend jeans. I don't need any more. I don't regret the purchase because they fit me so perfectly but, time to stop shopping for them - no more faded black wash jeans.
  • I've been culling my shoe collection to remove things that I never wear, mostly for comfort reasons. Lots of money down the drain, though I've recouped some of it on Poshmark. I'm going to be extra careful about shoe purchases in the future. Comfort is king, as Angie knows. The rejects are thing that should have been comfortable but were subtly wrong. It can be hard to get it right.
  • I stopped tracking gear. I went to two dance classes and wore my standard workout clothes.

Totals:

  • jeans: Three pairs, two worn twice each. One carried over from last week, two made their first appearance this week. As expected, I'm rotating through my large jeans collection quite reasonably, but I'd probably be fine owning fewer. Running total for September: 8 jeans (plus a skirt and a dress).
  • tops: no repeats yet (but I have multiple copies of the Everlane u-neck tees, if that counts as a repeat). I own a lot (too many) tees, and I could definitely get by with fewer tops. No dressier tops this week, but I tried to expand out from basic tees - the Zara sleeveless top was an old favorite that I hadn't worn in ages (actually I thought I'd donated it).
  • toppers and outerwear: another warm week meant few cardigans, again; just the sleeveless duster that I also wore in week 1. Same three jackets as the past weeks, reinforcing my sense that these were all great purchases. Running total: 4 toppers, 4 jackets.
  • shoes: Five pairs of shoes this week (two work twice each). Three from previous weeks, two new pairs (a different pair of Dr Martens boots, and my dressier Allsaints boots). Running total: 9 shoes.

Photos: Thursday, Wednesday.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

9 comments

September tracking - week 2

Week two! Quite different than week one. Last week was a capsule. I could own only those items and be pretty happy. This week was odds and ends. I think it was subconscious: the capsule was great but I own a lot of clothing and I should try harder to wear more of it.

Again, all black unless otherwise specified - but this week did see more of my white and lilac options.

Sunday (photos 1-4): Wandered around my neighborhood with my guy. We stopped into the awesome cheese and wine place for an afternoon snack - bonus photo of me and a glass of rose (usually I'm a beer person)
Everlane faded high rise skinnies, Aritzia cropped tee, Zara cropped nylon jacket, Free People asymmetric flats.
Monday: work, nothing special, but a nice warm day
Gap faded cropped wide leg jeans, Everlane men's white short-sleeve oxford, Everlane jean jacket, Converse leather high tops
Tuesday (photos 5-6): taught a class (grad students, so casual is fine)
Re/done high rise skinnies, Banana Republic lilac tee (new), Rag & Bone velvet jean-style jacket, Cydwoq sandals, silk bandana
dance (gear): Uniqlo sweat shorts, Uniqlo tee
Wednesday: planned to go out after work, so I wore edgier clothes (then didn't go out after all, heh)
R13 crossover jeans, Uniqlo boxy tee, Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
Thursday: work, much chillier than it has been
Levi's wedgie high rise jeans, Alexander Wang thick cotton sweater, Frye engineer boots
Friday: faculty meeting
Everlane high rise skinnies, J Crew silk shirt bodysuit, Laer leather biker jacket, J Crew oxfords
Saturday: we meant to do something social/interesting but we didn't - waste of a good outfit!
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Helmut Lang sleeveless draped wool turtleneck, Everlane jean jacket, Dr Martens boots

First, the totals.
Jeans: Six in one week! Three repeated from last week, three new. Boyfriend, three different high-rise skinnies, wide leg crop, and the very distinctive R13 x-over - a more eclectic mix than last week. The Gap wide leg crops haven't been worn much this year - I don't know if I got tired of them or if it's just that we had a chilly summer. Also, the new Everlane skinnies are really taking over the Levi wedgie's place in my wardrobe. But redundancy is fine even if I don't like the Levi's as much.
Tops:
 No plain black tees!! Well, ok, two black tees but both were distinctive. And two non-black tops! And I'm doing a great job of working my interview/professional clothes into my daily wear.
Toppers & outerwear: ...not a single cardigan! How strange. Last week was all cardigans. Mostly just the weather? And, same three outerwear choices as last week. Two weeks in, and the Everlane jean jacket is one of my best-ever purchases.
Shoes: Flats x2 (those Free People shoes are still dominating!), 2 boots, sandals, fancy Converse. The oxfords are what I used to wear in outfits where I now turn to the FP flats, but they still have plenty of opportunities.

