Color quest: pastel neon lime

Last year I added some pastel pink and lilac to my closet, as an accent against black denim. 

This year, I was captivated by the neon lime green trend. Street style blogs have lots of bright neon accents. The color I'm thinking of is somewhere between yellow and green, and highlighter-bright. I especially like the look I've seen of a neon turtleneck peeking out under a black shirt.

The problem is, I dislike how that neon color looks on me, especially near my face. After trying several options, I've realized that I should shift towards a more pastel interpretation, just like the pink and lilac. And, like those other pastels, it should be on the cooler side. No hint of chartreuse. The bolder colors are mostly found as synthetics (dye chemistry, I imagine), but I'd prefer cotton and it should be fine for this toned-down option.

Now I'm having trouble finding tops in this color. I did find one perfect option... a $300 hoodie by Acne. So that's out of the question. But I'd love to find a cotton turtleneck or a hoodie in this color. If you happen to find something that's exactly this color, feel free to share!

Part of me finds it hilarious that I've added so much pastel to my wardrobe after decades of black. But I love the contrast, and it really is better on me than bright colors!


Buttondown bonanza (K/R)

Hi all - I’ve been super busy with my new job but I stopped by the mall this weekend and found many shirts. Some are from the Uniqlo U spring collection that just launched (and sold out instantly). Others are Gap or BR. With markdowns, all were quite affordable. I wear a lot of buttoned shirts but I don’t need this many more! So I thought I’d see what people thought of them, then choose a few to keep.

1. Uniqlo U tunic. I love it. It’s oversized, but so drapey and light that in person it doesn’t overwhelm me. I think I’ll call it JFE and keep it, but the photos reveal that it’s a bit larger than I realized.

2. Uniqlo U stretch shirt. Really interesting shape. Love it, might never wear it because it’s a little more refined than my usual, though I wear a lot of white shirts these days.

3. Banana Republic Quinn oxford. I like how casual this is - goes well with my all-jeans lifestyle. Lacking some pizazz compared to the others but I like the modern cropped boxy fit. But I have another boxy oxford so this is first on the chopping block.

4. Gap denim shirt: first shown in S, then XS. Which size is better? A denim shirt is a HEWI and this is the best I’ve found in years of looking but I wonder how I’d style it to look more put together.

5. Banana Republic Parker silk tunic, on super discount. Is the tunic style a good look for me? I do wear a lot of silk shirts and one is nearing the end of its life...

6. Not button down: silk tee, also super discount from BR. I had to size up to accommodate my chest so the end result is way too big if I don’t tuck it in. But good when tucked in high rise jeans I think?


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WIW for our first rain and no more smoke

I don’t know if the scale of the NorCal fires has made it into national media. 70+ confirmed dead and another 600 people unaccounted for - by far the deadliest fire in state history. It’s 150 miles from San Francisco, so no risk of the fire itself reaching us, but for the past 10 days the smoke in the air was worse than you could imagine. My campus has been closed since Friday - the first time I know of them canceling class for a weather-related situation. I was wearing a mask even inside and still felt sick all the time. Happily, I had pre-existing vacation plans (Portland, Oregon) and I changed my flight to leave a bit early and escape the smoke all weekend. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the fires.

Anyway, on a much happier note, a much needed rainstorm finally came. It’s been raining steadily all day and the air is finally clear. It feels so good to walk outside and breathe easily. (The rain does cause some problems - risk of mudslides in the burned areas - but overall it is very welcome.)

To venture out in the first rain of the season, I wore my new plaid blazer! After all my waffling, I managed to find the larger size (2) at the store. Cut the tags today. I wore it with my Everlane “cheeky straight” cropped jeans and Doc Martens to keep my feet and jeans dry. My one mistake was not adding a real rain jacket over it. I though my umbrella would be enough. Funny how 9 months is long enough for us to forget everything we know about dressing for rain!

