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!


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


shoe zeitgeist

Maybe as a rebound from wearing the same shoes all of January for interviews, I've had my eye on footwear this week. I came across a few at Nordstrom Rack that I couldn't resist.

PSA - the Rack has changed their return policy to 45 days. I should be careful about buying things I'm not sure of!

First up - I want silver shoes. I don't think these are them, though, so they've gone back to the Rack. I love them but I know myself and I would never wear them. They're comfortable but not perfect. There's a bootie version that's similar and more wearable, but if I need mirror silver, oxfords are probably a better choice. Still, the retro, feminine aspect appealed to me (and when have I ever liked something because it's feminine? First time for everything!).

2 But then I was stuck on kitten heels, and I found these lovely Paul Green maryjanes at the Rack when I returned the others. Again, more feminine than my usual, but I think they'd be good with jeans. They're somehow a little avant garde? And surprisingly trendy.  My Paul Green flats are ah-MAZ-ing to wear and these might be too. I need to contemplate it. (I might be between sizes. These sold out long ago and this pair is a returned, refinished pair, so I can't compare with a size up.)

And then while I was looking for those in another size I found these Y's by Yohji Yamamoto sandals for a steal. I need to replace my Mephisto Helens. I was going to get regular Birkenstocks but these might be more me?

Also, I suddenly want cowboy ankle boots. Not real cowboy boots, but the pared-down urban style that Helmut Lang and a few others have had recently. My pointed-toe Allsaints boots are almost worn out after wearing them all month so this might be a good replacement. I suppose I could get silver cowboy boots but that's probably overkill.

Also in Finds:
Some cowboy boot inspiration (the Rag & Bone boots were at the Rack but not in my size; the silver R13 boots are, shall we say, aspirational, at $1300), a pair of kitten heels that I covet but which are out of my price range, and the bootie version of the silver pumps.


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


Done with job interviews!

My interview capsule will head to the dry cleaner as soon as I get home from Boston today! I just finished up my last interview. Thank you all for the wardrobe advice and the encouragement.

I was very happy with my clothes, and much more importantly, all of my interviews went very well. They're exhausting but I held up much better this year than last year. I felt grown-up and together and truly like myself. I got a lot of positive comments on my work and I met a lot of awesome scientists. It'll be weeks or months before I hear anything solid, but I already have a comment from one department chair that I'm probably the top candidate (no guarantee of anything). So we'll see where that goes!

I've been enjoying visiting all these different cities (Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore, New Haven, Boston) and imaging where I'll live next year but it's bittersweet to realize that I might uproot myself from the Bay Area. But I'm really excited about it all. Stay tuned!


WIW: my weird shirt, finally!

All year, I've wanted a Weird Shirt. You know, all these deconstructed shirts, strange angles... it seemed so 'me' but I had trouble finding mine. Many were poofy and frilled and didn't fit my style. Some were overwhelming on my short frame.

Then I found it! This fragmented shirt by Milly. It can be buttoned together in various ways: here I'm wearing it fairly conventionally. The whole bottom buttons off to make a cropped shirt, another good look.

I waited for its price to drop and drop some more. Eventually it ended up at the Rack. I had to size up because it was tight in the armpits; the end result is a little looser than ideal but I think it works.

Worn here with Gap velvet legging pants and an excellent consignment score: this wool Rag & Bone jacket I got for 10% its original price. It fits my shift from drapey avant-garde to a slightly more masculine inspiration over the past few years.

Edit: I added the Find. Note that the Rack website, and the tag, say it's silk, but it's definitely stretch cotton poplin, maybe with a bit of nylon. Also, here is a page of different stylings of the white version. http://www.milly.com/the-fractured-shirt/


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


The academic interview grand tour begins: help me pack! (update)

(Update: Hello from Seattle! A new option at the end of the comments - a star-print Equipment shirt I got at a consignment store recently. What do you think?)

I am super excited to say that I have a month of really great faculty job interviews coming up. I might let myself feel a little bit optimistic about my career. It's been a slog and I really hope one of these works out.

More on my overall outfit planning later - six multi-day interviews is a lot of clothes - but for now: I leave first thing in the morning for Baltimore and I can't decide what to wear.