Outfit happiness:
Thursday's outfit was sort of meh. I should have taken a picture. The chunky cotton sweater looks better with dramatic boyfriend jeans, I think. I'll keep that in mind. This outfit felt a little too much like me-in-highschool, sort of basic.
I really liked Sunday's outfit with the cropped nylon jacket, and Wednesday's with the crossover jeans, and today's with the years-old Helmut Lang top. All very me.
I like the lilac tee, but something didn't quite gel for me about Tuesday's outfit. Maybe just my unease at not wearing black.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

22 comments

Argh! jeans length - my nemesis (updated in comments)

Update - photo of jeans folded up to a cropped length in the comments. And I'm going to the Everlane store today to try the full length.

I don't know how I can be so comfortable with my style in general but so hopeless at jeans lengths.

I just bought two pairs of Everlane jeans in their new faded black wash: high-rise skinny and 'cheeky' straight. I bought both in the ankle length, which is almost but not quite full length on me. I almost wish I'd gone for full length for both.

I think I just find full length more flattering on my short legs, but maybe it's hard for me to see?

So, the questions are:

Photo 1-3 The cheeky straight jeans - should I keep these? How should I hem / chop them? (Would a raw hem be best?) Alternately, I could return for the full length, which are only about 2" longer, and wear them full length. I'm not planning to roll them. (Photo 3 added because I realized the tag was making the waist area hard to see)

Photo 4-5 The high rise skinny: tags are cut and I've worn these a few times. Should I leave them this length or hem them? And, since they're inexpensive, I could even duplicate for the full-length style - what do you think?

Photo 6-7 (repost) The straight jeans are meant to be a replacement for these Gap 'mom' jeans (their name not mine) which are perfect except for the strong chemical scent of the dye that hasn't faded after multiple rounds of odor-removing detergent and drying in the sun. I feel sick within an hour of putting them on. At this point the only remaining option is bleaching them to almost-white for a totally different look, since I suspect the odor is from the dye itself. *sob*

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

23 comments

September tracking - week 1

I started tracking my outfits a year and a half ago, and it's been really informative. I've learned that jeans and denim or leather jackets get nearly infinite wears, for instance, justifying my large collections of both. I've also learned that special purchases do not live up to their promise: an amazing, expensive suiting vest, fancy shoes I craved, etc, are rarely worn. And, I've noticed that my professional capsule is huge after my year of interviews, so as I mentioned recently, I'm trying to wear it more often.

Anyway, here's what I wore this week (all solid black unless specified otherwise). It was the first week of the semester, so campus was bustling, and I had way more meetings than over the summer even though I'm not teaching. I don't track gear or play clothes in my spreadsheet, but I'm including them here for completeness.

Sunday: drove home from Burning Man - these are all old/worn items that aren't in my official clothing inventory (also jeeeeez that was a long solo drive - 9 hrs alone in the car).
Gap denim shorts, Madewell tank, hoodie from my art group, tall harness boots
Monday: holiday! shopping.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Everlane white tee, Allsaints Drina cotton cardigan, Laer leather jacket, Dr Martens gladiator sandals
Tuesday: work.
Everlane faded high rise skinnies (new), Zara cropped tee, Rag & Bone velvet jean-style jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
Burning Man truck unload (all old play clothes): Gap jeans, J Crew tee, Zara hoodie, old Docs
dance class (gear): Gap exercise leggings, Uniqlo tee, new sports bra!
Wednesday: work.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Everlane sleeveless silk shirt, Margiela men's wool/cotton cardigan, Dr Martens boots
Thursday: work.
Everlane faded high rise skinnies (new), Banana Republic merino shell, Banana Republic merino cropped open cardigan when it got cold at night, Everlane jean jacket (new), Free People asymmetric flats
Friday: work including faculty meeting.
Re/done high rise skinnies, J Crew linen v-neck tee, J Crew sleeveless wool/cotton duster cardigan, Everlane jean jacket (new), Cydwoq sandals
Saturday: social stuff.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Aritzia sleeveless tee with a dramatic long tail (calf-length in the back, waist-length up front), Everlane jean jacket (new), Dr Martens boots

So that gives us:

Jeans: boyfriend (worn 3x), two high rise skinnies (one worn twice) - these are pretty representative of the styles I like at the moment.
Tops:
 white tee, cropped tee, sleeveless silk shirt, merino shell, linen tee, dramatic asymmetric tee - good diversity! I'm trying not to wear plain cotton tees as much; I own a stupid number of them.
Toppers & outerwear: cardigans (though I didn't always wear them all day), a different one each day. Sometimes I wish I just had one perfect cardigan but these are each useful in different ways. The new denim jacket is a home run; the leather jacket and velvet jacket are my other summer/fall standards. So, pretty representative.
Shoes: Also very representative. Two sandals (now that it's finally warming up), combat boots x2, and my new favorite Free People flats x2 - they are total workhorses and they've shifted my footwear style substantially.
Gear / play clothes: It's par for the course that I had one day where I only wore play clothes that I don't bother tracking, plus another day with multiple play/gear outfits. So I should make sure they're things I like, since those days often line up with my social interactions. I did well on that this week, since I'd rotated some beloved 'normal' clothes out into play clothes this summer. These jeans, shorts, and tees all fit well and are current silhouettes (higher rise jeans, for instance). Also, I bought my first real sports bra!

On new purchases: I bought the Everlane skinnies in their new gray wash, and the Everlane jean jacket, this week. And wore them multiple days. I think they'll be workhorses for a long time, but also, there is definitely a trend where I wear new items a lot for the first few weeks then move on to the next shiny new thing. I should try to keep rotating through older things so I don't over-buy new things that I don't need.

16 comments

Denim jackets, figure flattery, and Burning Man

Here's some navel-gazing, with a related K/R:

I just got back from Burning Man (it was so cool to run into JAileen at my grocery store stop on my way!). I've been going to the festival every few years since 2005, and it's always fascinating.

If you search google for photos, you'll see that the fashion is out of this world. But you'll also notice that women's outfits are skewed towards the very sexy side of things. That's not really my style. Since I'm often working on large art installations, my usual look is a cowboy hat, tank top, black denim shorts or short skirt, and tall Frye boots. Less sexy, more practical, maybe with a post-apocalyptic vibe. At night, I either wear a more interesting outfit (silver leggings, silver crop top, a few layers of warm jackets) or a practical flight suit / coverall (mine is flame resistant, warm, and dustproof!). My friends, though, have some fantastic outfits, and every year, I wonder whether I should put in a bit more effort.

That gets me to figure flattery. When I'm there, I wear skin tight leggings with no compunction. When I'm back in the default world, though, my style definitely leans towards relaxed and JFE. Five years ago I wore black skinnies, fitted tops, stompy boots -- the outfits that my local friends wear and consider cool and attractive. Styles shifted overall, and I traded in my super-skinnies for boyfriend or high-waist vintage jeans, my fitted tops for relaxed buttoned shirts, etc. But the people around me are wearing fitted clothes and they look awesome.

As I near 40 I've been thinking about this more. Why am I avoiding the figure-flattering look that my friends value? Have I overdone it on the relaxed fits? My relaxed look feels very me, but I do like my figure...

And that leads us from navel-gazing to a practical decision: this jean jacket. Jean jackets are a staple for me, but I haven't had a great one in years, and I've been searching. Everlane just released this great solid black, rigid denim option. It's boxy but not huge. I think I love it. But I also wonder if I'd be happier in one of the more flattering, figure-hugging options out there, like these two from J Crew and Banana Republic. Am I making myself look too shapeless?

What say you? Is the Everlane jacket The One (for now)? I think it's very true to my usual style. I almost wonder if I should size up for an oversized look?

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

22 comments

Another new direction: light lilac complement

I've been wearing white shirts and tees fairly often, maybe once every two weeks, to break up the all-black wardrobe. I'm still very committed to black, but I started thinking it would also be interesting to add in a bit more color. I settled on icy pink and pale lilac as colors that work as an alternative to white. The paler, the better: my goal is really to give the black + white look but a bit softer.

So I'm starting to put together a small lilac complement. I decided tees and shirts were the easiest place to start, but I might also add a cotton pullover if I find the perfect one. The main problem is finding the right shades of pink and purple. Blush pinks look too much like my skin, and I prefer cool shades. Luckily, lilac seems to be the new millennial pink (a color that was too warm on me). As usual I'm several months behind the trend but some of the summer clothes are still in stores.