Other photos are my respirator selfies from last week - it was sort of cool how everyone started posting these selfies on Facebook. Some of my friends had impressive style! One day I covered my disposable mask with a light bandana because I was tired of the white look. (A bandana itself isn’t any protection.)


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Plaid blazer redux (updated)

Update: photos of another size in comments

I've wanted a glen plaid blazer since the very beginning of this trend (which probably means it's about over now? boo). Previous posts:

Now I have a new contender: Everlane released their oversize blazer in a new glen plaid. I'm sad they didn't offer this last year alongside the tweed option! This blazer is a very boxy cut and I'd previously ruled out the tweed version as too shapeless on me, but I think it looks better in plaid.

For those considering the blazer, I sized down from my usual 2. This is a size 0 and fits perfectly in the shoulders. If I get it, it'll be this size. I swim in the 2, and the 00 is definitely too tight.

The debate now is whether this is just flattering enough, and whether it's a good addition to my wardrobe. Is it too long on my frame? (The rolled pants don't help...) Is it edgy enough for me? Its boxy shape looks more like outerwear and less dressy, which is good for my lifestyle. I do have a habit of buying and then not wearing blazers... and I have a lot of fall outerwear... but I like the look.

It's more my style than the Nordstrom one I tried, though it was a lovely fit (old photo included for comparison). Even at NAS prices it was too expensive, so I returned it. And it sold out as soon as the price dropped even lower. Lovely as it is, it's off the table. The Massimo Dutti one I considered is even more confusing - the same link now goes to a page with photos that look like a different blazer - so I guess that's out too.

Photo 1: Everlane

Photo 2: Nordstrom, no longer an option


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WIW: silver shoes

I’ve been wearing my black Free People Royale asymmetric flats nonstop, so when I found a good deal on the silver version, I duplicated.

I’ve wanted silver shoes for a while but I was never quite sure how they’ll fit in my wardrobe. Last year I bought some very inexpensive silver ballet flats as a test of the concept, then never wore them because I don’t wear ballet flats...

Anyway, I’m pleased to see that they work quite well with black jeans. I’ve worn them once with an all-black outfit, but yesterday I tried a white tee to balance out the shoes.

My beloved new Everlane jacket faded in the wash, but the photos are deceptive - it’s still quite a bit darker than the jeans. I like the contrasts in this outfit.

(I got a great deal on these silver shoes but I’d just committed to them before I found those cowboy mules so I feel bad about my shoe budget. However, I just learned I’m getting a big NIH research grant so perhaps the mules will be my present to myself!)


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Wildcard statement shoes?

I just made an impulse buy at Bloomingdale's before their 25% off sale ends today. I am having trouble committing to them, though.

I fell in love with these navy & black snakeskin-texture cowboy mules (first in Finds, below). I've been looking for cowboy boots all year (my R13 dream boots are also in Finds, for reference) but I wasn't thinking of mules. But something about these just captivated me when I saw them this weekend, so I went back this morning and snapped them up as quickly as I could. They have all the style points I was looking for in a cowboy boot, the heel and toe shape, particularly.

They fit perfectly and stay on my feet. There's an elastic gore that makes them very comfortable over my very high instep. Quite a surprise - usually I have to avoid mules. I don't know if it would become a problem after a few hours of wear, though; so many of my boots become painful.

I have a lot of shoes, but they're all solid black, and I'd been wanting a statement shoe of some sort. My black shoes feel boring (except for the FP asymmetric flats!). Are these the ones? They would be great with jeans - I will model later. I think the navy would go well with my black denim and not feel like a challenge to fit into my wardrobe, despite the novelty of the color for me.

My only hesitation is the little silvery studs around the edges. If not for those, I'd keep them in a heartbeat, but it feels a little loud for my usual minimalist taste. I suppose an alternative is the black suede version (no studs) in Finds, but they lose something.

