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!

1

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

19 comments

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.

1

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

17 comments

WIW: cropped with cropped. And new sneaks!

I've been playing around with different tops to go with my new wide-leg jeans. One winner is this cropped Banana Republic shirt I got last year. I've hardly worn it because I find the cropped length challenging, but with these new higher rise jeans, it's perfect. I'd wear a tank under if I wore it to work. (Two of the photos are lightened to show detail, but I also included one that's a truer representation.)

The Gap jeans are still getting heavy use although I almost wish I'd sized down -- they do run large and the denim is light and stretches so they slide down my waist. I'm even considering getting a second pair a size smaller and perhaps cutting them an inch longer than these. But my Everlane wide-leg crops arrive next week, and they might fill that niche perfectly.

Also! You may remember my black sneaker quest, which included 10 shoeboxes delivered to my house, yikes. I found a winner: this Puma x En Noir fancy-schmancy version of the Clyde sneaker. They're nubuck rather than suede, and a bit wider and lower-profile than the classic Puma suede sneakers, so they seem to fit me better. Also, their subtle gothy details appealed to my partner so much that he just ordered a matching pair.

They're a bit small in the toebox, but I guessed that they'd be fine, and I was right! I was in Boston this week for another job interview* and I arrived a full day early to adjust to the time zone**. I spent my free day walking in the sunlight and practicing my research talks -- by the end I'd walked seven miles on Wednesday in the new sneakers. And Friday, after the second day of the interview, I walked another five miles from Longwood over to Newbury St and back. The heel rubbed a little, but I added bandaids after the first few miles and had no problems after that. These sneakers are what's been missing from my wardrobe, something I really can wear for miles and miles while traveling. They're light and packable, too. WIN.

*I wore exactly the same clothes as last time. It was great to have that all planned out ahead of time. Sadly my Theyskens blazer has moth holes and permanent sweat smell in one armpit so it might be time to pass it along, but I might duplicate it from The Real Real.

**My NY interview was really a disaster because I was sick, slept horribly from anxiety, and never adjusted to the time change. This time was perfect: melatonin, an extra day to adjust, and walking outside in the sun for hours all helped immensely. Good to know for the future.

1

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

21 comments

WIW: what I want to stock up on

As I got dressed today, I realized everything I'm wearing, from my top down to my socks, is something I've considered duplicating. It's not the most exciting outfit but it's made of my essentials so it feels very me.

Everlane wool top: this is the perfect essential for my style, but I haven't worn it much recently, maybe because I worry about wearing it out. A second one is on order from Everlane.

Airism seamless tee: I am not one for underlayers and I hate most synthetics against my skin, but this new all-nylon mesh top is perfect for protecting wool tops from sweat. I have it in tee and tank versions and I'll buy more next time I'm at the store.

R13 boy skinny jeans: My perfect slouchy skinnies. When they finally went on sale I bought these, then tried to buy a second pair, but the sale ended before I could commit. I'm glad I didn't, to be honest. I bought three (!!!) pairs of wide-leg jeans recently, with a fourth on order (someone please tell me to stop) and I'm not feeling as excited about skinnies just now.

Smartwool socks: Needs no justification. I buy some whenever Nordstrom Rack has anything in black.

Frye boots: Not so much a duplication as... these are maybe 1/2 a size small, so I bought a different brand of engineer boots to replace them. Which turned out to be worse. And then, these broke in reasonably well and I love them enough to suffer through a bit of pressure on my instep. I still wish I could trade for a larger size, though. But I'm accumulating an embarrassing number of expensive boot failures!

(For completeness, I'm also wearing a bra and underpants that I have in multiples. And I always want more.)

Underlayers make sense to duplicate, for sure. I can't decide about the duplicate sweater top, but it was discounted at Everlane and I had a lot of store credit. Maybe I'll store it in a sealed plastic bag and take it out when the moths get this one -- I saw something fluttering out of my clothes rack when I grabbed this top today. Will the silhouette age well or will I get tired of it? Should I get a larger size just to cover my bases?

(And really I need to stop buying wide-leg jeans. I looked for so long before I found any I liked that now the scarcity mentality kicks in whenever I find another perfect pair. Four is probably the limit. But at least I like them all!)

20 comments

Wide-leg crops: I did it my way

I've been inspired by the Rachel Comey Legion jeans (in Finds) but I just never quite found the right version for me. These Gap jeans checked almost all the boxes: fit well through the hips and waist, comfortable, and a nice faded black wash. Of course, these "crops" were almost floor length on me...

