Finite space for shoes

I kept the Born flats from last week's question. I wore them with my orthotics and they are, indeed, amazingly comfortable.

But the shoes had unintended consequences! My shoe collection outgrew its home. I don't have a closet - I use a corner of our large bedroom for two clothes racks, and my shoes are all lined up along the wall underneath. With this newest addition, I finally realized I'd moved from "spare, minimal design" to just plain cluttered.

Enter Ikea, the solution to all storage problems. I found a little metal cabinet that looks like an old card catalog, if your library were furnished by Scandinavian designers. Now nine pairs of shoes live in drawers perfectly sized for them. (Side note - I absolutely love assembling Ikea furniture.)

My parents arrive tomorrow for a week's visit and it motivated me to de-clutter the rest of the house. Among other things, I realized my clothes racks were too full as well, so I begrudgingly moved my dresses to the spare bedroom closet. I apparently own 15 dresses. For someone who doesn't wear dresses, that's rather startling! I like them all, though. I hold onto special occasion dresses for quite a while in case a need arises. I do have a few casual dresses I want to make sure I wear often, so I hope they don't get forgotten.

I feel like buying furniture for my shoes might be a sign of a problem. I'm not worried, though. I'll just make a point of wearing all my shoes often, to justify it!

Here's a photo of the "after". I didn't think to capture the "before".


Items you "should" own but never actually wear

Sometimes I'm a bit trapped by outdated ideas of what my wardrobe should contain. Do you ever do this?

For instance, I just saw a nice Theory cotton shirt in light gray, a duplicate of one I have in white, and thought I must need something like that. But really, no. It's not my style (too structured and fitted). I don't work in an office. On the occasions when I do need professional clothing, I'm more likely to turn to a fluid silk shirt or an oversized white men's shirt.

But in my head, I want to have an adult wardrobe, and adults must own professional shirts to wear with suits. Business-like flats have also been in this category for me. I can spend a lot of time searching for something very specific like that only because my brain has ordained that I should own one, no matter whether I actually want, need, or would use it.

And yet, erring in the opposite direction, sometimes I can't make myself choose something practical if it doesn't have that extra something.

Which brings me to today's dilemma: these Born shoes. They might take the place of the walking sandals I've been searching for, perfect for travel. They are exactly the shape of my feet. They are amazingly comfortable and leather-lined. They stay on my feet, unlike every pair of flats without straps I've attempted to wear over the years. They even have a removable insole and might fit my orthotics, which I usually can only wear in sneakers. And yet they're also not quite my style in a way that I can't define (perhaps they border on too boho?). They're maybe not edgy nor minimal enough -- or maybe they are. What would you do? Keep or return?

If you struggle with this yourself, do you find that the "shoulds" become wardrobe orphans? Or do they become practical workhorses?


Dramatic minimalist sandals for travel?

I'm traveling a lot this summer (conferences in Dublin and Vienna in July, for starters) and I hope to do a lot of walking. For a 10-day trip, I'll probably bring stylish sneakers, flat ankle boots and/or oxfords, and sandals. But neither of my existing sandals quite do the trick. Both hurt my high instep after a mile or so, and the Dr Martens weigh so much that I don't want to pack them (both are in Finds below).

So, I'm on the hunt for new sandals. I'm really picky, though. They must be:

  • black
  • flat
  • wide toe area
  • rubber sole and/or some cushioning
  • leather, with leather lining
  • edgy-minimalist, with clean dramatic lines
  • some sort of ankle strap to keep them on
  • nothing over my instep bump - edit - it's hard for me to know which straps will be a problem, so I'll consider many possibilities.

I've found two possibilities online: Eileen Fisher and Clarks Originals (see my Finds). Do you think either of these is a boost to my aesthetic, or are they taking minimalist a little too far for me?

If you see anything else that might fit my desires, could you post it here? I'll note that unfortunately, Camper shoes just do. not. fit. no matter how much I want them to.

And, if you think sandals are just not the best use of suitcase space, let me know! I'm never sure what shoes to bring. It never rains in SF so I forget that it's a possibility, for instance!


WIW: stuck in the 90s

I'm headed to a folk dance thing, so a skirt is more fun. Finding something to wear with the skirt was surprisingly hard. I need to find more cropped tees, I think. The waistband on this silk skirt is too flimsy for tucking anything in. But this tee, and leather-front sweater jacket thing, work fine for now.

I debated footwear a lot and I'm still not thrilled. My low ankle boots were the wrong proportion. These combat boots with the skirt reminded me pleasantly of the 90s, so I stuck with the boots even though they're only 'just flattering enough.' Chunky sandals or oxfords would also work. The last photo is the ankle boots I tried first. Not sure why I didn't like the combination - it looks fine in the photo.

Silk skirt and BR leather sweater from Crossroads (the sweater has been kicking around my closet for years and only recently made it into frequent rotation). Uniqlo tee, awesome Madewell boots that I hope last forever.

Oh - and the undercut is re-shorn. I did it myself with scissors this time. It'll look less extreme in a week or so when the stubble is long enough to look hair-colored.


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WIW for rain!

I woke up to the sound of rain on the street. It warms my heart. We're still in an epic drought overall, but this spring has been rainy and foggy and cool like San Francisco weather is supposed to be. This winter was the first time in history that we got no rain in normally-wet January, so things have felt very off balance.

Today's clothing is mostly second-hand. I found YLF just as I was shifting towards buying more new clothes (to stay on top of current trends) but I still have a lot of consignment gems.

Jeans: Genetic Denim legging jeans from Crossroads (as a genome biologist, I love their DNA logo, so I'm glad I finally found a pair that fit).
Top: Alexander Wang wrap sweater vest from Wasteland
Boots: Tsubo Loe
Jacket: unknown, from Wasteland

The wool jacket is this really cool double-layer design, solid black over pinstripe. Unfortunately it still smells like perfume from its previous owner a year after I bought it, so I don't wear it often (gives me a mild headache).


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Floaty dress over jeans

We're heading to a play tonight, and maybe fancy drinks, so dressing up a bit seemed like a fun idea. Inspired by Approprio and Diana, I decided to wear this sheer silk tunic over jeans. It doesn't have the wow factor of the fuller skirts they wore; I'll try that next time. Instead, I stuck with a modified FFBO. I know this Vince tunic has shown up in my posts before.

The shoes are new, the Steve Madden low-heel booties that you all love. They are amazingly comfortable, and I don't say that lightly; I basically can't wear heels but these must be exactly the right shape to support my feet.

I was contemplating Aziraphale's post about RATE alternatives to white jeans... I put on my cropped solid-black skinnies under this, at first, but the effect was too polished and downtown for my current fashion mood. These faded relaxed skinnies took it down a notch. I tried other changes, too - mannish loafers instead of the refined booties, for instance - but settled on this combination. (The jeans are Blank NYC found at Crossroads.)

With my faculty job interview over (it took a serious amount of prep) I'm looking forward to having energy for interesting outfits. My goal is to try a few things that are a little more out there instead of FFBOs like this, much as I like it. (Approprio, I hope you don't mind that you're my inspiration for this!)

And as soon as I'm done with one last job-related meeting, it's time to re-shave the scraggly undercut. Saturday!


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