I have two items so far: this new oversized pale lavender tee (photo 1+2) and the pink oxford shirt (photo 3+4, reposted) I bought a few months ago, both from Everlane. I'd like the shirt even more if it were a few shades paler. I also found a great lilac tee (photo 5) at Banana Republic (photo 5), but the fit is off (ok when it's tucked, though) so I will probably return it. And this Vince silk shirt (photo 6) is a lovely color, just barely tinted, that doesn't come through in the photo - unfortunately it was too big so I left it at the store.

All of these will be worn either with faded black denim or solid black, as shown in the photos. It's important to me to keep a sort of punk edge to the look.

Speaking of light colors - I have also been thinking about bookending, jeans length, and ankle / foot skin. As Angie could have told me years ago, my summertime all-black outfits work best if some skin is showing around my feet, and I always forget this. Eg, flats with an open top rather than boots/sneakers, or jeans that are cropped at the ankle bone. In the same vein, I've been contemplating the effect of a lighter shoe with an all-black outfit.

I'm less interested in bookending to match my hair for my current look. Cognac shoes with black jeans are a great combo, but it's more fall-tone than what I'm aiming for right now. But I am considering a very light pair of shoes, to match my face rather than my hair I suppose. I don't know if I'd prefer lilac, or white, or silver. There are a few shades of Converse low-tops I have my eye on but those summer colors are mostly sold out. Or the Madewell shoes in Finds, also sold out but easily found on Poshmark. Again, I'm going for cooler colors that don't quite match my skin, not pinks / blushes. Or I could duplicate my new favorite Free People flats in silver or a very pale color they call 'dove grey'. Pure white is too stark, but a weathered white like these cowboy books could be nice.

If I were to buy one pair of light-colored shoes, what type of shoe should it be? Flats? Boots? And what color? Simple flats seem the most versatile -- is the slingback trend going to keep going?

By the way, I miss real lilacs! They don't grow in California; I guess they require a real cold snap to bloom. There was a giant lilac in my yard growing up with a sort of cavity in the middle of the bush and we turned it into a playhouse (all furnishings were imaginary, but in my head it was a mansion)

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

26 comments

WIW: professorial

The semester just started, and even though I’m not teaching, campus is bustling and I suddenly have all sorts of meetings. And - the big update - I am staying here, upgraded to an actual faculty job. I haven’t signed anything yet but I have the offer letter, at long last, so I’ll just count it as done.

So, I’m trying to shift from my jeans-and-tee uniform to a slightly more polished look. When I joined YLF I wore nicer clothes, but I drifted back to casual. My long stretch of interviews left me with quite a large professional wardrobe that I rarely wear. Now's my chance to make use of it.

I don’t have photos of most days, but my ‘grownup’ outfits have included two of my silk shirts, my dressier flared jeans, and my favorite new pointed flats. I wanted to make a good impression at the welcome lunch for new grad students, a lunch meeting with another new professor, and similar events.

Today, to meet with someone who is a bit of a direct competitor in my research area, I wore a power outfit I really like:
- deconstructed shirt by Milly (the tiny shoulder cutouts make me a little uncomfortable at work)
- R13 boy skinny jeans (my only remaining low rise skinnies, but they are a timeless rock n roll look)
- Zara cowboy boots (very comfortable despite heel height)

I’m going to try to keep up this trend of wearing my professional clothes for daily work life!

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

51 comments

Surprise! NAS.

I wasn't planning to do any NAS shopping, but two things caught my eye. I didn't actually get either package until after the sale ended so I'd almost forgotten about it.

To my surprise, both are really great. I don't know if I'll keep either, mostly for money reasons, but here they are.

1. Halogen wool-blend moto jacket, XS, $120. I think the oversized fit matches my style? I sort of love it.

Last year I had an oversized wool boucle bomber from H&M that, sadly, I left on an airplane (caution: do not put coats in the overhead bin!). It left a real wardrobe hole for a warm jacket that fits over tops with large sleeves. I do have a lot of jackets, though.

My one hesitation is that it's wool/viscose, not pure wool, and some wool blends pill badly. This one looks quite durable, though? And, unlike many synthetic blends, it doesn't make me sweat instantly. I think I'll wear it around the house a bit to test that concern, because I have a few otherwise lovely jackets that failed for that reason.

2. Nordstrom Signature wool plaid blazer, 4. I was expecting this to have a less modern shape, from the online photos, so I'm pleasantly surprised. The fit is great through the shoulders and torso. 

I posted last week about my plaid blazer quest. This one might be 'the one' but I think I'll order the Massimo Dutti option to compare. And, as the season progresses, I see more and more wool blazers appearing. I'm a little sad that this one is regular plaid, not a glen plaid with houndstooth...

