Midriffs

After a year or two of dabbling, I finally jumped headlong into the high waist jeans trend. They work well for my body. My favorites hit right at my navel (11" rise or more).

Of course it's made me reconsider my tops, also. I've been tucking in my loose-fitting tees, and I like that look. But I've also sought out a capsule of boxy, cropped tees and shirts.

Some are barely cropped, more of an updated regular length. But some are cropped enough that, on my very long torso, a sliver of midriff appears when I move. 

I'm trying to decide how I feel about that. I've been self-conscious ever since a guy in my lab said something about my accidental midriff in the early 2000s... back when jeans waists were dropping lower and lower, and tee lengths hadn't kept up! At the time it wasn't at all the look I wanted, so I added long tank tops under my tees.

But, my current top + jeans combinations are trendy and intentional. And in casual contexts (weekend socializing, dance class) I have no trouble showing a lot of midriff. It's just a question of whether any is acceptable in my lab/office, say. My rule of thumb has become, if no skin shows while I stand still, I'm fine with the small amount of skin that might show when I move. My workplace is incredibly casual, my look is generally the opposite of sexy, and I doubt anyone would think it was inappropriate here. (Note that I don't teach at present - there's a whole different set of considerations when I'm teaching.)

And that brings me to a shopping dilemma. I found this really great cropped white blouse at Aritzia, but it really shows a lot of midriff on me (much more than the model). I love it. But I don't think I'd wear it to work (unless I change careers to fashion editor). It would look weird over a layering top, and none of my pants are quite high enough at the waist. I could wear it on weekends, but I have no shortage of shirts, so it's probably not worth the price or hanger space for something I'd only wear to... trendy brunch? Art museums? Shopping? (Then again I've just about talked myself into it, from that list of outings.)

It's on final sale, so I didn't buy it at the store today, but I'm debating going back for it tomorrow. Sorry I didn't think to take photos in the fitting room.

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A sea of denim skirts, and assorted k/r

I posted about the ‘upgrade’ mentality last week and mentioned that I seem to collect black denim skirts. Note that I wear a skirt maybe once or twice a month so I don’t need many!

I found one I liked at Everlane and brought it home to try on. From the photos, I don’t think it’s an improvement over my existing Madewell skirt.

Also shown: a really nice pair of Madewell pointed oxfords I found at Crossroads for really cheap. I thought they were patent but they’re not quite that shiny. Instead they are cordovan, which Wikipedia informs me is horse leather. Horse-loving me finds that a little unsettling but not enough to pass them on.

My jean skirt collection:
1-2 Madewell skirt I love from last year
3-4 new Everlane skirt - too similar, will go back
5-6 old longer Gap skirt. The waist feels too low for current styles but I like the length. It used to be a workhorse, often with longer tops. Keep or pass on?
7 asymmetric Zara skirt that I only wear to parties/campout music festivals (old photo)

And on to the other new finds, some K/R:
8 Everlane “GoWeave” triacetate top. This might be a synthetic I don’t mind, but as that’s never worked so far, I’m not sure I want to risk the cost ($68).
9,13 (oops, out of order) Everlane sleeveless silk square shirt. Definite winner, will replace a faded, less flattering one that should be retired.
10 omg the perfect high rise skinnies that I’ve been wearing nonstop since I found them at a thrift store several weeks ago. Re/Done brand, would have been too expensive new.
11-12 oversized cropped jean jacket that I’d coveted all year. It showed up at the Rack. This is an XS - too overwhelming? And I was hoping for a more rigid denim, from the photos online.

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Upgrading: when to stop

I've noticed a trend in my shopping. Especially jeans shopping. I have some look in mind, say, high rise vintage jeans. I'll try many options and eventually settle on one. But the quest doesn't stop, and nothing is ever perfect. If I come across a slight improvement, I buy it.

To some extent this is a problem with consignment shopping. Things are inexpensive and can often be sold back to the store. Or maybe it's a problem with high rise jeans, because the fit is hard and issues aren't evident until I've worn them for a while!

I'd like to be better about this. But I suppose also, jeans shopping is just hard, and I shouldn't feel too bad, either. Maybe I'll just keep track of the actual money involved and evaluate it as I go. 

Exhibit A: high rise jeans. After my posts last month, I was basically content with the Levi's wedgie jeans, but they're honestly not the best. Then I found these Gap "mom jeans" that are exactly what I wanted, and unlike my usual habit, I cut the tags and wore them right away. They're not conventionally flattering (too much fabric in the thigh) but they're the look I was going for. 

Photo 1: the first Levi's wedgie jeans I bought (reposted from last month)
Photo 2,3: a different Levi's wedgie version I found at a thrift store, with a slightly more flattering fit (reposted from last month) 
Photo 4,5,6: the Gap jeans. I'm wearing them full length today but I folded them up to test different lengths in the photos.