For my first interview, in Baltimore this week with sub-zero daytime temps, I've narrowed it down to a few options. This is just a one-day interview, so I only need one outfit. There will be some snow on the ground, so I have to wear boots.

The bottoms options are new Everlane mid-rise slacks (more formal, and a nice heavy wool) or old J Crew Collection wool pants that are really warm, flattering, and high-quality. They're essentially very fancy leggings, so I would only wear them with a longer shirt. The dark horse is my old suit, but the pants are less warm and, um, they don't quite zip closed anymore.

To give a sense of the pants in better light, here are the new Everlane slacks (1,2) and the J Crew pants worn with an Everlane striped silk shirt (3,4). These combinations are not interview outfits on their own but I wanted to include a few clearer, well-lit photos.

Interview options
5,6: Everlane slacks, striped shirt, Helmut Lang cropped blazer
7,8: same, but with J Crew skinny pants (and with the boots I'll wear)
9,10: Everlane slacks, black silk shirt, cropped blazer
11,12: same, but with J Crew skinny pants
13,14,15: old Club Monaco suit with grey silk sweater, and the sweater on its own (it looks much more blah than I expected)

My boyfriend and I both actually prefer the outfit in 11 & 12. It surprised me. It looks sleek and stylish and flattering. Unfortunately it doesn't come through well in photos. But it is very me.

1. Should I keep the new Everlane slacks? I own a few others, and I don't wear slacks often. But the higher waist of these is much more current. They pull a tiny bit across the hips but overall I think they look good. They probably need to be hemmed a bit.
2. What about the striped silk shirt, either for interviews or just in general, perhaps with jeans? I loved it in the store but maybe less so in photos. 
3. And the grey Banana Republic sweater? Too blah? Tags are still on all three of these.
4. And of course, which combination should I choose for the first interview?


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


The wardrobe awards: a year in review

This year, for the first time, I tracked my outfits. I also kept track of everything I bought. So now, I can do a data-driven review of the year! It's been a good year for clothes. Without further ado...

The Wardrobe Awards!

  • For being exactly what I've wanted for years, this new Laer leather biker jacket
  • For surprise star power, this amazing Zara cropped nylon jacket
  • For most dramatic plot, the Everlane boyfriend jeans that I fit-tested. Funny end to the six-month saga: I managed to buy them finally, in a 27, from Nordstrom. Then I decided I also wanted a size smaller, so I ordered them from Everlane this past Tuesday. The very same day, I went to Crossroads (consignment) and found a brand-new pair in size 26 for $30. The unopened order is going straight back to Everlane.
  • For being exactly the shape of my feet, these new Dr Martens Danica boots
  • For all around awesomeness, my old J Crew boy's oxfords that have broken in to look exactly like super expensive oxfords (a salesguy at Totokaelo complimented me on my Marsells...)
  • For future potential, a tie for the Frye campus boots I found at a vintage store and the Paul Green x-strap flats
  • For general utility, my old Uniqlo boiled wool cardigan
  • For making an outfit instantly, my Everlane square silk shirt 
  • For most frequent wears, last year's Uniqlo U tunic shirt with a slightly monastic feel
  • For new directions in style, my Everlane white men's button down
  • Lifetime achievement award: all R13 jeans
Bolded items are in finds below.

What I bought

I bought quite a lot this year: 56 items, not including underwear, socks, or gym clothes. That's far more than any past year. My expenditures are actually in line with budgeting suggestions for those who need professional clothes, but quite high given my casual lifestyle.

I am embarrassed to have bought so much, but I have to say, I absolutely love my wardrobe right now. I am particularly pleased that I added a small capsule of more professional items: an Equipment floral silk tee, perfect Paul Green flats, a Helmut Lang blazer and an Alexander Wang tailored vest. I got a sizable raise this year, and I became more willing to buy new items that I particularly wanted rather than foraging thrift and overstock stores (that said, I got amazing deals on all of those). I also bought a new leather jacket, a goal I've had for several years, with the honorarium I got for giving a big lecture.