They are expensive... much, much more than I usually spend. I just listed an embarrassing collection of practically new shoes to sell on Poshmark, so my track record with shoes isn't great, but these seem to pass the comfort and style test...

Poorly lit photo from Bloomingdale's. I'll post more at home with jeans. They're ok with the skirt but better with ankle-cropped jeans, I bet.

Update: more photos in comments

My current shoe collection is here for reference.


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Closet edit question: re-dyeing?

[Heh, fixed my misspelling throughout the post - I would prefer dyeing over dying, for sure!]

I edit like crazy, and I don't hold onto things I don't love. But I have a dilemma. I just pulled out several favorites that are still on-point for my style, but faded. They're high quality items that would otherwise have years of life yet. No pilling, fraying, stretching. There are also a few that started out as a faded black that clashes with my other black, and so I never wear them.

Normally I'd just pass them on and get new things, but I'm thinking of re-dyeing the few items with huge style potential.

Have any of you re-dyed clothing? Back in Girl Scouts, I learned how to dye from my leader's daughter, who was a legit Deadhead selling tie dye at Grateful Dead shows. We used soda ash as a pre-treatment then Procion fiber-reactive dyes.

Black dye is hard (though easier when you're starting with something that's already black). Procion has good black dyes for natural fibers, although they work best on raw cotton without treatments. I haven't tried them on clothing bought at retail. Also, dyeing is a huge mess and I haven't tried it in my own washing machine.

(Why isn't there a service to lovingly re-dye the black clothing of aging goths?)

In Finds are the things I'm considering dyeing. The Banana Republic cropped shirt is a great combo with all my new high rise jeans -- I love the style. The dramatic Oak tunic always gets comments but it's so faded now (and missing a button) so it either needs repairs or it's going to the consignment store. The Madewell cropped tops (heavier weight than a tee) are practically new, fit perfectly, and are perfectly on-trend for 2018. Same with the Proenza shirt, with a brownish undertone, although that one might be a good target for resale since I never wear it.

I might add photos later of these items on me, to see if people think they're worth keeping.


September tracking - week 4, final reckoning

Well, this week started off with a lot of outfits I didn't love. But I got my mojo back by the end! Amusingly, I accidentally wore almost the same outfit twice -- the first time was in my "meh" list, the second time in my "yay" list, and I didn't even notice until I wrote this post.

Sunday: I stayed in my bathrobe until dinnertime, doing various housework, but then threw on an outfit to go out for pizza. It was a chilly evening, so I cut the tags on my new Halogen wool moto - I love it.
Everlane faded boyfriend jeans, Madewell elbow sleeve merino top, Halogen wool moto (new), Frye engineer boots

Monday: White jeans are a big departure for me. I bought this pair a while ago as 'emergency' jeans when I realized the jeans I was wearing were really uncomfortably small. So... they are a full size too big. Between the size problem, the mundane sneakers, and my discomfort in white pants, I felt pretty meh in this outfit, and then I was asked last-minute to fill in for a grad seminar... Ugh.
Levi's wedgie distressed white jeans, J Crew linen v-neck, Gap cotton cardigan, Everlane jean jacket, Puma sneakers
But then I went for super energetic Irish folk dance, at a venue I haven't been to in years, and I had an excellent time.
Dance outfit: Club Monaco wool flare skirt, Gap tank, dance shoes

Tuesday: Another meh day. These are the full-length version of the Everlane jeans I asked about a few weeks ago. The combination with the Converse made it feel like something I'd wear in high school, but not in a good way. I'm going to hack off the jeans to hit above my ankle bone. Also, I love this cozy men's cardigan but it's too shapeless to make the outfit pop.
Everlane cheeky straight jeans (new), Zara cropped tee, Margiela wool boyfriend cardigan, Converse high tops

Wednesday: My most meh day! It was supposed to be a real summer-like day, so I wore the Gap crops that I haven't worn much this year. The combo with the drapey knit top made me feel twice as large as I am. I might pass this top on because I rarely feel fab in it.
Gap wide leg crops, Eileen Fisher knit linen top, Everlane jean jacket, Dr Martens sandals