At $300, it's a real splurge, and I already have three very nice black blazers that I rarely wear. If I'd found this last year while shopping for interviews, I'd have spent the money, but now it's not clear that I should. Sometimes a quest takes on a life of its own, and I have to consider whether I'll really use this. I have a lot of professional clothing I never wear, but once I start teaching, perhaps that'll change.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

20 comments

Cotton tee dresses: why do I own so many, and which should I keep?

There are certain wardrobe categories that I wear rarely -- and yet feel drawn to, constantly. One is t-shirt or tank dresses. I do wear them - they're a favorite of mine for summer conferences. (Biologists basically have summer camp. Always in New England or Long Island, always hot and humid and casual and rural.) But my San Francisco climate is too chilly for me to wear them often.

Everlane just released a collection of refined knit cotton dresses, so I ordered some to try out. But, while waiting and waiting (their shipping is all messed up right now, after they changed warehouses), I also found this cheap Uniqlo alternative, the dress-length version of a Uniqlo tee I own and love.

Meanwhile, I also looked through my current possessions to see whether there really is a wardrobe hole here.

1 (new option) Everlane tee dress. I love it. It is $50, which is a fair price, but not nothing. Heavy, smooth knit cotton. It has a sort of casual elegance that I like quite a bit, and the length is good on me, I think.

2 (new option) Everlane tank dress, same material. I don't love it -- too athletic looking -- so I'll return it. One useful note: It is much shorter than I usually buy, yet actually looks great at that length on my short legs, so I will keep in mind that I should buy shorter skirts.

3 (new option) Uniqlo French sleeve mercerized tee dress. Lovely smooth fabric. It looks cooler and more distinctive in person than in the photo, I think -- when I tried it on in the store, I had to have it. Though, it is tempting to remove the ribbed neckline to open it up a bit. Thing is, it fills the same niche as the Everlane dress, and it was $8 instead of $50. If I hadn't come across this one, I'd keep the Everlane dress, but now I am really torn.

4 (old) J Crew tank dress. Very casual. Light t-shirt material, with a smooth finish. I've worn this at almost every conference I've attended for the past few years. It isn't worn out yet, but it's a bit shapeless and oversized, perhaps? But I like the relaxed shape, so I'll probably keep wearing it. Sometimes I throw a linen button-down over it.

5 (old) Old Everlane tee dress. Heavy t-shirt fabric, interesting pockets. I loved this for several years, and it was another conference mainstay. But it is probably 1/2 a size too small now, and it gets caught awkwardly on my butt. I feel self conscious wearing it, so it's sat in my closet unworn for the past two years. Should I sell it on Poshmark? I do love it though.

Should I keep the first Everlane dress? The Uniqlo dress? Neither? Should I pass along the old Everlane dress or add it back into my usual wardrobe?

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

29 comments

Plaid blazers; Massimo Dutti fit? (Update)

I'm on a quest for a long glen plaid blazer with sharp shoulders, conveniently found everywhere this season. The problem is that I can't stand wearing most synthetics (physical feeling, not aesthetic), and most of the stylish ones I encounter are polyester or viscose, like the Halogen blazer I tried on yesterday (photo below.)

Anyway, I've just found this new wool blazer at Massimo Dutti (edit: added find).
https://www.massimodutti.com/u.....87547.html

There's no store near me, and I've never ordered from them. It seems like they do free shipping and returns. Any concerns about their return policies? As for sizing, they have a handy size estimator that says I should be a 4, maybe 6. I wear 0 or 2 in most US brands, but I'm very willing to believe I'm a 4 in theirs. Is the sizing comparable to Zara?

For blazers, I find that Theory and Helmut Lang fit my shape; J Crew is often too narrow in the shoulders; Boden is often cut for a shorter torso and with a less-straight cut than I prefer. Any sense where Massimo Dutti falls on that spectrum?

Photo 1: the blazer in question
Photo 2: the Halogen blazer - close to the look I'm going for, but synthetic

Update: this winter, I bought a second-hand J Crew Collection blazer. It’s too big, right? Photo #3 below. I realized I never took photos to evaluate the fit, but I think I should trust my gut on this one.

I also considered the Nordstrom Signature wool blazer in Finds but I think the cut is more classic than I'm looking for, and it's a bit more tan and less grey. It's sold out in my size, anyway.

1

Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →

19 comments