I'll one or both pairs of Levi's online. I think it's time for an assessment of all my jeans.

Exhibit B: no photos yet, but I just bought another black denim skirt... Everlane's new cutoff skirt does fit me better than the Madewell skirt I bought last year, but I only wear jean skirts a few times a month, and the Madewell skirt is pretty awesome too. This one was sold out online, so definitely a scarcity thing: I found it in the store and bought it in case I decide I want it, but I can return it if not.

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Splurging on an of-the-moment It Bag: bad idea?

It's looking like my faculty job search might have a good conclusion and I'm considering a big purchase as a reward. Not counting on it, not counting on it, not counting on it... just starting to let myself imagine it working out.

I fell in love with this very of-the-moment handbag by Off-White at Barney's last month. I am not usually one for street-inspired style or bold patterns, but I love this. The strap has Off-White's riff on industrial tie-down straps. And, as my hobby is building industrial art, I spend a lot of time using tie-downs just like this, along with crane rigging slings and such, so the industrial aesthetic of the bag really amuses me.

But, among fashion people, Off-White is incredibly trendy, such that this will be instantly recognizable. That's usually something I avoid, both because I'm a little ornery about trends and because I don't like to have conspicuously expensive things. Also, my experience is that sometimes the It Bag doesn't age well. I don't want to feel "soooooo last year" with something so pricey. And it's hardly something that would be described as understated and classic. But I do love it.

I am really not a bag person, so I currently own a very minimal Baggu cross-body that I use every day. Another consideration is the size, so I need to go back to Barney's and see if my usual contents will fit. It looks to be the same size as my Baggu bag, though.

I'm sure this style is not everyone's cup of tea, but what do you think about the purchase, conceptually?

(Another amusing option if I don't buy the bag - I see there are many knock-offs of the Off-White strap on ebay, mostly as belts. Since it itself is a direct knock-off of real industrial tie-downs, I'm tempted to look into getting custom straps woven with my art group's logo instead. Maybe I can just use it on an existing bag.)

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Vintage high rise reprise [mom jeans]

Last week I posted about my quest for high rise, 80s/90s style jeans. I enjoy the look but it’s been hard to find the right ones, especially because my waist is really high and my tummy is sensitive to pressure.

As I said on my cowboy boots post, I’ve also found it hard to build outfits around these that aren’t boring. Shoes are one key. I’ve found some great cropped tees but they can look a little plain. Cropped or tucked oxford shirts are another option that I should explore.

Here are two outfits from this week.

[Edit to match the order of photos]

The first (photos 1 + 2, today's outfit) is Agolde Jamie jeans in a faded grey wash that I love. Again, they look great here but by the end of the day they’re stretched out - I broke my cotton rule and they’re 20% lyocell. Worn with a disappointing Everlane box cut tee (fabric is too soft and light), J Crew sleeveless cardigan, and old Allsaints pointed boots that almost fill the role of the cowboy boots I’m craving.

The second outfit (photo 3) is the Levi’s wedgie jean, the sample pair I found. This pair is 10% elasterell(?). Better for comfort, but sadly by the end of the day they bag out and sit almost on my hips for a very different look. Worn with a Uniqlo cropped tee in a nice heavy cotton, and J Crew kids’ oxfords.

Not photographed yet:

Both of these were thrifted and yesterday I hit pay dirt at Crossroads again: a pair of Re/done Originals that fit perfectly and don’t seem likely to stretch. I’ll post pics once I’ve washed them. Re/done started as a high end brand that remakes vintage Levi’s but at some point they realized they could recreate them themselves - vintage Levi’s aren’t a renewable resource! Anyway, at $55 they were a lot for second hand jeans, especially with my growing pile of not quite perfect jeans, but I have high hopes.

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Cowboy boots

I really want a pair of cowboy (inspired) boots. I keep putting on my jeans and thinking that’s what’s missing.

I know exactly what details I want. Ankle height. Pointed “snip toe” with a lot of structure (see the examples below). Short, tapered heel. Heavy sole. Real cowboy boot shank - they’re shaped perfectly like my feet and very supportive. Dramatic but simple.

I bought two options and I’m not sure either is quite right.

These leather Zara boots are certainly dramatic. They're a knockoff of something, I believe. The heel is higher than I want, so I worry I’d never wear them, like all my other heeled boots, and yet they are very comfortable. And I generally have a rule of only leather-lined shoes and boots, no synthetic, for comfort and longevity. They are high quality for Zara though (and the price shows it - $170).

The Frye Shane boot is closer, except they feel a little too normal (can’t quite explain it) for my taste. If they had a loose cowboy boot shaft instead of the fitted ankle they’d be perfect. They fit all the other desires. But they don’t make my heart sing. But maybe under jeans they really are ideal, and the quality and wearability are top notch.

The ones I really want are unavailable or too expensive (see finds) but I’m still searching for the perfect pair!

What do you think of either of these?