Thursday: Getting better! These are the Gap mom jeans that I love but feel ill wearing because of the dye odor. After another few rounds of washing, once with peroxide bleach, then hanging in the sun, they were ok to wear all day! I think I should get the jeans hemmed a few inches.
Gap mom jeans, Everlane oxford, Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats

Friday: Not bad at all! Very me. I am taking notes on what made this feel perfect. Amusingly, I decided against buying this Uniqlo top a year ago, but this year I bought it and I'm really glad.t.
Everlane boyfriend jeans, Uniqlo cocoon top (new), Everlane jean jacket, Free People asymmetric flats
bonus photos with my new wool moto - wasn't sure which I would wear out of the house - and the amazing purse I bought this summer!!

Saturday: Accidentally duplicated Tuesday, but, I like it this time. Same tee (I have 3) and jeans, but I folded up the jeans to show where I might chop them off. Maybe an inch lower than shown. Much better at this length and with oxfords.
Everlane cheeky straight jeans (new), Zara cropped tee, Zara nylon jacket, J Crew oxfords

Of note:

  • It's definitely fall, meaning I'm shopping and buying more. I cut the tags on the wool moto, Everlane jeans, and cocoon top this week. That makes three new pairs of faded black jeans this month... but I do like them all. What do you think of the 'cheeky straight' style?
  • I'm not sure about the white jeans as a look for myself, but I did manage to find the proper size on Poshmark, so I bought them and will sell these (no net $ loss). Big improvement over these. I wish they had just a touch of grey... the contrast feels too stark to me. But, the distressing takes them firmly out of preppy territory (not one of my styles) so I think they'll work for me as a wildcard. I'm going to chop them off (they're sold as raw hem, but too long on me, so I rolled them).
  • The Free People shoes really do jazz up any outfit! Both my sneakers outfits felt blah. I like the black Pumas with the white jeans, but I think the outfit would feel more my style with the FP shoes, or edgy sandals, or boots.
  • The non-meh outfits were put together more intentionally. I tried every pair of jeans I owned with the cocoon top to see what worked best. Solid black skinnies were the runner up, but I think this boyfriend look is best. It's interesting to see which tops work with all my new faded black jeans and which are best with solid black jeans. The faded jeans have the risk of looking sort of boring if I don't style them carefully.


  • jeans: Six pairs, one worn twice. Three carried over from previous weeks, three made their first appearance this week. I'm trying to wear all my jeans. Final total for September: 11 jeans (plus a skirt and a dress). Wore 11 of 18 that I own.
  • tops: A fairly standard mix of tees, sweaters, and shirts. I wore different tops almost every day of the month! Four repeats.
  • toppers and outerwear: Two cardigans this week. Three jackets. Wearing the Everlane denim jacket nonstop. Final total: 5 toppers, 5 jackets. I own many more but wore all the seasonally appropriate options.
  • shoes: Six pairs of shoes this week! The two pairs of sneakers are almost never worn, but I keep them for occasional use. Final total: 11 shoes. A few were worn once, the others were worn 2-3 times, and the Free People flats showed up 8 days! Wore 11 of 27 that I own -- but some of those 27 are up for sale on Poshmark, and others are more specialized (or a few outdated styles I am saving for the memories).

My main conclusion of this exercise: I have a large wardrobe. I do pretty well at wearing a lot of it, but there is so much more than I need. There's a core of pieces that see more use, but I don't feel a huge need to pare down the rest. I have storage space for my whole wardrobe, I cull things once I realize I truly don't like them, and variety isn't such a bad thing. But, I will be ruthless about selling things that never get worn, and I've done most of my shopping for the fall, so I shouldn't add many new items from here on.


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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

 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.


  • 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.


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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.
 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.


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