This morning I read Angie's post and immediately cut the tags and chopped 5 1/2" off the jeans. What do you think? If they're too short I can always sew the original hem back on (I love the released hem look of the Rachel Comey version).

What to wear with them was another learning process. I put on this high neck, mid sleeve ribbed top for a sort of 70s vibe, then went outside and discovered it was suddenly cold and rainy. Back inside for a sweater. Attempt one was this cropped cable knit. A good look, but it didn't feel like me.

I realized I'd feel far more like myself in some boxy layers. So the final outfit had this long felted wool cardigan from Uniqlo. Not exactly a spring look! But much more me.

1

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

22 comments

Monochrome essentials

With everything one color, it was a fun and surprisingly easy task to group things into essential categories. My wardrobe is more coherent than I realized. And the things that don't fit in these categories don't get worn very often.

  • button-down shirts, sleeveless and long sleeve (silk, cotton)
  • shirt dresses worn as tunics (silk, denim, cotton)
  • low-neck tees (the deep v adds some structure to outfits)
  • tunic-length tees and tanks
  • long cardigans, boxy cardigans (cotton, wool)
  • light v-neck pullovers (cotton, silk)
  • sleeveless or short-sleeve wool pullovers, often structured felted fabric
  • three jeans silhouettes: skinny, relaxed skinny, and boyfriend.
  • biker jackets (leather, denim, wool)
  • not black: white buttoned shirts and tees

I'm currently adding wide-leg jeans to the mix -- we'll see if it sticks. To go with the new jeans, I think I also need to add fitted knit tops, and maybe some grey or white options for contrast. I could also use a few more summer-weight cardigans of different shapes.

I can pick out some details that make these things feel like essentials, not just basics. The heavy wool sleeveless tops (eg, Helmut Lang felted wool funnel neck) and silk shirts are really my go-tos. My cardigans are interesting, almost architectural shapes.

This list is going to be really useful for packing!

Things that aren't represented at all, even though I own plenty of them:

  • skirts (ok, a denim skirt probably should be on the list)
  • pants that aren't jeans
  • pullover crewneck sweaters
  • grey (never wear it, except today, as it happens)
  • blazers (I LOVE my blazers but I guess I just never wear them)
  • dresses
Edit: On statements: I think my leather jacket and the structured wool tops might actually be statement items, come to think of it. Same with one or two of the shirt-dress looks. And the blazers and dresses would fit in that when I do wear them. But I think my overall look is a statement silhouette made out of essential items, rather than statement items, if that makes sense.

15 comments

Jeansquest: the sequel

I'm still looking for high waist, wide or straight leg jeans. Here's the latest batch of options. It's funny how different they look in photos than in the mirror -- I still haven't gotten used to my new, curvier bottom half! But that's ok as long as I have cool jeans that fit.

1-2: Uniqlo U wide leg. I love these! I might be able to go down a size, except they're sold out, and there's nothing I hate more than tight jeans on my tummy, so I think it's a winner at this size.

3-4: Gap wide leg "crops" that are almost full length on me! I could let out the hem to make them truly full length, or I could chop them. What do you think?

Do I really need three pairs of wide-leg jeans (these two and the Rag & Bone flares I kept from the last round, a very different silhouette), as someone who still loves skinnies and boyfriend jeans?

5-6: Gap acid wash, button fly jeans. These had such potential but they are not winners. If nothing else, the fly is crooked. Too bad because I want something like this as my "white" jeans option.

And then, the other things.

7-10: I saw an R13 jeans+skirt look that I loved, but of course it's a zillion dollars. Then I saw this skirt at Zara and thought "hmmmm." Here it is over some straight-leg jeans. What do you think? Could this work as one of my weirder wildcards? It's $50, so pricey for a total wildcard, but I sort of like it. Does it fit ok? The sizing was odd.

I wouldn't wear the skirt alone (too short) in most circumstances. But I'm going to a cowboy-themed party tonight where a short skirt would be totally acceptable, so I'm tempted to cut the tags, but I don't know.

The shoes are also from Zara and, while they're comfortable, I think they are going back. They just don't quite feel like me? But it might be good to have nice leather shoes that stay on my feet, for professional situations.