I bought a lot of shoes this year, by my standards. Eight pairs! I buy long-lasting shoes, so these weren't replacing things that had worn out. (I also did a lot of cobbler repairs.) The big expansion was four pairs of sneakers, a category I hadn't worn much in past years (since I stopped wearing Converse daily). I also bought a pair of lightweight Dr Martens that have been worn almost daily this fall, and I found a pair of perfect, almost new Frye campus boots at a vintage store. I don't regret the purchases (though I might pass on a pair of fancy sneakers that didn't quite work) but I'll avoid buying shoes for the next while.

And lots of jeans - I shifted my jeans style substantially. Wide leg crops, full length straight and boyfriend jeans, and higher rise vintage-style slim jeans. Since jeans are the core of my wardrobe, I'm happy to put money in this area, though I overdid it and I might prune some accidental redundancy.

Half was purchased from my go-to stores: Everlane, Uniqlo, Gap, Madewell, and Zara. A third was bought used, and the rest was mostly from Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. I only bought two things from local boutiques. (And it was not all black! Two white oxford shirts, a white tank, silver ballet flats, and light gray jeans.)

What I wore
Bottoms: I have thirteen pairs of jeans in regular rotation. No real losers here aside from a pair I already passed along. The most-worn were all my R13 jeans, especially the relaxed and boy skinny styles. The Gap wide leg crops were also winners. New entrants that are rising fast: AGOLDE high waist button fly relaxed skinnies, Everlane boyfriend jeans. 

Tops: Uhhhh. I wore ~80 different tops this year. That seems absurd. My essential tees and tanks top the list, followed by a large handful of beloved silk and cotton buttoned shirts and wool tops. But then there's a long tail of things that were only worn a few times. Most were things I've owned for years. I will work to pare this down and be very, very selective when buying new tops next year.

Toppers: This category is where I shone. I bought a few cardigans this year and I wore the heck out of them. But, I need to make sure I stop the cardigan hunt now. I'm all set. I also bought some expensive toppers that I need to make sure to wear more often, especially a gorgeous Alexander Wang tailored vest and a DKNY cape-sleeve bomber that saw very few wears.

Outerwear: Another category that shone. I just bought a new leather moto jacket, cropped and loose-fitting, that is clearly going to be a winner. Sadly, I lost one of my jackets on my flight home from Thanksgiving, a wool-blend boucle bomber from H&M. It was my least favorite, and I'd considered passing it along anyway, but it filled a real niche.

Shoes: This is the one I need to think about most. I wore 25 different shoes this year, and 14 were worn often enough to count as workhorses. Those were Dr Martens, fancy Converse, Frye boots, men's oxfords, and sneakers. It's interesting that these comfortable shoes won out, since over the previous few years I'd tried to buy and wear slightly dressier options. For next year, I'd like to focus on wearing a mix of both categories. I'd also like to be very careful about adding things that I'm unlikely to wear often.

All items in my wardrobe are here -- I'd committed to the pinterest board before YLF Finds came along


Too oversized? (k/r)

Two shopping decisions needed!

1. I really really want a cotton velvet jean-style jacket. This oversized one from Rag & Bone is luxurious and beautiful - but just too big? Alas, I can't ever seem to pull off the oversized jean jacket look. Luckily I'm hoping it'll be a trend and I can find a more fitted version.

2. Uniqlo's JW Anderson collection had this very trendy sweater. Thin merino wool, oversized sleeves, with (the trendy part) ties at the wrists.

I like it but I'm torn about the purchase. On one hand, I like the look of it, it's good quality, it fits my style, and it's fun to have one item from that collection. On the other hand:

- I keep my clothes a long time, so I don't want something that will feel played out in a year. To be very clear, this doesn't reflect any dislike of this trend, or of trendy clothes in general. In fact I'm impressed by people who have an eye for trends and constantly update their look.
- Much as I like wool and turtlenecks, it's rarely chilly enough here to wear them all day. The loose cut of this makes it more wearable though.
- Related to that - I wear shirts or cardigans a lot more than pullovers.
- It was $50. For half that I'd keep it in as a wildcard.

(Both items are XS. I don't think sizing down would help -- I think some oversized clothes just work better on taller, more angular bodies.)


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


Do you ever get stuck on repeat while shopping?