[edit: a note on the Finds. The Lucchese Flannery boots or the Dan Post boots are both just about perfect but not available in black anywhere anymore - I'm showing the purple one just for reference. The other Finds are out of my price range but I like them.]

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The infamous Levi’s wedgie jeans and my vintage high rise quest

I’m chasing that cool vintage high waist, button fly look and I don’t think it works for me. Do either of these jeans look right?

One is the Levi’s wedgie in deedee wash (heavy denim with stretch) and the second is a sample version of the same style that I found at a thrift store, in a lighter weight denim. I thought I liked the second better but now I’m not sure.

I’m realizing that my small weight gain all went to my waist. I haven’t adjusted to seeing the current me. So it’s hard for me to judge these.

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Yet another round of interview clothes (ETA photos)

The career rollercoaster continues! Seven months since my applications went in, and places are starting to reach decisions. I have a second visit to one school this week. That means they're seriously considering me, but no offer yet.

Second visits are more casual. No suit required, and nice jeans are ok. I need clothing for two days. The first day includes a casual presentation, so I want to look put together, and the second day can be more like my normal clothes. Weather will be in the low 70s - it looks like spring has finally arrived in New England!

I've collected all my options into this Pinterest board and added a few likely choices into Finds.
https://www.pinterest.com/mono.....l-round-2/

I'm realizing a problem with my wardrobe. I have dressy wool trousers, jeans, and nothing in between. I think I'll wear nice jeans for this round, because my black wool trousers just look a little too harsh. But then the second problem: my nicer jeans (better fabric, unfaded, flattering fit) are lower rise, and they don't play well with my new batch of stylish, slightly cropped shirts.

I run hot, so I don't want to wear a blazer during the day. But I think I'll want a light jacket as outerwear for the evening, and it's tricky to figure out what works with my outfits.

I'll play around with outfits and add options in comments here as I pack this afternoon, but in the meantime I was curious if anyone had ideas from the options. (Edit: problem is, all the jeans are drying on my drying rack right now! Hard to model them while wet.)

Edit 2: added a blazer option because it might be the best option for a light spring jacket, and not too dressy if I wear jeans. Would require rethinking the layers beneath it.

Edit 3: Photos.

1 - 2: Madewell slim straight jeans. Everlane oxford; Everlane notch collar silk shirt that I haven't committed to.

3 - 6: Madewell slim boyfriend jeans, cuffed. Equipment tee + Theyskens blazer*; old Everlane square silk shirt (is the new one too similar?), same blazer over a sleeveless shell (meh).

7 - 11: Everlane wide leg 'crops'. Upgraded from the ones I owned: a size down and solid black. I just zipped over to Everlane this afternoon and bought them. Here is the PPL issue: they are almost full length. But not quite. Shown with two shoe options (oxfords and x-strap flats). I could get them hemmed tomorrow maybe?? Currently wearing them for a few minutes at my desk to see if they stretch out as much as I expect or if I will continue to feel like I am in a corset. ;-)

12 - 13: R13 x-over jeans. Less in love with this than I expected.

Not shown because they are still drying: R13 skinnies (my most polished jeans), Rag & Bone full length wide leg.

So I need to find two outfits from this that are not too similar between the two days. I can mix and match - sorry for showing so many combinations. 

The next challenge is toppers...

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WIW: edgy preppy pink

Sooo I’m basically allergic to pink. As a kid / teen, I really really didn’t want to be a girl, and I had this knee jerk response of eeww pink. But it wasn’t always like that... in elementary school, in preppy New England, I wore pastel oxford shirts quite often, pink included. A plain oxford shirt, like my mother always wore, didn’t seem too feminine for me.

30 years later, I reconsidered. I found my new glasses with icy pink frames. I love them and it’s a good color on me. So since last year I’ve been keeping an eye out for my perfect pink shirt: pale and cool, no beige undertones. A masculine cut. Here it is! I finally bought this pink oxford from Everlane just before it sold out.

I love it! And I wish it were still available in white, too. Maybe they’ll make more.

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WIW: less black

My wardrobe is still monochromatic, but I've been mixing in more white and grey recently. Today's outfit ended up much lighter than I intended. White and black striped silk shirt, high rise grey jeans, and my new biker jacket. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it! I don't like wearing this shirt with truly black jeans, but I think I'd prefer a darker grey or faded black. But I was in a rush and these were at the top of the pile. 

(Photo captures an unwitting motion that I do far more often than I realize: adjusting my glasses. It made me laugh so I didn't re-take the shot.)

I'm also really waffling about this sleeveless cardigan from J Crew. It has a belt, but no belt loops, so I'm wearing it without the belt here. If I keep it, I might add little thread loops. I think it would look better with a loosely draped belt pulling it in at the waist. What do you think of it? Too shapeless? It's a nice heavy cotton/wool blend and I have to admit I'm cold in my office right now, so it's tempting to cut the tags!

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