11-12. Omg, I found these Coach haircalf high-shaft boots at Crossroads and they are perfect. I didn't know this was a wardrobe hole until I found them. I'm trying to be better about impulse buys but I couldn't pass this up.

1

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

15 comments

If sneakers are here to stay, which should I buy? EDIT: strikeouts

Update: Five boxes of sneakers later, I have an idea what I want, but no winners. You're all correct that the monochrome black Stan Smiths look like orthopedic sneakers. The Fryes don't fit right and are a little too plain on me. I'm in love with the simple lines of the Puma Suede Classic, to my surprise, but the men's size 5 was far too tight in the toes. Luckily the 5.5 popped back in stock and is on its way to me, but it might be too long. I also tried these wonderful Barney's Stan Smith exclusives: unlined soft lasercut leather (added to finds). They are beautiful, and oh so comfortable, but I just can't do the white sole with my style. I want to love them but I mailed them back right away to resist buying something I'd never wear.

I'm pinning my hopes on the larger Puma classics or this Puma x En Noir collab that is apparently a slightly wider style, with subtle gothy details that are just my thing (added to finds). I ordered two sizes. I might also try some of the Puma Basket styles if I can find them locally - I reached my limit for coping with shoe box deliveries.

---

Angie says sneakers are still everywhere this year, and I keep wanting to jump on the bandwagon. I keep looking for the perfect pair (monochrome black, for sure!) but can't decide what vibe is right for me. I might be casual but I'm not usually sporty, so I want something simple, comfortable, and minimalist rather than athletic.

Mostly I'm just thinking out loud but other ideas are welcome!

1. Dr Martens shoes - simple, heavier, more of a sneaker-inspired oxford, but that might fit my look better. (My boyfriend has these, so we'd match, for better or for worse!)

2. Stan Smith monochrome black. Nice that the men's style comes in small sizes, as they usually fit me better.

3. Puma classic suede - the synthetic lining makes me sweat, and some Pumas are too narrow in the toe, but these might be ok. (I loved the Rihanna velvet creepers but they just didn't fit right.)

4. Frye Gemma - possibly too narrow in the toe but I like the sleek look and the leather lining.

5. Fuzzy suede Pumas - I tried these on and I seem to remember that the fit wasn't great. They're sort of the opposite of sleek and minimal, but maybe I could use more subtle weirdness in my shoe collection.

6. Patent Pumas. Too shiny for me, I think.

25 comments

WIW: wide leg jeans, on the road

A few months ago I found some great wide leg jeans. But of course they were like a foot too long on me. I finally got them hemmed and I'm so happy with them! Perfect for the conference I'm at on Long Island.

Another few wide leg options arrived in the mail last week. I'd like a cropped version but we'll see how that looks on me. Photos when I get back home!

I was so proud of my packing job (a full week of outfits in my tiny carry on - mix and match rather than statements) but the forecast keeps getting warmer. All the lightweight, packable merino layers I brought are too warm! I'll be fine though. I brought 3 pairs of jeans with very different silhouettes, and plenty of layering tees, so with my leather jacket I'm set for warmer weather too without feeling too boring. I'll still need the heavier things when I go to Rochester at the end of the week.

The perfect mix and match packing list (all black except as noted):
3 jeans (wide leg, skinny, crossover)
6 tees (white and black)
merino cardigan and pullover
silk v-neck pullover
short sleeve wool pullover
silk buttoned shirt
white buttoned shirt
ankle boots
oxfords
leather jacket
wool coat
2 light wool scarves

1

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

11 comments

Dickeys

I just came across this mini-trend and I'm surprisingly captivated.

I've seen dickeys here and there this past year -- the fake shirt collars that you add under a sweater. I'm not a huge fan; they often seem too twee. But I'm bizarrely in love with Veronica Beard's interpretation. They have a line of different blazers and interchangeable dickeys that button in: a lace hoodie, a heavy cable knit, a down puffer. 

I haven't been wearing blazers much recently but I love how this pulls the athleisure trend in to make a blazer more casual.

I added a few to Finds but Nordstrom has a whole range of them. I imagine you could mix and match, changing up one jacket with a few looks. If you could afford them... these are all $600 for the jacket and $250 for the dickey! Still, there's room for DIY versions, or just layering a light lace hoodie under my classic boyfriend blazer.

What do you all think? 

(Edit: I searched and realized these must have been around a while, as a few of you were excited about the coat during the NAS. I guess I'm behind the trend!)

19 comments