On my shopping list for fall, I had "silk camisole / tee" and "new boots" and "boyfriend jeans". I think I forgot to cross things off as I went! Over the past two months I ended up with not just one but:
4 silk or velvet tops
2 nearly identical pairs of boyfriend jeans (and a pair of high waist jeans, another goal)
2 new pairs of boots (and another pair of nice shoes)

I love all of them, and I was very picky about what I kept, so I don't really regret it. I didn't keep anything outside of these categories. But now it's time to stop shopping for the season. I did end up with more than I needed, perhaps. Three new pairs of shoes is quite a lot. And four fancy tops for someone who lives in tees and buttoned shirts -- good thing I've been going to a lot of parties. My goal now is to make sure I wear everything often.

I've posted photos of many of these over the past month -- I'm just amused (?) to see it all in one place.

1. Equipment tee from NAS
2. Grana camisole
3. Acne silk top found with tags on at Wasteland (amazing consignment store) in LA.
4. Gap silk velvet top 

1. Uniqlo men's selvedge jeans - these are amazing.
2. Everlane boyfriend jeans! I finally got them, after my whole saga!
3. AGOLDE high rise button fly jeans

1. Dr Martens Danica boots, more delicate than the usual Docs, and shaped like Birkenstocks for my wide toes! I think they'll be really useful though wearing them, I feel like I have clown feet. I'm sure I'll adjust.
2. Paul Green Margo flats from Nordstrom. They fill a huge wardrobe hole for comfortable, professional flats. A pricey splurge at first. But after sending the wrong shoes in the right box, they eventually tracked down the right pair for me and by then they were marked down to $110!
3. Frye Campus boots -- I found these today at a consignment store in perfect condition. They're more retro than my usual look, but I like the clean lines.


Gap velvet top: a winner (now with photos)

I just found the most beautiful velvet top at the Gap. It's a casual kimono-sleeve tee that drapes beautifully, made of a rayon/silk blend. It's trendy and super high quality -- it could easily come from Rag & Bone or the like. The cut is really loose, so it won't be everyone's cup of tea. But it reminds me of the Elizabeth Suzann silk tee that people love, as worn by Caroline at Unfancy: http://www.un-fancy.com/outfit.....four-ways/

I ordered it online after trying it in the store because there's a better discount online (40% off today). I do want to take photos once it arrives to make sure it's not too overwhelming. XS was definitely the right size for me. With my short arms, I might shorten the sleeves an inch or so.

I think I could wear it with faded jeans to work and not feel too fancy. I was wearing high waist vintage-y gray jeans (in finds for reference) and it was a great combo. 

Click through to watch the model walking, because the photos are all pretty meh.

Edit: the top arrived, and I wore it to a party last night with my new (used) high waist jeans and my new Paul Green shoes. It's almost overwhelming on me but my boyfriend really liked it, which is a good indicator that it moves enough in person to not look totally shapeless. The velvet is so soft - 80% rayon, 20% silk. I added some photos of yesterday's outfit, though the sunlight was coming straight through the window, so they're not the best. I think I'll probably leave the sleeves this length.

It's a departure for me in style, dressiness, and fabric (currently my only synthetic top). I'm not sure how much I'll wear it, but I think I like it!


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


Last minute packing decision (thanks, it was great!)

Last minute packing dilemma!

I'm packing as we speak to go to LA for a few days. I'm giving a talk at UCLA. It's the first time I'm giving an important invited seminar (not counting job interview talks) and I am less well established than most of the speakers in this weekly series. So I want to look grown-up, of course, but also, science is really casual and it is important to me that I don't look out of place by dressing up too much. Mostly I see it as a fun chance to pull out some of my slightly nicer clothing while still looking like myself.

I can't decide between a few options for bottoms. I'm wearing my square silk shirt from Everlane. The pants options are:

1. Everlane wool trousers, ankle strap flats

2. Helmet Lang wool cropped pants with interesting seaming - very me. The only shoes that balance out these pants are my chunky sandals. If I had a pair of refined, low ankle laced boots they'd be perfect with this outfit but I tried all my shoes and nothing else was quite right for my style. This is my favorite outfit, but I'm afraid the sandals are too casual.

3. Alice and Olivia high waist pleated pants with ankle strap flats. The dressiest option, and I feel like it is a bit too dressy for the situation and my comfort.


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